Counseling Degrees

The Advantages To Earning A Counseling Degree

Professionals who complete counseling degree programs work within a large number of fields offering aid, guidance, and support to people managing mental health issues, difficult life experiences, or other problems. Most counseling programs offer students highly specialized training based in human growth and development, relationships, social and cultural diversity, interpersonal communications, psychology, and counseling techniques. Graduates who complete studies within counseling degree programs often advance to licensing programs required for employment within most family therapy, mental health facility, or rehabilitation treatment programs.

As many student manage family and work responsibilities in addition to educational responsibilities while pursuing a degree. Many colleges have created innovative online degree programs to extend instruction beyond campus grounds. Online programs feature virtually the same educational experiences as traditional, brick and mortar degree programs with the added benefits of a more personalized degree and 24 hour access to course materials and instruction. Most online courses consist of smaller class sizes, in groups of 25 students or less, with one on one interactions between other students and instructors via Internet chats. Online degree programs are often one of the most convenient paths to expanding knowledge necessary for personal, educational, and professional success.

What Students Learn Within A Counseling Degree Program

Counseling degrees offer students the knowledge and skills required to perform as mental health professionals for diverse groups of people. Counselors offer guidance, direction, and assistance to clients within a variety of organizations. Counseling programs train individuals to manage client problems and administer treatment for a range of mental health issues. Counseling degrees offer students the theories of human growth and development, personality, social and cultural diversity, and psychology, as well as techniques necessary improve relationships and offer individual, career, group, or family counseling. Most counselors and other counseling professionals are required to complete a minimum of a master’s degree to qualify for employment though employer and State regulations regarding education, licensing, and training vary. Many students begin their education with associate degrees in psychology. Courses include: principles of public speaking, English communications, introduction to computers, introduction to psychology, human relations, abnormal psychology, introduction to sociology, social psychology, college Algebra, social impact of technology, psychology of personality, introduction to philosophy, marriage and the family, and biology. Graduates who complete associate degree programs often advance to entry level employment or continue studies in advanced degree programs.

Bachelor degree programs offer students the ability to increase knowledge necessary for employment within a variety of counseling jobs. Courses at a bachelor level include: skills for professional development, foundations for general education and professional success, general psychology, history and systems of psychology, statistical reasoning in psychology, biological foundations of psychology, motivational processes in human psychology, cognitive psychology, life span human development, learning and cognition, social psychology, theories of personality, abnormal psychology, industrial/organizational psychology, diversity and cultural factors in psychology, environmental psychology, psychological tests and measurements, elements of clinical psychology, and a clinical experience. Graduates with bachelor degrees often advance to employment or continue studies within master’s degree programs.

Master’s degree programs offer students an expanded knowledge of counseling techniques, psychology, and specialized studies within the research and theoretical aspects of personality, human development, and motivation. Courses at a master’s level include: the philosophical issues of theology and psychology, group processing, psychopharmacology, counseling services and methods, theories of personality and counseling, psychopathology, human growth and development, appraisal, crisis and trauma, marriage and family, groups and group therapy, lifestyle and career, social and cultural foundations, research and evaluation, professional orientation, integrative seminar, empathy training, human sexuality, addictive behaviors, anxiety and mood disorders, eating disorders, history of psychology, child and adolescent diagnosis and treatment, directed studies, counseling practicum, and a counseling internship. Graduates who complete master’s degree programs often advance to employment as mental health professionals or continue their education within doctoral degree programs.

Doctoral degree programs give students the skills, understanding, and knowledge necessary to qualify as experts in the field of counseling. Courses include: psychological research using quantitative and computer methods; social psychology; cognitive psychology; individual differences; biopsychology; cognitive psychology; counseling practicum; supervision in counseling; introduction to counseling psychology; theories of counseling and psychotherapy; vocational behavior; principles and practice of individual intelligence testing; professional, ethical, and legal issues in counseling psychology; objective personality evaluation; research design in counseling psychology; history and systems in psychology; psychology of adulthood and aging; advanced tests and measures; advanced counseling practicum; social psychology; science and ethics of industrial psychology; advanced psychological tests and measures; organizational psychology; personnel selections; gerontological psychology; computer applications in psychological research; organizational change and transformation; psychology of adulthood and aging; advanced psychological tests and measures; research methods in psychology; family: middle and later years’ social needs and services for later adulthood and aging; psychological disorders of children; cognitive development; and dissertation. Graduates who complete doctoral degrees are considered experts in the field and generally advance to instructor or researcher jobs within educational facilities.

Prospective Jobs For Counseling Degree Graduates

Counseling degree graduates are qualified to work within a diverse number of settings offering a number of counseling, support, mental health, and rehabilitation services. Employment for graduates with counseling degrees is based upon several factors including: education level, related work experience, and area/s of specialty. Most graduates with counseling degrees gain employment treating mental health issues (like addiction) or with specific age or demographic groups. Graduates with associate’s degrees often work as mental health workers, medical or intake assistants, or administrative assistants within mental health or community based organizations. Graduates with bachelor degrees may gain employment as mental health assistants, case workers within mental health or governmental agencies, or with additional training, may teach psychology within elementary, middle, or high schools. Graduates who complete master’s degree programs often work as counselors within public school systems, vocational schools, colleges, mental health treatment centers, rehabilitation centers, and health care facilities. Some master’s degree graduates may join group practices or begin their own practices as counselors. Doctoral degree graduates may begin their own practice as counselors, offer instruction at colleges and universities, or work as researchers within health organizations and facilities.

Salary Range For Graduates With Counseling Degrees

Graduates with counseling degrees have earnings which vary tremendously and are based upon factors like level of education, area/s of speciality, related work experience, and organization of employment. The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) reports earnings for most educational, vocational, or school counselors with a minimum of a bachelor degree ranges from $38,740 to $65,360 annually. Gradates who work as behavioral disorder or substance abuse counselors generally earn $29,410 to $47,290 annually. Graduates who work as mental health counselors within government agencies, outpatient care centers, individual or family services, or health practitioners’ offices generally earn $28,930 to $48,580 annually. Graduates who gain employment as marriage and family therapists working for state or local governmental agencies, outpatient treatment centers, or individual or family services generally earn $34,840 to $56,320 annually. Many graduates also work independently within self established practices or within group practices and have earnings which are based upon client base and establishment of organization. Generally counselors who work within group practices have higher earnings than those who work in other practices. As with most occupations, graduates who complete studies at a graduate level, specialize training, and gain work experience through volunteering, internships, and on the job experience have earnings greater than graduates with less education and experience.

Career Outlook and Advancement Opportunities For Counseling Degree Graduates

Graduates who complete counseling degree programs have the ability to build long term, lucrative careers helping clients with the skills learned through educational and work related experiences. The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) expects job growth for counselors and mental health professionals to increase by 18 percent through 2018 at a faster than average rate in comparison to other occupations depending upon specialty. Graduates with counseling degrees may expect many employment prospects as the BLS anticipates the number of available jobs will be greater than the number of qualified applicants, particularly in rural areas.

Graduates who specialize training in fast growing fields like substance abuse and addiction treatment, mental health counseling, rehabilitation counseling, and marriage and family counseling may find increased employability. Most graduates with counseling degrees begin employment as counselors and advance to supervisory or directorial positions within organizations. Many graduates continue education and complete state licensing requirements to work as counseling psychologists, school administrators, advanced clinicians, or instructors within the field. Most graduates begin employment within group practices and advance to private, self operated practices. Few graduates leave the profession and pursue alternative employment within other industries.

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