The field of career counseling primarily involves working with students and other clients who are seeking guidance as they try to decide on a career path or need help figuring out how to transition to a new field. For individuals interested in working in this field, obtaining a master's degree in career counseling is a good idea, as it equips individuals with a solid foundation in career counseling theory and practice and will likely help them land a job in the field.
General Information About Career Counseling Master's Degree Programs
Master's degrees in career counseling are generally found within a university's school of education or psychology. They may be offered as a standalone master's degree in career counseling or as a specialization option within a broader degree in counseling or psychology. Regardless, these programs generally require that students complete some of the same courses, like the ones discussed below.
Foundations and Theories in Career Counseling
In a career counseling foundations or theory course, students will be exposed to some of the basic concepts and theories that define the field of career counseling. Students may discuss the structure of work and how that relates to other topics like free-time, family, and education. They will also study how career counseling can be administered to different population groups or groups who may have very specific career concerns.
A course in group counseling will focus on the different types of techniques and methods that counselors employ when working with groups. Students will learn about group counseling theories and how to best apply them depending on the specific group they are working with. Some programs may also require students to participate in a group counseling session.
Research Methods in Career Counseling
Programs generally require that students take some sort of research methods course, in which they will study past research done in the field of career counseling. This course may also focus on teaching students how to design their own research studies according to various methods. Students will learn how to prepare their findings in research articles and reports.
Ethical and Legal Issues in Counseling
A course that focuses on the ethical and legal issues that could arise in counseling is also generally required in these programs. This course will instruct students in different legal issues that are relevant to the field of career counseling. Students may be asked to provide their own analysis to legal and ethical issues so they can know how to respond if they are presented with similar situations in their career.
Multicultural Issues in Counseling
In this course, students will study different theories and previous research regarding how to provide counseling for culturally diverse groups of people. Focus areas could include providing counseling to ethnic and racial minorities and the LGBTQ community. Students will also study the issues and problems that these individuals may encounter in their everyday lives so as best to be able to meet their needs.
Career Counseling Master's Degree Program Admission Requirements
To be admitted into a master's degree program in career counseling, students should check out each individual program they are interested in as the admission requirements can vary. In general, however, these programs require that students submit GRE scores to be considered for admission and some schools also have a minimum GPA of a 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. Programs also require that students have a bachelor's degree, which can usually be in any discipline. Some programs may require that students who do not have an educational background in psychology or counseling complete some prerequisite courses before beginning the master's degree curriculum. When applying, students will also usually need to submit letters of recommendation, school transcripts, and a personal statement.
Master's degree programs in career counseling can prepare students to help others as counselors by equipping them with a solid foundation in career counseling theories and research methods. While these graduate programs vary, students can expect to study topics such as group counseling, diversity and ethics.