Many schools offer master's degree programs in high school counseling that include online courses. Some programs allow students to access lectures and class materials at any time, while others have established class times at which students must log in. While coursework can be completed entirely online, all counseling degree programs require in-person attendance for mandatory clinical experiences and internships.
The minimum admissions requirement is a bachelor's degree. Once enrolled, students study assessment methods and learn ways to help others with a variety of problems and issues. They examine the role of a school counselor, learn about the ethical and legal issues counselors face and explore case studies to learn about various counseling issues and solutions.
A master's degree in counseling is required for licensing as a public school counselor in most states. Some states require teaching experience or a teaching license as well.
Master's Degree in High School Counseling
Online high school counseling graduate students learn to assist students in social, cognitive, behavioral and structural areas, and also to address problems or special needs. Counselors also learn to help students assess their personalities, abilities and talents through methods of evaluation. These skills help students set academic and career goals. Typically, prospective students must possess a bachelor's degree and may be required to take an admissions test to enter a master's degree counseling program.
Program Information and Requirements
Most master's degree programs in counseling take between two and two and a half years to complete. Some offer online classes 24 hours a day, while others hold sessions only at certain times. Many programs offer online courses but still require on-campus attendance for practical experience.
To qualify for state certification, most programs include a portion of clinical work that needs to be completed in a counseling setting. Support services such as advising, career counseling, financial aid and tutoring are normally available either online or in-person, depending on the school.
To participate in online classes, access to a personal computer and Internet service is required. In addition, most schools require proficiency in a word processing program, e-mail and Internet research. Special software may be required for access to courses, lectures, tests and communication tools.
List of Common Counseling Courses
Online high school counseling students are required to complete a typical minimum of 48 to 50 credits to graduate. A thesis may also be required or offered as an option in lieu of certain electives.
Counseling intervention study and analysis based on theoretical models are learned in this course using various study tools. Application of theory through role play, video tapes and actual counseling sessions teaches students how to deal with individual student needs.
Ethical and Professional Counseling Issues
General studies in legal, professional and ethical issues in schools are covered. Concentration is placed on the Codes of Ethics and Standard of Practice of the American Counseling Association.
Test interpretation and various methods of evaluation in counseling are learned and practiced. Emphasis is placed on occupational and educational achievement, intellectual aptitude and ability, making decisions in careers and personality.
Overall employment of school and career counselors is expected to grow by 8% from 2014 to 2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). However, school budget constraints may hurt the job growth for school counselors, although many education experts consider counselors necessary to student success.
Online master's degree programs for aspiring high school counselors combine theoretical coursework that is delivered through a virtual classroom with real-world internships and clinical experiences in school settings. These programs can help prepare them to take the licensure exams necessary to get a job in the field.