West Virginia Masters in Counseling and Therapy Campus Programs
Are you interested in finding a Masters Degree in Counseling and Therapy? If so, there are a variety of accredited graduate schools that offer 2-year graduate degrees on campus. If your aspiration is to work towards practicing as a licensed professional counselor or therapist, one of the steps to accomplish is a Master’s Degree.[i] If you are motivated by group discussion, participation and prefer learning in a face-to-face setting, the traditional graduate school experience is worth considering.
Masters Degree in Counseling: Basics
While there are some graduate counseling schools that may have a combined Bachelor’s and Master’s program that may take 5 years, the average Master’s Degree in Counseling can take about two years of full-time study. In the US, most states and employers require counselors to become licensed. Licensure typically requires completion of a master's degree program followed by 2,000 – 4000 hours of supervised clinical internship, qualifying scores on state-administered examinations, and the fulfillment of continuing career education requirements once you've established a counseling career[ii].
DID YOU KNOW? 62% of Clinical Mental Health Counselors report holding a Master’s Degree. This group includes Behavior Support Specialists (BSS) and Mental Health Therapists.[iii]
If you are looking for an accredited program or graduate school for counseling, the principal agency is CACREP – The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs. CACREP accredits master’s degree programs in[iv]:
- Addictions Counseling
- Career Counseling
- Clinical Mental Health Counseling
- Marriage, Couple and Family Counseling
- School Counseling
- Student Affairs and College Counseling
Why Consider an On-Campus Counseling Master’s Program?
Apart from the established fact that earning a Masters Degree in Counseling is a necessary academic step if your goal is to work as a Licensed Professional Counselor or Marriage and Family Therapist, studying on campus may have potential advantages over distance-learning. Here are a few points to consider as you think about going to graduate school for a counseling degree:
Scheduling: For some students, taking class at scheduled times helps to prepare them for a future job schedule where a routine and commitment are involved. For others, it is access to libraries, laboratories, professors, and interpersonal relationships that might develop that is a motivating factor.
Research: For students who have to write a thesis, using the research libraries and meeting with faculty advisors in person may be important to developing ideas and finding the right material.
Access: From gymnasiums to libraries and student services, attending graduate school gives you access to their facilities and services
Participation: Some students may find graduate school a great time to network, participate in college projects or activities, or build a resume.
Location: Whether you want to earn your Master’s Degree in Counseling in a specific city, country, or state, you can consider an exciting change of environment or a comforting status quo. What you do want to do is search for the graduate school with the type of program that appeals to you personally and professionally.
Motivation: Some students perform better in a social learning setting where they can take their seminars in real time, brainstorm or engage in classroom discussion or just meet a friend for a cup of coffee. These things may make the rigors of study pass easier.
M.A. vs M.S. in Counseling
Master’s Degree in Counseling programs are available in several specializations as well as offered as Master of Arts and Master of Science. Usually, the type of educational background you have will and the type of future career goals you have will help steer you to your graduate degree.
Master of Arts Degree in Counseling
Typically, the M.A. in Counseling is the next degree after a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Liberal Arts or another non-science undergraduate degree. Courses may be more generalized and have a focus in liberal arts with the goal of producing future scholars or teachers. M.A. programs typically require a thesis, and can be a stepping stone to a Ph.D. which is also a research degree. M.A. Graduates do not tend to pursue licensing even though they can apply for a counseling license with their degree.
Master of Science Degree in Counseling
On the other hand, the Master of Science may be the next academic degree for students who have obtained a Bachelor of Science in Counseling or Bachelors in Psychology. There is usually more of a quantitative approach (statistics, science) than the observational emphasis of a Master of Arts. Students usually choose a specialty if they plan on seeking work within a specific setting (school, clinic). Master of Science graduates may then move onto completing the clinical internship component necessary to earn their license.
Graduates having obtained their Master’s Degree in Counseling may decide to earn a doctoral degree. Some may find the addition of a Post-Masters certificate fulfilling while others may seek a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology or a Doctor of Marriage and Family Therapy.
Take the Next Step
Today’s graduate student might be tomorrow’s counselor or therapist, helping someone recover from an addiction, work through depression, or find renewed love through couple’s counseling. Why not review sponsored program listings to help you find the Master’s Degree in Counseling program and graduate school that aligns with your intentions? Some of these options could include Master of Science in Counseling Psychology (MSCP), Mental Health Counseling M.S. or M.A. in Counseling Psychology Program. Don’t forget to request more information and visit the prospective schools’ sites to help you make your decision.
sources: [i] bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/mental-health-counselors-and-marriage-and-family-therapists.htm | [ii] bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/mental-health-counselors-and-marriage-and-family-therapists.htm |[iii] onetonline.org/link/summary/21-1014.00[iv] cacrep.org/for-students/