Are you a passionate person that likes to help people solve problems in their own lives? Do you want to make a lasting impact on people by helping them be successful? Then a degree in counseling is perfect for you. By taking classes online at any accredited college across the nation, you can get your associate's, bachelor's, master's, and any certification you need to enter a rewarding and lucrative career field. Online colleges offer flexibility so that you can work full-time and complete your entire degree from the comfort of your own home.
It is important that you choose a college that has proper accreditation so that you will qualify to be a licensed counselor in whichever state you want to work in. Undergraduate degree programs can be accredited by a number of different boards, so it is important to check with your local and state requirements to ensure the program will prepare you to take the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) exam. If you decide to get a master's degree, then be sure that the program is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).
During your counseling program you will be exposed to a number of different areas of counseling, including marriage and family therapy, child services, social work, substance abuse and addiction, mental health, and career counseling. Coursework will include psychology, sociology, alcohol and drug counseling, human growth and development, psychotherapy, group counseling and dynamics, human sexuality, and ethical counseling. Depending on your state, however, you will need to obtain a master's degree in order to become a licensed counselor. Master's degree programs will allow you to further your education in advanced subjects and prepare you to go on and complete your state license or national certification exam. When students graduate with a master's degree they will typically be hired in their area of specialty and continue their education while they work in order to obtain a doctorate degree, which can be done entirely online as well. These programs will give you many more jobs options and will increase your potential salary.
Becoming a counselor offers many different employment opportunities. Because of this, it is important that you choose a specialty you are most passionate about. Certification varies from state by state and also depending on the type of certification or licensure that you are interested in. You can get certified to be a mental health counselor, school counselor, rehabilitation counselor, pastoral counselor, expressive arts counselor, and many more. No matter which specialty you are most passionate about, you will be able to influence lives for the better as a licensed counselor.