If you enjoy helping people and get along well with kids, school counseling may be the career path for you. The profession requires advanced education though; you must have at least a bachelor’s degree at entry level. Online psychology degrees are convenient, but will they get you a job as a school counselor? What is the job outlook for the profession?
Online Degrees Increasingly Accepted
In the late 1990s and into this century, there was a glut of “diploma mills” that would give a degree to anyone who could afford the tuition. Unfortunately those degrees did not guarantee the graduate had adequate skills and knowledge to enter the professional arena, and online degrees were perceived as inadequate. Things began to change when some online schools offered programs that were commensurate with traditional degrees and respected brick-and-mortar colleges began to offer online components. Recent surveys showed that 83 percent of employers saw no difference between an online and a traditional degree.
What Online Counseling Degrees Entail
Before you enter a school counseling program, you will need a bachelor’s degree in psychology. Some schools will accept bachelor level degrees in counseling or in social work as well, but you will need to take pre-requisite classes, for instance in statistics and in abnormal psychology, to enter the master’s program in school counseling. Most online programs associated with traditional universities require that you complete some on-campus clinical studies. Students must do some supervised field work as well. Online schools manage the supervision component through approved site supervisors and monitored online chat sessions. After earning a degree, graduates will need to do an internship and apply to be licensed by the state in which they work. Course credit hours vary by school, so you will have to make sure your online school meets the state requirements. Some schools require successful job applicants to hold certificates in both counseling and teaching, according to an article in US News.com.
The Job Outlook for School Counselors
As more children enter schools, the demand for school counselors will increase. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the profession of school counselor is expected to grow by about 19 percent, which is the average for all professions. In 2010, the median pay for a school counselor was $53,380 or $25.67 hourly.
There Are Many Options for People with Online Psychology Degrees
Psychology is one of the most popular degrees sought by undergraduates. Contrary to public opinion, you don’t necessarily need to use your Bachelor’s degree as a step to higher education. Among other careers, people with psychology bachelor’s degrees can work in human resources, as social workers and in management. In addition, there are opportunities for people with degrees in school counseling that do not involve working in schools. They can, for example, work in youth correctional facilities.
The stigma that once was attached to online degrees has largely disappeared. It is possible for you to earn both a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in counseling through an online school, and become a successful school counselor.