An online master's degree in counseling can help you prepare for a career as a professional counselor. With a degree in this field, you may have more jobs available to you as well as opportunities to earn higher pay. To earn an online master's degree in counseling, you'll typically need to find an accredited school that offers a program that interests you, make sure you meet its requirements, and apply. The requirements you'll have to meet to get accepted into one of these programs depends on the school you choose, but you'll likely need a bachelor's degree, official college transcripts, scores from pre-admission testing, and recommendation letters to complete your application.
One of the most important parts of earning an online master's degree in counseling is selecting a college or university that is accredited. There are many schools that offer degrees, yet are not accredited; earning a degree at one of these institutions can be risky. Potential employers and other colleges may not consider such degrees legitimate. In addition to accreditation, a person who is pursing an online master's degree in counseling may consider factors such as cost and available specialties. For example, a person who is interested in addictions may choose a program that allows him to focus on addiction counseling.
Different schools have varied requirements for accepting applicants into their master's degree programs. In general, however, you will likely have to graduate from high school or earn an equivalency diploma and then earn a bachelor's degree before pursing this career. Most schools will ask you to provide official transcripts from each college you've attended as well as the results of pre-admission standardized tests. You may also have to provide recommendation letters and write an essay as part of the degree program application process. While these are requirements that many master's degree programs set, you may find some online master's programs have less stringent requirements than traditional programs.
The length of time you'll need to complete your master's degree in counseling may depend on a number of factors, including how much time you have to commit to your education and the rigors of the master's degree program you choose. Many people earn master's degrees in about two to three years, however. Often, these programs include online theory coursework, internships, and laboratory work. You will likely have to write a master's thesis as well. Some programs also include an exit interview as part of the process.