Online Counseling Psychology Degrees and Programs
Counseling psychology is a subfield of psychology that deals with the emotional, mental, and behavioral problems of individuals, families, and groups. It involves assessing, diagnosing, treating, and preventing psychological disorders and helps people overcome their emotional and mental difficulties.
If you aspire to work in the counseling psychology field, it’s necessary to have a psychology degree. An online degree in counseling psychology will equip you with the knowledge, skills, and experience needed to provide effective counseling services.
Becoming a counseling psychologist requires a master’s degree at minimum, but a doctorate will make you more competitive in the job market. Prior to either degree, completion of a Bachelor’s degree at the undergraduate level is necessary.
No matter which online program you choose, ensure it is accredited by a reputable organization. The Counsel for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs and the American Psychological Association are two well-known accrediting bodies.
While it’s uncommon for colleges to offer a bachelor’s degree specifically in counseling psychology, bachelor’s programs in psychology or in counseling are widely available. You could alternatively pursue a bachelor’s in another, similar field.
Completing an online bachelor’s degree typically takes four years. The initial two years comprising of fundamental psychology courses and general education requirements, followed by intermediate psychology courses and electives during the latter two years.
To practice as a counseling psychologist, a master’s degree in counseling psychology is required. All states have a minimum educational requirement for licensure, and the minimum is an accredited master’s program.
An online master’s degree in psychology is sufficient to practice counseling psychology. You can enroll in a master’s in counseling psychology, which will have a heavier counseling emphasis, but it’s not absolutely necessary.
A master’s degree in psychology involves one to two years of study, which includes a combination of coursework and an internship component (practicum). Both a general program and a counseling program will have many different psychology courses that you can take. A counseling program will likely have a few more required counseling-focused classes. When considering online programs, make sure that the one you are applying to has options for completing clinical hours within your own community.
A graduate certificate offers the opportunity for further specialization. Obtaining a grad certificate in counseling psychology online can give you more counseling-specific training if you completed a general counseling master’s or a master’s in another counseling specialty. You may also complete a graduate certificate program to further specialize in working with a specific population. Online graduate certificates take six months to one year to complete.
Getting a doctorate degree in counseling psychology online can open doors to high-level leadership positions and potential teaching opportunities. It can increase your income and impact but isn’t a prerequisite for working as a counselor.
Most counseling psychologists who pursue a doctorate enroll in a doctor of psychology (Psy.D.) degree program. This type of program is heavily focused on practical work with clients. During the online program, students spend time studying advanced-level clinical concepts and receive hands-on training through direct counseling work with clients within their own community. The Psy.D. degree typically takes three years to complete.
Some counseling psychologists opt for a doctor of philosophy (Ph.D.) degree, which places a greater emphasis on research. This program includes a mix of direct work with clients and research-focused activities, including running studies, analyzing data, and writing a dissertation. Ph.D. programs in counseling psychology typically require two years of coursework and an additional two to four years for research and dissertation writing.
Both doctorate programs offer advanced-level study in counseling psychology and prepare students for licensure. They can be in addition to, or instead of, a master’s degree.
|Bachelor’s Degree||Master’s Degree||Graduate Certificate||Ph.D. or PsyD|
|I am interested in gaining entry-level experience in counseling psychology||x|
|I want to get started in my counseling psychology career before I pursue more education||x|
|I want to pursue a non-patient-facing role in counseling psychology||x||x|
|I want to pursue or switch to a niche psychology specialty||x||x|
|I already have a psychology degree and want to gain specialized knowledge||x||x|
|I want to conduct research in psychology||x||x|
|I want to become a licensed psychologist and treat patients||x|
|I want to work in academia||x|
The coursework you complete will become more focused on counseling psychology as you move through the various degrees. Some examples of courses include:
- Bachelor’s Degree: ~120 credits; Intro to Psychology, Human Development, Clinical Psychology
- Master’s Degree: ~30-60 credits; Individual Interventions, Group Counseling, Psychopathology
- Graduate Certificate: ~12-20 credits; Individual Interventions, Group Counseling, Psychopathology
- Doctorate Degree: ~80-120 credits; Application of Counseling Methods, Vocational Psychology
A crucial aspect of any counseling psychology degree program is the practical component known as a “practicum.” The clinical placement component offers students the opportunity to gain practical experience in a supervised setting and work directly with clients.
Typically, master’s programs in counseling psychology accredited by professional organizations require at least 600 hours of clinical experience, while Psy.D. programs in this field mandate a minimum of 1,500 hours. However, it’s not uncommon for specialized counseling psychology programs to have higher practical experience requirements.
For students enrolled in an online program, job postings, and personal networks may be the best options for locating clinical opportunities.
Looking for an online or campus-based counseling psychology degree program near you? Browse our state-by-state school listings below.
Jump to Your State Listings
- Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology with a concentration in Integral Counseling Psychology Campus
- Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology Campus
- Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology with a concentration in Community Mental Health Campus
- Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology with a concentration in Somatic Psychology Campus
La Mirada, CA 90639-0001
Daytona Beach, FL 32114-3099
Chicago, IL 60654
Louisville, KY 40292-0001
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467
Framingham, MA 01701-9101
- Master's in Counseling Psychology Campus
- Master's in Counseling Psychology-Family Psychology Concentration Campus
- Master's in Counseling Psychology-Co-Occurring Disorders Concentration Campus
Saint Paul, MN 55105-1078
- Counseling and Community Psychology - Bachelor of Science Campus
- Counseling and Community Psychology - Bachelor of Science (Online) Online
Las Cruces, NM 88003-8001
- Counseling Psychology, M.S. Campus
- Counseling Psychology, Correctional Counseling, M.S. Campus
- Art Therapy concentration in the M.S. in Counseling Psychology Campus
Philadelphia, PA 19114-2009
Clarksville, TN 37044
Victoria, TX 77901
- Ph.D. in Counseling & Psychological Studies Online
- Ph.D. in Counseling & Psychological Studies - Grief Counseling Online
- Ph.D. in Counseling & Psychological Studies - Human Services Counseling Online
- Ph.D. in Counseling & Psychological Studies - Human Services for Student Affairs Online
- Ph.D. in Counseling & Psychological Studies - International Online
- Ph.D. in Counseling & Psychological Studies - Life Coaching Online
- Ph.D. in Counseling & Psychological Studies - Trauma & Crisis Counseling Online
Virginia Beach, VA 23464
Seattle, WA 98121
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