Counseling Psychologists help us to cope, succeed, and be happy in this world full of stress, problems, and traumas. If you would love to become a counseling psychologist, you would need to advance your education. So, learn how to get a master’s degree in counseling psychology easily through online education.
Counseling psychologists are problem solvers as they help improve people’s life. Since they seek to heal the mind of people with psychological conditions and not the body, their employment scope is wider than that of other disciplines of psychology.
However, you would need a master’s degree to become a counseling psychologist and solve people’s problems.
So, in this post, we would show you where to get the best master’s degree in counseling psychology online.
We know that you may be wondering whether the online option is remarkable, so you’ll also learn why online masters could be your best option. You will also find valuable information on the counseling psychology career if you continue reading.
What is Counseling Psychology?
Counseling psychology is one of the subdisciplines of psychology but unlike most of the subdisciplines, it is broad. This discipline aids people’s well-being, their development, and solves their psychological problems. It focuses on individuals’ challenges and life stressors and utilizes strengths and adaptive strategies in dealing with these adversities.
Hence, counseling psychology detects abnormal psychological symptoms in people and finds a way to heal them. While it utilizes diagnosis and therapeutic treatment methods like medicine, it seeks to heal the mind and not the body, unlike medicine.
So, a counseling psychologist diagnosis involves evaluating how a person is doing emotionally, developmentally, socially, vocationally, educationally, and even organizationally. They want to ensure that you don’t deviate from the norm of behavior in every aspect of your life.
Now, let’s set this straight, IS PSYCHOLOGY B.A. or B.S.?
What Does Counseling Psychology do?
Counseling Psychologists have a broad spectrum of work activities they perform, based on your specialization. What a counseling psychologist who specializes in substance abuse do will differ from what one who specializes in vocational guidance does. But generally, counseling psychologists provide assessment, intervention, and guidance to solving people’s problems.
According to Betterteam, the counseling psychologist performs the following duties:
- Schedule patient consultations.
- Evaluate patients and identify their problems.
- Hold conversations with patients and make them feel comfortable.
- Implement individualized treatment programs.
- Undertake psychometric testing.
- Appraise patient responses to treatment over time.
- Organize a long-term counseling plan involving multiple visits.
- Provide services to all age groups in the form of one-on-one and group counseling.
- Maintain a detailed account of patient mental health history.
- Build relationships with clients that are based on trust while being patient with them.
Counseling Psychologists are not related to a specific work environment. You will find them in higher education institutions, rehabilitation centers, crisis centers, and recovery centers.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Counseling Psychologists will find a job at elementary and secondary schools, offices of health professionals, individual and family centers, offices of physicians, and outpatient care centers.
What is the Difference Between Counseling Psychology and Clinical Psychology?
Counseling Psychology and Clinical psychology are two out of several subdisciplines of psychology. However, people confuse these two the most out of the other others – such as biological psychology and forensic psychology. The reason for the confusion is that these two often overlap in their scope. For example, the work of counseling psychologists who specialize in mental health will often overlap with the clinical psychologist’s work.
But no matter how related these two subdisciplines of psychology are, they are still very much distinct from each other.
So, here are the key differences between clinical psychology and counseling psychology:
- Counseling psychology has a stronger focus on healthy individuals with fewer pathological mental problems. On the other hand, clinical psychology focuses on individuals with psychosis or other serious mental illness.
- The research focus of both clinical and counseling psychology overlaps in their theories of study. However, while clinical psychology focuses largely on psychoanalytic persuasions and behavioral issues, counseling psychology will mostly focus on humanistic and client-centered traditions.
- Now, based on their work environment, most counseling psychologists will work within educational institutions, where they will deliver counseling services. On the other hand, clinical psychologists will more often than not work in hospitals.
What is the Salary and Job Outlook of Counseling Psychologists?
While you are thinking of helping people get out of their problems and better their lives, you should also think of how much dollars you’ll be making. People often term their jobs as fulfilling when the dollar earning is higher than the services they provide.
Counseling Psychologists are one of those in the USA whom you can rightly say have a rewarding job. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists earn an annual average salary of $85,340.
Now, how much you earn will depend on your work environment as well as your advancement in the field. To this effect, while Counseling Psychologists working in Outpatient Care Centers have an estimated annual wage of $93,620, their counterparts in the Offices of Other Health Practitioners have an estimated earning of $96,930 annually.
Furthermore, the state in the USA where you work as a licensed psychologist will determine how much you earn as salary. According to BLS, the top five states in the USA paying Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists the most are:
- California: $108,350
- Oregon: $103,870
- New Jersey: $98,470
- District of Columbia: $95,500
- Hawaii: $94,550
Now, not only do counseling psychologists make good dollars for their services but they find jobs easily. In 2018, 110,490 jobs were available to Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists throughout the states. Jobs for psychologists will rise by 14% from 2018 to 2028, which goes to say that the country will always need psychologists.
What are the Specializations in Counseling Psychology?
One of the beauties of counseling psychology is that there is a wide spectrum of specialties for you to become a specialist while working in different job settings.
Some of these specializations include:
- Substance Abuse/Addiction psychologists: They work with patients of all ages who have issues with drugs, alcohol, eating, gambling, and compulsive/addictive behaviors.
- Education psychologists: These set of counseling psychologists work in academic settings and deal with students with motor issues, learning disabilities, social skills, cognitive function, etc.
- Rehabilitation Psychologists: These psychologists concern themselves with patients with chronic illness, accidents, birth defects, social anxiety, etc.
- Mental Health Psychologists: These counselors treat patients with anxiety, grief, depression, stress, and self-esteem issues.
- Vocational Guidance: These psychologists attend to individuals with issues related to loss of employment and retirement.
- Marital and Family Therapists: These are therapists that settle issues such as couple conflict, parent and child conflict, sexual dysfunction, eating disorders, weight loss, etc.
How Can I Become a Counseling psychologist?
As a framework to the main aim of this post, which we will discuss shortly, you need to know the requirements for becoming a counseling psychologist.
To become a counseling psychologist, you will need to fulfill the following;
Earn a Bachelor’s Degree
The first step to becoming a counseling psychologist is to earn a bachelor’s degree. It is important to gain one in a related field such as education or psychology, or in an unrelated liberal arts field. Irrespective of your major, you should get some exposure to psychology by taking key courses such as developmental psychology, abnormal psychology, educational psychology, social psychology, and statistics.
Get an Advanced Degree
An advanced degree in counseling psychology is very necessary for your growth in the field. You have the option of a master’s degree or a doctorate degree. Bigger job offers in counseling psychology will require a doctorate degree, however. For this, you have the option of Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Psychology or a Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.).
In order to practice as a counseling psychologist, you must gain state licensure. Most states in the USA will require the completion of a doctoral degree as well as a clinical post-doctoral internship and a passing score on the Examination for Professional Practice of Psychology. For some states, you’ll write an ethics examination.
Meet Continuing Education Requirements
To service your license to practice as a counseling psychologist, most states will require you to meet continuing education requirements. Although different states have their specific requirements, the general requirement is 20 hours of continuing education per year, or 40 hours every two years.
Get Specialty Certification
Remember that there are several specializations in counseling psychology. To practice in a specific focus area in counseling psychology, you’ll need to consider getting a certification that designates this specialty. Getting specialty certification will take several years of clinical practice. For more information on specialty certification for counseling psychologists, see the American Board of Professional Psychologists (ABPP).
Why Do I Need a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology?
From the above description on how to become a counseling psychologist, you need a doctoral degree in counseling psychology to gain state licensure and practice. Of course, a master’s degree is a prerequisite to gaining admission into a doctoral program. It is very clear that although a bachelor’s degree is good to have, you must need an advanced degree to gain a stand in counseling psychology.
So, now you know you need a master’s degree in counseling psychology, the next question to ask is where to get one.
You can get a master’s degree program in counseling psychology from both online and on-campus schools. Whichever the option you’re choosing, you’ll have to consider the following:
- Licensure Information
- Education & Experience Requirements
Online schools are becoming the trend in this millennium. We can’t overemphasize the beauty of online education. It provides you the flexibility of getting a degree while working or catering for the family.
Some of the major issues bordering online programs include the program reputation, accreditation, and relevance. It is for this reason that you may be asking, is an online master’s degree in counseling psychology worth it.
Yes, it does, and here’s why:
The Online Counseling Psychology Program is the Same with the On-Campus Version
You don’t have to worry about the quality of your online counseling psychology program because you will complete the same coursework as those on campus. This thus implies that like your on-campus peers, you too need to complete laboratory and practicum work in person for one year. However, you have the option of pacing your coursework to suit your speed, unlike your on-campus peers.
How do you feel about paying less to get quality education at your convenience? Great, right? That’s what the online counseling psychology program does for you. You will get the same coursework as those for on-campus study at cheaper rates.
Opportunities for Collaborative Work
The online community of learners knows no bounds. So, you will find yourself in a virtual community of students from every part of the world. Hence, you will have the opportunity to collaborate internationally and enrichen your learning experience.
Once you’ve decided to study psychology in college, the next thing you need is scholarships. See these Top 50 Psychology Scholarships to ease your study in college.
Best Online Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology
If you have grown a conviction in your heart that an online master’s degree in counseling psychology is what you want, speed along with us to the best programs.
But before we do this, you need to know why we have selected these seven out of the pile of online counseling psychology programs out there.
Our ranking criteria for best online master’s degree program in counseling psychology include:
- Wide Concentration: Because counseling psychology is a wide subcategory of psychology, we have picked the master’s degree programs that offer a broader scope of concentration. Hence, you will not find counseling psychology programs that are specifically for Clinical Mental Health on our list.
- Affordability: An important feature of the online study is its affordability. So, you will find here online master’s degree programs in counseling psychology that are cheap.
- Experiential Learning: It is very important that you gain hands-on field experience while attaining your degree. The field requires it. Therefore, our list of best online counseling psychology degree programs must provide opportunities for practicum or internship.
- Accreditation: It would be a complete waste of time acquiring a degree from an online university without accreditation, so we have filtered those from our list.
Based on these, we will proceed to describe the best online master’s degree programs in counseling psychology.
#1. Angelo State University – San Angelo
Program: Online Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology
Tuition: $647.50 per credit unit
Angelo State University in San Angelo (ASU), Texas is a wonderful university to get an online master’s degree program in Counseling Psychology. Here, you’ll find a small student-to-faculty ratio as well as opportunities to conduct faculty-mentored research on a wide range of topics.
Students find the online counseling psychology program at Anglo State University priceless as it prepares you for a career in mental health centers, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, vocational counseling, academic counseling, and even private practice.
Furthermore, ASU’s online program in counseling psychology is a 60-credit-hour program that allows you to gain a license by the Texas State Board of Examiners of Psychologists or by the Texas State Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors.
You can complete the program within two to three years, and ASU has accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
#2. Sofia University – Palo Alto
Program: Online Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology
Tuition: $650/ credit unit
Another university to mention when it comes to quality online master’s degree program in Counseling Psychology is Sofia University. Sofia University offers a Masters of Arts in Counseling Psychology (MACP) that is online with the addition of low-residency sessions. The program is a 90 units program that takes an average of three years to complete.
Also, this MACP program prepares you for licensing by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS) in two tracks – the Marriage and Family Therapy and the Professional Clinical Counselor educational tracks.
Thus, the program’s graduates progress to become Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFTs) and Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors (LPCCs).
What is most interesting about Sofia University’s MA in Counseling Psychology s that the school assigns you an adviser from the onset for mentoring, advising, and review of your readiness to begin clinical practicum.
Meanwhile, Sofia University has accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), so you can trust their online programs.
Do you want a career as a counseling psychologist in an educational institution? Then you should also see these 10 Best Online Degree in Educational Psychology
#3. California Baptist University – Riverside
Program: Online Master of Science in Counseling Psychology
Tuition: $725 per credit unit
California Baptist University (CBU), like Sofia University, is another California university with one of the best online counseling psychology programs. Just like Sofia University, CBU prepares you for a profession in either Marriage and Family Therapy or Professional Clinical Counseling. CBU’s online Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology (MSCP) is a 62 units program that will take you an average of two years to complete.
Like Sofia University again, CBU’s programs have accreditation by WASC. Also, the completion of the school’s Counseling Psychology program prepares you for the California state licensure as a Marriage and Family Therapist or Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor.
One of the features that make CBU’s online MSCP program stand out is the format in which the school offers its classes. There is the Virtual Hybrid format that involves synchronous high definition online interactions; then there is also the asynchronous online format that allows you to work at your own pace.
#4. Carlow University – Pittsburgh
Program: Online MS in Professional Counseling
Tuition: $876/credit unit
Calow University, through its MS in Professional Counseling, offers another of the best online master’s degree program in counseling psychology. This Pennsylvania university’s online counseling program has accreditation by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
It is a 60 credit hour program that you can complete between 2.5 and 3.5 years depending on the number of courses you take each semester.
What makes Calow University’s master’s degree program in counseling stand out is that it offers you two tracks in counseling psychology. They are Clinical Mental Health and Addictions Counseling.
For the Clinical Mental Health track, you will be able to further pick an elective between Child & Adolescent concentration, Trauma-Informed concentration, and Forensicconcentration.
What is most interesting is that Calow’s coursework meets the educational requirements for licensure in Professional Counseling (LPC) in Pennsylvania.
#5. Brandman University – Irvine
Program: Online MA in Psychology -Professional Clinical Counseling
Brandman University in Irvine, California offers you one of the best online options for counseling psychology with their MA in Psychology, Professional Clinical Counseling. This program is a 63 credit hour program that takes two years to complete.
One feature that makes Brandman stand out is that their online/hybrid counseling psychology program provides you the opportunity for hands-on experience in research. You’ll also learn techniques in ethical issues, human diversity, psychopathology, diagnosis, assessment, and life span development.
Also, Brandman University has regional accreditation by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) so you don’t have to worry about quality. Apply before the January 13 session if you’re interested in Brandman’s program.
#6. Cornerstone University – Grand Rapids
Program: Online MA in Counseling
Tuition: $570 per credit hour
Another school to rely on when it comes to an online master’s degree in counseling psychology is Cornerstone University. This Christian University with accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools offers a 69-semester hour Master of Arts in Counseling that you can complete in 3-4 years online.
This program provides you with foundational counseling theories and skills that are essential to your practice as a professional counselor. With Cornerstone’s program, you can gain professional licensure in the State of Michigan as well as other states in the US.
Also, while Cornerstone’s counseling program builds you in specializations like addictions counseling and trauma counseling, it also grooms you in Bible and Theology.
#7. University of West Alabama
Program: Master of Science in Adult Continuing Education – Counseling and Psychology
Tuition: $429 per credit unit
The University of West Alabama (UWA) Online offers one of the best online master’s degree programs in counseling psychology. UWA’s online counseling psychology program is a 33 credit hour program that takes between one to two years to complete.
The program equips you with the firm foundation you need in counseling psychology. However, it does not offer you the pathway to immediately pursue licensing and become a professional counselor. It instead offers licensed professionals in marriage and family counseling to gain a broader perspective in counseling.
Also, with accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, you are sure to get one of the best online education at UWA online. Apply before the next start date of January 13 if you’re interested in this program.
Get more cheap psychology schools, also see these 15 Affordable Online School Psychology Programs
With 110,490 jobs available to Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists throughout the states and an estimated rise by 14% from 2018 to 2028, Psychologists of any form will continue to be in demand.
You don’t want to be unqualified when more jobs spring open for counseling psychologists in the nearest future. So, gear up now and quickly take an online master’s degree program in counseling psychology to pave way for your state licensure and boost your earnings.
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