Masters In Counseling Psychology – Degree, School, Program

Do you have the gift of listening? Can you make a career out of helping people overcome their problems? Then you might want to invest in a masters in counseling psychology degree.

You’ll be surprised how many people today turn to counseling psychologists to deal with normal problems where they need help to adjust their thinking, behavior and emotions. These can range from problems in relationships, family, work or even school. With a masters in counseling psychology degree, you are trained to guide these individuals to determine the problem, understand the root cause and find ways to resolve their dilemma so they can function normally again. Studies have shown the benefits of dealing with stressful situations by talking them out. And seeking professional counseling has been one successful method to achieve this thus the increased demand for professionals who completed masters in counseling psychology programs.

Training You Need

There’s counseling psychology and there’s clinical psychology. What’s the difference? They are both graduate psychology programs that provide you with skills to understand the human psyche – how a person thinks, behaves, reacts, feels. This knowledge enables you to help people suffering from problems. But a clinical psychologist is more focused on mental health disorders whereas a counseling psychologist guides people in going through problems not related to mental health.

Both programs equip you with counseling skills. But in the end, a clinical psychologist’s competence will extend to diagnosis and treatment of mental health conditions while a counselor’s training does not reach this extent.

There are various counseling psychology graduate programs at the masters level for you to consider. Depending on the schools, they can refer to their programs as mental health counseling, community counseling or general counseling psychology. These are usually programs that give an overview into the profession if you want to pursue this career, especially if you provide direct human services.

Specialties normally fall under the mental health counseling programs and may include:

Educational, career or school
Rehabilitation
Substance abuse
Marriage and Family

When you take up a masters in counseling psychology program, you will be introduced to the following concepts and areas, which you can later consider as concentrations:

addiction/substance abuse
aging
anger management
career issues
depression
marital/relationship problems
self image
stress
suicide

Where To Find Graduate Counseling Programs

Believe it or not, distance learning is a more popular alternative for this field of study. So there are more masters in counseling psychology online programs than there are campus based.

Known online universities like Capella, Walden and Post all offer Masters in Mental Health Counseling programs. Majority of the schools in America have online programs so your choice is varied. However, admission is so rigid because only a handful are accepted each year to allow close mentoring for students.

Like most masters in psychology degrees, these are usually two-year programs that require internship and will award you with a master in arts or a master in science degree. Lately, a master in social work has also been acceptable if you want to become a licensed professional capable of counseling, especially in government agencies.

Argosy University, through its American School of Professional Psychology, has six campuses in California that offer masters in counseling psychology programs. New York has Mercy College with its Masters in Mental Health Counseling program, while Canisius College offers a Counseling and Human Services masteral degree that is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs.

At the University of Northern Colorado, they have a Masters in Arts in Rehabilitation Counseling, one of the newer but in demand careers. Their most attractive feature is offering a blend of online courses and weekend workshops plus supervised practicum and internship hours. Upon completion, graduates will be qualified to become certified rehabilitation counselors.

There are supposedly over a hundred schools in Oregon that offer masters in counseling psychology, but in actuality only four universities have campus programs. These include Pacific University with its MA in Counseling Psychology, Lewis and Clark College that offers a masters in Community Mental Health and concentrates on developing school counselors, George Fox University that has counseling, marriage and family therapy and school counseling, and the Western Evangelical Seminary.

Why is counseling psychology becoming a hot career? Because problems are increasingly becoming complex in a world that is not learning to slow down. For people to get a grip of their life, they seek professional help to resolve personal or career-related issues Besides, the counseling psychology salary isn’t so bad, even if starts out at between $32,000 and $39,000. Prove your skills and you can be earning in the range of $45,000 up to $70,000.

You always have the option to become a licensed clinician by earning a doctorate degree so you can set up private practice and earn even more. But if it’s a profession you wish to explore and think you can be good at, a masters in counseling psychology is a good place to start.

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Steve Douglas

Steve Douglas

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