Masters in Guidance Counseling Degree Program Overview

Master's programs in guidance counseling offer professional training and monitor experiential learning to those interested in becoming guidance counselors. They learn how to provide personal, educational and vocational support to school students.

Essential Information

Master's degree programs in guidance counseling provide instruction in counseling theory, interviewing techniques and assessment tools for working with primary and secondary students. Some programs are designed for certified teachers who want to be guidance counselors in public schools. There are some online programs available, but most master's degree programs in guidance counseling require students to participate in supervised counseling session for practical hands-on training and experience.

Students can choose from a Master of Arts, Master of Science or Master of Education degree. Applicants will need a bachelor's degree and GRE scores. Often admissions will ask candidates to include a personal statement about work history and reasons for pursuing a master's degree in guidance counseling.

Master's Degrees in Guidance Counseling

Guidance counselors assist students with career planning, course selection and personal problems. A master's degree in guidance counseling prepares future counselors for these multiple roles through a diverse range of coursework. Courses in a master's program may include:

  • Guidance counseling theory and technique
  • Human growth and development
  • Student appraisal
  • Educational planning
  • Vocational counseling theory
  • Group counseling theory

Salary Information and Employment Outlook

There were approximately 273,400educational, guidance, school and vocational counselors employed in 2014, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) ( Between 2014 and 2024, this number is expected to grow 8% as student enrollment expands at all levels, college students request more career guidance and rehabilitation centers need more career counselors. This same occupation earned a median annual wage of $53,660 annually as of May 2015.

Certification and Continuing Education Information

Requirements regarding licensure for guidance counselors vary by state. Many states require guidance counselors to have a master's degree and obtain state certification. Some states have less stringent regulations, but most require some coursework. Individuals seeking career advancement or professional research opportunities can pursue a Ph.D. in guidance counseling.

A master's degree in guidance counseling provides in-depth study of counseling theory and technique to prepare students to work with primary and secondary school students. Graduates will need to meet their state's licensure requirements, and can pursue a Ph.D. in guidance counseling if they so choose.

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