Salt Lake City Online Masters in Counseling & Therapy

Online Masters in Counseling programs offer working students the opportunity to earn a postgraduate professional degree which is a necessary component of working as a licensed counselor or counseling psychologist.[i] Counseling and therapy are types of treatments that are intended to facilitate well-being for those who are experiencing emotional or behavioral problems or for those who are recovering from addiction, or have a mental health disorder. Aspiring licensed professional counselors (LPCs) learn how to assess, diagnose and treat individuals, couples or groups with specific counseling strategies and techniques. If you have the desire to earn a Master’s degree in Counseling but cannot commute to campus, an online counseling degree warrants consideration.

Online Masters in Counseling

Online Masters in Counseling Program Basics

Online Masters in Counseling degrees are typically 2-year graduate programs which offer students the opportunity to prepare for licensure in their counseling specialization or continue onto a doctoral degree. Depending on the university and your program, you might be required to have first obtained either a Bachelor’s degree in psychology, or a related field. Other admissions protocols vary although commonly an application to graduate school involves submitting a personal essay, reference letters, transcripts, test scores and grade point average.

DID YOU KNOW? 49% of Rehabilitation Counselors have a Master’s degree. This group includes Job Coaches and Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors (VCR).[ii]

Why Consider an Online Counseling Master’s Program?  

An Online Masters in Counseling degree may appeal to students who have family duties, cannot commute or relocate near a CACREP accredited program, or have to balance a job with their education. Since a Master’s degree in Counseling is the minimum education for entry-level counselors and therapists[iii], online counseling degrees offer a certain convenience, in that they are web-based. In other words, you need a computer, you don’t have to be a commuter. Technology makes it possible to access online libraries, communicate via email, online chat forums or use webcams. If your program is 100% online, it means you get access to your courses (prerecorded) 24/7. Study when you can, respect assignment deadlines, and log in wherever you have Internet. This can be convenient, and give you some scheduling flexibility.

Master of Arts or Master of Science in Counseling?

Online Masters in Counseling degrees are available as Master of Arts (M.A.) and Master of Science (M.S.). While both are graduate degrees, they may have somewhat different career path, require different undergraduate backgrounds and somewhat different courses.

Online Master of Arts in Counseling is usually the degree chosen by students with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology or another field. This degree usually entails writing a thesis, and may prepare for a potential research or academic career. On the other hand, an Online Master of Science in Counseling may be chosen by students who have obtained a Bachelor of Science in Psychology or Bachelor of Science in Counseling Psychology. Students typically take this path if they are looking for more of a practice-based career.

Types of Counseling Specialties

In addition to choosing between an M.A. and an M.S. degree, there are a few possibilities for specialization within the field of counseling and therapy. The ones emphasized are those that are accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs (CACREP).[iv] Regardless of whether you are earning an Online Masters in Counseling or going to a traditional campus program, accreditation ensures that the program has met standards of quality established in your profession. This may be important for future employers.[v] Which one is right for you will depend on your interests and primary career ambitions.

Online Addiction Counseling Masters Programs: If you ultimately want to work with individuals and families affected by addictive disorders (alcohol, drugs, gambling).

Online Career Counseling Masters Programs: If you want to help guide people who want to make vocational decisions.

Online Clinical Mental Health Counseling Programs:  If you want to learn how to work with clients who have a range of mental and emotional disorders.

Online Marriage, Couple and Family Counseling Masters Programs: If you want to learn how to work with couples, families and individuals using a family systems perspective.

Online School Counseling Masters Programs: If you are most interested in working with students from kindergarten to high school.

Online Student Affairs and College Counseling Masters Programs: If your goal is to work in higher education and student affairs offices after graduation.

Continued Education

Many of the above specializations can be found at the Ph.D. level. If you have any desire to teach, research or do a combination of both, a doctorate degree is usually required[vi].  If your goal is to practice as a licensed counseling psychologist, either a Ph.D. or a Psy.D. is required[vii].

Take the Next Step

The need for counseling professionals continues to grow as more people have insurance coverage for mental health issues due to recent reforms[viii]. Whether you prefer to use your knowledge in research or to provide counseling services, an Online Masters in Counseling is both a necessary academic step as well as a program format that gives a bit of scheduling freedom. Why not start reviewing the sponsored program listings such as Online M.A. in Education and Human Development in Rehabilitation Counseling, Online Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy, or Online M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. There are other options, and you can contact the prospective colleges and universities for more information. This makes what could be a challenging decision into a more approachable one.  


sources: [i] bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/mental-health-counselors-and-marriage-and-family-therapists.htm |[ii] onetonline.org/link/summary/21-1015.00[iii] bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/mental-health-counselors-and-marriage-and-family-therapists.htm |[iv] cacrep.org/for-students/ |[v] bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/mental-health-counselors-and-marriage-and-family-therapists.htm |[vi] bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/postsecondary-teachers.htm |[vii] bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/psychologists.htm |[viii] bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/mental-health-counselors-and-marriage-and-family-therapists.htm

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