Students considering a move into cultural counseling degree programs can gain skills that can help them land careers in growing agencies helping the general public.
Receiving a generalonline degree in counseling can be a great way to work towards obtaining your licensure before entering into any specific counseling jobs. Our team of educational experts has put together this guide in order to teach you more about this degree program and what it looks like in the online setting.
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Cultural Counseling Degree Programs
Cultural counseling degree programs can be a great way for upcoming professionals to expand their expertise to include aspects relating to multicultural relationships. This online program can lead you into individual and group techniques that can be used to support multicultural relationships, as well as individual therapies to help people learn more about different cultural groups.
During your degree experience, you might look at varying cultures that are common in the United States and beyond. Learning more about different beliefs, customs, and practices can help prepare you for addressing culturally-sensitive topics while working in the field.
Cultural Counseling Degree Levels
Depending on the type of career you wish to have once you have completed your degree, you might choose to pursue different levels of degrees to meet your goals. In order to be licensed and able to practice with individuals and groups in the field, you should hold at least a Masters in Counseling from a program accredited by the CACREP. You can choose to move forward into higher degree programs to add to your resume or even complete certificate programs to help you gain skills specific to cultural counseling. Take a look through the different available degree levels below to learn more about each one.
- Masters: Since you already know that the masters is the required degree level for licensure, you might expect that this is the most chosen degree level in counseling. Online masters programs typically take around 2 years to complete and can contain some practical experiences to help you visualize your curriculum in the presence of licensed counselors. The curriculum for the online masters may include courses that can help you learn how to accurately assess and diagnose patients, as well as develop a treatment plan that suits their needs.
- Doctoral: Online doctoral programs in this field can also be found at universities offering counseling degree programs. Doctoral programs are currently the highest level of education available in the field and can allow you to explore concepts related to research, management, and even advanced practical application of counseling techniques. If you have an interest in working for research facilities or possibly leading a team of licensed counselors in the future, you might consider moving up into this type of degree program.
- Certificate Programs: Since one path to becoming a cultural counselor involves completing a general online Master of Counseling, some students consider completing certificate programs that can provide them with more information about culture-related counseling. Certificate programs can be found online and can be paired with undergraduate and graduate degree programs. The most efficient method of utilizing certificate programs is through pairing them with an online Masters in Counseling that can lead to licensure.
Online Master's Programs
If you already know that this is the field for you, you should begin your search for the right type of online degree program. Well-known and accredited universities in your state may provide you with in-depth degree programs that can lead you straight into licensure. Our team of educational experts has years of experience with researching educational programs and the respective careers. In this section, you can review a few of the currently open online Masters in Counseling programs that can help you develop the expertise required to be a licensed counselor in your state.
- Colorado Christian University - Online Masters in Counseling: Accreditation is the key to success when choosing educational programs in counseling. CCU's online Masters in Counseling is currently accredited by the CACREP and can educate you on the counseling techniques used with clients from various cultural backgrounds. This 60 credit hour program consists of course work that can prepare you to work with clients that present different types of cultural issues, concerns, and struggles in society.
- The University of Tennessee at Martin - Online Masters in Counseling: At UT Martin, students can choose specializations in either clinical mental health counseling or school counseling. Each of these specializations can help you exercise your skills with different people with different cultural needs. The clinical mental health counseling option requires 60 credit hours while the school counseling program requires 48. Each option may also require that you take part in a supervised internship during your program.
Sample Courses for the Online Master's
If you have spent a lot of time reviewing different cultural counseling degree programs, you might be aware of the different types of courses that you could be expected to take during your experience. Cultural counselors may require a broad set of courses in order to learn the necessary counseling techniques and cultural expectations to provide effective treatment to their clients. Some of the course work in these online programs can help you focus on the cultural needs of varying groups in society, as well as the history and dynamics of each.
In addition to courses that focus specifically on culture, students can also expect to complete courses that cover generalized topics in mental health counseling. Knowledge of different culture can be paired with the utilization of psychotherapy and assessment, so that the best possible service can be provided when working as a counselor in your community. Our team has pulled some real courses from online degree programs for you to read about in the list below.
- Multicultural Techniques in Counseling: Cultural counselors should be prepared to work with single people or groups that are in need of guidance with cultural issues. This course seeks to educate students on the skills needed to solve cultural conflict, recognize personal identities, and work through issues related to gender or race. Intervention techniques specific to cultural sensitivity and cross-cultural counseling may also be covered by this course.
- Group Counseling: When you are working as a cultural counselor, you may have opportunities to work with groups of people to help build skills in cultural awareness. Students that take this course can be made aware of different group discussion techniques that can encourage speaking out and proactive discussions among group members, as well as fostering self-exploration among group members. This course can also include elements related to the theoretical foundations and historical approaches to group counseling, which can be helpful for students that are new to the field of counseling overall.
- Diverse and Marginalized Populations: Cultural counselors should be aware of the various cultural groups being served by their community. This course can provide students with an outline of the diverse populations that are common in society, as well as some of the common issues that they face in their communities. Knowledge regarding the treatment of diverse groups can be useful when working through critical issues associated with cultural identity. This course can also compare family structure and social norms for populations commonly marginalized in today's world.
Path to a Career in Cultural Counseling
When you choose a specialized field to move into in counseling, it can sometimes be overwhelming to organize a specific plan to get you where you want to be. Before you take the plunge into any degree program or choose any specific degree level, you should be aware of what is required of you for the type of work that you would like to do. In order to be a cultural counselor, you should hold a license to practice counseling in your state. This process is typically outlined by your state's licensing board and can be found online in most states.
The minimum degree requirement for cultural counselors in the U.S. is a masters degree. Choosing to pursue your degree online can provide with the same level of quality as traditional programs, since online programs are subjected to the same accreditation standards. Online Masters in Counseling programs usually require a 2-3 year commitment for students enrolled, which can also require you to spend some time working with licensed counselors in the field. Completion of this step can help you transition to licensure once you have completed all of your practical experience.
The practical experience requirement can take place after your degree program and is completed through a mental health organization in your area. You can provide services to clients in a real-world setting, under the supervision of a licensed counselor. This experience can last around 2 years for most candidates and is a great experience to help you learn more about what cultural counseling looks like in the field.
Board examinations in counseling are found at the end of your educational and practical experience. The National Counselors Examination is administered to graduates that have met these standards and is the final step before receiving a license. This examination contain situational questions that can test your ability to respond accurately while working in the field. Some schools providing online programs can provide you with the pass rate for their graduates, which can allow you to choose programs with the best possible results.
Organizations to Know
The plunge into the workforce after becoming licensed can be overwhelming in both positive and negative ways. All of the work that you put into completing your program and experience in the field can come to a satisfying end as you take on your first career in the field. One way that some students decide to provide themselves with a sturdy foundation of support during their career is through professional organizations. Counseling organizations can act as resources of current information and even advocates for their members, which can be a great source of confidence for new cultural counselors.
If you would like to see more about professional organizations you can join, you are encouraged to review the American Mental Health Counselors Association and the Association for Multicultural Counseling and Development<./a>. Each of these organizations can provide you with career and educational benefits to use during your work experience. Some organizations can even post job openings in your area and provide opportunities to meet others in your field at group gatherings and presentations.
Careers to Consider
One of the most appealing facts about cultural counseling is that licensed counselors in this area can find careers in diverse working environments. The most well-known and chosen path for professionals in this field is that of general mental health, since providers in this area can work for general mental wellness clinics. However, this is not the only path for licensees in cultural counseling. Today's society presents a set of challenges that can be addressed by counselors that are educated in different cultures and methods for bringing awareness when conflict arises.
Cultural counselors can be great resources in the school system, in the workplace, and even in private practice. The need for seasoned professionals to help work with individuals in groups that may be facing issues related to their culture, religion, sexual preference, or race may be at an all-time high. Your skills and counseling tools could lead you into many different areas during your career.