In adolescent counseling degree programs, students gain the skills needed to serve youth who struggle with mental health disorders, school issues, trauma or addiction. Designed to prepare individuals for professional licensing, curriculum includes research-based courses and a required practicum. Lectures cover topics like substance abuse and treatment, intervention practices and group counseling. Hands-on training is received at various locations of interest, including crisis centers, community counseling centers and hospital psychiatric wards. Most enrollees have a concentration in adolescent psychology.
These programs take approximately two years to complete and require a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution, a satisfactory score on a graduate entrance examination, letters of recommendation and a personal statement for admission. A background check may also be necessary.
Master's in Adolescent Counseling
Various courses in adolescent counseling master's programs have the goal of giving students the ability to assess issues and communicate at the adolescent level to build therapeutic trust, such as intervention practices, community and group counseling, and substance abuse and treatment. Other examples of these classes are:
- Child and adolescent development
- Abnormal human behavior
- Cultural awareness
- Life span development
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
Graduates from counseling programs are prepared to help children and adolescents in a variety of roles. Specific positions can include adolescent therapist and school counselor. From 2014-2024, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted 8% employment growth for school and career counselors. The mean annual wage for educational, guidance, vocational and school counselors was $56,490 as of May 2015.
Continuing Education Information
Certification for counselors is voluntary; however, some states accept certification testing as an alternative to a state-mandated licensure exam. Certification is available through the National Board for Certified Counselors and the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification. Continuing education qualifications must be met in order to renew credentials. In regards to licensing, most states require it to work as a counselor. Attainment is usually contingent upon supervised work hours and the passing of an exam.
Degree programs in adolescent counseling are available to students at the master's level of study. Courses in cultural awareness and psychopathology prepare graduates for a career in the field.