If you want to practice as a mental health counselor, the first step is to enroll in a graduate degree program. Licensure requirements vary by state, but a master’s degree is generally the minimum education requirement to practice as a mental health counselor. Fortunately, online learning makes it easy to earn the degree you need to take the next step in your career.
Online Master of Mental Health Counseling degree programs are designed for busy adults who want to develop the skills necessary to provide crucial services and support to anyone suffering from mental, behavioral and emotional problems and disorders. The freedom and flexibility of online graduate counseling degree programs allows you to develop and enhance the competencies of mental health professionals.
What’s the difference between an online master’s degree in mental health counseling and a “traditional” degree earned at a brick-and-mortar campus? As long as the degree comes from a reputable institution of higher learning, there is no difference. Online graduate-level mental health counseling programs help students develop the same professional skills and attributes as students enrolled in corresponding on-campus programs. Online Master of Mental Health Counseling programs also have several benefits attached to them. Some of the best reasons to pursue an online master’s degree include:
- Earn your degree when and where it’s most convenient. Convenience and flexibility are synonymous with online degree programs. When you enroll in an online Master of Mental Health Counseling degree program, graduate school comes to you—not the other way around. Access course materials online 24/7 from anywhere in the world with an Internet connection.
- Choose from a wide range of graduate schools. In the past, students who wanted to pursue a graduate degree in mental health counseling had two choices: choose from the programs offered through colleges and universities near them, or uproot their lives and move away from home. Fortunately, that’s no longer the case. Students can now choose from a wide range of graduate schools offering online Master of Mental Health Counseling degree programs, which means you can enroll in the program that satisfies all your requirements.
- Network with peers from around the country. Online learning programs bring together students from across the country, and sometimes from around the world, who share ideas and help one another grow as mental health professionals. As you work towards completing your master’s degree, you will build professional relationships with likeminded people who may someday help you advance in your career.
How long does it take to earn a master’s degree in mental health counseling?
The answer depends on several different factors, including the number of credits and your status as either a full-time or part-time student. For an example, see our partner Northwestern University’s online Master of Arts in Counseling degree program to learn how long it takes to complete.
Are online Master of Mental Health Counseling degree programs really 100 percent online?
Although course materials such as lectures and quizzes are delivered online, there may be some “real world” requirements that can’t be satisfied on your computer. Some programs may require one or more on-campus visits (immersions) as well as field training. These experiences may help satisfy some of the licensing requirements in your state.
What can you do with a Master of Mental Health Counseling?
Although a master’s degree is usually the minimum education requirement for licensure as a mental health professional, the real value in obtaining a graduate-level degree in mental health counseling is the skill set and knowledge it will provide. A Master of Mental Health Counseling is a signal to potential employers that you are serious and deeply knowledgeable about how to help people live happier, more functional lives. Learn more about mental health counseling careers and salaries.
If you’re interested in mental health counseling, explore a similar field: school counseling.