Individuals who are interested in both the fields of education and counseling may wish to consider pursuing a master's degree in educational counseling or school counseling. These programs are widely available online. We will look at the components and requirements of these programs in detail.
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Online Master's Degrees in Educational Counseling
Online master's degrees in educational, or school, counseling are not hard to find, and due to the nature of this field, will understandably include some type of required internship or onsite experience. Ranging from approximately 39-60 hours, depending on state requirements, these programs are usually available as master of science, master of arts, or master of education degrees. All of these programs prepare students for careers as school counselors and provide students with instruction in topics related to careers, bullying, guidance counseling, and dealing with at-risk youths, such as the courses outlined below.
Introduction/Foundation of School Counseling
In this course, students will gain a broad understanding of the role of a school counselor in an educational setting. They will learn how school counseling programs can be set up, ways to interact with students as well as other educational professionals, and appropriate methods for dealing with common issues in school counseling. The course will also provide an overview of ethical and legal issues in school counseling.
Advanced Topics in School Counseling
Building on the introductory course, a class in advanced topics in school counseling will cover how to create effective programs in greater detail and will focus on the national standards for school counseling. This course will also focus on how to manage crises with students who have more sensitive issues to handle, as well as how to be an advocate for those who need help. Students will learn more advanced counseling methods and theories in order to effectively handle a greater variety of problems.
School Counseling Program Development and Management
In this course, students will learn about how to develop a school counseling program in detail, as well as methods to maintain and manage an existing program. The class will focus on different structures that have been used for school counseling programs and discuss the components that are necessary to having an effective and well-run program. Topics likely discussed include crisis management, administrative procedure, organizational methods, and time management.
Counseling Children and Adolescents
As school and educational counseling typically deals with children and adolescents, a course in methods for this population group is a typical requirement. Students will learn about the counseling and psychological theories behind providing treatment for this age group. They will learn about well-developed and mentally healthy individuals, as well as those who may have various behavior or emotional disorders.
In this course, students will gain an understanding of group dynamics, with specific attention being paid towards how groups function in counseling sessions. The class will cover the theories behind group methods and how leadership develops in a group. Students in the course will often be required to complete some type of group counseling experience.
Admission Requirements for Online Master's Degrees in Educational Counseling
Admission into master's degree programs in educational counseling typically varies by the program, though in general students will need to submit proof of obtaining a bachelor's degree to be considered for admission. In addition, students will need to submit a completed application form and fee along with their undergraduate transcripts. These programs generally also require that students submit GRE scores along with their application.
Master's degree programs in educational counseling are available online and provide students with both a broad and in-depth overview of the field, preparing them for careers as school counselors.