Many students choose to pursue an online master's degree in grief counseling program, as it provides freedom and flexibility in comparison to in-person coursework. Students will learn the necessary counseling skills and appropriate techniques to better counsel patients who seek emotional support related to loss, bereavement, and recovery. Below we will focus on general program information and typical courses, as well as careers that can be considered after completion of the degree.
General Master's Degree in Grief Counseling Program Information
Online master's degrees in grief counseling typically require approximately 30-36 credits and may be completed through full- or part-time study. A thesis or capstone project is usually required. A grief counselor is specially trained to use techniques and strategies to help individuals overcome their struggles with loss and recover with ease and resilience, and the following types of courses are often completed.
Death and Dying
These courses cover areas such as death, dying and bereavement and how each idea becomes a central experience for many human beings. Classes in death and dying are intended to allow students the chance to better understand the realities created by bereavement and death, and they provide the necessary education in observation. Students will learn the importance of having their own understanding of death and bereavement so that they can better assist patients going through these circumstances.
Mental Health and Wellness
This is an essential area of study for becoming a grief counselor. The goal of the mental health and wellness courses is to help students understand the importance of various health and wellness practices. The student will experience a basic overview of mental health disorders and be able to incorporate the treatment of those disorders into their own strategy for counseling.
Grief and Bereavement Therapy
Grief and bereavement therapy courses are intended to go through the history of grief therapy and the research acquired over the years. Grief therapy is intended to help students identify and resolve any issues that may arise due to separation from a loved one through loss. These classes focus on the importance of mourning, as well as identifying the most common emotions associated with grief.
Research methods courses will be helpful for future grief counselors, as they will provide them with opportunities to continue to learn in their chosen field of study. Understanding the research methods available can help prospective counselors write research proposals and papers necessary for their degree. These classes will also provide an overview of data analysis which may be useful throughout a counselor's career.
Ethics and End of Life
Prospective counselors will learn to confront mortality head on in ethics and end of life courses, which will also provide focus on areas of existence such as illness and how to process death. These classes will help potential counselors understand the meaning behind life and death and study the fragility of life.
Career and Job Options with a Master's Degree in Grief Counseling
There are several career possibilities for students pursuing an online master's degree in grief counseling. These careers may require additional areas of study within the master's degree coursework.
Grief counselors specialize in helping individuals who are struggling through the grieving process. They can assist people throughout loss in order to grieve in a healthy and thorough way. These counselors can work in a hospital, hospice, family services agency or even be called for on-site crisis management as a consultant.
A bereavement specialist focuses on issues such as end-of-life or loss through death. A specialist in bereavement helps individuals who are struggling with loss of a loved one in order to move forward through the event in a healthy way. This can involve proper mourning techniques or healthy strategies to incorporate into daily life to work through the loss.
Private Grief Counselor
A private grief counselor usually works within a private office or private practice in order to help individuals who are grieving. Similar to that of a grief counselor, a private grief counselor tends to work one-on-one on a more regular basis with select patients rather than in a larger setting. Private grief counselors can still be used as on-site crisis management counselors if a circumstance should arise.
A thanatologist specializes in areas of death and dying as well as the psychological techniques used when dealing with death. A thanatologist uses his or her educational background in dying and bereavement and brings it into the field for day-to-day use. It is common for a thanatologist to have studied bodily changes, the post-mortem period, and other forensic aspects of dying.
A researcher focuses on gaining information and data based on death, dying and bereavement. A researcher can help compile information that will benefit a grief counselor, or submit their research and findings to journals and periodicals in order to continue expanding the area of study relating to grief. Research is crucial in fields such as grief counseling in order to introduce new techniques and strategies.
Online Master's Degree in Grief Counseling Admittance Requirements
Admission requirements for an online master's degree in grief counseling will vary depending on the institution where a student chooses to enroll. While some schools may require that a student completes a specific undergraduate field of study before pursuing his or her master's, other schools may have a generalized area of study as a prerequisite. Admission requirements will include a completed application for the program, payment of the application fee, any applicable letters of recommendation and undergraduate transcripts. Some schools may have minimum GPA requirements or ask for GRE results.
Obtaining an online master's degree in grief counseling is similar to obtaining the same degree in-person at a university or college campus. However, having the freedom to complete coursework at home can benefit students who have other obligations of their time, but still prepares them for careers in the field.