Counseling Degree Overview
The need for counselors is still rising. Discover the various degrees you can obtain to work as a professional counselor.
For people who appreciate assisting others in identifying and resolving issues so they can lead more satisfying lives, counseling is a fulfilling career.
As a counselor, you can assist clients who are having difficulty achieving their personal or relationship objectives, choosing a professional path, getting better from major health concerns, or overcoming behavioral and substance misuse issues.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that between 2020 and 2030, employment in counseling will increase by 23%.
Training in counseling
To become a counselor, you typically need to have at least a master’s degree with 48 credits. Although some institutions offer bachelor’s degrees in counseling, you can enroll in a master’s program in counseling if you have a bachelor’s degree in a field that is related, such as psychology, education, or social work.
You can go for a science degree, like a master of science that emphasizes practice, or an arts degree, like a bachelor of arts that emphasizes liberal arts or research.
Similarly to this, some colleges offer degrees in general counseling, while others provide degrees in specific counseling specialties, such as marriage and family counseling.
Counseling Associate Degrees
You can use a counseling associate degree to work as a counselor’s assistant, caseworker, mental health technician, or another entry-level profession, even though the majority of students who acquire a counseling degree at the associate level want to earn a bachelor’s or graduate degree.
In certain places, all you need is an associate’s degree in substance misuse counseling to get certified in substance counseling.
You study the following topics as part of your counseling associate degree: psychology, mental health, addictions, and substance misuse.
- Counseling of all kinds, including family, couple, marriage/family, school, mental health, and substance misuse counseling;
- Legal and ethical concerns in counseling
Although some colleges also offer associate of art (AA) degrees, an associate of science (AS) or associate of applied science (AAS) degrees are the most common associate-level counseling degrees. Online degree programs are possible.
Counseling bachelor’s degrees
General education courses are covered in the first two years of a bachelor’s degree in counseling. During your junior and senior years, you can specialize. You can obtain a degree in general counseling or one that is more narrowly oriented.
Courses in psychology, sociology, mental health, and various mental health issues are included in programs.
Working with certain populations, behavioral psychology, behavioral health, including substance misuse, and social determinants of health
- Cultural sensitivity
- Counseling techniques
- Research techniques
- A fieldwork project or course
Numerous universities offer hybrid or online bachelor’s degrees in counseling, while some online counseling degrees do occasionally need on-campus study.
Counseling Master’s Degree
Since most states demand a master’s degree for licensing, the majority of counselors hold one. Master’s degrees in counseling typically concentrate on a specific area of counseling, like family, school, substance misuse, or mental health.
The right kind of counseling license can be obtained through programs. At the master’s level, fieldwork for counseling degrees is more in-depth and includes supervised client work and more sophisticated research projects.
Advanced and more specific studies in various counseling specialties, such as family, school, mental health, or drug addiction counseling, as well as counseling research methodologies, are covered in your counseling master’s program coursework. You examine counseling’s legal ramifications, including state legislation.
Many master’s degree programs in counseling are offered online, but they may also have on-campus requirements.
Make sure you can conduct fieldwork in your neighborhood while earning your online counseling master’s.
Master’s degrees in Counseling
The most typical counseling doctorate is in counseling psychology rather than counseling as the highest-needed counseling degree in the majority of states is a master’s.
You can become a licensed clinical psychologist with the help of this. The second most popular type of counseling doctorate is in counseling education (also known as counseling education and supervision), which prepares you to teach counseling, run a counseling division, or work in a bigger organization.
In order to complete and successfully defend a Ph.D. thesis, either counseling doctorate involves extensive coursework in counseling methodology, counseling research, and doing original research.
They also call for fieldwork, such as an internship or practicum. While a doctorate in counseling education places more of an emphasis on teaching, leadership, supervision, evaluation, and performance improvement than a degree in counseling psychology does on counseling practice. The majority of doctoral counseling programs are only offered on campuses.
Common Questions Regarding Counseling
What distinguishes a counselor from a psychologist from a therapist?
Both psychologists and counselors are able to identify and treat mental health issues. Both counselors and psychologists are collectively referred to as “therapists” in this context.
What kinds of counseling are there?
Mental health, substance abuse/addiction, rehabilitation (after injury), and school, family, and marital counseling are the most popular counseling specialties. Students can design their coursework to fit their desired specialization.
How much does counseling cost?
The BLS reports that the median counseling pay is $47,660. All counseling degrees and counselors at all levels are included in this. For instance, counseling psychologists with doctorates can make more money, particularly in private practice.
Do I need a license to work as a counselor?
Your counseling degree can be applied to a variety of positions, including those that don’t call for licensure, like life coaching.
However, in order to call one a counselor, you must obtain a license from your state, which typically includes a counseling degree (such as a master’s in counseling), passing a licensure test, and other prerequisites.
What Is the Job of a Counselor?
Counselors assist clients in understanding and resolving issues they have with their families, relationships, careers, mental health, or with particular disorders like substance misuse.
The objective is to support the client in making wiser decisions and creating healthier coping mechanisms.
You can concentrate on specific populations, problems, or groups as you pursue your counseling degrees, such as marital and family counseling, career counseling, rehabilitation counseling, or school counseling.
What Else Can a Counseling Degree Be Used For?
A counseling degree is useful in many other professions. Other typical occupations include: “counseling assistant” (with an associate’s degree in counseling); “school affairs,” such as “student life,” “dean of students,” and “student advising”; “mental health technician”; “advice writer”; “guidance specialist”; “caseworker”; “executive or career coach”; and “patient financial counseling at a hospital.”
There are particular certification programs for many of these professions, including caseworker, financial counselor, and mental health technician.
Although it is not legally necessary, most businesses want or greatly prefer certification. A bachelor’s in counseling can also help you get ready for a master’s in psychology, social work, or education.
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