Online Counseling Degrees
Counselors play a vital role in helping individuals, families and communities confront and work through life challenges. Trained professionals with a degree in counseling can look forward to strong demand for their services; the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 18 percent job growth in counseling between 2008 and 2018.
Counselors help children and adults overcome their physical or mental problems. Depending on their specialty, they may help patients overcome addictions, find a career, achieve their potential at school, cope with a physical disability or face down psychological trauma. Counseling specialties include:
- School counseling
- Career counseling
- Marriage and family counseling
- Substance abuse counseling
- Mental health counseling
- Rehabilitation counseling
- Christian counseling
These issues frequently overlap, challenging counselors to recognize and support broader issues. For example, alcoholism is often linked with mental health and family problems as well as addiction.
Online degrees in counseling may be found in departments of psychology, education or human services, depending on the specialty area. The standard minimum qualification for a career as a licensed counselor is in any specialty is a master's degree. The full list of available degrees in counseling includes:
- Associate. The two-year undergraduate degree offers sufficient applied training for a counseling assistant job. The degree is relatively rare, and programs tend to focus on substance abuse or addiction counseling.
- Bachelor. The four-year Bachelor of Science degree in counseling is more common. Combining general education and electives in psychology, the bachelor's degree offers a foundation for the specialized training of the master's degree. Some bachelor-level counseling positions are available in social worker and substance abuse specialties.
- Master. The Master of Science or Master of Education (M.Ed.) degree in counseling features advanced coursework in a particular specialty area, an applied research project and in many cases, a counseling internship. These graduate degrees generally take two years to complete.
- Doctoral. The Ph.D. in counseling or clinical psychology requires extensive original research. Graduates may practice as clinical counselors, contribute to counseling scholarship and/or teach counseling at the college level.
Finally, certificates offer several-week or several-month focused training courses for counselors who wish to develop their skills in a specific specialty such as addiction counseling. Almost all states maintain licensure requirements for counselors in specific specialties, such as school counseling, marriage and family counseling and substance abuse counseling. Licensure requirements vary. In addition, counselors may seek certification through the National Board for Certified Counselors, a voluntary national credential distinct from state licensure.
In addition to internships, which are a valuable component of both online and campus-based counseling programs, new technology is helping students in online counseling degree programs develop key interaction skills. For example, the Sloan Consortium, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting and improving online education, describes how web-based tools can be used for students to upload videos in which they role-play various counseling scenarios. Interactive technology allows peers and instructors to comment and give feedback on the videos to help students hone skills.
Counselors generally begin their careers as clinicians or assistants. They advance into counseling roles, and may eventually take on responsibility as supervisors or lead administrators. With an advanced degree, counselors can tap into teaching or research opportunities. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 40 percent of counselors are school or vocational specialists. Another third are rehabilitation or mental health counselors.
Online degrees in counseling offer a first step into this compassionate career path, giving health professionals the training they need to see their clients through life's toughest moments.
- Salaries: School counseling was the top-earning specialty as of 2010, with a mean annual wage of $55,970 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
- Job outlook: Career prospects are best for mental health and substance abuse counselors, who can expect job growth in the 21-to-24 percent range between 2008 and 2018.
- Key locations: Southern states like Louisiana, South Carolina and Missouri have the highest concentration of jobs in educational counseling; Montana and Vermont lead the U.S. in opportunities for substance abuse workers.
Online Degree Programs in Counseling
Capella courses focus on real-world application, so you’ll gain skills and knowledge you can apply right away.
At University of Phoenix, we believe everyone deserves access to higher education.
Earn a respected bachelor's degree, master's degree, or Ph.D. online at Walden University.
Kaplan University is focused on recognizing the achievements of military and veteran students and offers the flexibility of an online education.
- BS in Psychology - Substance Abuse
- MS in Psychology - Addictions
Experience an education that helps you realize your potential in a way that fits you best. Request more information about Post University today.
With more than 160 fully accredited programs of study, Liberty University Online offers degrees from the certificate to the postgraduate level.
Welcome to Argosy University
Argosy University offers doctoral, master's, and bachelor's degree programs to students through its seven colleges: Psychology and Behavioral Sciences, Business, Education, Health Sciences, Undergraduate Studies, The Art Institute of California and Western State College of Law as well as certificate programs in many areas.