The Benefits of Studying a Masters in Counseling Online
Studying online is becoming a popular option for progressing your career choices, especially due to the recent pandemic issues affecting traditional classroom settings. There is a variety of courses now available online, including higher education such as master’s degrees. This type of learning was often perceived as a purely classroom-based option. Still, with the advancements in educational technology, everything is available at your fingertips rather than the requirement to travel to college or night classes.
One particular option that offers a gateway to careers in the mental health care sector is an online masters in counseling. The demand for individuals with expertise in this field has risen. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has estimated that the industry could grow by 25% between 2019 and 2029, making it significantly higher than the average sector growth rate.
Another positive in the mental health sector is that it is overcoming stigmas, and individuals are reaching out more than ever to get the help they need instead of face issues on their own. So if you’re passionate about social wellbeing and want to help people and communities, undertaking a masters in counseling could open up endless possibilities for your future.
Take a look at the main benefits of studying for a masters in counseling online:
Specialist education for a career in counseling
Most jobs in counseling in the United States require a masters in counseling so getting the best education is vital to securing a career in the field. By studying a specialist course, such as an online masters in counseling, will equip you with the necessary knowledge and skills to develop your career. Many online courses not only provide engaging coursework, but you’ll also get hands-on with in-field practice.
Masters degrees are designed by industry professionals alongside educational institutions to give you the best of both worlds. The faculty and students on the course also have the drive and passion for a career in social wellbeing to support you every step of the way.
Developing skills for the job
An online masters in counseling helps you develop the skills you need for the job at hand. These skills will ensure you go on to provide professional and expert care to help change the lives of people in a range of situations. There are several main areas this type of online covers, including:
Communication is a vital part of successful counseling. A masters in counseling develops your ability to listen, empathize, and engage appropriately. There are essential concepts to learn when improving socialization and boundary setting, and all of these aspects are covered during your studies.
Every client is different, and your studies help you to explore the issues and solutions that affect different cultures. By looking at issues of diversity, equity, and advocacy, you will understand the factors that influence behaviors and functions in community groups.
Understand legal and ethical responsibility
As a counselor, you have an essential role in the health and wellbeing of individuals in your care. However, there is also the business side of counseling that needs to be addressed. While studying for a masters in counseling, you’ll learn the fundamentals of the role of a counselor and explore the legal and ethical areas of this job.
Understanding and learning different approaches to counseling
Once you are registered and licensed to practice, you may decide to specialize in individual counseling or group therapy techniques. Within your study, there’s a chance to delve into different approaches to counseling and how these work in programs. This study also ensures you can analyze data and use relevant information to improve strategies and techniques for your services.
Critical thinking techniques
As a counselor, you will develop, assess, diagnose, and develop a treatment for clients. In order to do this, honing your critical thinking skills is essential. When studying for a master’s, this will open you to a scientific study to improve your knowledge and research skills.
One of the main areas that students find beneficial when undertaking an online masters in counseling is the flexibility it brings. Online learning has come on leaps and bounds over the past decade, and it’s easier than ever to get the qualifications you need in a flexible environment.
Similar to what you expect at lesson-based courses, the attention to detail and expertise is of excellent quality. Plus, you have access to everything when you need it. With flexible learning in an online environment, you can develop your skills and expertise around your current commitments and work and still get great results to further your career.
Some of the key benefits of flexible study include:
Interactive learning on your terms
Lessons are taught in a variety of ways, and assignments include scenario-based projects, webinars, and individual learning. This means you can fit lessons around your schedule, and if you miss anything, it’s all available in your student portal to catch up. The beauty of this also means you can go back over lessons and topics to ensure complete understanding before moving on.
One to one tuition
With flexible study options, you can also book one to one meetings and tuition just as you would in a face-to-face scenario, but instead, it’ll be over a video call. This offers you expert advice and study to help to improve your understanding and overall grades.
24/7 contact options
If you suddenly have a burning question in the middle of the night, you can email your tutor for help. Of course, you might not get an immediate response in this case, but faculty are available by email, phone, or video call throughout your course to provide support and assistance.
Get qualified wherever you are
Location needn’t be an issue when undertaking an online masters in counseling. Traditionally, getting relevant qualifications meant living on campus or traveling to college to study, but with an online option, you can do it from the comfort of your home. What’s more, there’s no scrimping on the quality of the course either. Professional boards accredit many online degrees. If you’re looking to study for a masters in counseling, be sure to look out for suitable courses backed by The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs to ensure you can gain licensing after graduation and training.
A career in counseling is fulfilling
Careers in counseling are said to be one of the Top 10 Best Social Services Jobs, according to U.S News & World Report. Traditionally this career was challenging to break into, as mental health services were limited across states. However, the stigma is breaking down, and more people are reaching out for professional help.
By progressing your career with a masters in counseling, you have the chance to connect with people from all walks of life. You also have the opportunity to stimulate positive change in the many difficult situations individuals face. This role is becoming an important part of society, and it is reported that many mental health care professionals are satisfied with their job.
Numerous career niches
Counseling is a broad term for many career niches. In reality, as a qualified counselor, you will have the chance to specialize in different areas to hone your skills and expertise. There are many ways you can do this, and studying for a masters in counseling with a focus on the area you’d like to pursue is one of the options.
Graduates with masters in counseling degrees work in areas such as colleges, hospitals, medical centers, insurance organizations, and residential care facilities, to name a few. This role is in demand in both private and public settings.
Some of the top choices for a career in counseling include:
- Mental health counselor
- College or school counselor
- Grief counselor
- Substance abuse counselor
- Couples counselor
- Rehabilitation counselor
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary in this area is $46,240 (2019), and the industry is set to grow by 25% between 2019 and 2029. Pay can vary between states, and there may also be a difference in earning potential in the public and private sectors.
Online study is more affordable
One of the things that hold back students from pursuing different career paths is college tuition fees. Traditional lesson-based learning can be expensive, and then you have to factor in living expenses and accommodation alongside these costs. However, with online study, you have a more affordable option. In fact, the affordability of a masters in counseling might surprise you. Plus, you can study around your present commitments and in the comfort of your own home.
Online courses are generally cheaper as resources are available online, so you don’t have to buy hefty books. Of course, the living expenses don’t have to be factored in either. As the course is delivered in a virtual format, you can access everything after timetabled lessons and organize your time more freely to suit your lifestyle.
Fast-track your master’s education
Depending on your circumstances, you can opt to fast track your master’s degree if you have available time. Typical courses take around two years to complete if you’re studying full-time and four years part-time. However, the speed you go at is entirely up to you. Some people can complete a master’s in as little as 18 months. However, this does take a lot of hard work and time, but it’s not out of reach if you’re looking to gain a qualification quickly.
Advance your career while studying
If you’re looking to move up in the social care and mental health sector, studying for a masters in counseling can open up many doors, including counseling roles. The beauty of online study is that you can still earn while you’re learning and improve your career prospects at the same time.
An online masters in counseling is a positive addition to any CV and shows employers that you are determined, passionate, and disciplined to undertake independent study. This type of qualification also highlights the balance between work, study, and a social life, and how well you manage to juggle everything.
Online study improves transferable skills
While a masters in counseling prepares you for a career in this field, online study also brings a host of transferable skills to the table that you can use in the workplace and everyday life.
Some of the main aspects to come from online learning include:
Online learning has improved over the past decade, and this provides students with the skills to learn new ways of study. Courses use everything from webinar technology to video calling to communicate and teach lessons. You will also be using collaborative document software such as Google Drive or in-house options to share information and data. Plus, you can work on assignments in real-time with several collaborators.
By using this technology, you are opening yourself up to key digital skills that can be used in the workplace to improve productivity.
This skill is essential for online study, so, naturally, everything you learn about managing your study, work, and social life can be taken into every area of your lifestyle. You’ll develop techniques to prioritize and adapt to changing situations and create strategies to get the best outcomes of your study without compromising on your downtime.
Working with others virtually
Working with peers and faculty virtually can be more challenging in contrast to face-to-face collaboration. However, by undertaking a masters online, you will adapt to working with others in a virtual setting. Video calls can make this easier, as you form study groups and chat in real-time while being able to view fellow students and tutors.
There are many benefits to online study and numerous qualifications to further your career. Whether you want to work in public social care and wellbeing services or wish to progress to open up your own counseling practice, a master’s degree is a great stepping stone. Why not take a look at the options available and see where the new year could take you?