Since licensure for counselors requires a minimum of a masters degree and clinical training, the masters is the most popular level of degree for people in this field.
Undergraduate programs focusing on counseling, psychology, or mental health could be viable preparatory options if you plan to move forward into masters programs in your future.
With the widespread availability of online counseling programs in the U.S., you could potentially enroll in a program to help you meet your career goals.
Depression Counseling Degrees
A depression counselor can work with clients that are showing symptoms of depression or that have been diagnosed with different forms of depression.
The educational path to this career field can be diverse, since you can choose to pursue a degree focusing specifically on mental health or just a generalized degree in counseling. Regardless of which path you take to this field, you can work with a wide range of clients that require individualized treatment plans in order to help them lead happy and healthy lives.
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Counselors in this field can work independently or with large-scale mental health organizations with an interest in public wellness.
Depression counselors can also be utilized in schools to help students work through the challenges of education and development or in hospitals that serve patients in acute crisis. Since this field is so diverse and can serve such a wide range of clients, the online degree programs that train upcoming professionals may include aspects that are relevant to different cultures and age groups.
Depression Counseling Degree Levels Available
- Masters: The most basic route to obtaining your license as a BCBA is through online Master's in Applied Behavior Analysis degree programs. These degree programs can be found at traditional and online universities all over the country, consisting of BACB-approved course sequences to help you move forward into licensure in your future. During these degree programs, you can learn more about the analysis of behavior, data collection, and intervention programs needed for behavior improvement.
- Doctoral: In order to be considered for post-master's certification programs in applied behavior analysis, students must have already graduated from an accredited Master's in Counseling, Psychology, or Education program. The online Master's in Counseling program can allow you to explore some of the common components of mental health, treatment methods, and analysis tools used by professionals in the field. Current ethical principles and laws surrounding this field can also lead to your success in this program. Once you have completed this program, you can move forward into certification programs specifically for BCBA prospects.
- Certificate Programs: You can also choose to pursue the psychological route towards your future BCBA certification and licensure during your educational experience. A lot of students may choose to complete their online Master's in Psychology prior to enrolling in a certification program in order to learn more about the psychological aspects of behavior that are currently known in this specialty area. Once you have successfully graduated from the online Master's in Psychology, you can move forward to certification and licensure.
Online Master's Programs
Since the online masters is the most popular level of degree in depression counseling, you might want to create a path to your career through reliable and accredited degree programs. Masters programs in the online setting can be a great resource for you if you currently have a full-time job and are looking for an option to work around your busy schedule. Our team of educational experts searched for accredited online programs in order to provide you with a couple of examples for you to review. If you look through the example programs below, you can get a clearer picture of what you might expect in your program.
- Antioch University - Online Masters in Mental Health Counseling: The goal of the online Masters in Mental Health Counseling at this university is to provide students with the skills to help their clients progress and gain coping skills to manage with the emotional effects of depression and anxiety. This degree program can be a great option for current professionals that lack the time to attend a school in person and can be completed in around 2 years for most students.
- The Chicago School - Online Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling: Students that choose the Chicago School of Professional Psychology for their degree program can enjoy the benefits of an online and part-time program to fit their busy schedule. This clinical mental health program can be completed at a manageable pace, with most students completing their degree in around 3 years. Courses in this program can prepare you for working with clients that have been diagnosed with or are showing signs of depression.
Sample Courses for the Online Master’s
Now that you have learned more about what depression counseling is and what these types of counselors do, you might want to see more about what the actual degree program consists of. The courses within your degree program are the constructs of what will be your skills in the field. Since most depression counselors obtain a degree that focuses on mental health counseling, you might expect to see courses related to abnormal psychology, the theoretical foundations of clinical practice, and ethical behavior when working with clients in the field.
In addition to these types of courses, you might also see information about performing tests and measurements when working with clients with different types of symptoms. Gaining a better understanding of your diagnostic tools can make you a more efficient depression counselor in the field. Our team has reviewed a few online masters programs in this field to provide you with a few example courses from these programs. Take a look at the example courses in the list below.
- Counseling and Psychotherapy Theories: In order to be the best depression counselor that you can be, you should have a thorough understanding of the various counseling and psychotherapy processes and procedures currently available for use in the field. This course can provide you with an overview of the known approaches in these areas, including information on assessment, the role of the counselor, cultural sensitivity, and basic intervention. Students can expect an in-depth review of current and historical counseling theories as part of this course’s requirements.
- Diagnosis and Assessment: The purpose of this course is to provide enrolled students with the skills necessary to assess and diagnose clients in a wide variety of settings. Since depression counselors can work in mental health facilities and even schools, it is important to recognize the environment issues that can contribute to mental health symptoms. Techniques used during assessment and diagnosis may be reviewed in this class, as well as the DSM manual for mental health providers. This course may consist of group and role-play experiences to help students practice their diagnostic skills in an effort to learn more.
- Crisis and Trauma Counseling: When working with clients that are experiencing depression, it is important to have skills and training in crisis and trauma counseling. This course outlines trauma from a victim’s perspective, so that practitioners can gain a better understanding of the effects of trauma on mental health. Intervention models, psycho-social factors, and current theories surrounding crisis intervention may also be reviewed. Students that successfully complete this course should have skills that can assist them with managing acute crisis in the field when working with clients.
Path to a Career in Depression Counseling
In order to become a depression counselor, you must meet some educational and practical goals prior to applying for your license. You should begin your journey with an online bachelors program in a field that is related to counseling, such as psychology or sociology. Depending on the masters program you are seeking, there may be certain recommendations for bachelors programs that can assist you with becoming accepted into your chosen program. Completing an online bachelors degree in a related field can help you prepare for the advanced learning in counseling skills later in your educational experience.
The online Masters in Counseling is your next step to becoming a licensed depression counselor. Masters programs focusing on mental health can provide you with a clearer background on mental health disorders such as depression, as well as some of the clinical explanations and symptoms of the disorders. At this level, you can also review some of the diagnostic tools available for you to use in the field. There are currently online masters programs available for future depression counselors at universities all over the country.
During and after your online masters degree, you may be expected to spend some time in the professional field. These clinical experiences are typically completed under the supervision of a licensed counselor and can help you visualize your curriculum in a real-world setting. In order to obtain your license in counseling, you may also be required to complete 2-3 years of supervised work experience after the completion of your masters program.
The final step towards gaining licensure in the field is successfully passing your state's board examination for counselors. This examination contains elements learning in both your degree program and practical experience, making both of these experiences extremely important during this phase of the licensure process. Once you have passed this examination you can be considered for a counseling license in your state.
Organizations to Know
Starting off as a depression counselor can be a truly exhilarating experience. All of the hard work and studying that went into your degree program can lead you into mental health organizations that are focused on improving the overall mental health of your community. If you would like to have other options for learning more about your field and staying up to date with changes and new procedures, you are encouraged to join professional organizations related to your field. There are several different types of professional organizations for you to join that can help you sharpen your expertise and meet others in the field.
The most well-known counseling professional organization is the American Counseling Association. This organization is for counselors in all fields and can be a great resource for you when learning about multidisciplinary approaches in depression counseling. Field-specific organizations such as the Anxiety and Depression Association of America can also be relevant options for you to consider so that you can rally around people with a similar purpose throughout your career.
Careers to Consider
Depression counselors can be extremely important components in general mental health facilities in states all over the country. As part of a larger team of counseling professionals, you could intervene when clients are at their lowest point, making a lasting difference in their lives. There are other fields in which your skills could prove beneficial for people that are managing the symptoms of depression, such as in the school system. Depression counselors in schools can be great for students that are working through emotional and hormonal changes associated with their development, or even when dealing with social issues such as bullying or fitting in.
Counseling professionals are being implemented in many different professional fields in society in order to provide the general public with support in their everyday lives. Professionals in this field can work for mental health research facilities as they seek out more effective treatments for depression, or even for pharmaceutical companies that develop psychotropic medications to be used with patients in the field. As a depression counselor, you can pave your road to success based on what type of work means the most to you.