Master of Psychology: Counseling Psychology Degree Overview

Oct 09, 2019

A Master of Science in Counseling Psychology degree program can prepare graduates to provide various kinds of counseling and intervention services to individuals, families and groups from diverse backgrounds. Various specializations, such as child assessments and trauma treatment are available.

Essential Information

In counseling psychology, students often pursue specialization tracks such as working with adults or adolescents, child assessment, adult development or trauma treatment. Counseling master's programs can typically be completed in two years and include a clinical internship lasting up to a year. A master's degree alone is typically not sufficient for becoming a licensed psychologist, since most states require licensure candidates to hold a doctorate. Graduates may continue on to a doctoral program or pursue other roles in the field.

Master of Psychology: Counseling

It is typical to have a bachelor's in counseling or psychology prior to enrolling in a master's degree program. Schools typically require a transcript, GRE scores, and possibly Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores.

Many programs base their curriculum on Evidence Based Practices (EBP), founded in scientific evidence and clinical observation. Courses may be divided into modules covering specific subjects. These can be EBP modules, core psychology courses, research, clinical assessment or intervention. Other topics may include:

  • Adolescent therapy
  • Psychological assessment
  • Clinical practice
  • Counseling methods
  • Human growth and development
  • Organizational behavior

Popular Career Options

Counseling psychologists must meet certification and licensing requirements in the state in which they reside. A doctoral degree, approved internship or up to two years of professional experience are generally required. Some states may license a psychologist with a master's degree, though counseling psychologists are commonly required to hold a doctorate. Graduates of master's degree programs can work in various clinical settings including:

  • Clinics
  • Schools
  • Health care clinics
  • Hospitals
  • Community centers

Salary and Career Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has projected 14% job growth for psychologists in general from 2018 to 2028. In 2018, the BLS listed a median annual salary of $76,990 for counseling, clinical and school psychologists. Elementary and secondary schools were the most common employer of counseling psychologists, while offices of other health practitioners paid the highest wages, with a mean annual wage of $96,930.

Continuing Education Information

Graduates of an M.S. degree program often go on to earn a doctoral degree in their chosen field of study. Graduates can earn certification in 13 specific areas from the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP). These include certification in forensics, group, clinical health, rehabilitation, couples and family.

Those professionals who choose to obtain a master of psychology degree in counseling psychology will learn about counseling and intervention services that can be used in settings such as clinics, schools, and hospitals. Graduates may need to be certified, so it is important for students to be aware of state requirements.

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