School counselors address students' behavioral concerns, help with academic challenges, and provide support for emotional issues. Like programs conducted on campus, online school counseling graduate degree programs typically lead to a Master of Education or Master of Arts degree. Taking around two to three years to complete, these distance learning programs focus on preparing students to obtain state licensure for the purpose of practicing in K-12 schools. These programs are available in both entirely online and hybrid formats.
Offered by traditional universities and online schools, school counseling master's programs require applicants to have a bachelor's degree prior to enrollment. GRE scores and recommendation letters are typical admission factors as well.
In most cases, students completing this degree program access and use Blackboard or a similar course management system to complete assignments, listen to and watch lectures, interact with classmates and ask professors questions. While some online school counseling programs can be completed entirely through distance learning, other programs may have some on-site requirements, such as proctored exams or a few short on-campus residencies.
Master's degree programs designed to help students meet licensing requirements have an internship or practicum built into the curriculum. These usually can be arranged to take place at a school local to the student and can require a commitment of around 200 hours of supervised experience in the field.
Online school counseling programs are designed to help graduates meet the needs of children and teens who receive counseling. Some typical distance learning courses in this field of study include the following:
- Human Development and Behavior Research
- Career Development and Counseling
- Multicultural Psychology and Counseling
- Testing, Measuring and Assessing Instruction Techniques
- Counseling and Guidance with Children
- Planning Curriculum
- Reading and Literacy Curriculum Design
- Psychology of Human Development
- Abnormal Psychology
- Supervision and Counseling in School Settings
A degree in school counseling can lead to several careers. Graduates can work with students of many different ages, providing counseling in family problems, career questions or school problems. Individuals can find careers with job titles that include the following:
- Elementary school counselor
- Middle school counselor
- Post-Secondary school counselor
- Direct of school counseling
- Educational counselor
- Vocational counselor
Individuals interested in an online master's program for school counseling will be able to complete all of the coursework online, though internships or practicums may be needed to meet licensure requirements. Graduates of these programs have the skills and knowledge needed to help students that may have challenges in school, behavior or emotional issues.