Should You Complete Your Master’s in Counseling Online or On-Campus

Do you enjoy working with people and helping them make important life decisions about mental and physical health problems and relationship issues? If you answered yes to any of these questions then earning a degree in counseling is your next step. 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of counseling professionals is expected to increase from 12% to 26% by 2026. And, it’s not just the mental health system that realizes the importance of counselors, the criminal justice system sees the value in counselors for providing services to offenders struggling with substance abuse issues. 

Have you been wondering what jobs you can get with a Masters in Counseling? Well, there are tons of possibilities which include: a school counselor, substance abuse counselor, genetic counselor, family and marriage therapist, career counselor, and rehabilitation counselor. And your salary depends on which specialization you choose to focus on with genetic counselors averaging the most at around $77,000 and rehabilitation counselors averaging around $35,000.

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Is it Worth it to Get a Master’s in Counseling?

Online classes have become more popular and now you have the option to complete your degree online. These degrees provide flexibility for people who already have jobs and they often end up working out to be cheaper than on-campus programs. Either in-class or online-options will prepare you for working in the field after you graduate. Some of the skills you’ll develop include being able to identify patients’ triggers to create treatment options, guiding students through application processes for finding new jobs and careers, and helping clients cope with life issues through making positive changes. 

Not only will you be gaining the knowledge needed to practice counseling outside the classroom, but your degree will also help you make connections and network with people who have similar professional interests to you. In addition to learning the tools needed to practice in the field and making valuable connections, most organizations won’t even consider hiring someone who doesn’t hold at least a master’s degree. So earning a master’s is your next step before working in the counseling field.

How to Choose Which Program is Right For You

Choosing which program is right for you depends on many factors and the most important and easiest one is deciding if you want to complete your degree online or in the classroom. With on-campus programs it’s essential to live near the university and if you don’t currently live close by, finding transportation or renting an apartment near the university become a part of earning your degree. All of these things and many others should be included in the cost of your tuition. 

After you determine if on-campus or online programs are better for you, you’ll have to consider if you want to study full or part-time. In general, full-time students complete their degrees faster, usually within two to three years, and they save money on living and travel expenses. But, if you have a job that you want to continue doing while you study, part-time is a better option for you. Keep in mind that these programs require you to complete fieldwork to graduate, which also takes a lot of time.

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The Admissions Process

The application process doesn’t really differ if you’re applying for an online or on-campus program and the requirements are similar across different programs. In general, you must submit a standard application, a resume, a statement of purpose, copies of your bachelor’s transcripts, recommendation, and GRE scores. In addition to these requirements, online counseling degrees usually include a FaceTime interview.

How Much Does it Cost?

Pinpointing an exact cost for a master’s in counseling is difficult because it depends on if you’re completing the degree online or on-campus. Besides the cost to complete the course, you must also consider the cost of housing, transportation, course materials, and technology fees. Surprisingly, online tuition is not always cheaper, but you will save on the added necessities we mentioned. To complete a master’s program you should expect to pay anything from $18,000 to $64,000 as the price really depends on if it’s a private or public university. 


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