Online Counselor Courses, Training and Career Education

A number of schools offer undergraduate and graduate counseling degree programs online. Course offerings vary widely to accommodate the varied range of counseling sub-disciplines. Most states require counselors to become certified before practicing, which includes passing the state-administered exam and working a specified number of hours in a clinical setting under the supervision of a senior professional.

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Online Undergraduate Degree in Counseling

Many schools offer online undergraduate degree programs in specific areas of counseling. For instance, a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Addiction Counseling introduces students to a number of topics, including psychotherapy models, drug abuse fundamentals and the therapeutic process. Candidates are generally required to complete a number of general education courses, such as general psychology and world civilization, early in the program. Online counselor courses are received and completed electronically and require personal computers with reliable Internet access.

Online Master's Degree in Counseling

Those interested in pursuing advanced degrees in counseling may choose online master's degree programs. A variety of areas of specialization are available, and the specific courses taken may depend on an individual student's area of concentration. Most online master's degree programs can be completed in two years or less. An online Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling may require students to complete courses, such as the following:

  • Abnormal psychology
  • Counseling theory and practice
  • Foundation of mental health counseling
  • Psychopharmacology

An online Master of Science in Family Therapy may involve some of the same courses but also requires students to complete courses specific to the field, including the following:

  • Family therapy theories
  • Sexuality and intimacy in families
  • Couples therapy
  • Perspectives in cross-cultural counseling

Although the majority courses can be completed online, some clinical coursework may need to be completed on campus.

Online Doctoral Degree Programs in Counseling

Doctoral degree programs are generally based in research and introduce candidates to advanced topics in the field. Students may explore subjects like psychoeducational consultation and psychodiagnostics. Online doctoral programs in psychology generally lead to the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree. Students may be required to visit campus for certain courses and to receive academic advisement regarding their dissertations.

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