2018 Best Online Colleges for Counseling Psychology Degrees
There are 55 schools offering online counseling psychology degrees. Counseling psychology is a specialty within the field of psychology that focuses on applied uses of psychological theory to help patients facing mental illness, social problems, developmental issues, or addictions. After earning a degree in counseling psychology, individuals may go on to work in a variety of healthcare settings, including mental health centers, prisons, hospitals, and schools. Students interested in pursuing a master's degree will find excellent choices on our list of best online colleges offering counseling psychology programs.
Before starting an online degree program, students should verify that their college is accredited. Accreditation helps to ensure that schools are meeting national standards for education. Doctoral-level counseling psychology students will also want to look for APA-accredited programs.
Comprehensive List of Accredited Online Schools - Counseling Psychology Degrees (55)
2018 Best Online Schools Offering a Master's in Counseling Psychology
These 5 schools offer the best online programs for a master’s degree in counseling psychology based on their affordable tuition and academic strength. University of Missouri ranks first, with a low tuition of $6,120 per year and with an academic strength score of 74%. Southwestern Assemblies of God University comes in second with an affordable annual tuition of $17,550 and a 58% academic strength score. Three of the schools on this list offer master’s degrees in counseling psychology that cost less than $20,000 annually.
|Rank||School||Annual Tuition||Academic Strength|
|#1 University of Missouri||Annual Tuition $6,120||Academic Strength 74%|
|#2 Southwestern Assemblies of God University||Annual Tuition $17,550||Academic Strength 58%|
|#3 Hope International University||Annual Tuition $18,600||Academic Strength 57%|
|#4 California Baptist University||Annual Tuition $21,731||Academic Strength 59%|
|#5 University of Hawaii at Hilo||Annual Tuition $26,328||Academic Strength 59%|
Online Counseling Psychology Degree Overview & Career Information
Online counseling psychology degrees can be found at the associate, bachelor's, master's, doctoral, and certificate level. While there aren't associate degrees specifically in counseling psychology, there are programs that can prepare aspiring psychologists for further education. Associate programs in general psychology exist and may be an appropriate choice for those looking to get started in the field.
There are a variety of online bachelor's degrees available in counseling psychology and related topics. After earning an online bachelor's degree, students may go on to a master's degree program or work in fields such as human resources, law enforcement, and marketing research.
A master's degree is the minimum level of educational attainment required to work as a counselor. Depending upon a student's area of interest, he or she may pursue a master's degree in general counseling psychology or something more specific, such as school counseling or rehabilitation therapy.
In order to work as a licensed counseling psychologist, an individual must hold a Ph.D. Those who have a doctoral degree may also go into research and teaching at the university level. Certificate programs are also available for those who want to gain knowledge of psychology or counseling skills for personal or professional reasons, though these programs don't lead to licensure.
While there are no online associate degree programs specifically in counseling psychology, there are programs in general psychology that can help people to prepare for advanced study in this field.
Along with filling out an application, individuals who have no prior college experience will be required to submit their high school diploma or GED certificate during the admission's process. Some programs will require that applicants have at least a 2.0 high school GPA. Applicants who have previously earned college credit or a degree from an accredited institution will need to also submit their official transcripts. This type of program can be found at community colleges as well as four-year colleges and universities.
An online associate degree program in psychology will typically consist of 60 required credit hours of study which can be finished within two years. Students will be required to complete both general education classes and core classes that are specific to the psychology major. These core courses include General Psychology, Developmental Psychology, Writing in Psychology, Psychology of Personality, Psychology in the Community, and Abnormal Psychology.
There are 16 colleges offering online bachelor's degrees in counseling psychology and related fields.
Individuals can seek online bachelor's degree programs in counseling psychology at colleges and universities. Applicants must have a high school diploma or an equivalent, such as a GED. Any college credits that have been earned previously will need to be submitted for review and possible transfer. Students will also need to submit their high school transcripts as part of the application process. Some schools may also require standardized test scores, letters of recommendation, and or personal statements.
Students participating in an online counseling psychology program at the bachelor's level will often graduate within four years depending on their schedule. Classes that make up the required 120-credit hours include Lifespan Development, Theories of Personality, Psychology of Learning, Behavior Modification, Statistics for Psychology, and Research Methods. Some programs will also require students to complete a project towards the end of their studies to showcase their applied knowledge.
An online bachelor's degree is often used as a stepping stone to graduate programs, however, individuals who wish to end their academic studies can find work in such fields as human resources, marketing research, social services, law enforcement, and non-profit agencies.
Individuals who wish to work as a licensed counselor will need to earn at least an online master's degree in counseling psychology or a similar field. Prospective students can persue the list of top online master's in counseling schools for schools that combine affordability and academic strength.
An online master's programs in psychology or a related discipline can be found at the university level, and can be completed in two years or less depending on the student's academic plan and pace of study. In order to qualify for this level of program, applicants must have earned a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution, though it does not necessarily have to be in a related field. Other typical requirements include undergraduate transcripts, letters of recommendation, some kind of essay or writing sample, and a resume.
Online counseling psychology degrees at the master's level usually consist of 36 to 50 credit hours of coursework. Classes include Psychopathology, Theories of Psychotherapy, Biological Basis of Behavior, Ethical and Legal Issues in Professional Counseling, and Applied Social Psychology. Specific courses will vary depending on the specialty; online master's degrees can be found in various counseling-related specialties, such as mental health counseling, marriage and family therapy, and clinical psychology. Some kind of clinical and/or research component will also be required for most of these online programs.
In order to work as a licensed Counseling Psychologist, a PhD in the field will be required. Doctoral degrees in counseling psychology can also serve as preparation for conducting research or working as a professor.
Applicants to online counseling psychology doctoral programs will need to have a bachelor's degree at minimum; some programs will require applicants to have completed a master's as well. Students will need to submit their college transcripts as part of the application process. Other typical requirements include letters of recommendations—usually three—from sources that can attest to the applicant's success in their educational and professional background, GRE test scores, and a personal statement.
Online PhD students can finish with their degree in four to seven years depending upon the program. The first half of the program will consist of regular study while the last half of the program will consist of a dissertation, a required element of these PhD programs. Students can expect to take classes such as Functional Neuroscience, Quantitative Foundations in Educational Research, Multicultural Counseling, and Advanced Theories of Counseling. Most programs will also require that students participate in an internship program.
Online certificate programs are a way for individuals to seek education in the field of counseling psychology without committing to a full degree program. These programs are available at colleges and universities and are offered at the graduate and undergraduate level. Students can graduate with their certificate in under a year. While a certificate will not allow a graduate to earn a counseling license it can provide them with knowledge that may be useful in various career fields, such as career coaching, consulting, and teaching.
These programs typically require 15 credit hours of study comprising of courses like Introduction to Clinical Psychology, Positive Organizational Psychology, Behavior Modification, and social Psychology of Interpersonal Relationships. In order to qualify for an undergraduate certificate program, students must have a high school diploma or hold a GED certificate. Those applying at the graduate level must have at minimum an undergraduate degree. Applicants will also need turn in a professional resume and write a letter of intent describing their educational and career aspirations. Graduate programs may also require two letters of recommendation.
The Importance of an Accredited Online Counseling Psychology Degree
Before making a final commitment to any college-level program, individuals should take into consideration the importance of regional accreditation. Accreditation is the process through which outside organizations conduct quality reviews of programs offered at the post-secondary level of education. This quality assurance gained through accreditation gives students confidence that their professors, student resources, and program structure is going to well prepare them for the professional workforce.
Another important role that accreditation plays is in financial aid. Federal financial aid is only available to programs that hold current accreditation, thus students who are in need of aid should make sure to enroll in an accredited program. Accreditation can also factor into the hiring process upon graduation due to the fact that many employers prefer candidates who have received an education through an accredited school.
Students in master's programs in counseling psychology should also check that their program is accredited by the Masters in Psychology and Counseling Accreditation Council (MPCAC), which ensures that a student's counseling psychology education meets the current standards in the field. At the doctoral level, the American Psychological Association is the predominant accrediting agency for counseling psychology programs. Prospective students should check for these programmatic accreditations before starting their online degree programs.
Careers in Counseling Psychology
Counseling psychology is a specialty within the larger field of psychology. Counseling psychologists help people of all ages work through a variety of issues, such as career and education concerns, mental distress related to health issues, and crisis resolution.
Those who have a PhD in counseling psychology can work as licensed psychologists, as well as researchers and teachers at the university level. They may specialize their counseling practice further by working with a specific group of people, such as children or those with substance abuse issues. Individuals who have a similar degree at the master's or bachelor's level, such as in mental health counseling or general psychology, can also find work in the field. Those who have a master's can find work as counselors, and those who have a bachelor's can work in various areas, such as social services, human resources, and law enforcement.
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