An Introduction to this Degree

If you have ever researched the field of counseling, you may be aware of how widespread this professional field is within our society. The bottom line for counseling is that people in need of services can be found in nearly all sectors of society, regardless of age or any other factors. Counselors that specialize in working with children in the education system can seek out degree programs to help strengthen their knowledge on the needs of children, as well as some of the most common treatment and counseling methods available for use. All of these components can be learned through the Master of Arts in School Counseling.

The Master of Arts in School Counseling is a 2-3 year degree program destined to help you obtain careers in schools at differing grade levels. Most MA in School Counseling programs can allow you to choose from either early education, K-12, or even collegiate counseling as your focus. This can allow you to focus specifically on the needs of the young people you choose to work with. Some of the skills that may be covered in this program may revolve around the educational, personal, and college-oriented goals of youth, as well as the struggles that are commonly fought by children within the school system.

As you look through different counseling programs in order to locate the option that may be best for you, you should consider the MA in School Counseling as a strong competitor. The need for licensed school counselors in the school system may continue to rise as children are subjected to more pressure from society and find it difficult to conform to their parents' and teachers' expectations. Schools offering school counselors to their students may also contribute to better planning for future learning and careers, as well as a consistent support service for students within their schools.

Outline of the Degree Program

Students interested in learning more about this degree program should investigate what is has to offer from beginning to end. In most cases, counseling degree programs can consist of several different subjects and skill sets that can assist students with gaining a better understanding of the field of education while still maintaining level with all requirements set forth for licensed counselors. In this list below, you can explore some of the constituents of School Counseling MA programs in varying locations.

If you are the type of person that is interested in solving problems, critical thinking, compassion, and working with youth, this could be a great program for you to consider. There are colleges and universities all over the country that offer this degree program for you to enroll in. As you look through the information listed below, see if these topics align with your goals in the professional field.

Individual/Group Counseling

The MA in School Counseling can be a great resource for upcoming students interested in working with students individually or within groups. Since school counselors may be responsible for meeting with students on a one-to-one basis, it can be important for them to have knowledge on effective communication, problem solving, and therapeutic techniques helpful with young clients. School counselors may also be responsible for delivering life skills training or presentations to large groups of students throughout their career - making group counseling skills important during their degree program.

Ethics

Since becoming a school counselor requires you to receive and maintain licensure from start to finish, it may be important for you to remain consistent on the ethics and laws pertaining to your field. During your degree program, you can take courses that can further educate you on he expectations of school counselors within the U.S. This can be helpful when making difficult decisions in the field, protecting yourself from malpractice or other instances of unethical work behavior, and add to the quality of your career as a whole.

Collegiate/Career Counseling

One aspect of MA in School Counseling programs that potentially sets them apart from others is the inclusion of both collegiate and career counseling topics within it. School counselors in secondary schools especially may play a large role in preparing students for future success in both college and technical paths. The MA in School Counseling program can be a great way to prepare yourself for being such a huge influential factor in the students being served.

Assessments

There are numerous psychological and counseling-oriented assessments that can be used to determine whether or not students are receiving the correct level of educational services for their learning styles. As a student in this program, you can learn more about the different types of assessments available for use and the correct procedures for applying them throughout your career.

Research

Many psychology and counseling-based degree programs can contain an element of research. The goal of this aspect is to help students gain skills relevant to seeking out answers and exploring different reasons for behavioral or emotional issues within school-aged children. Students within this degree program may also engage in their own independent or group research project as part of their degree requirements.

Learning in the Online Setting

If you have the desire to enroll in and complete the School Counseling MA, you should take the time to review the different types of degree programs available for enrollment in the U.S. The increase in the use of technology for varying social functions has allowed colleges to implement online courses and degree programs as part of their normal offerings. Online degree programs can be your gateway to higher degree programs, since they may require less of an investment from the students enrolled in them. Our team of educational experts has spent significant time researching online degree programs and the benefits and outcomes that they can provide to the students that choose them.

One of the most popular aspects of online School Counseling MA programs is the convenience. Students working full-time schedules may find it difficult to set aside time for attending classes in person - especially multiple days throughout the week. The attractiveness of online MA in School Counseling programs may stem from a student's ability to attend classes from home, as well as fit homework and studying into times that do not conflict with a busy work schedule.

Online degree programs can also be a reliable alternative to traditional degree programs, since they are required to obtain the same level of accreditation as their traditional counterpart. Your first day in an online class may involve browsing through your unit assignments and reviewing your syllabus. Students can easily contact their instructor and other students through a program's discussion and email tools, alleviating the need for scheduling appointments during office hours or leaving messages. The ease of access of online courses can also be a sigh of relief for new online learners, since most universities provide students with a free and fast orientation to help familiarize them to the course and what all is included.

Example Courses

The MA in School Counseling consists of topics and courses that can help you grasps the theories and practices of your chosen field. While you may have a good idea of what school counselors do in the field, it may be worth your while to explore some of the common courses included in this degree program. The course work that you may be expected to do can shape your expertise in the counseling curriculum while also helping you build a better foundation for success after entering into your first position.

The list below this section contains actual courses that have been pulled from current MA in School Counseling programs. Most online MA in School Counseling programs can consist of 45-60 credit hours, which can result in 2 to 3 years of schooling depending on whether or not you are taking courses at a full-time rate. The courses within this program can also be a great option to prepare you for your supervised internship requirement that is required for licensure as a school counselor. Check out some sample courses from this program below.

Lifespan Development

In order to provide the best possible services as a school counselor, you should be knowledgeable about normal and abnormal lifespan development. This course can lead you through developmental stages beginning at conception and all the way through adulthood. Students in this course can explore some of the theories of psychological and physical development that are relevant to the field of school counseling. Internal and external factors and their effects on childhood development may be a primary focus within this course.

Multicultural Counseling in Schools

Since schools all over the country can be extremely diverse, upcoming school counseling students should be prepared to take courses that can assist them with getting to know a wide variety a cultures and groups. Multicultural counseling may involve varying methods that can allow counselors to accommodate the needs of different students, all while providing an inviting environments in which students can thrive. Students enrolled in this course may have access to historical and current counseling techniques developed for school counseling prospects.

Academic and Career Counseling

Students enrolled in the School Counseling MA program may be expected to take courses that can prepare them for a wide range of roles in the school system. One of those roles may be to work with students on planning their path for the future. This course can introduce you to various elements involved in both collegiate and career planning, such as testing to determine abilities and interests and plotting out a timeline for future goals.

Career Opportunities with this Degree

If you take the time to enroll in and complete an online School Counseling MA, you could have access to careers that can positively influence the lives of others. One of the most popular career positions for this degree program is located within K-12 schools all over the country. School – or guidance – counselors may be tasked with providing continual support to students enrolled in the school system, set up programs for students to attend that can provide awareness about concerning issues such as drugs and bullying, and even working individually with students that are interested in paving a successful path to their future.

In addition to this popular career choice, students may also pursue positions responsible for providing direct mental health counseling to the public as well as specific care to young people that are struggling with substance abuse. Each of these positions may require you to have experience working with youth, as well as the certifications and licensure required to counsel in the public. The earnings for each of these options may be different depending on the state you live in, how much work experience you have, and the organization that you are employed with.

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

Professional Organizations to Know

One of the best things that you can do for yourself as a new entrant into the field of school counseling is surround yourself with professionals with deep experience and knowledge in your field. A preferred option for achieving this goal is joining a professional organization designed specifically for school counseling professionals.

If you were to do a simple online search of agencies that allow membership to online MA in School Counseling students and graduates, you might find a list similar to what is listed beneath this section. As you read through each of these organizations, you should consider how each of these aspects could positively benefit you while still enrolled in a degree program, during your internship experience, and while working in the field. Membership into a professional organization can provide you with consistent access to the most up to date information available in your field. Take a look at some of the most popular options listed below.

The American School Counselors Association

Once you have made your way into the field of school counseling, organizations such as the American School Counselors Association (ASCA) can be a great resource for you as you start a new career and as you move into new positions in the field. Members of this group can have access to literature pertaining to new theories and ideas, the opportunity to attend conferences with others, and networking among other school counselors in the U.S. This agency may also provide you with links to job search pages that can assist you with finding the career you may be looking for after completing your program.

The International School Counselor Association

Like the ASCA, the International School Counselor Association (ISCA) can also be a great way to meet others in the field and learn more about your field throughout your career. This agency allows membership to school counseling professionals all over the world, making it an even more diverse option for professionals seeking new information and expansive knowledge about their field. If you were to join a group such as this one, you could gain more expertise about your field through interaction with thousands of current members.

The National Board for Certified Counselors

Any person that is seeking a career in a counseling field should be familiar with the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC). This agency is the leading certification entity for professional counselors in the field. Once you have completed your degree program and your internship experience, you may be required to apply with this organization and complete an examination prior to receiving your final certification as a school counselor. If you are not yet to the point of certification, you can utilize this agency’s website to learn more about what may be required of you once you have completed your degree program.