Hybrid Counseling Masters programs combine the flexibility of an online counseling degree with a low residency experience of graduate school. Students get to interact with classmates and faculty as well as have access to all the facilities while on-campus. The online component makes it convenient for working professionals to complete assignments and study when they have the time. Courses are usually prerecorded lectures and available through a web portal so all you need is a computer and reliable Internet. Typically, the onsite classes are kept to a minimum through weekend or summer intensives, although this is formatted through each graduate school. Since Counseling is a human-centered field where interpersonal skills are important, a blended online may be your perfect solution to balancing a Master’s Degree in Counseling with the other demands on your schedule.
DID YOU KNOW? 93% of Academic Advisors have a Master's Degree[i]
Hybrid Counseling Masters Programs: Basics
Hybrid Counseling Masters Programs prepare students whose interests are to work as licensed professional marriage, couple and family counselors, student affairs and college counselors, school counselors, clinical mental health counselors, career counselors and addiction counselors. While a blended online program may be formatted differently from traditional campus programs, the average length is 2-years of full-time study beyond the undergraduate degree. Prospective applicants should expect some variance between graduate schools, but typically are required to have their documents in order (school transcripts, grade point average, GRE scores, letters of recommendation, personal essay. Aside from that, if you are not entering a dual degree program (Bachelor’s/Master’s), you need to have obtained a Bachelor’s degree first. Some programs are geared to the student with prior undergraduate study in psychology, while others may be accessible to students who are coming from other disciplines.
Choosing a Master’s Degree in Counseling
Hybrid Counseling Masters Programs may be offered as Master of Arts or Master of Sciences. To a large extent the two primary factors in choosing a degree are:
- Your undergraduate degree (B.A. in English or B.S. in Psychology)
- Your career interests (research, teach, see clients)
Typically, the Master of Arts in Counseling is suited for those students with a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts, English or a non-science Psychology degree. The M.A. usually has a less specific orientation than the M.S. and graduates may go on to seek licensure but may be looking for more of an academic career. A thesis is often required for graduation. On the opposite side, a Master of Science in Counseling tends to be more technical and sought by the students with Bachelor of Science in Psychology. After graduation, these students may proceed to focus on completing their clinical hours so they can seek licensure.
What to Look for in a Hybrid Master’s Program in Counseling?
First off, Counseling is a regulated field, meaning you need to be licensed in your area in order to work as a counselor. Many of todays’ savvy employers are looking for your talents but prefer hiring graduates from a program accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs (CACREP).[ii] Their scope is accreditation for Master’s degree programs Addiction, Career, Clinical Mental Health, Marriage-Couple-Family, School, Student Affairs and College Counseling.[iii]