As you sort through different types of hybrid programs, you might find that there are different dimensions to hybrid learning, with some degree programs varying which classes are provided online during the whole degree experience.
Our team of educational experts has been researching educational programs for over a decade. The information found in this guide is provided in order to help you review this type of program to see if its the best option for you.
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Hybrid Counseling Programs Explained
Before the influx of 100% online degree programs, hybrid degree programs were the first introduction that college students had to flexible education options. Hybrid programs can be a cure-all for students that are seeking the convenience of online education, but still have the desire to engage in a percentage of their learning on-campus.
Hybrid degree programs in counseling can be very diverse depending on the school that you are researching. Some programs may offer a percentage of the curriculum online and the other in-person, while other schools may allow you to choose which courses you take online and on-campus.
The original benefits of hybrid programs were focused around reducing the amount of time students spend on campus, so that higher education could fit easier into a busy work or family schedule. As the realm of online education has transformed in the last decade, these programs have grown into more customizable options for incoming graduate students.
One college offering a hybrid degree program in counseling states that almost half of their program can be completed online. The other half of the curriculum is offered on-campus, allowing students to take advantage of the benefits of both realms of learning.
At some universities, you may take courses that are initially in-person, but allow students to complete and turn in work online. These classes may meet once a week, making it easier for students to schedule around their degree program.
Why Consider a Master’s of Counseling?
Making the decision to pursue a Master of Counseling can be an excellent choice for diversifying your career during your lifetime. In today’s society, colleges have provided many different types of degree programs to help you better fit higher education into your lifestyle.
When colleges began transitioning their schools to the online setting, this change quickly transformed what higher education was capable of in terms of flex learning and convenience. Online courses quickly entered into the pool as valid learning options for students, creating the initial hybrid learning program.
Top Masters in Counseling Programs
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Overview of an MA in Counseling Degree
The Master of Counseling degree is a graduate level program designed for upcoming mental health professionals. This program typically consists of around 2 years of courses focusing on general mental health knowledge, treatment planning, and ethical considerations, all aligned with the counseling discipline.
The anticipated outcome of this degree program is training for state licensure, which can allow students to practice their counseling skills with the general public. Some students may prefer to indulge in a generalist degree program, while others choose to specialize in specific areas of treatment.
As a student in the field of counseling, you may have the option to specialize your degree in fields such as career counseling – which can help you learn more about skill assessments for your clients for use in directing their career paths, school counseling – which provides focus into school-age developmental and education counseling, and mental health counseling – a specialized area for those interested in treating patients with mental health illnesses and disorders.
Depending on the type of specialization you choose for your program – if any – you might find that the course work can differ from other learning paths. The goal of this program is to provide you with a structure curriculum that aligns with the clients that you can come in contact with while working in the field.
If you are looking for available hybrid programs to consider for your degree, you should begin with filtering your programs by those that have received accredited status from the CACREP. This organization is the leading accreditation agency for degree programs in counseling and accredits traditional, completely online, and hybrid degree programs.
In order for programs to received accredited status from the CACREP, college officials must submit a report of their program to this agency and successfully pass an on-campus visit and thorough review of their program. Accreditation is granted to universities with high-quality and relevant degree programs, making universities with this distinction better options that those without accreditation.
Accredited status is only temporary, since the requirements for licensure can change over time. As the field changes and grows, changes may also be needed in the curriculum, which is another aspect that is reviewed during this process. Schools that seek continued accreditation for their programs may be required to pass regular reviews of their program to maintain their continued accredited status.
You can verify the accreditation status of your degree program by reviewing the program page on the school’s website or speaking with an enrollment counselor at your university. Since accreditation is required for licensure in the field of counseling, this can be a very important step for ensuring professional licensure in your future.
Online Master’s Options
Saybrook University currently provides a hybrid MA in Counseling program to interested learners. This program consists of a portion of on-campus requirements throughout the program, as well as online courses to assist with optimum flexibility.
This hybrid program can allow you to pursue a specialization in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, which is one of the most popular options for students entering into this field. Saybrook’s hybrid program can be completed in 1.5 to 2 years for most students.
The University of Southern Maine is another great provider of online and hybrid programs in counseling. This university current offers a hybrid MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling for students requiring the conveniences of both degree paths.
USM courses are found in both synchronous and asynchronous formats, which can provide even more flexibility to the online components of these programs. This program can be finished in around 2 years for most students.
Regardless of the school that you choose for your program, accreditation can ensure that your degree can lead to licensure after you have completed it. If you would like to know more about what types of courses may be involved in the hybrid Master of Counseling program, take a look through the next section.
As a counseling student, you can likely see course topics associated with mental health and therapeutic treatment. Some schools have unique course titles to their programs, while still aligning their curriculum with the licensing requirements for their state.
Since state licensing agencies and certification organizations require a specific course sequence for their standard licensing requirements, the courses at each university should look very similar at their core.
Courses such as Substance Abuse Disorders and Treatment can provide you with a deeper insight in to the psychology of addiction and its roots. This can give you historical information about research in this field, as well as treatment options for people struggling with addiction to different substances of ritualistic activities.
Diagnosis of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders is another course that you might see within your program, which can provide you with a more standard outlook on counseling and its intended purpose in fields promoting good health and wellness. While you are enrolled in this course, you might spend a significant amount of time reviewing the DSM-5, the most recent diagnostic manual for mental health professionals in the U.S.
Counseling Career Options
In terms of career options, students can enjoy the same benefits as traditional learners through hybrid degree programs. In order for degree programs to be considered for future licensure, they must hold accreditation from the CACREP.
Accredited degree programs can be your key to pursuing licensing within your state, which is required before working with clients in the field. The licensing process involves around 2 years of clinical experience, as well as the completion of a National Counselors Exam to test your skills.
Licensed counselors can work with clients in educational settings, for mental health agencies, and even in healthcare related organizations. Once you hold a professional license in counseling, you can even open up your own private counseling practice within your area.
Counselors can be an incredibly important aspect of society since they can provide support and guidance to individuals that are going through difficult transitions in their life, managing the emotional toll of mental health disorders, or simply struggling as they develop into later stages of life.