Distance Learning College Degree Programs in School Counseling

Get info about online programs in school counseling. Read about program requirements, course topics and degree levels, as well as career options for graduates of these programs.

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Essential Information

Master's degree in school counseling programs are offered at a number of universities across the country. These programs are available online, although the hands-on nature of this field may mean on-campus visits and internships. Hybrid programs are the most common. Prospective students will need at least a bachelor's degree, along with other common admissions materials, such as recommendations and GRE scores. Once students have acquired this degree, they may then seek employment as counselors in academic settings.

Master's Degree in School Counseling

A master's degree in school counseling is generally designed for students wishing to become licensed counselors in K-12 schools. Online programs in this field are widely available through 4-year colleges and universities. The curriculum focuses on counseling theories and practices specifically used in working with children and teens. Due to the nature of this line of work, students often complete some on-campus work, in addition to an internship.

Those interested in entering this kind of program must have a bachelor's degree to be eligible for admission. GRE scores, recommendation letters and personal statements are also common admission factors. Once enrolled, distance learners can usually earn their master's degree in school counseling in about two years.

Information and Requirements

In distance learning school counseling programs, the online classes are conducted through course management systems, multimedia materials, textbooks and lecture notes. Video conferencing, class chat rooms and discussion boards are often used to hold virtual discussions among classmates and professors.

The bulk of a distance learning school counseling program can be completed online, although some schools require short campus-based residencies at various points in the program. Distance learners should be prepared to take part in an internship to gain supervised experience in school counseling as well. These can normally be arranged at a K-12 school in the student's area.

Common Courses

Like those held on campus, online programs in school counseling are designed to train students to provide educational, personal and social guidance for K-12 students. The curriculum also prepares students to manage and deliver school counseling programs. The topics of the online coursework may include consultation, collaboration and leadership. Distance learners commonly learn about the following areas:

  • Counseling methods
  • Counseling theory
  • Group counseling
  • Life span development
  • Research methods
  • Family processes
  • Vocational assessments
  • Abnormal psychology

Career Information

With a master's degree, professionals are able to pursue work as school counselors, which can be a lucrative and satisfying career. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), school counselors should continue to enjoy solid job prospects for the next decade, thanks in part to rising enrollment numbers at colleges and universities. The BLS states that job opportunities for school and career counselors will grow 8% from 2014-2024, which is about as fast as the national average. In total, approximately 22,500 new school and career counseling jobs will become available. Educational, school, guidance and vocational counselors can expect to earn a median salary of $53,660 per year as of 2015, per the BLS.

School counseling programs at the master's level are available online, though some parts must be done in-person such as campus visits and internships. The program offers courses to provide students with the knowledge needed to help K-12 students with educational, personal and social guidance through school counseling programs.

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