Licensed counselors with a master's degree take continuing education (CE) courses to meet licensure renewal requirements and stay informed of best practices. One option involves earning a certificate in counseling, which may offer one or more specializations. Students with a specialization learn new skills, allowing counselors to treat a broader range of patients.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that the need for substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors should grow 25% between 2019-2029. This figure tremendously exceeds the median projected growth for all professions. The average counselor makes an annual median salary of $46,240. Professionals may increase their salary potential by earning certificates.
Frequently Asked Questions About Online Certificates in Counseling
Q. What is the difference between counseling and social work?
Although professionals in both fields strive to help people resolve psychological issues, social workers identify clients' needs while counselors develop treatment plans.
Q. Do you need a certificate to be a counselor?
Students who earn an online counseling certificate already work as counselors. A certificate in counseling imparts additional knowledge and skills counselors need to treat patients.
Q. Do you need a master's degree to be a counselor?
Licensure requirements in most states include an advanced degree. Counselors-in-training must pass examinations and attain supervised work experience.
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Best Online Certificates in Counseling
Certificate in Counseling Specializations
Licensed counselors earn an online certificate to broaden their professional horizons and earn a higher salary. The following specializations accomplish this goal while meeting licensure renewal requirements.
Courses in a Certificate in Counseling
A typical online certificate requires 5-6 courses and involves honing analytical and communication skills. Course format mirrors what students experienced in their master's in counseling program. However, graduation requirements do not include a thesis. Please keep in mind that course titles and requirements vary by university and the specialization certificate-seekers select.
Ethical and legal issues in professional counseling trains counselors to perform their job with an ethical mindset. Students examine different ethical dilemmas and methods to address them. Other coursework involves meeting the unique needs of diverse groups. Professors gauge learners' mastery of these topics through examinations and written assignments.
Ethical and Legal Issues in Professional Counseling
Substance abuse counselors must apply treatment best practices when they work with individuals or small groups. Interventions for substance-related and addictive disorders feature these techniques, long-term care plans, and the latest treatment intervention research. Marriage and family therapists-in-training also take this course, as addiction negatively affects family relationships.
Interventions for Substance-Related and Addictive Disorders
Crisis and trauma counselors work on the psychology field's front lines, treating people who recently experienced major emotional or physical trauma. Crisis intervention and trauma response emphasizes psychological first aid, a set of best practices crisis and trauma counselors use when working with individuals. The class also features coursework in self-care and ethical principles.
Crisis Intervention and Trauma Response
Career and Salary Outlook for Counselors
Licensed counselors choose from various career paths. Professionals in the following four careers work toward the same goal: improving clients' lives. Each position requires either specializing during a master's program or earning an online certificate after graduation.
The BLS projects strong job growth for different counseling professions. A certificate in counseling program prepares students well for exploring the various job opportunities in the field. Median to high median salaries allow counselors to live comfortably in most parts of the United States.
Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health CounselorSubstance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors provide similar counseling services to different populations in need. They develop treatments and meet with clients multiple times to gauge progress. Other responsibilities include referring clients to other mental health resources. Primary work locations include mental health centers, hospitals, and residential mental health facilities.
School and Career CounselorSchool and career counselors work in K-12 schools and colleges. They meet with students to discuss long-term career goals. Students experiencing poor academic performance turn to these counselors to discover the root causes and find remedies. The profession involves detailed recordkeeping and collaborating with teachers and administrators.
Rehabilitation CounselorSome people have a disability from birth, while others begin living with a disability later in life. Rehabilitation counselors work with both groups, helping clients adjust to life with their disability. Like their peers in other counseling subfields, rehabilitation counselors create treatment plans and work with other professionals to provide clients with the resources they need.
Marriage and Family TherapistAll families experience conflict on some level. Couples and families who cannot resolve their differences meet with marriage and family therapists. These counselors ask clients to express their frustrations and emotions, indicators of what causes conflict within a family. They help families develop and use techniques to reduce friction and live happier lives.
|Career||Median Annual Salary||Projected Growth Rate (2019-2029)|
|Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselor||$46,240||25%|
|School and Career Counselor||$57,040||8%|
|Marriage and Family Therapist||$49,610||22%|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
Certifications and Licensure for a Certificate in Counseling
After completing a counseling certificate program, graduates must also obtain a state-issued counseling license and renew it by completing CE courses to keep practicing. Counselors can increase their career and salary potential by earning one or more certifications from the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC). Like certificates, certifications require proving mastery of specific topics and involve periodic renewal.