What Is a Dual Master’s Degree in Counseling?
Of the current dual programs available, you may often see the combination of clinical mental health counseling and school counseling during your search. Degree programs that contain both of these specializations can teach you more about assessment and treatment in the clinical domain, while still providing a focus on counseling techniques for youth in the educational system.
Some universities may also provide a dual master’s degree program in psychology or counseling partnered with a criminal justice degree to help prepare learners for careers in corrections and offender rehabilitation. If you have a specific career field in mind and are seeking out degree programs to help you better prepare for counseling in that area, you should consider a dual program to prepare for both subjects.
The counseling aspect of the dual program can provide students with background into the development of mental health counseling, as well as a current look into the treatments available for use in the field. This part of the dual program can help you become an effective counselor in your chosen field.
Your secondary degree can be chosen from various different specialized areas in education, criminal justice, or even medicine. This can inject specialized knowledge into your learning program to add to your counseling career.
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Dual Master’s and Ph.D. Programs in Psychology Online
Students should also know that there are dual degree programs that allow students to consolidate their work toward a master’s degree and then a Ph.D. This could potentially shorten the educational process and allow for a more seamless, focused educational experience. For example, students who feel sure that they want a terminal degree in psychology may seek dual master’s and Ph.D. programs in psychology online, which will shorten the graduate education process. Online dual master’s and Ph.D. programs in psychology can provide educational experiences without any interruption.
The U.S. has many programs that offer the opportunity to earn online dual master’s and Ph.D. programs in psychology.
Can You Get a Dual Master’s Degree?
The use of technology has provided students with more flexible, manageable learning opportunities, meaning that there are increasing numbers of students looking to obtain an online education.
With online dual master’s degree programs in psychology or counseling, students can learn from the location of their choosing and complete their work at a pace that works for them. While learning online, current students can continue working full-time positions and engaging in their daily routines with less interruption.
Colleges that provide dual master of counseling programs may require that students apply for both programs during the admissions process. Minimum GPA requirements for the online options are typically around 3.0, with different colleges having slightly different expectations for acceptance.
Students are encouraged to verify the accreditation status of both programs prior to beginning their learning experience. Each program may have its own independent accreditation, which can be vital for licensure in the future.
Counseling degree programs can lead to licensure if accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs (CACREP). If your program has received accreditation through this agency, it should be noted on the degree webpage or be verifiable through your school’s admissions office.
Since dual degree programs often contain slightly more course requirements than the standard master of counseling program, they may take slightly longer to complete. If you have additional questions about whether you can get a dual master’s degree or how long it could take, we encourage you to explore each program to learn its specifics.
Typical Coursework for Dual Degree Programs
The curriculum that you engage with during your learning experience may be carefully developed to meet the minimum accreditation standards for your chosen field. However, there are some courses that students commonly see in online dual master’s and Ph.D. programs in psychology or counseling.
Law and Privacy
Counseling coursework must contain ethical considerations for working with clients in the field, such as privacy for clients, data storage, and provider-client relationships. Students may also explore the laws related to counseling, including license maintenance and continuing education requirements.
Therapeutic interventions and intake assessments may also be a big portion of what students learn throughout this aspect of the dual program. Different methods of assessments for presenting problems, age groups, and demographics may be reviewed, as well as therapies for use with different client groups.
Business, Social Work, Criminal Justice
Your secondary program can also contribute to varying courses in your program. Students who choose educational programs for their second degree may take courses related to laws and regulations in the educational field, child development, and cognitive psychology. Criminal justice degree enrollees may take coursework on the development and evolution of criminal justice, criminology, and the criminal justice system.
Advantages of Dual Master of Counseling Programs
If you have a profound interest in helping others, a general online master of counseling could be the perfect choice for your educational experience. However, if you are looking to expand your counseling abilities into secondary fields throughout your career, choosing a dual master’s program in psychology or counseling could provide you with an advantage when seeking out these positions.
As an example, students who have dreams of providing support to criminal offenders in hopes of helping them address trauma and making changes to their lives may be best suited for the online master of counseling/master of criminal justice degree combination. Additionally, students who have the desire to apply their knowledge in the field of education may have similar advantages with master of counseling/education specialist programs.
Holding a dual degree can be just as useful as having two different master’s degrees. Putting in the extra effort during a dual degree program can be a great way to solidify your certifications for work in various different careers throughout your lifetime.
Counseling Career Options
One of the benefits of pursuing a dual master of counseling degree is that you may have increased career opportunities after graduation. You can pursue a career in general counseling or choose to focus on your area of specification earned in your dual master’s degree programs in psychology or counseling.
You can work for counseling agencies within any discipline. Your licensure in counseling can help you qualify for positions as a mental health counselor, school-based counselor, or even career counselor in different areas.
For example, if your second degree is within the field of criminal justice, you could pursue a career as a criminal rehabilitation counselor, or you could work for correctional facilities as a source of support for employees and offenders. A certification in criminal justice can also qualify you for careers in the criminal justice system not directly related to the field of counseling.
A second degree in education could lead you to pursue careers in educational research, leadership in the field of education, or even careers at the state level in educational planning. Alternatively, students who complete secondary programs in medicine could even work in psychotropic pharmaceutical research and sales.
Depending on the secondary program you choose, you could see various employment opportunities become available.