Many different careers are available to people who choose a counseling degree online. Most often, people decide that they want to work with a certain segment of the population, and this guides the individual’s study. Counselors may decide to work with certain age groups, like children or the elderly, or decide to focus on couple and family counseling. Other counselors may work with people who have disabilities or issues with substance abuse. Some counselors simply seek to help people who are dealing with depression and other emotional issues while another type of counselor advises high school and college students. With so many different options from which to choose, it makes sense for students to carefully decide upon an online degree program.
Online Degrees for Counseling
No matter what specialization the student chooses, it is nearly always true that they will need a four year degree along with a master’s degree. Some counselors also need to be licensed through the state in which they work. Online bachelor’s and master’s degrees are widely available, as are certificate programs. Interested students may also be able to work toward doctoral degrees online. In many cases, students earn a bachelor’s degree in psychology or social work and then work toward a master’s degree in counseling with an emphasis on their area of interest. Many of these online degree programs require that the student engage in an internship or complete some other kind of hands on experience.
Coursework for a Career in Counseling
Most people who desire a career in counseling start their academic path with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. Coursework includes general education requirements in subjects like English, math and science. However, the bulk of classes will relate directly to the student’s psychology major. Initial classes include an overview of human behavior and an exploration of personality and social processes. Other classes will delve into developmental processes, abnormal psychology and social psychology.
Upon completion of the bachelor’s degree, most students who are interested in counseling enter a master’s degree program. The classes and subject matter encountered will vary widely depending upon the student’s area of concentration. Completion of such a master’s degree program may qualify the individual to be a school counselor, an academic advisor, a career counselor or a marriage and family counselor. Common classes may include studies of therapy techniques and behavior modification. Students may learn to better understand cultural diversity and also be introduced to research methods. Relationship skills, theories of counseling and personality assessment are all subjects that are covered in most online degree programs. Most coursework can be completed online for these degrees, but the majority of master’s degree programs require some kind of hands on experience that can be arranged with a local facility.
Job Outlook for a Distance Learning Degree in Counseling
Students who work toward a bachelor’s or master’s degree in counseling are ensuring a bright future for themselves as the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics is predicting that counseling professionals will be highly in demand for many years. In fact, demand for qualified professionals in this field is expected to grow much faster than demand for workers in other areas. As a result, employment opportunities for graduates with counseling degrees should be varied and highly desirable.
Professional Organizations for Counselors
A number of counseling associations exist within the United States. Some counselors join an association that is closely related to their specific professional area. Nonetheless, there are also professional organizations that include a number of specializations under their domain. The American Counseling Association provides opportunities to network with other professionals as well as publications regarding ethics and licensure. The American Mental Health Counselors Association supports clinical health professionals with news and updates. It also provides members with a chance to have an effect on public policy and provides continuing education credits.