Overview of Online Bachelor’s in Counseling Programs
To become a counselor, students normally complete a bachelor’s in psychology or a related field and then move on to a master’s in counseling before applying for licensure. Along the way, students can also choose to specialize in an area of psychology or counseling that’s a good fit for them. Each branch of psychology addresses different disorders related to mental health, the acuteness of those disorders, and patient treatment, so specialization can be a good way to refine your knowledge and skill set for specific positions.
When deciding where to start, some individuals have found that the most flexible path to a bachelor’s degree is through online educational platforms. Online degree programs can be convenient and effective for those with busy schedules, making education more feasible and accessible. Below is a list of some of the more than 80 online bachelor’s degrees in counseling programs, covering topics such as counseling psychology, substance abuse, and addiction counseling.
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Counseling Degree Areas of Focus
Online bachelor’s in counseling programs are designed to provide learners with relevant coursework to help them be efficient and knowledgeable professionals. They can also gain more specialized knowledge and choose to pursue a focus area in counseling. Below is a breakdown of what types of online undergraduate counseling programs are available.
Specific Bachelors in Counseling Programs
What Does a Counselor Do?
Counselors are the leading source of support for individuals with minor mental health disorders or those who need support at various points of their lives. Counselors can develop and implement support and treatment to help their patients lead better lives.
Undergraduate Course Schedule Expectations
At the beginning of their undergraduate degrees, students will normally be required to take a set of prerequisite courses including basic algebra, history, and arts. These courses are a general requirement for all bachelor’s degree programs and prepare students for further learning in their respective majors. Alongside or after completing their prerequisite courses, students can pursue more psychology or counseling-related coursework.
Expect Psychology, Counseling, Family Therapy Courses
General Psychology, Individual Counseling, and Family Therapy are a few of the many courses that students will likely be required to take during their degree programs. These courses outline the many different aspects of counseling that students will need to know while in the field.
A Note on the Impact of Psychology on Counselors
Psychology is a very broad field, and students should become familiar with its varying facets to be well-rounded professionals. Psychology degrees and courses can give students some of the essential skills and knowledge to succeed in their careers.
What Can You Do With an Online Bachelor’s Degree in Counseling?
With an online bachelor’s degree in counseling, individuals can find job opportunities in a wide variety of settings. Many students also choose to continue their education at a graduate or doctorate level, potentially increasing job opportunities and salaries. After completing their graduate education, students can apply for licensure.
Bachelor’s degree holders can usually work as mental health technicians or behavioral health specialists, although job requirements may vary. Some community health departments and social services rely on bachelor’s degree holders to be helpful assets within their organizations, meaning that this degree program could be profitable for individuals without a graduate degree or licensure.
Since counseling is a varied field, there are several specializations that students can choose to pursue. Some of the specializations students may choose to focus on are:
- Addiction counseling
- Career counseling
- Clinical mental health counseling
- Clinical rehabilitation counseling
- Marriage, couple, and family counseling
- Rehabilitation counseling
- School counseling
- Mental health counseling
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that substance abuse and mental health counselors earned a median annual salary of $47,660 (May 2020). The potential to earn in this field can vary based on the individual’s experience and location. The job outlook for counselors is expected to grow by 25% between 2019 and 2029, much faster than the projected national average for all positions, meaning that there’ll likely be more positions available as time goes on.
The work environments and schedules for counselors can vary as much as the field itself. According to the BLS, counselors work primarily in outpatient and substance abuse mental health centers, individual and family services, hospitals, private practices, residential care, and government facilities. These can include prisons, juvenile detention facilities, and probation or parole agencies.
Depending on their work environments, counselors can work traditional or nontraditional hours, and some can create their own schedules.