In the decades to come it is expected that the number of positions available in counseling will quickly outstrip the number of qualified applicants. A four year bachelor’s degree is a starting point for many counseling professionals but most research and leadership positions in this field require a master’s degree. With an emphasis in psychology, sociology, science or communication, a Master’s Degree in Counseling will aid professionals in advancing in their chosen field.
Online Master’s Degrees in Counseling Requirements
Those who aspire to obtain a masters degree in counseling are usually strong communicators with excellent interpersonal skills. A typical counselor is a person with strong empathetic abilities with the desire to better the world around them. Students studying to get an accredited online masters degree in counseling from top online masters programs will have a chance to explore these qualities in depth and learn how to effectively utilize them in their chosen professions.
Most online masters degree seekers hold a bachelor’s degree in a related field such as:
- Criminal Justice
- Human Services
In addition, many online students seeking a masters degree have prior work experience in areas such as school counseling, human resources, and personal therapy.
Online Counseling Master’s Degree Education
Good online master’s degree programs in counseling typically take between 2 to 3 years to complete. The types of online counseling degrees offered by the best counseling master’s programs online include:
- Master of Science in Counseling
- Master of Arts in Counseling
Information on Counseling Courses
Top online masters degree programs in counseling stress the importance of people with personal and professional related issues. The courses offered through these programs are designed to aid the online counseling degree seeker in effectively navigating the world of interpersonal relationships. Online counseling degree programs usually focus on helping the student grasp some of the more complex issues involved with counseling.
Some of the courses you will find offered at the best online schools are:
- Social Psychology
This introductory course surveys experimental social psychology covering the attitudes, interpersonal processes and dynamics of small groups.
- Abnormal Psychology
This course is designed to cover the major forms of behavior disorders in children and adults with a heavy emphasis on description, causation and treatment.
- Human Motivation
This course examines the major issues and principles that delineate the topic of motivation. Various theories will be assessed to understand motivation and analyze diverse multination systems in terms of their primary components of biology, learned and cognitive behavior.
- Lifespan Development and Learning
This course melds learning theories and principles with study of early childhood, elementary, middle, and high school development in educational practice. Behaviorism, cognitive and social learning are explored in depth within the context of their practical application.
- Sociology of Health and Mental Illness
This course examines sociological perspectives to gain an understanding of mental health and illness. It uses a variety of fields to explain mental illness in a broad and social context and emphasizes how social factors influence perceptions of illness.
Specializations and Concentrations
In order to become an expert in a counseling, some online master’s counseling students will pursue specialties or concentrations in areas including:
- Family and Martial Counseling
- Mental Health Counseling
- Rehabilitation Counseling
- School Counseling
Careers in Counseling
Those who graduate with a masters degree from a top online degree program can expect to find employment in a wide variety of fields. With specialization, a counseling degree holder can find just the right fit for themselves. There are a wide spectrum of career fields available to those who hold a masters degree in counseling such as:
- Addiction Counselor
Addictions counseling professionals help people through public health agencies, youth services, residential treatment programs, hospitals, out patient substance abuse programs, and homeless shelters. Starting salaries for addiction counselors generally range from $22,000-$25,000 per year. Government economists expect jobs for addiction counselors to grow much faster than the average for all careers through 2018.
- Clinical Counselor
Clinical counselors help individuals and families overcome mental health challenges and emotional issues. Starting salaries for clinical counselors generally range from $35,000-$40,00 a year. This field is expected to grow between 18 and 26 percent through 2014.
- School Counselor
A school counselor is also an educator who works with students from K-12. They provide counseling on a variety of issues from academics to personal and social competencies. Employment growth for school counselors is expected to be above 13 percent through 2014 with an average salary of $35,000 -$50,000 depending on whether the counselor is in the public or private school sectors.
- Human Resources (HR) Manager
A human resource manager has a wide range of duties that include recruiting, training, ensuring performance, and ensuring that personnel and management practices conform with regulations. Starting salaries for human resource managers range from $30,000 to $35,000 a year. Human resource manager positions are expected to increase by 35% over the next few years.
Positions in the field of counseling do not require online schooling, but having a masters degree from a good online school allows students to maintain their current work schedule and earn their master’s on a schedule most convenient to them, and the valuable degree aids in securing employment in this highly competitive job market.