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What Is a Community Counseling Degree?

Community counselors work with individuals and groups to improve their mental health and personal relationships, thereby leading to positive social change in the community. Degree programs in community counseling are found at the graduate level. Read on to learn about the details of master's degree programs in community counseling, common coursework and occupational options for graduates.

Community Counseling Overview

Community counseling involves providing psychological counseling to individuals, groups, and communities with the purpose of promoting positive social change. You may work to develop community programs aimed at preventing certain problems that plague your clients' communities at large. Community counseling is a general area of professional counseling with many additional areas of career specialization available.

Important Facts About This Field of Study

Degree Concentrations Clinical mental health, couple/family counseling, multicultural counseling
Online Availability Online programs are available, but a few on-site courses may be required. Internships or practicums are required as well.
Other Programs Some schools offer community counseling graduate certificates for students who already have a counseling master's degree in another specialization.
Continuing Education May be required to maintain counseling licensure

Master's Degree Program Requirements

To be eligible for entrance into a master's degree program in community counseling, you need to have completed a bachelor's degree, preferably in psychology, human services or a related area. The master's degree programs prepare you to become a licensed counselor so you can work to create positive changes in the lives of your clients.

Curriculum Information

A master's degree program in community counseling typically consists of around 60 credit hours and takes roughly three years to complete. The courses cover essential areas of counseling, like the role of the counselor, assessment and evaluation methods, the multicultural context of counseling and the needs of individuals throughout the lifespan. Courses you may encounter through a master's degree in community counseling include:

  • Human development
  • Group-counseling dynamics
  • Counseling laws and ethics
  • Treating addiction disorders
  • Youth counseling
  • Clinical tests and measurements

Popular Career Options

As a graduate of a master's degree in community counseling, you can seek employment in a variety of professional counseling settings. You may work for an agency providing inpatient or outpatient care, a school counseling center, a community mental health facility, a residential treatment facility or a human services agency. Most states require you to be licensed, which can be accomplished once you've earned your master's degree. You may also seek national certification through the National Board for Certified Counselors, which also counts towards state licensure in certain states. Specific licensure requirements for professional counselors vary from state to state.

Salary and Job Outlook Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov) states that marriage and family therapists made a median salary of $50,090 in 2018 with a job outlook of 23% growth expected from 2016-2026. The BLS also mentions that school and career counselors made a median salary of $56,310 in 2018, while posting an expected growth of 13% in the same decade.