Online Classes for Aspiring Counselors

Learn about online courses for aspiring counselors in areas like mental health and psychotherapy. Find out about online programs that allow students to study through distance-learning with 24/7 support. Schools offering Mental Health Counseling degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Types of Counseling Courses Will I Find Online?

Most online courses are part of a graduate-level degree and certificate programs. The courses you take will most likely depend on your occupational specialty. Graduate certificate programs can cover topics in general or substance abuse counseling. Master's degree programs provide more in-depth coverage of these and other specialties in mental health, rehabilitation or guidance counseling. If you want to take courses at the doctoral level, consider a Doctor of Philosophy or Doctor of Education in Counseling Studies or Counseling Psychology. Below are some counseling courses that are available online:

Substance Abuse/Addiction

This course will introduce students to the basic concepts of counseling individuals with addiction issues. Students can explore the behavioral traits throughout human development, including the processes associated with clinical evaluation, treatment planning, case management and crisis intervention.

Mental Health

In this course, students will discuss the mental health disorders that are outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). Course topics include pharmacology of drugs, professional consultation strategies and patient assessment procedures.

Law and Ethics

Students explore the appropriate code of conduct for dealing with patients. Topics include collaboration strategies for successful resolutions of legal and ethical challenges in the field, proper analysis techniques and prevention strategies to seek an alternative to criminal justice system incarceration.

Diverse Populations

This course will help students learn about effective techniques for counseling different age groups and special populations. Major topics include stereotyping, peer pressure, beliefs and attitude assessment, social justice and multicultural issues.


Students will address the current methods that are used in psychotherapy counseling, including the limits of these techniques. Evidence-based practices are explored and the proper implementation strategies of psychotherapy theories will be addressed.

What Will I Learn?

A class in counseling theory, which can be part of a substance abuse or addictions counseling graduate certificate program, teaches you the theories behind chemical dependency. You can learn about the history of alcohol and drug counseling or explore current strategies in cognitive behavioral therapy. Other course topics can teach you about codependency, interventions and family therapy. Courses also discuss the continuum of care throughout the life cycle of a patient.

Courses in a master's degree program can discuss the psychological aspects of disability. You may explore ways to reverse a community's negative attitudes towards people with disabilities. Or, you may discuss support methods for patients trying to adapt to their disabilities. You can also take courses addressing group dynamics, crisis intervention or mental health diagnosis. Marriage and family or multicultural counseling techniques are other graduate-level course options. You can also study assessment measures used by school guidance counselors.

Doctoral-level courses can discuss topics such as research and assessment measures, consultation techniques and advanced therapeutic methods. A class in counseling ethics teaches you the skills needed to perform legally and ethically in a private or public counseling practice. You can learn the laws related to elder and child abuse, confidentiality, liability and marriage in this course.

What Technology Will I Need to Take Online Classes?

Most schools require you to have a high-speed Internet connection to participate in online programs. Schools may require you to have access to a word processing program, such as Microsoft Word. Access to Microsoft Excel and PowerPoint is often a requirement. You may also need Adobe Acrobat Reader to download PDF files and Adobe Flash Player to stream video.

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.

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