There are many different types of counseling degrees for you to investigate for a career in counseling.
Top Counseling Areas
To become a counselor, you have to pass multiple requirements. According to the American Counseling Association (ACA), a Bachelor's degree (a prerequisite for basically all Masters Programs) AND a Masters Degree in Counseling are the minimum educational requirements.
The ACA recommends obtaining a Masters in Counseling degree from one of two accrediting bodies: Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Education Programs (CACREP) or the Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE).
There are options for Online Master's in Counseling degrees, including a graduate program accredited by CACREP or CORE.
Requirements for Becoming a Counselor
In addition to the educational requirements, the ACA recommends sets forth the following requisite recommendations for becoming a counselor:
- Education: Bachelors and Masters degrees in Counseling (see above)
- Experience: Practicum and internships or something similar should be included in your counseling program
- License / Certification: Licensure is strongly recommended and a requirement for many positions as a counselor.
After completion of your Masters Degree, consider the following:
- You can become certified as a: National Certified Counselor (NCC), Certified Rehabilitation Counselor, and/or a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC).
- The National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC) recognizes counselors that meet all of the above requirements, as well as adequately scoring on the National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification (NCE).
- The Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC) sets the standard for quality rehabilitation counseling services with its internationally recognized certification program.
- State by State Counseling Licensure: Each state has their own individual counseling licensure requirements. Many states are similar, but some are different. Be sure to consider with state you plan on settling down in, and view the state counseling licensure information to make sure you are set up properly.
Consider a Featured Online Counseling Program
|School and Program Information||Online Program?||Entry Requirements||Course Information|
Online MA in Counseling
|check_circle Online||GRE Scores Not Required||24 Courses (standard program for those with counseling experience) or 27 courses (bridge program, for those with no counseling experience)|
|New York University
Online Master of Arts in Counseling for Mental Health and Wellness
|check_circle Online||GRE scores are not required for admission.||Weekly live classes taught by distinguished NYU Steinhardt faculty.|
|University of Denver
Online MA in School Counseling
Designed to adhere to CACREP standards
|check_circle Online||No GRE required.||Learn from doctoral-level faculty in live classes and gain experience through mock counseling and in-field training.|
Online Master's with School Counseling Specialization
|check_circle Online||Bachelor's Required||Live, online classes every week led by Vanderbilt faculty|
|University of Southern California
Online Master of Education (ME) in School Counseling
Can be completed in less than 2 years.
|check_circle Online||No GRE requirement||Classes led by USC Rossier faculty who are experts in school counseling, educational leadership and family therapy.|
Types of Counseling Degrees
There are numerous options of degrees in Counseling. Here is a quick overview of the top counseling degrees, with more information to follow:
Online counseling programs are extensive and typically specialty-oriented. Online-based degrees are also becoming more common than campus-based programs, especially at graduate levels, such as the Masters in Counseling.
A Bachelors in Counseling is the most common undergraduate degree. Most people find that psychology and counseling majors are both great complementary degrees for a future master’s degree in counseling.
The most common degree for practicing counselors is the Master's in Counseling, which is widely available online at reputable universities. Master's degrees in clinical counseling and rehabilitation counseling are some of the more popular specialties.
Doctoral / Ph.D.
Doctoral or Doctorate of Counseling programs typically last 4-5 years, depending on a student’s rate of study, and are terminal programs for counselors that wish to continue their education or become a teacher or professor.
Counseling Degrees Online
Degree programs in counseling are beneficial at all levels. Undergraduate degrees in counseling can provide graduates with access to many entry level positions in mental health services. Having a degree in counseling provides for a stable foundation for a better career. Those that choose to move into graduate degree programs will find that the possibilities for employment increase with the higher degree.
Most graduates in counseling choose to get a master's degree so that they can obtain licensure through their respective states. Most states require at least a graduate degree, supervised work experience, and passing of a state board exam prior to being approved for a license to practice.
Why Consider a CACREP Accredited Program?
The Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs (CACREP) is the premier accreditation board for counseling degrees, and for good reason. CACREP accredited counseling degrees have commonalities in program substance, classes, research, techniques, and processes. Employers know exactly what they are getting from graduates that were educated by a CACREP accredited program.
In addition, CACREP boasts the following statistics:
- CACREP programs scored significantly higher on the NCE exam than test takers from non-CACREP programs (Adams, 2006)
- Graduate students from CACREP programs passed the NCE at higher rates (86%) than did students from non-CACREP programs (77%) (Milsom & Akos, 2007)
- 88% of students from CACREP programs successfully obtained the NCSC credential, compared to only 52% of students from non-CACREP programs (Milson & Akos, 2007)
Counseling @ Northwestern is a CACREP-accredited online Master of Arts in Counseling Program with accelerated, traditional, and part-time track options. GRE scores are not required, nor is prior counseling experience. You will complete six quarters of supervised clinical field placements, which will prepare you to pursue licensure as a clinical mental health counselor in as few as 18 months.
Click for more admissions info.
Prepare to become a mental health counselor – earn your master of arts in Counseling for Mental Health and Wellness online from NYU Steinhardt. The program is MPCAC-accredited and prepares students to pursue state licensure. Complete in as few as 21 months. GRE not required.
Click for admissions information.