If you are like many other students enrolling in online MA programs, you might be interested to learn that the online MA in Mental Health Counseling is one of the most popular options for upcoming college students.

What Can You Do with a Mental Health Counseling Degree?

This degree program can introduce you to some of the most common mental health disorders and conditions that are present within our society. The MA in Mental Health Counseling can help familiarize you with disorders and symptoms that frequent people from all lifestyles and backgrounds. Part of this program may focus on providing you with knowledge about different cultures, as well as different types of treatment that may be more effective within each group.

As a graduate of this program, you should have a diverse skill set that can allow you to pursue a career in mental health organizations in your community and beyond. Most online MA in Mental Health Counseling degree programs may require you to also engage in a supervised work experience requirement in order to put your knowledge into action before licensing. If the online MA in Mental Health Counseling intrigues you, you should look deeper in the guide below.

Our team of educational experts has spent significant time exploring this degree program, colleges offering this degree, and the topics and subjects that make up its curriculum. As a result of their efforts, upcoming applicants to this degree program can review what is typically involved in this degree program prior to making their choice. Near the end of this guide, you can also explore some career and salary options that are common among graduates of this program. Take a look at what our team found in the sections below.

Outline of the Degree Program

So, you may have a good idea of what mental health counselors do in the field, but have you explore the journey towards licensure that sets the stage for these careers? The curriculum of online MA in Mental Health Counseling follows a strict protocol to ensure that students enrolled are receiving ample information about some of their future duties in the field.

Since mental health counselors are tasked with working with the public as they face some simple to complex mental health issues, they may be responsible for a wide range of abilities from the start of their career. In later sections, you can read about specific courses that may be found in this program. In this section, our team can show you a few of the steps involved in the online MA in Mental Health Counseling degree program. While each degree program has different methods of delivering the required information, the general consensus shows that degree programs contain a very similar set of steps from an outside perspective. Take a look at our outline of the online MA in Mental Health Counseling below.

Theory

As you begin your journey to being a mental health counselor, you can expect your courses to include a look into the theory that has built the field of counseling into what it is today. Your courses may explore some of the earliest theories and then transition into some of the new-age theories common in the field currently. This can provide you with a solid foundation of understanding about this normal and abnormal development, social issues that can influence mental health, and techniques that can assist you with bettering the lives of others in the field.

Testing/Application

Later in your degree program, you may have access to learning materials that can teach you more about conducting assessments on your clients, the appropriate assessments for different symptoms, and treatment methods that can be helpful depending on your findings. This aspect of your degree program may be what creates your skills for later use in the field. The course work that you take during this part of the program may separate out the different topics so that you can learn at a natural pace.

Practice

Depending on where you are enrolled in this program, the practice element of your program may vary. Some colleges may provide students with the opportunity to engage in an internship or practice requirement through local mental health organizations, while other programs leave it up to the student to locate their supervision agency. Either way, this point of your program is where you can bring what you have learned to life in a real world setting. In order to become licensed, you will be required to engage in around 2 years of supervised clinical experience in the field.

Learning in the Online Setting

The widespread field of education is constantly changing in order to accommodate the needs of students from different types of lifestyles. In recent history, the MA in Mental Health may have been a popular option for students with the ability to attend their classes in person, as well as those that had the opportunity to engage in a 2-year long supervised internship experience near the end of their program. As technology has taken its toll on society as you know it, more and more programs just like this one can be found in the online setting.

Universities have provided online MA in Mental Health Counseling programs in order to attract students with unique needs to their program. The online MA in Mental Health Counseling looks very similar to the traditional program from an outside perspective. This is probably due to most universities using the same instructors for both types of programs in order to provide all students with the same quality of education from day one.

In addition to the quality, students within online programs can also arrange their schedule so that they are completing their assignments in the early morning, late at night, or at other times throughout the day that work best for their schedule. Online degree programs at the masters level can provide you with the flexibility you need to better manage your life. Most courses in online programs provide you with due dates in advance, making it easier to work your schooling around your schedule. Many hard working adult students can take advantage of programs like the online MA in Mental Health Counseling in order to complete assignments, discussions, and even examinations through their online courses.

Example Courses

Like all degree programs, the online MA in Mental Health Counseling is filled with courses that can help you focus on the needs of professionals in your field. Before you ever choose to pursue a particular degree program, you should review what is included in the degree program from start to finish. This can help you better plan and prepare for success in your courses, as well as make the necessary arrangements within your personal life for internship experiences that may be required for graduation. The field of mental health involves a look into the diagnostic properties of mental health illnesses and disorders. With that being said, students within the online MA in Mental Health Counseling may spend a significant amount of time reviewing the mental health diagnostics manual in order to familiarize themselves with some of the most common and uncommon disorders and their symptoms. Focus in this area can provide you with skills that can be helpful when identifying symptoms in your clients in order to find the right diagnoses. In addition to taking courses that can increase your diagnostic awareness, you may also take courses that can assist you when developing relevant treatment plans. There are many different channels of treatment available for mental health professionals, making this aspect of your degree program extremely important for your career development. In order to help you learn more specifically about what can be included in this online degree program, our team of educational experts has reviewed some of the top online MA in Mental Health Counseling programs available in the U.S. Below this section you can find a short list of some example courses that you may see throughout your degree program.

Mental Health Interventions

One of the most important aspects of mental health counseling is the intervention phase. This course can help you to explore the various interventions available and under which circumstances they may be more appropriate. A look at various diagnostic tools, mental health disorders and illnesses, and age groups may be a part of this course, since all of these aspects can play a role in the types of interventions that can be used when working in the field.

Applied Research and Program Evaluation

In the MA in Mental Health Counseling program, students may be preparing for both higher practice and leadership. This course can provide students with more information about the methods used to properly evaluate and improve their mental health programs. This course may also include a research component that can be helpful during the initial assessment phase and can also be helpful when testing new methods for efficiency within a program.

Child and Adolescent Counseling

The MA in Mental Health Counseling can provide learners with a more distinct look into the various forms of counseling for different age groups. This course focuses specifically on assessment and interventions for children and adolescents, providing students with skills that can be helpful when working primarily with people within this age range. Considerations such as education, development, and social influence may take up a large portion of this course.

Career Opportunities with this Degree

Whether you have specific career aspirations or you are still deciding about which subfield of mental health practice may be the right choice for you, a career in this field can put you in touch with those in society that truly need your help. The online degree program that you are involved with can help shape your skills and boost your confidence as you learn more and more about what is included in being a professional in this field.

The amount of money earned throughout your career can be another important aspect to consider before making your choice. In the list below, you can view a few of the potential career options available to students that have completed this online degree program, finished their internship experience, and received a license as a mental health counselor. Read through these potential career options to see what type of career you might be interested in as your progress into the field. Some factors that may influence the amount of money you make in your career may include your work experience in the field of counseling, your degree level, and the area in which you live.

  • Mental Health Counselors: $43,300 on average per year (BLS).
  • School and Career Counselors: $55,410 on average per year (BLS).
  • Substance Abuse Counselors: $43,300 on average per year (BLS).

Professional Organizations to Know

The completion of a degree program and the acquisition of a license is not the final step in maintaining a successful career in mental health counseling. Once you have completed all of the steps required to practice in your field, you may still be required to be involved with continuing education throughout the course of your career.

This requirement was enacted due to the constant change and innovation that takes place in nearly all professional fields. One way to stay up to date with the technological or practice changes within your field is to join a professional organization. Most members pay a flat membership fee and can have access to information about their field, other professionals, and the opportunity for continuing education credits during their membership.

In order to prepare yourself for a diverse and fulfilling career in the field of mental health counseling, you should take all of the necessary steps in order to make the most out of your career. Professional organizations in mental health counseling can provide you with research into new schools of thought relevant to your practice area, group meetings and presentations that can teach you more about the different mental health disorders and treatments, and even career openings at mental health organizations within your area. In an attempt to further educate you on the available professional organizations in your field, our team has provided you with a few of the most popular options below.

The American Mental Health Counselors Association

Students and graduates in the field of mental health counseling may be interested in joining organizations such as the American Mental Health Counselors Association. This agency focuses specifically on the interests and needs of currently mental health professionals in the field, providing insights into current mental health discoveries and issues within current society that may be contributing to mental health for all people. Meetings and group opportunities may also be a benefit of becoming a member of this organization.

The American Counseling Association

If you are interested in being a part of one of the largest organizations for counseling professionals, the American Counseling Association may be the agency to consider. This organization allows membership to people from all aspects of counseling, which can provide you with the opportunity to learn more about different specialized fields and how they related to mental health counseling. This organization can also provide you with access to information about licensure, continuing education, and networking in the field.

The Association for Multicultural Counseling and Development

When you search for professional organizations in mental health counseling, you may find diverse group options to fit your personality and career desires. The Association for Multicultural Counseling and Development could be a great option for mental health counselors interested in focusing on multicultural counseling techniques and consideration in the field. This organization can provide you with more information about this subfield of counseling and methods for success when working in diverse areas throughout the U.S.