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Online Master’s Degree in School Counseling

School counseling professionals focus on the relationships between students and their peers, teachers, and other elements of their school environment. They work to remove barriers that can inhibit academic success and they work with teachers, administrators, and other school personal to ensure student success. Counselors also help students develop academically, socially, and personally, and they provide academic planning assistance. An individual interested in working in this field must have a master’s degree in school counseling. Programs in this discipline can be found at traditional brick-and-mortar universities and at online institutions. An online master’s degree in school counseling is a great option for someone who has professional or family obligations that prevent them from regular classes because it lets them complete their course work in their own time. Some school counseling master’s degree programs are 36 credit hours long, but that may vary depending on the institution and the program’s requirements.

Classes for an Online Master’s Degree in School Counseling

An online master’s degree in school counseling program teaches students essential counseling skills and ways to apply these skills to students that have different physiological, psychological, spiritual, and other needs. Therefore, many social counseling curriculums include courses such as counseling theories or advocacy and leadership in professional school counseling. A counseling theories course provides instruction in the theoretical approaches of therapeutic contracting, psychotherapy, and intervention strategies. Meanwhile, students in an advocacy and leadership in professional school counseling course may learn about the organization, planning, and management of school counseling programs, intervention strategies, and models of leadership and supervision skills. Other common courses include:

  • Counseling Theories
  • Group Processes
  • Career Counseling and Assessment
  • Family Therapy
  • Ethical and Legal Issues in Professional Counseling

In addition to the online coursework, students may also be required to participate in residential colloquia at certain times in their program. These colloquia give students the opportunity to apply theory into practice and connect with other professionals within the industry. Other schools may require students to participate in a supervised internship program before they graduate, which in most cases provides the learner with a substantial amount of professional counseling experience before they graduate. These programs may differ based on the institution so make sure to check with your college or university to see what it offers.

A Career as a Graduate with an Online Master’s Degree in School Counseling

A master’s degree in school counseling may prepare a student for employment at an elementary, middle, or high school as a school counselor. These professionals help students overcome social or behavioral problems by providing individual or group counseling sessions, and they help students develop time management skills and determine realistic academic and career goal. Counselors also identify and report possible signs of neglect and teach classes on bullying, drug abuse, and more. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 47% of school counselors are employed at state, local, and private elementary and secondary schools, and 19% are employed at public and private colleges and universities. The median annual salary of a school and career counselor in May 2010 was $53,380, and the top 10% of earners earned more than $86,000, according to the BLS. The BLS expects employment of school counselors to increase 19% from 2010 to 2020 because more counselors will be needed to serve the needs of an increasing student population. However, keep in mind these statistics are no guarantee of actual job opportunity or salary, which is determined by location, hiring agency, condition of the economy, and an applicant’s experience and qualifications.

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