Online Associate of Mental Health Counseling Degree Programs
Online associate degree programs in mental health counseling prepare students for entry-level work in the mental health profession or for advanced study in the field. While a bachelor's degree is typically required for certification as a mental health counselor, many students pursue an online associate degree to break into the field.
Overview of Online Associate of Mental Health Counseling Programs
Online programs in mental health counseling incorporate online or DVD-based lectures, computer or telephone conference discussions, printed course materials, independent research and private communications using e-mail. While students generally specialize in an area of interest, such as early childhood or substance abuse, significant time is devoted to gaining broad knowledge in all areas of mental health counseling; this requires extensive reading and research, a major component of these programs.
Online associate degree programs in mental health counseling typically involve a combination of counseling courses, general education courses and internship experiences. Additionally, many degree programs train students in the processes of interviewing and counseling, social service systems and workplace professionalism.
Examples of common courses in an online mental health counseling associate degree program include the following:
- Community Mental Health Care
- Children's Mental Health
- Crisis Counseling
- Case Management
- Sexual Abuse and Trauma
- Chemical Dependency Counseling
- Mental Health and Aging
Career and Job Outlook Info
Graduates of online associate degree programs in mental health counseling can go on to earn a bachelor's degree in mental health counseling or pursue entry-level work as social and human service assistants. These professionals often work in community-based roles and assist with crisis intervention, client assessment, symptom control education and psychosocial rehabilitation. They may work in the following fields:
- Convalescent care
- Geriatric care
- Early childhood services
- Substance abuse treatment
- Developmental disabilities
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the number of employed social and human service assistants is projected to increase 28% from 2010-2020, which is faster than average. Much of this growth is expected to take place in individual and family services organizations, rehabilitation facilities and residential care centers. The median salary for social and human service assistants was $28,850 in May 2012, as reported by the BLS.
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