Advanced masters programs in counseling provide graduates with a very specific set of skills and knowledge in their particular field of study. Large company's and employers will seek out individuals with a master's degree in counseling. By having an advanced degree, you will make yourself more marketable and be able to obtain a more competitive earning potential. This type of degree will enable you to advance your career and salary in your field of counseling through career advancement and transferable skills to a new company.
*Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Counseling Managers, on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes211019.htm (visited March 24, 2022).
You can complete a master's degree online in approximately two years, if not less. Also, if you are taking courses online, you may be able to integrate academic learning with real-world, experiential learning. Once you have completed a bachelor's degree, you might seek out employment with an industry specific firm. You might be able to work on isolated projects and then take time after those projects to complete more courses. In this way, you will prolong the time it takes to graduate, but you will accrue invaluable experience along the way.
Before choosing a major there are some important facts you should know about.
Before you enroll in a college, make sure that they have the major you are considering. For counseling programs, many universities have whole departments devoted to the subject. If that is the case, then make sure they have the specific branch of counseling that interests you.
This is a very important question to ask yourself. Your major should play a big part in the schools you are considering. Not every college may offer the major of your choice, so doing your homework is the first step of the selection process.
A counseling master's degree will consist of some really particular training courses to increase your subject knowledge. Generally, a master's degree in counseling looks like your upper division classes on a bachelors, but with a graduate degree or advanced degree the courses are more specific and will require additional critical thinking skills. Below is a sample of online master's degree courses so you can see the kind of curriculum that will be typically found. Universities will differ in their specific study's needed and required. Compare colleges very carefully on the courses they will require you to take to gain your master's degree in counseling. Sample courses you may need:
Currently, students enrolled in masters programs at universities have less than a 50% chance of graduating within two years. Statistics vary from university to university, but many students are graduating closer to the three-year range.
If you want to be one of the lucky 40% who do graduate in your second year, you'll need to make a few sacrifices. First, you'll have to take more than the minimum 9 credit hours per semester. Take 12 credits per semester, because you'll finish earning the required credits in around two years.
Go to school each summer session. Take at least one class per summer semester. Not only will you be sure to graduate on time, but you may also benefit with lower per-credit tuition charges, as well.
Declare your concentration as soon as you can. You won't be moving between concentrations this way. If you have to work for gas or rent, work for the fewest number of hours per week that you can. Your studies are vital.
Your school's accreditation is an important aspect of getting your doctorate degree. The two most common forms of accreditation are regional and national.
Regional accreditation is the most recognized and most prestigious available. Because of this label, these colleges often have higher tuition and have more competitive admission standards. Regional accreditation accounts for over 85% of colleges across the United States. There are 6 different regions, including:
MSA (Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools)
NEASC (New England Association of Schools and Colleges)
NCA (North Central Association of Colleges and Schools)
NAC (Northwest Accreditation Commission)
SACS (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools)
WASC (Western Association of Schools and Colleges)
National accreditation is less common. National accreditation agencies oversee the accreditation process for career, vocational, and trade schools across the United States. As a result, these schools tend to be less expensive, require less general coursework, and feature a more practical, career-oriented curriculum. Because it is less structured, schools are only reviewed every 3-5 years to ensure that they still meet accreditation requirements.
Accreditation is an important part of the selection process. It adds value to a graduate degree by offering wider acceptance than degrees from non-accredited schools receive. Accreditation ensures employers and other reviewers of your educational background that you have a quality education in counseling. It informs potential employers that the graduate has the expected level of education and knowledge to perform work in today's high-paced, technology-driven environments.
The Department of Education designates regional and national accreditation agencies. It is also through this department that educational loans and grants are provided to college students. The federal policy is to limit student loans to schools and colleges with acceptable accreditation. Which means that, if your school isn't accredited, you will likely not be eligible to receive any financial aid. For many students, accreditation is key to getting funds to pay for the substantial costs of a master's degree in counseling.
A two-year doctorate degree in counseling is an investment into your future. The cost of tuition can vary widely depending on the academic excellence of the university and the specific field of study chosen. You can expect tuition for a doctoral degree in counseling to cost anywhere from $15,000-$60,000 per year. The cost of tuition for online degrees is typically the same cost as on-campus. When talking about costs, it is important to factor in textbooks, technology, as well as room and board, as those costs are separate from tuition. These are average college tuition costs and does not include financial aid. It is important for each and every student to seek out financial aid options to help pay for their college tuition.
The cost of your education is worth every penny, because it is an investment in your future. You may feel that you are investing too much money in a degree but remember that it will all come back to you. Once you get the career that you've been aiming for, you will be to pay off your student loans and live a better life.
If you are going to spend a lot of time and energy to attain a doctorate counseling degree, you will certainly want some job placement assistance as you near graduation. Discuss this with your admissions counselor when you are considering the right program. In fact, you might want to broaden that discussion by asking about how your school handles internships and if co-op programs are available. Experiential learning can help you not only gain the skills needed to land a job, but you can also cultivate a professional network that will help you build the career you deserve.