What Education Do I Need for a Career in Child Counseling?

A master's degree in counseling or marriage and family therapy (MFT) typically is needed to start a career in child counseling. Keep reading to learn more about these graduate programs. Schools offering Child Psychology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Master's Programs in Child Counseling

Aspiring child counselors typically complete a master's degree program in counseling, marriage and family therapy or a related field. Graduate-level counseling programs often offer a specialty in marriage, family and child counseling.

Through these programs, prospective child counselors explore various counseling theories and techniques and learn to consult with and assess patients as well as conduct group counseling sessions. They also examine legal and ethical aspects of counseling. Courses that are specific to child counseling tend to cover developmental and preventative concerns. Topics might include infant mental health, play therapy, and family, school and community approaches to intervention. Most programs also include several practicums as well as one or more internships, which could have a focus in child counseling.

Important Facts About This Occupation

Mean Salary (2014) $51,730 (for Marriage and Family Therapists)
Job Growth 29%
Certificates Youth Care Counselor Certificate, Youth Worker Certificate, Youth Development Professional Certificate
Common Courses Assessment and Treatment Planning of Children and Adolescents, Psychotherapy for Adolescents, Behavior Management

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Licensure Requirements

Child counselors fall under the category of Marriage and Family Therapists, or MFTs, meaning they typically need to be licensed by their state to practice. Licensure requirements vary by state, but they usually include a master's degree and 2,000-4,000 hours of supervised clinical experience beyond what's completed as part of a degree program. Successful completion of a state exam, adherence to ethical standards and annual completion of continuing education courses are additional requirements for entering and staying in the child counseling field.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:

Popular Schools