Degrees in crisis intervention counseling focus on preparing students to work in critical situations with patients. Some of the components of this degree program include a look into the human brain during a mental health crisis, as well as the effects of acute and long-term trauma on a person’s frame of mind.
Online degree programs in counseling that can lead to a professional license begin at the master’s level. Students should seek out programs that the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (or CACREP) has accredited if they are interested in becoming licensed counselors. These programs can prepare students to conduct assessments, educate students on different therapeutic interventions, and explain follow-up services that can be implemented in the long term.
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Degree Levels to Consider
Several different educational paths are available for those interested in crisis and trauma counseling. Upcoming professionals with an interest in becoming licensed counselors should look into a CACREP-accredited graduate program. They can then get certified in crisis intervention through a postgraduate certificate program.
Bachelor’s programs can also help you develop skills for a career involving conducting assessments and referrals for clients during an acute mental health crisis. Consider some of the trauma and crisis counseling degree program options, and figure out which one works best for you.
Online Master’s Programs
A master’s in counseling or trauma and crisis counseling can instruct you more on the proper protocol for crisis intervention. For students who are working or have busy schedules, online degrees might be productive options to consider. Students should seek out CACREP-accredited degree programs to make sure that they are on track for licensure as a counselor. Take a look at one of our featured online graduate trauma and crisis counseling degree programs below for more information.
- Grand Canyon University – Online Master of Science in Trauma Counseling: If you would like to combine your education in trauma counseling with a general mental health component, you could review what is available through Grand Canyon University’s online MS in Trauma Counseling. This 74-credit program covers topics including interpersonal violence, childhood trauma, and counseling theories and principles.
Students interested in taking advantage of convenience in education can seek out online degree programs focusing on crisis intervention counseling at universities all over the U.S.
Consider some examples of the kinds of coursework that may be included in a graduate trauma and counseling intervention program:
- Strategies in Crisis Intervention: Crisis intervention counselors should have the skills necessary to de-escalate situations and provide clients with the support they need. This course provides introductory information regarding potential crisis situations, as well as some of the strategies used to help protect those in a state of crisis. It can also teach useful skills for working with clients in an acute crisis or those that may be sensitive to crisis situations in the future.
- Techniques in Counseling: Even in crisis situations, counselors may be required to pull knowledge from their general counseling skill sets to properly diffuse situations. Students enrolled in this course can learn about the many different counseling techniques that can be used with clients in the field. Trauma experiences, goals, and treatment plans can dictate what types of methods are used during counseling services; the methods are taught to students throughout this course.
- Adolescent Counseling: Children who are transitioning into the adolescent stage of life may require support as their mindsets and emotions change. Through training in this course, you can learn more about the counseling methods most effective with children in this age group. Different types of cognitive, emotional, and behavioral methods may be part of learning in this course.
Path to a Career in Crisis Intervention Counseling
If you are interested in taking on crisis intervention counseling in your career, you should start with an online bachelor’s program related to psychology or social sciences. You can then earn a graduate trauma or crisis counseling degree, or another relevant program, before applying for licensure if you meet all the requirements.
The core components of undergraduate psychology and social science courses can allow you to explore the human brain and its development — exceptionally helpful when working in crisis intervention. A bachelor’s program normally takes around four years to complete for most learners.
Master’s in Counseling
Moving into a master’s program could be a great step for you if you plan to become licensed as a counselor. Online master’s in counseling programs can outline counseling techniques that focus on understanding, communication, and coping that can be useful when in crisis.
If possible, students should try to enroll in a program with a trauma and crisis intervention focus or specialization. Most universities offering online master’s programs allow students to complete work at a pace that works for them and offer both part-time and full-time enrollment options.
Licensure and Gaining Work Experience
After completing a relevant graduate program, you can begin your work experience requirement in the field. Most states require around 3,000 hours of supervised experience, which must be completed under a licensed professional counselor.
State requirements may vary, and you should make sure that you have completed all the correct prerequisites for your state before applying for licensure. When you have completed this, you can move on to testing and licensure in your state.
Organizations to Know
After completing a trauma and crisis counseling degree program and earning licensure, there are many ways to continue your education and expand your professional network. Professional organizations in crisis intervention counseling and beyond can provide you with continuing education during the lifetime of your career. Most organizations in this field can be joined by paying a fee each year, giving you access to scholarly articles and journals on topics in your field.
American Mental Health Counselors Association
Some of the most prominent mental health organizations, such as the American Mental Health Counselors Association, have thousands of professional members to network with.
Association of Traumatic Stress Specialists
Organizations such as the Association of Traumatic Stress Specialists may also be a helpful resource since trauma is an important aspect of crisis intervention.
Regardless of your preferences, there are many professional organizations to choose from to help you network with other professionals in your field and take part in programs and presentations when offered in your area.
As you search for organizations to join, you should choose those that best reflect your goals as a professional as well as encourage your growth as a counselor in the field.
Careers to Consider
According to PayScale, crisis counselors have a median annual salary of $42,526 as of August 2021. Salary figures are subject to change based on specialty, location, position, and experience.
As a crisis intervention counselor, you can interact with clients in some of the most critical times in their lives. Some counseling organizations require crisis counselors on staff to manage crises during the day and at night. Counselors in this field may also work with patients in an office setting to provide ongoing support to those experiencing crises.
Certificate-level jobs, such as crisis hotline specialist, can provide advisory services to clients via phone. These services can be critical to people facing dangerous or life-threatening situations in real time.
Social service agencies, research facilities, and mobile crisis operation centers can also be great places to pursue careers in this field if you earn your counseling license.
Find the Right Trauma and Crisis Counseling Degree Program
If you want to help people through acute and difficult life experiences, a trauma and crisis counseling degree program could help you toward a fulfilling career. Explore more of our resources featuring online counseling programs, licensure information, and course details to pursue your professional goals.
American Mental Health Counselors Association
Association of Traumatic Stress Specialists
Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs
Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs, Find a Program
National Board for Certified Counselors, Understanding Certification and Licensure
PayScale, Average Crisis Counselor Hourly Pay