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Online Master’s Degree in Counseling

Counselors are trained individuals who specialize in helping members of a community, school, or organization learn to cope with distress, trauma, or psychological struggles. Many schools offer different kinds of counseling programs, including an online masters degree in family counseling, an online masters degree in rehabilitation counseling, or an online masters degree in school counseling. Regardless of the specialization chosen by the student, pursuing a master’s degree is a necessary step toward becoming a counselor. Most employers require counselors to have, at a minimum, a master’s degree, and counselors cannot open up their own practices unless they have earned an advanced professional degree.

Online master degree programs in counseling typically take around two to three years to complete. Students who wish to become licensed must then work under the supervision of a licensed professional counselor. However, the exact qualifications for counseling programs vary by school and whether or not the student attends the program on a full- or part-time basis.

Classes for an Online Masters Degree in Counseling

Students enrolled in online masters degree programs in counseling usually take classes that teach them about human behavior and development. The curriculums are also designed to teach students about how people think and learn, as well as why they act or behave in certain ways. Depending on the specialization, some students may focus their studies on counseling children, rehabilitation counseling, or career counseling. Below are some examples of classes that counseling students may take:

  • Human Growth Development
  • Ethics in Counseling
  • Assessment
  • Abnormal Psychology
  • Multicultural Counseling

Some programs offer the option for students to pursue a thesis track and complete a research project at the end of their education. It is also common for counseling programs to require students to complete an internship prior to graduating, so that they can practice what they’ve learned in a supervised environment. Usually, internships involve students counseling volunteer patients, while being observed by their professors or other licensed counselors.

A Career as a Graduate with an Online Masters Degree in Counseling

There are multiple career paths within the counseling field that graduates from master’s degree programs in counseling can pursue. Graduates who have completed the requirements to become licensed professionals can become community counselors, marriage and family counselors, or child counselors. They also have the option of becoming career or rehabilitation counselors. Students who complete the school counselor master’s degree program track can become school counselors as well. All of these career paths require counselors to have a master’s degree and a license to practice.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that community mental health and marriage and family counselors typically earn around $39,710 annually. School and career counselors earn around $53,380, and rehabilitation counselors earn approximately $32,350 annually.

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