Most Affordable Online Master’s in Mental Health Counseling Degrees

One of the most impactful ways you can help a person is by assisting them in overcoming emotional and mental challenges. For those called to such a role, a mental health counselor program provides essential training.

Becoming a mental health counselor likely means that you will have to earn a master's in mental health counseling. There are many options to earn such a degree, but one of the most popular is to do so via an online school. Online programs have some advantages over traditional schools, including increased flexibility and potential cost savings. Here's a look at the benefits of attending an online school and the most affordable online master's in mental health counseling degree programs. 

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Overview of Online Master's in Mental Health Counseling Degrees 

A master's in mental health counseling will enable you to learn the skills and tactics necessary to provide individual therapy. As such, you will be able to learn to spot symptoms of mental illness, learn treatment models, and identify specific strategies you can deploy to help individuals improve their lives and be happier. Depending on your specialty and particular interests, you may be more interested in specializing in some therapy regions or working in specific environments, such as a private practice, school, non-profit, or consulting firm. 

Fortunately, many of the skills and information you need to learn to obtain a master's in mental health counseling lend themselves to online classes and asynchronous learning. This includes information on how to make a proper diagnosis, counseling ethics, group counseling, and research. Some components of a master's in mental health counseling program, like fieldwork, require an in-person environment, but this is a relatively small component of an overall master's degree program. 

Most Affordable Online Master's in Mental Health Counseling Degrees 

One of the most important factors when selecting a school is finding the most affordable online master's in mental health counseling program. Even with online schools, finding the most affordable online master's program can be demanding, as obtaining a master's degree in any circumstance can be expensive. As such, you want to find a school that offers low tuition and generous financial aid options. 

Tips for Funding an Online Master's in Mental Health Counseling Degree

If you want to find the most affordable online master's in mental health counseling program, you'll want to make sure that you research what school is most affordable. As such, consider the following tips on finding such a degree.

  1. Don't apply without first speaking with the school about financial aid options. If possible, request a meeting or a phone call with their office of financial assistance, and get a better idea about what sort of aid you might be able to obtain.
  2. Try to identify local alums and ask about their experience with financial aid at the school.
  3. Search for local, statewide, or national scholarships that can help reduce the cost of your tuition.
  4. Speak with your undergraduate school about financial aid options.
  5. Make sure to understand whether or not a school can help you get a job and pass your license exam after you graduate. After all, nothing is more useless than a master's degree that doesn't help you find employment in the real world. 

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Accreditation 

Looking for the most affordable online master's in mental health counseling program is unquestionably important, and you want to make sure that you are doing everything you can to keep your expenses low. However, you need to make sure that you find a program that is going to serve you. To do this, you should make sure that you find a program that has been accredited. 

Accreditation comes from CACREP, the accrediting body that certifies that master's in mental health programs meet minimum standards and can ensure that graduating students will learn the skills necessary to pass their licensure test and thrive in the real world. These standards are relatively rigorous and deal with various factors, including academic standards and the qualifications of professors.

It's important to note that they also apply to online schools. Thus, if you are worried about the quality of your online school, you can check and see if they are accredited. Doing so will allow you to confirm that it meets the minimum standards for academic excellence. 

Types of Online Master's in Mental Health Counseling Degree Programs 

Different schools offer different concentrations in mental health counseling, and you should check to see what sort of concentrations a school you are applying to may offer. These concentrations will allow you to gain specialized knowledge in a specific area, although the degree you earn is still the same.

Concentrations include: 

  • Addiction
  • Clinical counseling
  • Marriage and Family Therapy
  • School or Educational counseling
  • Student development
  • Community care

Common Courses for Online Master's in Mental Health Counseling Degree Programs

As with all programs, attending different schools will result in your ability to take other courses for your master's degree. However, many courses are relatively common within this field. These include:

  • Diagnoses and identifying psychopathology
  • Counseling interventions and ethics
  • Human development
  • Cultural foundations and influences
  • Group counseling
  • Statistics and research
  • Independent study

How to Choose a Master’s in Mental Health Counseling Program

Many factors go into choosing the best online master’s in mental health counseling program. These include:

  • Academic excellence: There is no question that you should pursue a master’s at a school that provides you with a rigorous background and academic excellence. This means that the professors are masters-level or higher and have strong educational experiences in their teaching subjects.
  • Real-world connections: A master’s degree will only do you good if you can use it to become employed or enroll in a Ph. D. level program. A program should help you earn a field placement, get your license, and ensure that you can use your degree to advance your career.
  • Financial assistance and overall cost: As a graduate student, there is no question that you will be looking for the most affordable online master’s in mental health counseling program. However, the meaning of this affordability can vary. On the one hand, you want to ensure that the program offers you appropriate tuition assistance. Even affordable programs may be out of your financial reach, so you’ll want to ensure that the school can help you get scholarships, aid, or loans that will allow you to pay tuition and get your master’s.
  • Flexibility: One of the benefits of any online master’s program is its flexibility. This flexibility should allow you to take classes at night and on weekends to keep working or raising a family. Furthermore, many online master’s programs allow you to take asynchronous courses, meaning you can watch lectures on your own time. This flexibility may be ideal if you are working while getting your master’s degree. 

Master’s in Mental Health Counseling Degree Salary and Career Outcomes

There is good news for anyone interested in earning their online master’s degree: You will have various career options and the opportunity to make a solid salary.

First, in terms of careers. Individuals who earn a master’s in mental health counseling can work in many different careers. This includes: 

  • Therapist in private practice.
  • Therapists in public settings, such as schools, government centers, or prisons.
  • Consultant for private workforce development.
  • Social worker.
  • Counselor for various specialties, including geriatrics, pediatrics, or addiction therapy.
  • Military counselor.

According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the salary for individuals who become Mental Health Counselors is $48,250. This salary is from May 2021, and given the rate of inflation, it seems likely that these numbers have only increased since then.

Furthermore, the area shows robust job growth, with the need for mental health counselors expected to rise 23% over the next six years. This is due to various factors, including shortages in the field and increasing rates of mental illness.

It is essential to consider these shortages when deciding to become a mental health counselor. In general, labor shortages tend to lead to higher pay. This would imply that the pay rate for becoming a mental health counselor will continue to rise in the future. 

 

REFERENCES:

[1] https://lockhaven.edu/cmhc/ 

[2] https://www.cacrep.org/accreditation/ 

[3] https://onlinecounselingprograms.com/online-counseling-degrees/online-masters-in-mental-health-counseling/

[4] https://catalog.upenn.edu/graduate/programs/counseling-mental-health-services-msed/ 

[5] https://www.thechicagoschool.edu/insight/career-development/careers-with-masters-degree-clinical-mental-health-counseling/

[6] https://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/substance-abuse-behavioral-disorder-and-mental-health-counselors.htm#:~:text=mental%20health%20counselor.-,Pay,was%20%2448%2C520%20in%20May%202021

[7] https://fortune.com/2022/01/31/labor-shortage-wage-hikes-private-sector-biggest-raises-in-20-years-two-decades/ 

Counseling Career Guide

Still Looking for a Counseling Degree?

Here are some of the most popular online counseling programs. On each page you will find a detailed write-up of the program, specific courses, and schools that offer that program that are currently accepting applicants.