Counseling Degree Programs: Mediating for Understanding

Counseling degree programs

The saying is true: Life does not come with an instruction manual. Even exciting life decisions, such as choosing a career, can be stressful. Those who are experiencing difficulties in life, like struggling with a substance abuse issue or dealing with the changes that come with growing older, may need guidance to help them stabilize their lives and improve their wellbeing through counseling. Counseling programs strive to prepare students with the knowledge and skills necessary to become capable and compassionate counselors in a variety of settings. If you are a strong listener with a desire to help others through life’s challenges, then earning a counseling degree may be the next step to take.

Exploring Counseling Programs

Counseling programs are available at the master’s and doctoral level. To earn a graduate degree in counseling, you will generally need to have already completed your bachelor’s degree. While majors such as psychology, sociology, education, and childhood development might be preferred, most programs will accept qualified applicants from a broad variety of undergraduate majors. Demonstrating interest in the field, either through work or volunteer experience, might give your application a competitive edge.

Your counseling degree program can be geared to a variety of specialties, including mental health counseling, school counseling, career counseling, substance abuse counseling, marriage and family counseling, and rehabilitation counseling, among others. The curriculum will vary based on your chosen discipline, however your core counseling courses might discus topics such as:

  • Counseling evaluation and research
  • Counseling skills and techniques
  • Abnormal behavior
  • Group counseling
  • Counseling theories
  • Counseling ethics
  • Human development

In addition to your coursework, there are several traits that might be beneficial throughout your counseling training, such as compassion, patience, and organization ability. Towards the end of the program students will typically be able to receive hands-on experience in counseling with a supervised practicum. In order to gain employment as a counselor, you will also likely have to undergo licensure and/or certification, but specific requirements will vary depending on your state, chosen concentration, and the environment in which you decide to work.

Counseling licensure usually requires you to earn 2,000 to 3,000 hours of supervised clinical experience after obtaining your master’s degree. You must also pass an exam and complete continuing education courses annually to keep your license current. The National Board for Certified Counselors provides contact information for state regulating boards, and the following sites are useful resources for specific disciplines:

Guiding Your Counseling Career

Although counselors as a whole work with individuals from all walks of life and every age, the vast majority of counselors work with a population specific to their discipline. However, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment prospects are projected to be strong across most counseling specialties.

For instance, jobs for school and career counselors are expected to grow 19% through 2020. The higher costs of postsecondary education will generally mean that students seek the guidance of an experienced counselor to make the best choices as they progress in their education. Due to the growing elderly population and increasing ability for people to survive a broader range of illnesses and injuries, rehabilitation counselors should see a 28% job growth, a rate that is faster than average.

Substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors are also projected to have faster than average job growth in the coming decade. There is an augmented understanding of the importance of intervening at earlier stages for substance abuse problems and a desire for community programs to combat substance abuse, which will likely provide numerous opportunities for substance abuse counselors. Furthermore, employment for mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists is anticipated to grow by a whopping 37%. Not only are more people expected to seek counseling for treatment than in past years, but health insurance companies will increasingly provide reimbursement for counselors and therapists over more costly psychologists and psychiatrists in an effort to help their bottom line.

In 2012, school and vocational counselors earned the highest salary among counselors with a median annual wage of $53,610.  Rehabilitation counselors earned $33,880, substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors earned $38,520, mental health counselors earned $40,080, and marriage and family therapists earned $46,670. Although counseling may not be as financially rewarding as some other careers, for the right candidate who has the desire to help others, becoming a counselor can prove to be emotionally fulfilling. Overall, the growing population and increasing awareness of the availability and benefits of counseling will typically mean strong employment prospects for counselors. Explore the many paths available for those with an interest in earning a counseling degree by exploring the counseling schools featured below!

School Subject Degree Location
Ashford University
Ashford University Counseling Bachelor’s Degree Online

Beckfield College Counseling Certificate & Diploma Cincinnati, OH

Brandman University Campus Counseling Master’s Degree Antelope Valley, CA
Brandman University Campus Counseling Master’s Degree Fairfield, CA
Brandman University Campus Counseling Master’s Degree Folsom, CA
Brandman University Campus Counseling Master’s Degree Hanford, CA
Brandman University Campus Counseling Master’s Degree Irvine, CA
Brandman University Campus Counseling Master’s Degree Lacey, WA
Brandman University Campus Counseling Master’s Degree Modesto, CA
Brandman University Campus Counseling Master’s Degree Monterey, CA
Brandman University Campus Counseling Master’s Degree Ontario, CA
Brandman University Campus Counseling Master’s Degree Palm Desert, CA
Brandman University Campus Counseling Master’s Degree Roseville, CA
Brandman University Campus Counseling Master’s Degree San Diego, CA
Brandman University Campus Counseling Master’s Degree Santa Maria, CA
Brandman University Campus Counseling Master’s Degree Victorville, CA
Brandman University Campus Counseling Master’s Degree Visalia, CA
Brandman University Campus Counseling Master’s Degree Walnut Creek, CA
Brandman University Campus Counseling Master’s Degree Yuba City, CA
Brandman University Online Counseling Bachelor’s Degree Online
Brandman University Online Counseling Master’s Degree Online

Florida Medical Training Institute
Florida Medical Training Institute Counseling Certificate & Diploma Melbourne, FL

Grand Canyon University – Counseling Counseling Bachelor’s Degree Online
Grand Canyon University – Counseling Counseling Master’s Degree Online

Intercoast College Counseling Associate’s Degree Burbank, CA
Intercoast College Counseling Certificate & Diploma Burbank, CA
Intercoast College Counseling Associate’s Degree Carson, CA
Intercoast College Counseling Certificate & Diploma Carson, CA
Intercoast College Counseling Certificate & Diploma Elk Grove, CA
Intercoast College Counseling Certificate & Diploma Fairfield, CA
Intercoast College Counseling Associate’s Degree Orange, CA
Intercoast College Counseling Certificate & Diploma Orange, CA
Intercoast College Counseling Certificate & Diploma Portland, ME
Intercoast College Counseling Associate’s Degree Riverside, CA
Intercoast College Counseling Certificate & Diploma Riverside, CA
Intercoast College Counseling Certificate & Diploma Salem, NH
Intercoast College Counseling Associate’s Degree West Covina, CA
Intercoast College Counseling Certificate & Diploma West Covina, CA

Keiser University Counseling Associate’s Degree Daytona Beach, FL
Keiser University Counseling Bachelor’s Degree Daytona Beach, FL
Keiser University Counseling Bachelor’s Degree Lakeland, FL
Keiser University Counseling Associate’s Degree Pembroke Pines, FL
Keiser University Counseling Bachelor’s Degree Pembroke Pines, FL
Keiser University Counseling Bachelor’s Degree Port St Lucie, FL
Keiser University Counseling Bachelor’s Degree Sarasota, FL
Keiser University Counseling Associate’s Degree Tallahassee, FL
Keiser University Counseling Bachelor’s Degree Tallahassee, FL
Keiser University Counseling Associate’s Degree Tampa, FL
Keiser University Counseling Bachelor’s Degree Tampa, FL
Liberty University Counseling Associate’s Degree Online
Liberty University Counseling Bachelor’s Degree Online
Liberty University Counseling Master’s Degree Online

Northcentral University Counseling Doctorate Online
Northcentral University Counseling Master’s Degree Online

Saint Leo University Online Counseling Bachelor’s Degree Online

Sullivan University Counseling Master’s Degree Online

The University of Texas of the Permian Basin Counseling Bachelor’s Degree Odessa, TX

Trillium College Counseling Certificate & Diploma Burlington, Ontario, Canada
Trillium College Counseling Certificate & Diploma Oshawa, Ontario, Canada
Trillium College Counseling Certificate & Diploma Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

University of the Rockies Counseling Doctorate Online
University of the Rockies Counseling Master’s Degree Online

Vatterott College Counseling Associate’s Degree Omaha, NE