Studying for a masters degree can sound like a daunting experience, but it could be simpler than you imagine! If you are looking for a career change or wanting to continue in education, a masters in mental health counseling online could be the next step in your career journey. There are plenty of different career outcomes, and online study makes the degree much more achievable and accessible. If you love working with people and want a rewarding career, mental health counseling may be perfect for you.
Why study a mastersdegree
If you want to work in mental health counseling, a masters in mental health counseling online is a logical step in your education and training. The majority of positions and jobs within the counseling profession require you to at least have a masters degree, if not further training and qualifications. The masters in mental health counseling online prepares you to sit the licensing exams required to become a counselor and progress to the next stages, but it also offers plenty of other benefits.
The variety of jobs
There are many different jobs within mental health counseling, and a masters in mental health counseling online can help you understand which specific areas you may like to work in. There are plenty of challenging modules, such as abnormal psychologyand advanced human growth and development, that will challenge you and build upon previous knowledge.
Skills and connections
In general, there are many benefits to studying at masters level. These include the advanced skills and knowledge provided to you at this level, as well as access to resources and people you may not otherwise have a chance to use and meet. Networking is a huge benefit of a masters degree, whether you study online or not, as you will have placements, internships, tutors, and fellow classmates to talk with and make connections with. A masters in mental health counseling online combines online learning and coursework with in-person fieldwork and internships, which gives you a great combination of learning styles and opportunities.
Is this right for you?
A masters in mental health counseling online is aimed at those who already have a bachelor’s degree and want to continue their career path into counseling or those who want a career change. It is designed for people who have prior commitments, such as a job or family to care for, as the online aspect allows you to be flexible in your learning. This can make the course much more accessible, as you do not have to put the rest of your life on hold in order to study. You will receive support and teaching from tutors, with many resources at your fingertips. There is also practical fieldwork and internships, which are essential in giving you real-life experiences and letting you put what you have learned into practice. As many roles within counseling require different levels of education and qualification, a masters in mental health counseling online is a logical step towards working as a counselor.
When you study a masters in mental health counseling online, you will be taught skills and knowledge that is applicable across many different roles and jobs within counseling. Each specific type of counselor requires further training, education, and skills, and a masters can help you identify which area you would most like to work in. There is a huge range of careers within counseling in many different locations. You will work with different people and other healthcare professionalsto deliver the best counseling services you can.
When you are a counselor for young people and children, you will need further understanding of assessing and diagnosing young people, making treatment plans, and delivering services to them directly. You could work in clinical settings, such as a hospital, deliver individual counseling regularly, or provide services in residential facilities. In the latter, you can also help young people to develop the skills required to leave the residential facility at which they are living.
When providing counseling services for veterans, you will most likely be working as part of a larger team of professionals. Often, you will be assessing, diagnosing, and treating mental health issues that are present alongside physical ailments. Tasks may involve multiple assessments, psychotherapy, making treatment plans, case management, and providing services individually and in group therapy.
Similarly to working with veterans, you will be part of a multidisciplinary team when providing counseling to individuals experiencing substance abuse. This team can include healthcare professionals, as well as social workers or probation officers. Your work will adapt as your client changes, which means that you will need to tailor your services to match their level of abuse and functionality, maybe eventually moving from direct intervention to monitoring the maintenance of sobriety.
Many mental health counselors work in hospitals or psychiatric hospitals, providing a range of services to patients and their families. Tasks could include case management, assessing and diagnosing, referrals, recommendations, educated patients and their families, and generally helping to prepare a patient for life after they have been discharged.
A correctional counselor will work with inmates in settings such as prisons, residential facilities, or after they have been released to help with their rehabilitation. You may create and maintain relapse-prevention plans, refer patients to prison programs, help them access education or prepare for employment. You may also need the ability to work with inmates who may be suffering from dual-diagnosis issues.
With a masters in mental health counseling online, you will learn many technical skills that will help you thrive in this industry. However, there are also many personal skills and characteristics that you will require to be a successful counselor. You may already possess many of these, which could help you as you pursue a career in counseling. There are many different skills and traits that make an effective counselor, including:
Listening and communication
One of the key characteristics of a successful counselor is the ability to listen. You need to attentive and focused, actively listening to your clients and also being able to pick up on non-verbal cues such as their body language. You may encounter people who do not want to talk to you for a variety of reasons, and you need to be able to adapt your approach in order to understand them and make them feel comfortable.
Good communication skills are essential, as you will be working with and speaking to a wide range of people from different backgrounds. You need to be able to clearly explain information to clients and medical professionals alike, so again flexibility in your approaches to individual people is very important.
Empathy and compassion
Empathy is the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes in order to try and understand their situation and emotions. This is incredibly important for a counselor, as you will not have firsthand experience of every emotion or situation but will need to connect with your clients in order to help them. Compassion is the ability to look at your client’s situations from your own perspective. Both are important and valuable characteristics to have as a mental health counselor. It is also important to remain objective and to not let your personal beliefs, opinions, and biases get in the way of your work and the services you are providing.
Benefits of online study
If you want to pursue further education but don’t have the time, funds, or availability to study in person, full time, the masters in mental health counseling online may be the perfect option for you. Online study is a great way to combine flexible learning with your busy life, allowing you to get access to a high level of education, whilst being able to work and keep up with your other commitments.
The flexibility that a masters in mental health counseling online provides you with can help you to continue to work and earn whilst you study. Many people find that this is a more useful way of learning for them, as you don’t have to move away, leave your job or travel a lot in order to have access to education. Working at your own pace is also beneficial, as it can allow you to tailor your learning, spend time on areas you struggle with without rushing through. This can make the experience more enjoyable and your learning more efficient.
Having control over your learning and being able to study at your own pace can teach you a lot about how your brain works and what teaching methods suit you best. This is valuable information to take with you long after you have graduated to ensure that you are an efficient learner when you are put into new situations.
The ability to create your own learning environment can have a huge impact on the efficiency and enjoyment of your studying. Many people do not thrive in a physical classroom environment for a wide range of reasons, and so a masters in mental health counseling online is a great alternative. You will most likely be spending the majority of the course learning from home, which means you also don’t have to worry as much about the costs involved in accommodation and travel.
Furthermore, being able to access education online means that you are opened up to a range of courses and institutions that you may not be able to attend in person. Your local college or university may not offer the courses that you want to study, which is yet another barrier in the pursuit of your dream career. With a masters in mental health counseling online, your physical location matters less, and you are able to access education in places you may not have been able to before.
You will receive high-quality training, education, and opportunities in the technical aspects of counseling when you study a masters in mental health counseling online, but you will also have the chance to develop personal skills that can help you succeed further. Soft skills are non-technical skills that are transferrable and help you to stand out in the workplace. They look great on your resume, and by studying online, you will have practical examples to give to potential employers in an interview.
Soft skills include time management, problem-solving, adaptability, and self-motivation. These are all skills that you will use during your time studying online, as you will have to be incredibly organized to ensure that you can complete your studies on timewhile managing other commitments. Being able to multitask in this way and give each task the attention it requires is a great skill to have as a counselor, as you will often have multiple clients at one time and will need to approach each one with the same level of professionalism and expertise.
Financially, being a student can have a huge impact. There are many expenses involved and it may not be achievable for you to be a full-time in-person student. The ability to work and study at the same time is one of the main benefits of an online degree, as it means you can still continue to earn money. Further costs that a masters in mental health counseling online can help to reduce include the costs of travel and commuting, accommodation, and student living costs such as socializing and food. Many online degrees are actually cheaper than in-person degrees, and many institutions offer financial support to their distance students as well as benefits such as student discounts.
There are plenty of reasons why a masters in mental health counseling online may be the perfect option for you. It provides a high level of in-depth teaching whilst still being flexible. You will gain both technical and non-technical skills that will help you succeed and stand out in your place of work. If you love working with and helping people, you could benefit hugely from this course, and a career as a mental health counselor could be perfect for you.