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Bachelor's Degrees in Counseling: Online and Campus-Based Programs

Find out what you'd learn in an undergraduate degree program in counseling. Get info on internship and field experience opportunities in this field. Check whether bachelor's-level counseling degrees are available online, and review your job options after graduation.

What Can I Learn During a Bachelor's Degree in Counseling Program?

As an undergraduate, you'll learn about basic interpersonal communications, psychological theories and counseling concepts used in psychological counseling. You'll also learn how to conduct crisis interventions and address substance abuse issues. Coursework covers abnormal psychology, human development, personality theory and psychological assessment. Counseling programs at the bachelor's degree level also require you to take general education courses that will facilitate your understanding of practices in mental health and improve your critical thinking and communication skills.

Some schools allow you to focus on a particular area of the field, such as addiction counseling. Other schools offer programs specific to religious and Bible-based counseling. During these programs, you'll study the Bible and learn about theological applications in psychological counseling.

Common Courses Crisis intervention, human development, personality theory, counseling concepts, types of counseling
Other Requirements Field experience or internship may be required
Online Availability Online programs are uncommon and typically have the same field requirements as campus programs
Continuing Education Master's degree, doctorate; graduate education required to work as a licensed counselor
Median Salary (2018)$46,080 (Health Educators and Community Health Workers)
Job Outlook (2016-2026)16% growth (Health Educators and Community Health Workers)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

What About Hands-on Experience?

You can acquire hands-on counseling experience as an undergraduate student. Many bachelor's degree programs in counseling require that you complete a field experience or an internship. You also may be required to prepare materials before completing these experiences, such as notes, assessment plans or a list of questions you may wish to ask.

Can I Earn My Degree Online?

You can earn your degree online, but online bachelor's degree programs in counseling are far less common than traditional on campus programs. In addition, you may need to complete an internship or other type of field experience even during an online program.

Can I Work as a Counselor After Earning My Bachelor's Degree?

A bachelor's degree in counseling can be used immediately after graduation in some entry-level social work and mental health jobs. You can also earn your counseling degree to pursue further study in a master's degree program.

Generally, you can't work as a counselor with only a bachelor's degree. A master's degree is usually required in most states to sit for licensing exams and receive certification. Depending upon the specialized group of clients you may wish to work with, including those with educational or substance abuse related needs, you may need to earn your doctorate.