Guide to Choosing the Right Counseling Program for you

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Guest Blog: Tom Boyce

There are various factors that need to be considered when selecting an online counseling program. Graduate education involves investing your money, energy and time. Knowing what you should look for in an online program can be overwhelming sometimes.

Students usually choose the university or college that they attend according to the location, what the campus provides in terms of sports, clubs, organizations or facilities or what the surrounding community or city offers with recreation. It is important to be aware of what you should look for as well as how to determine that a particular online program is the right choice for you.

Career Goals

Considering essential criteria when deciding between different online programs will enable you to make an educated and informed choice regarding the best program for you. It is vital for you to take some time to determine exactly what you plan to be using your degree for.

Therapy and counseling is a field that consists of a broad area of practice and range of specialties. You can begin this process by asking yourself a number of questions about the following aspects:

  • The kind of setting that you want to work in such as residential treatment centers, schools, mental health clinics and private practice.

  • The population you seek to work with such as families, couples, individuals, adults, college students, teenagers and children.

  • The issues you want to specialize in like teaching in a university or college, addiction, trauma and dealing with anxiety and depression.

Answering these types of questions makes it easier you to find out what you should look for in a particular program. Many online counseling programs provide an area of interest or type of specialization. A school that offers the area of focus you are interested in will be a worthwhile choice.

Specific Degrees

After determining your career goals, the next step is to choose a degree that can help you achieve those goals. You will be able to narrow down your options and select a counseling degree that is the right fit for you. Various degrees are available and you can set aside some time to research specific degrees.

You are the only one who actually knows the specificity area that meets your specific professional interests. Options include rehabilitation counseling, pastoral counseling, genetic counseling, art therapy, school counseling, counseling psychology, clinical psychology, clinical mental health and marriage and family.

Requirements for State Licensing

  • While trying to find a school online, one of the main issues that you should think about is whether or not the degree will enable you to pursue state licensing.

  • Practicing as a counselor or therapist in most states typically requires you to be working actively towards getting a license or to be licensed within the jurisdiction of the state licensing board. This enables you to identify yourself as a therapist or counselor.

  • Being licensed indicates that you have met certain ethical and educational standards to practice professionally.

Accreditation

It is very important to check on school accreditation when you are pursuing education online. This ensures that the degree you will be earning has value within work environment and is accepted and respect as a graduate program.

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