Online Mental Health Counseling Degree Programs

Mental health counseling programs are for those looking to further their education in various areas of therapy and addiction treatment. Read about the coursework in an online master's degree program in this field and find out how these degrees are administered in a distance education setting. Get career info for mental health counselors, including the licensure requirements, job outlook and salary potential. Schools offering Mental Health Counseling degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Will I Learn During a Mental Health Counseling Program?

Master's degree programs are the most common online degrees awarded in mental health counseling. Master of Science programs explore various mental and emotional disorders such as substance abuse, stress, depression and anxiety. Programs often contain both fieldwork and internship components. The fieldwork requirement typically involves closely shadowing a mental health professional, while the internship provides you with a broader set of tasks such as assisting at a private practice with patient files and administrative work.

Online Degree Options Master's degrees are the most common; in-person fieldwork is often required in addition to online classes
Common Courses Human behavior, clinical writing, addictions counseling, ethics, patient diversity
Degree Requirements In-person residency, clinical labs, group discussion, one-on-one advising with professors, high speed internet access and personal computer
Career Outlook (2014-2024) 19% job growth (mental health counselors)*
Median Annual Salary (2015) $41,880 (mental health counselors)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Types of Classes Will I Take in a Mental Health Counseling Program?

Before beginning the mental health counseling coursework, you usually must have a psychology-related academic background. If you don't hold a psychology bachelor's degree, you might need to take additional psychology, statistics and research classes. Common mental health counseling topics include:

  • Human behavior research
  • Personality theories
  • Addictions counseling
  • Clinical writing
  • Patient diversity
  • Counseling ethics
  • Career counseling

What Can I Expect from an Online Program?

A number of online M.S. programs are offered in mental health counseling; however, most programs require periodic residencies each school year. You'll usually have the chance to choose from an assortment of locations. Residencies can last up to one week, during which you'll interact daily with your instructors and other students. Additionally, you'll participate in clinical labs and group discussions, as well as receive personal advisement from faculty members.

Online courses can allow you to participate in interactive exercises and access recorded lectures. A high-speed Internet connection is usually recommended, and you might need a printer, a specific Web browser and an antivirus program. Some programs recommend that you purchase a laptop computer to transport to your residencies.

What Is the Career Outlook?

You'll need to earn your licensure to begin most careers as a mental health counselor. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), licensure requirements differ by state, but usually involve earning a master's degree, gaining clinical experience, passing your state's exam and pursuing continuing education classes.

With your license, you can apply for work as a mental health counselor. The BLS reported that mental health counselor positions were predicted to increase 19% from 2014-2024 (www.bls.gov). The higher than average growth is expected to stem the increased need for mental health services and insurance companies choosing counseling services over psychologists. According to the BLS, mental health counselors earned a median annual wage of $41,880 in May 2015.

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

  • Capella University

    Capella University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Capella University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Colorado Christian University

    Colorado Christian University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Colorado Christian University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Grand Canyon University

    Grand Canyon University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Grand Canyon University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Southern New Hampshire University

    Southern New Hampshire University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Southern New Hampshire University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Purdue University Global

    Purdue University Global responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Purdue University Global:

    Online Programs Available

  • Northcentral University

    Northcentral University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Northcentral University:

    Online Programs Available

  • New England College

    New England College responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at New England College:

    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Saint Leo University

    Saint Leo University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Saint Leo University:

    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Regent University

    Regent University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Regent University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Keiser University

    Keiser University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Keiser University:

    • Associate Programs

    Online Programs Available

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