Online Counseling Degree Programs

Online Counseling Degree Programs

Online Counseling Degree Programs

Counseling is a large field that includes a variety of specialties. All types of counselors are typically required to have graduate degrees. Online counseling degree programs prepare students to apply psychological, mental health, and developmental principles to produce positive change. Counseling principles can be applied to many different career paths and online counseling degrees aim to foster success in all career fields. Read more about online counseling degree programs.

Some Stats

In 2006, there were 974 bachelor degrees, 219 master degrees, and 4 doctorate degrees conferred in community health services/liaison/counseling. There were 247 bachelor and 184 master degrees in substance abuse/addition counseling; 3 bachelor, 1,746 master, and 62 doctorate degrees in marriage and family therapy counseling; 2 bachelor and 1,504 master degrees in clinical pastoral counseling/patient counseling; 2 bachelor, 576 master, and 5 doctorate degrees in mental health counseling/counselor; 4 bachelor and 86 master degrees in genetic counseling/counselor; and 217 bachelor, 901 master, and 8 doctorate degrees in vocational rehabilitation counseling/counselor (1).

Employment Outlook

The employment outlook for jobs in counseling varies greatly by field, degree, and position. Overall employment of counselors is projects to grow much faster than average for all professions from 2006 to 2016, increasing 21% and adding 136,000 new jobs. Employment of substance abuse and behavioral disorder is expected to increase 34%, adding 29,000 new jobs. Employment of educational, vocational, and school counselors is projected to increase 13%, adding 33,000 new jobs. Mental health counselors are expected to grow by 30%, adding 30,000 new jobs. Marriage and family therapists are expected to grow by 30%, adding 7,400 new jobs (2).


Counseling is a broad discipline that encompasses many different specialties. Students can choose from a variety of specialties such as marriage and family counseling, mental health counseling, rehabilitation counseling, substance abuse and behavioral disorders counseling, genetic counseling, guidance and career counseling, debt counseling, grief counseling, child development counseling, eating disorder counseling, weight management counseling, musical therapy, art therapy, school counseling, multicultural counseling, and gerontological counseling. There are many possibilities and students interested in a specific specialty should select a school that offers a strong program in that area.

What to Expect

There are a variety of degree programs in counseling. Most states and employers require counselors to have a graduate degree in a specialized area. A bachelor degree in counseling can prepare students with a solid counseling foundation to pursue other counseling positions. Bachelor degrees in counseling or related field typically require courses in biology, psychology, sociology, human development, and statistics. Master degrees in counseling are the most common and are very specialized so it is important for students to choose their specialty before starting the program. A written thesis is often required. Doctorate degrees in counseling are very specialized and prepare students for research and post secondary teaching positions.

The End Result

Counseling degrees provide graduates with an abundance of career options in many different fields such as schools, healthcare facilities, social services agencies, and rehabilitation centers. Careers for counseling degree graduates include:

A counseling career will be rewarding for individuals who are good listeners and enjoy helping others. Counseling professionals use their knowledge and expertise and apply counseling concepts to a variety of career fields. Majority of states require counseling professionals to be licensed so it is important for prospective counseling students to research their states’ requirements.

(1) SOURCE: U.S. National Center for Education Statistics, Digest of Education Statistics.
(2) SOURCE: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook 2008-2009 Edition.