Counseling Majors

There are many types of counselors, including marriage, substance abuse and family counselors. Find out about degree programs, licensing requirements and career options in counseling. Check the availability of online programs in this field. Schools offering Mental Health Counseling degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Majors Can Prepare Me for a Career in Counseling?

If you would like to become a counselor, you will have to earn a minimum of a master's degree in a related field, such as rehabilitation counseling, marriage and family therapy, psychology or clinical mental health counseling. Because there are a variety of different counseling programs, there is no required undergraduate major, but schools may want your major to be closely related to the field you will be studying.

For example, if you would like to be a school counselor you may want to major in education, while a major in biology or chemistry may be beneficial for future drug counselors. Many graduate programs like applicants to have completed a major in psychology because of the similar curriculum to a counseling program. Other common majors include sociology and social work.

Options for Majors Many schools do not have required majors, but prefer closely related fields, such as education for school counselors or biology or chemistry for drug counselors; other options include psychology, sociology and social work
Common Courses Statistics, abnormal psychology, developmental psychology, social psychology
Online Options Online programs are available
Career Options Addiction rehabilitation counseling, career counseling, school counseling; with a graduate degree and licensure, other options include school psychology and private practice counseling
Median Salary (2018) $44,630 (for substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors)*
Job Outlook (2018-2028) 22% growth (for substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Classes Should I Take?

Graduate programs require students to have completed certain courses as an undergraduate. These required courses may include:

  • Statistics
  • Abnormal psychology
  • Developmental psychology
  • Social psychology

In addition to taking classes related to counseling education, psychology or counseling psychology, completing an internship could increase your chances of getting into graduate school.

How Can I Earn My Degree Online?

If you are currently working or have a busy schedule, you may be able to earn your undergraduate degree online. Online degree programs typically have the same requirements as on-campus programs, but offer flexible classes.

If you are going to pursue your undergraduate degree online, you may find a major in psychology, sociology or a related field. You should keep in mind that online programs may not offer as many internship or hands-on opportunities as on-campus programs do.

What Can I Do With My Major?

After you earn your undergraduate degree, you may consider graduate school. You may still be able to work as a counselor in some settings, including in addiction rehabilitation centers or career counseling centers, with your undergraduate degree. You may also be able to work in a school environment as a guidance counselor.

If you go to graduate school for counseling or psychology, there are several career options available to you. If you intend on becoming a counselor, most positions will require you to become licensed in the state in which you will work. Once licensed, one option is for you to work as a school psychologist, helping children deal with any school or home-related problems. You may also be able to work in private practice or for a company, helping adults deal with family, personal and work related issues.

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:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Walden University

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  • Grand Canyon University

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  • Colorado Christian University

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  • Saint Leo University

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  • Maryville University

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