What Education Do I Need to Be an Academic and Career Counselor?
Get information on degree programs you can pursue to become an academic and career counselor. See degree requirements and types, what degree you'll need for licensure, what courses are useful, and find out if you can earn a degree online.
What are the Requirements to Become an Academic and Career Counselor?
While each state has its own guidelines regulating counselors, you'll probably have to earn a master's degree or receive some graduate-level education in order to get licensed. You can find master's degree programs and graduate certificate programs in academic counseling and career counseling. While some career counselors work outside of an academic setting, you'll probably be able to find a career counseling program that qualifies you to work at a school. You might even be able to find academic counseling programs that award both a Master of Science (M.S.) and an education specialist degree.
Additionally, some programs are geared towards those working in the field, so you may be able to pursue your degree while working. You might also be able to find online academic and career counseling programs.
You'll need to have earned a bachelor's degree to enroll in a master's degree or graduate certificate academic and career counseling program. Master's degree programs often involve completing an exam, creating a portfolio or submitting a thesis. Programs can take up to three years of part-time study, though you can probably finish in two years or less if you take classes full time. Certificate programs in academic and career counseling can take as little as one year. They can compliment master's degrees in other counseling specialties. Internships are often required for both master's degrees and certificate programs.
|Licensure||Requirements vary by state; master's degree or another graduate-level program completion often necessary|
|Degree Programs||Master's and graduate certificate programs in academic counseling and career counselling available|
|Program Requirements||Bachelor's degree needed for graduate-level study, plus exam completion, portfolio/thesis submission|
|Common Courses||Group counseling, organizational behavior, human development, counseling trends|
|Online Options||Communication and learning via virtual classroom platforms; internship usually obligatory|
|Job Outlook (2016-2026)||13% growth (for school and career counselors)*|
|Median Salary (2018)||$56,310 (for school and career counselors)*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
What Courses Will I Take?
Master's degree programs in academic and career counseling usually require you to learn about counseling procedures, ethics and settings. You'll learn how to conduct group counseling sessions and work with individual clients. Courses in human development, interpersonal relationships and learning principles are usually part of your core requirements. You might also learn about advising students in unique circumstances, such as athletes, international students and disabled students.
Certificate programs are usually more concentrated. You'll take core courses in academic or career counseling, including group counseling, academic advising and career advising. Organizational behavior, human development and counseling trends are also common courses in a career or academic counseling certificate program.
How Does An Online Program Work?
While you work independently and on your own time in an online program, you'll communicate with professors and classmates via online message boards and classroom interfaces. You'll submit tests, quizzes and assignments via e-mail or other Internet-based tools. Readings and videos are usually required. Additionally, you might have to complete some in-person training or an internship.