Counseling is the act of providing help and empowering individuals, families, and groups to deal with their issues involving their mental health, career, wellness, education, or relationships. Many accredited schools and institutions in the US offer counseling certificate programs online.
Certificate programs in this area of study usually take six months to one year to complete, but this will depend upon the school's curriculum and student's enrollment status. When pursuing online certification programs, it is important to ensure that the program is fully accredited. In the US, the most widely acknowledged accrediting association for counseling programs is the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). This is an independent agency which is duly recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.
Counseling Certification Online
To gain admission into counseling certification programs, students need to have at least a high school diploma or GED. The specific admission criteria may vary from school to school. The major benefit of getting an online certificate is that students may study at their own convenience, whenever and wherever they may choose to do so. Working professionals could complete this certificate program without disrupting their normal work schedule. An online counseling certification is also a viable option for individuals who want to change careers and work as counselors. An online counseling certification may also have the benefit of being more cost effective than a full time on-campus program. Students will get to save on commuting costs.
Counseling is a vast field with different concentrations. Students may study to become a mental health counselor, a marriage or family therapist, a rehabilitation counselor, or a career counselor. The general curriculum for counseling programs includes courses in group counseling, human development, sociology, mental health, crisis intervention, and disaster counseling.
Skills Students May Learn
In an accredited online program, students may get to learn skills such as:
Comprehensive research: students would be able to employ a variety of techniques and research models such as case studies, experimentation, and quantitative and qualitative measurement to assimilate and evaluate different data.
Interview skills: students may be able to build effective interviewing skills through this certificate course which would help them in their future interaction with patients.
Assessment skills: students would be able to build on their assessment skills and apply concepts they have learned to individual, family, couple, group, and child evaluations.
Job Outlook and Pay
Counselors get to work in a variety of settings such as hospitals, colleges, mental health institutes, substance abuse centers, outpatient care centers, and nursing and residential care facilities. Many also have their own private practice. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the employment rate of mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists is expected to grow by 29 percent from 2012 to 2022, a rate which is much faster than the average of all other occupations. With regard to the pay, the median annual wage for mental health counselors was $40,080 in May 2012.