How do I get a Graduate Degree in Counseling?

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  • Written By: B. Miller
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 11 October 2018
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To get a graduate degree in counseling, it will be necessary to first complete an undergraduate degree at an accredited university. It is possible to obtain a Bachelor of Arts degree or a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology at an undergraduate university, both of which may be a prerequisite for a graduate degree in counseling. If you already know that you want to become a licensed counseling psychologist, however, it is generally recommended that you pursue a Bachelor of Science degree, because you will then be pursuing a Master of Science followed by a doctoral degree.

People who want to become licensed clinical psychologists are generally required to pursue a doctoral degree, and then become licensed in the state in which they will be practicing. Some people can find work in a counseling profession, such as a social worker, therapist, or life coach, with just a master's degree in counseling, however. Again, it is up to you to determine which career path you want to take, and then research the specific requirements for that career path. These may vary in different states as well.


Searching online will help you to discover universities that offer a graduate degree in counseling. There are many offered online as well; in fact, it is possible to get a PhD in counseling entirely online. You will then need to fill out an application, which will likely require additional information such as transcripts from your undergraduate college education, as well as letters of recommendation from university professors. Once you have applied and been accepted to the university to pursue your graduate degree in counseling, you will generally want to select a specialty.

Though some counselors will work with people of all ages, most people pursuing a graduate degree in counseling will want to work with a particular group. This might be children and teens, or it might be family and marriage counseling. Some specialize in working with people with mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia. Others want to work in schools, or in a social work setting. A graduate degree is the perfect time to determine the type of people you want to counsel.

In addition, many graduate degrees in counseling require students to complete an internship, giving students the opportunity for hands-on experience. This hands-on experience can be very beneficial, and can also look great on a resume after graduation. Each university will then have its own specific degree requirements, but after they have been met, you will possess a graduate degree in counseling.



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