Become a Mental Health Counselor with an Online Degree
Working as a mental health counselor is one of the most rewarding career choices imaginable. Whether you are helping young children adjust to a new school, helping married couples grow closer to one another or helping individuals who are struggling with emotional issues, you will be a pivotal part of someone's life, and that feeling can be incredible.
To become a mental health counselor you will need to have advanced degrees in the field. Read on to learn more about what it takes to become a mental health counselor, areas that you can work it, attributes of a successful counselor, how to earn your degree online and more.
What it Takes to Become a Mental Health Counselor
Getting started as a mental health counselor in any capacity will require a bachelor's degree, a master's degree, some clinical or internship experience and licenses for practice in your state. Although some colleges and universities do offer an associate or bachelor's degree in mental health counseling, it is not necessary to get your undergraduate degree in this specific field.
A related subject like sociology, psychology or counseling can be a great base to start from. With the right grades during your undergraduate career, you can apply to earn a master's degree in mental health counseling. With a master's degree, you are eligible to take examinations for licensure in your state as well as the National Certified Counselor certification given by the National Board for Certified Counselor Certification, or NBCC.
Attributes of a Successful Counselor
The most successful mental health counselors will have a compassionate personality, great communication skills, the ability to converse with people from all walks of life, diplomacy and a caring nature. It is important that you are able to communicate with patients when they want to discuss things with you, and they should feel comfortable in your presence in order to do so. You should also have the ability to understand their emotions and see their points of view, which is necessary if you really want to help patients with their struggles.
Specific Areas of Study and Practice
Mental health counselors can work in schools with children or teenagers, in nursing homes, as private marriage counselors, with large corporations, in rehabilitation or suicide clinics or in a private practice with a range of different patients.
When you get to the stage of earning your master's degree in mental health counseling, you will need to decide which area interests you most. Then you can focus on that area specifically to better prepare you for your career path.
Many licensed counselors will work in salaried positions at elementary schools, high schools or colleges to help students transition well and prepare for the next phase in their life. Some corporations even have onsite counselors where employees can seek help whenever necessary or after being terminated from their positions.
Earning Your Degrees Online
Individuals studying to become mental health counselors can save money and time by earning their degrees online whenever possible. At the undergraduate level, online degrees will prevent you from needing daily commutes, can allow you to work and study at the same time and will often be more affordable than a traditional college course program.
At the master's level, it is rare to find completely online mental health counseling degrees. However, many courses include one year of online study and then classroom instruction and clinical internships for the second year of the degree program.
It can take the average student roughly six or seven years to become a licensed mental health counselor, but the rewards and satisfaction of this career are wonderful.
Today's online education programs are designed with individuals just like you in mind. You can earn a degree that makes an immediate impact on your career. Find out how you can begin today to pave the way for career advancement by taking your degree to the next level. Accredited Online Colleges and Universities provide the programs that fit your busy professional lifestyle while allowing you to reach your educational and professional goals.