What Degree Does a Counselor Need?

Home » Blog » Tips » What Degree Does a Counselor Need?

What Degree Does a Counselor Need?

A mix of science and liberal arts courses is required in most undergraduate degree programs. By your junior year, you should have decided on a concentration—such as psychology, counseling, or human services—and be ready to enroll in electives. If you want to pursue a career in counseling, junior year is a good time to start thinking about graduate school options. You should start looking for counseling programs where you can apply what you’ve learned in core classes or electives from your bachelor’s degree.

A traditional entry point into the field of counseling is a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a concentration in counseling. A four-year undergraduate degree and a graduate degree are required to work as a counselor. A master’s degree is required in most states. You can get into a master’s program if you have a bachelor’s degree in an area other than psychology. You must complete counseling coursework and pass a qualifying exam regardless of your degree. After working in the profession for a while, you can acquire a Ph.D. in the field.

Candidates interested in becoming licensed therapists should look into their state’s standards. Each person must receive a master’s degree in counseling, psychology, or therapy before they can get their licensure.

A minimum of 1,500 hours of professional counseling experience under the supervision of a licensed counselor or therapist is normally required for licensure. A candidate can achieve their desired certificate by passing a licensing exam after meeting the educational and experience requirements. Different states have different licensing requirements. It takes roughly 5-7 years to obtain a license to work as a counselor or therapist.

What Are the Requirements for Becoming a Counsellor?

Counselors’ obligatory licensing and education requirements differ based on their area of practice. A master’s degree in social work, psychology, or counseling is required in most states. Continuing your education can help you prepare for licensure as a marital and family therapist or a clinical mental health counselor, as well as advance your career as a leader in the field. With a high school certificate, you can work as a counselor, but your responsibilities will be limited and your capacity to help clients will be harmed.

Psychology for Children and Adolescents

This course is usually taken as part of a master’s degree program. This course is available in many Ph.D. or Psy.D. programs. The course topics look at the psychological elements that influence human development throughout life. The development of the fetus and childhood are studied by the students. They also look at the transition from adolescence to middle age and death.

Behavioral Analysis

This course is designed to prepare students for careers as clinicians. Students investigate the diagnostic, assessment, and treatment tools and strategies used to diagnose, assess, and treat common behavioral disorders. Descriptive and functional analysis, interviewing techniques, and data collecting are among the topics covered. This course is available in most Psy.D. programs.

What Are the Skills You Will Learn After Completing a Degree to Become a Counsellor?

Interpersonal Communications: Emphasizes how to communicate effectively in a variety of professional and personal circumstances. Perception’s impact on communication, verbal and nonverbal parts of the interaction, listening, dispute resolution, and emotional communication are all explored.

Students learn to describe, identify, and explain human behavior in relation to the environment. Family systems, institutions, organizations, and communities all play a role in the complicated difficulties that different populations face. The course curriculum covers how to use these theories and acquire practical intervention abilities.

Analysis of social problems, prospective remedies, and the repercussions of these problems on individuals and society are covered in this survey of social problems.

Prevention and Crisis Intervention: Students learn how to prevent and intervene in a crisis in a suitable and ethical manner. Learn about the risk factors that lead to crisis situations involving kids, families, and the elderly in a variety of contexts, as well as the differences between intervention and preventative techniques.

Human Services and Social Policy: A look at the connections between social policy, government, and the services offered by human services organizations.
Human Services Case Management: It is taught the necessity of time management as well as how to prioritize and organize data, both of which are essential skills for working with human services clients.

Human Services Delivery: Approaches to planning and evaluating the services provided to clients that are strategic.

Students learn about issues that provide insight into human cognition and behavior, such as what motivates us to research human behavior, ethical decisions, problem-solving, and ideas on memory, learning, intellect, and personality.

Seniors will also complete a Capstone Course for Human Services, which will result in an integrative project that blends their 4-year program’s cumulative learning into a “senior project.”

How to Earn a Master’s Degree in Counseling?

You can specialize in education, mental health, substance abuse, behavioral disorder, or rehabilitation counseling with a master’s degree in counseling. The US Department of Labor predicts a 37 percent rise in job openings for mental health counselors in 2020, as well as increased demand for all types of counselors. Individuals obtaining a master’s degree in counseling will benefit from the industry’s expansion.

A bachelor’s degree is required for admission to accredited master’s-level counseling programs, and some demand particular pre-requisite coursework. Many programs are available in both full-time and part-time formats. In order to seek licensure, students must complete between 2,000 and 4,000 hours of supervised clinical practice in addition to study. Depending on the nature of the graduate program, these hours are sometimes included throughout the master’s degree and sometimes not.

Depending on your chosen degree—whether it’s a Master of Science, Master of Art, or Educational Specialist—and concentration, there is a variety of master’s programs in counseling accessible. General counseling, counseling psychology, marriage and family therapy, school counseling, rehabilitation counseling, art therapy, and other options are all available.

It will take two to three years to obtain a master’s degree. This degree provides a combination of classroom study and hands-on experience. We’ll look at Grand Canyon University’s Master of Science in Professional Counseling program as an example of some of the courses you might study in a master’s counseling program. This certified online private school is located in Arizona.

What Is the Significance of Taking a Degree to Become a Counsellor?

While the education requirements for counselors vary by specialty, most states need a master’s degree in counseling. Advanced degrees are especially beneficial to people interested in marital and family therapy, clinical mental health, or leadership.

Counselors and psychologists research how people interact with one another and with their surroundings. They do so by looking at the cognitive and emotional processes that influence human behavior. They assist individuals in improving their health by conducting research, detecting common ailments, and recommending treatment options.

Psychology careers are expected to grow by 8% between 2020 and 2030, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Jobs in mental health and substance addiction counseling are expected to expand by 23% during the same time period, according to the BLS. Both careers enjoy salary prospects above the national median wage.

A counselor without a graduate degree may have limited responsibilities and may be unable to aid their clients to their maximum potential. You must complete an accredited graduate program in psychology or counseling to get a master’s degree. Purdue University Global’s Bachelor of Science in Human Services is another bachelor’s degree that can lead to a counseling master’s degree. This bachelor’s degree features emphasis areas in Child and Family Welfare, Gerontology, and Human Services Administration (each with four classes). Here’s a sample of the main courses in the program, in addition to the basic courses you’ll take.

Obtaining a master’s degree in counseling might be difficult. Although there are no prerequisites for becoming a counselor, certain jurisdictions may need 2,000 to 3,000 hours of clinical experience. After you’ve completed your graduate degree, you’ll need to get your first license. This license might be thought of as a temporary professional license. Your state’s licensing board will have various requirements for obtaining the appropriate accreditation, but a master’s degree will still be required.

A certificate program is an option if you don’t want to spend years pursuing a degree. These certificates are usually graduate-level, requiring 12 to 25 credits to complete. These certificate programs usually have a specific specialty area, such as trauma counseling, collegiate counseling, or mental health counseling. They’ll also assist you in meeting your state’s licensing standards. A continuing education course can help you acquire a certification if you don’t have a graduate degree.

What Is the Next Step After Getting the Degree to Become a Counsellor?

To practice as a counselor, you will need to receive a license after graduation. A graduate-level degree program will be required of you. After receiving your initial license, several jurisdictions require you to complete an extra year of supervised practice. However, you should keep in mind that entering the area of counseling requires a master’s degree. When considering a career in counseling, the most crucial element to consider is your passion to learn.

A master’s degree in psychology or a doctoral degree in psychology is required to work as a counselor. You can work in this sector even if you don’t have a master’s degree in psychology or counseling. There are a variety of specialist programs to choose from. You can also work as a home health aide or as a high-level assistant in a mental health facility. Only a high school certificate and a graduate-level certification are required for some of these entry-level occupations.

For the majority of positions in the sector, a master’s degree in counseling will be required. The Master’s degree will allow you to specialize in a particular field of counseling and will prepare you to apply for a counseling license in most states. A master’s degree will also allow you to specialize in a particular field of psychology. A master’s in counseling is available from over 800 approved colleges.

While the criteria for a graduate-level psychology degree vary by state, all states have comparable minimal qualifications for becoming a counselor. A master’s degree will give you the information and abilities you need to work in the area, but it is not required to complete the program.
It is advised that you obtain a master’s degree at the very least. Then you might want to enrol for a graduate program in psychology or counseling.

A master’s degree in counselling may be required depending on your state’s licensure requirements. To work in Pennsylvania, you must also obtain a licence. Some states require a master’s degree in counselling, while others demand a doctorate. To work as a counsellor in Pennsylvania, you must pass a basic skills test as well as a counselor-specific examination. The basic skills test is not required for a master’s degree in psychology.


Before they can practise counselling or psychology, they must first obtain a licence. Graduate coursework in the discipline is required for professional licensure.

Most applicants must additionally complete a set of work hours and pass an exam. This procedure is usually carried out at the state level. Counselors might choose from a variety of national alternatives. Location-specific criteria differ. The majority of states discriminate between counselling and psychology certifications.

In California, for example, psychologists are licenced by the Board of Psychology, while counsellors are licenced by the Board of Behavioral Sciences. Candidates must meet initial requirements in each case and renew their licences on a regular basis. For licencing renewal, most states have requirements for continuing education or professional development. Many states also maintain reciprocity agreements for active licenced professionals who are considering relocating.

Although bachelor’s programmes range in terms of course offerings, admission requirements, and organisation, students should expect to find some commonalities. Bachelor’s degree requirements are normally completed in four years of full-time study.

Bachelor’s degrees usually have 120 credits. Research methods in psychology, personality and social processes, and scientific reasoning in psychology are among the topics covered in class. Many colleges provide flexible online formats that allow students to work while pursuing their education.

A bachelor’s degree holder can work in entry-level counselling and therapy positions. Degree-seekers can also advance to master’s level education after completing an undergraduate programme.

About the author

Indu has been educator since last 10 years. She can find all kind of scholarship opportunities in the USA and beyond. She also teach college courses online to help students become better. She is one of the very rare scholarship administrator and her work is amazing.

Leave a Comment