Graduate students who favor a less clinical approach to helping others might find that enrollong in a Masters in Counseling Psychology Program may help prepare them for a variety of potentially rewarding career paths, as well as offer a basis for further studies in the field. As a general rule, psychologists need a doctoral degree or specialist degree in psychology, though a Master’s Degree may be sufficient for some positions; a Masters in Counseling Psychology Degree may be part of a longer-term academic and professional plan for some students.
Masters in Counseling Psychology: Program Basics
Counseling psychology is a specialization within psychology that encompasses research and applied work in several domains: counseling process and outcome; supervision and training; career development and counseling; and prevention and health. Some unifying themes in this branch of psychology include a focus on the client’s assets and strengths, their environment interactions, educational and career development, and personalities.
Most Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology programs are 2-year, approximately 90 credit programs and many graduate schools have part-time or online courses in order to accommodate working professionals. Admissions protocols vary between universities, however completion of an undergraduate degree is a requirement, and some programs may look for a candidate with a background in a related field such as psychology or counseling.
A typical Masters in Counseling Psychology program may include:
- Entry- level review courses (e.g. counseling theory and application)
- Core courses (e.g. mental health, environmental influences and contexts, behavioral and individual differences, cognition)
- Electives in special applications counseling (e.g. addictions, substance abuse, mental health).
Types of Counseling Psychology Masters Programs
There are essentially two tracks for Masters in Counseling Degrees; the Master of Arts (MA) in Counseling Psychology and the Master of Science (MS) in Counseling Psychology. The one you choose may reflect your undergraduate background (BA or BS in Counseling Psychology for instance) or the career you aspire to pursue.
MA in Counseling Psychology
The MA in Counseling Psychology may be a good fit for students with a more varied educational background (such as social work) and usually has a broader scope of study. Counseling Psychology MA programs also commonly require a thesis or an extensive research project Graduates from an MA in Counseling Psychology program may continue to obtain their counselor’s license, but also may choose to pursue a career path related to teaching, research, or further education by pursuing a doctorate degree such as a PhD in Counseling Psychology.
MS in Counseling Psychology
The MS in Counseling Psychology has a slightly different approach; students pursuing an MS commonly have a Bachelor’s in psychology, and enter the MS program with the intention that they would like work in a counseling environment with patients. Sometimes this may be a stepping stone to a PsyD, depending on whether a student aspires to practice as a counseling Psychologist.
How To Find A Masters in Counseling Psychology Program
Reviewing options for Counseling Psychology Masters Programs is easy on GradSchools.com. Start with a location search; simply enter a city, state or country to determine where these programs are offered. Next, decide on the learning format. Either search for accredited colleges and universities to begin pursuing your Master’s in Counseling Psychology on campus, or opt for distance learning. Online study, whether in a full time or hybrid format might be a good fit for current professionals who are trying to advance their education while balancing a busy schedule.