Online master's degree programs in school counseling provide training and instruction in the methods used to create and apply school-based counseling programs. Graduate students in school counseling programs are commonly taught techniques for counseling individuals and groups within culturally and economically diverse populations. Standard courses are offered fully online. Master's degrees available include a Master of Arts, Master of Science and Master of Education.
Prospective students must have a bachelor's degree, which may need to include some amount of social science coursework. Some schools also expect applicants to have professional or volunteer experience relevant to the field.
Often students who complete an online master's degree program in school counseling are qualified for a state-issued license; however, state requirements can vary, and some may require additional testing, education or experience such as an internship before granting a license. Students should ensure that an online program fits the licensure requirements in their area.
Master of Arts (M.A.) in Counseling - K-12 School Emphasis
This type of master's degree program can normally be taken via video conferencing and online lectures, but might also require brief campus visits. Coursework can include classes in management of school counseling programs, multicultural counseling and ethics in counseling.
Master of Science (M.S.) in School Counseling
Some of the schools that offer this distance learning master's degree program allow students to complete classes on a part-time basis with live, online classes held in the evening. Courses often consist of assessment and intervention of behavioral and educational issues, research and methodological foundations and career development programs.
Master of Education (M.Ed.) in School Counseling
In many cases, this degree program meets the academic requirements for state licensure as a school guidance counselor. This portion of the licensing process may be augmented by the college or university's distance education program, with online chats assisting students through their trial period. Classes often include studies of counseling theory and practice, medical and psychological aspects of disabilities and abnormal psychology.
Most courses in online master of school counseling degree programs make use of traditional Internet communication technologies, such as email, video conferencing, discussion boards, and video and audio podcasts. In addition to their online studies, graduate students will likely be required to complete an internship at a local school prior to graduation. These internships are meant to give students supervised experiences in professional practices, assessment and consultation, and teaching in a school counseling environment. Students need to make sure that the internship they choose meets the department's established criteria. Many schools provide students with assistance in securing a satisfactory internship.
School counseling students can earn master's degrees completely online, though they may be required to complete an internship as well. It's important that students are aware of state licensure requirements, and whether or not the online master's program they choose can help them meet those requirements.