Accelerated Counseling Degrees Online
You’re looking for accelerated counseling degrees online because you value the work of the profession, but did you know that the term counseling means the giving and receiving of advice and guidance? An accelerated online counseling degree puts you on the giving end of the advice and guidance. That is a powerful role!
The counseling role can take you in many different directions: schools, addictions, substance abuse, family and marriage therapy, mental health, and career counseling. Where there are problems or issues to talk through, there are jobs for counselors.
The US Bureau of Labor and Statistics estimates that there will be 20% job growth for counselors from 2016-2026. That is faster than the average of all occupations.
Do you feel a draw toward a field that has you interacting with people every day? Are you the person who others come to for advice? Maybe you’re a good listener. People find that when they talk to you, they walk away feeling like they know better how to address the problems they are facing.
If you want to do more with this innate skill, think about an accelerated online degree in counseling.
Types of Accelerated Counseling Degree Programs
Counseling degree programs have many focuses. Some of the most popular are:
- Bachelor’s in Counseling – Addiction, Chemical Dependency, and Substance Abuse
- Bachelor’s in Counseling – Christian Counseling
- Bachelor’s in Counseling – Marriage and Family Counseling
- Bachelor’s in Counseling – Mental Health Counseling
- Bachelor’s in Counseling – School Counseling
No matter who you are passionate about helping, there is a counseling focus that you can take. If you want to specialize even further maybe you want to think about a doctorate degree!
Accelerated Counseling Degree Overview
A counseling degree is a rather new and honestly quite rare degree, especially a bachelor’s degree in counseling. Most counselors will often start their education with a bachelor’s degree in psychology or social work. Alternately, an online doctoral degree in psychology (PsyD program), might be a good fit.
If you are looking to become a licensed counselor most states will require you to have a master’s degree. Keep that in mind because although there are jobs you can get with a bachelor’s degree in counseling, you might soon want to pursue your master’s in counseling to be licensed. You’ll make more money when you do.
A counseling degree can prepare you for whichever path you choose with classes like:
- Co-occurring Disorders and HIV/AIDS
- Domestic Violence, Child, Elder Abuse
- Family Dynamics and Communication
- Foundations of Addiction and Substance Use Disorders
- Group Interventions and Community Resources
- Multicultural Counseling in a Diverse Society
- Professional, Legal and Ethical Issues in Substance Use Disorder Counselors
- Psychopath and Advanced treatment
- Trauma and Recovery in Mental Health
Right now, you have a passion to help people. A degree in counseling can give you the skills to effectively offer advice and guidance that can steer your clients into making better choices.
Careers with an Accelerated Counseling Degree
You know that a bachelor’s degree is your first step when pursuing a career in counseling. But it is up to you how long you want to stay on that first step. With just a bachelor’s degree you could be looking at a career as a:
- Addictions Counselor
- Case Manager
- Crisis Intervention Specialist
- Group Home Facilitator
- Life Coach
- Rehabilitation Specialist
- Clinical Counseling Supervisor
- Eating Disorder Therapist
- Group Therapist
- Marriage and Family Therapist
- Mental Health Counselor
- School and Career Counselor
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that “employment growth is expected as people continue to seek addiction and mental health counseling.” More and more people are realizing the need for counseling as they encounter disruptions and trauma in their lives.
|Job Title||Average Annual Salary|
|Social and Community Service Managers||$64,680|
|School and Career Counselor||$54,560|
|Social Service Specialist||$43,020|
|Mental Health Counselor||$42,840|
|Behavioral Disorder Counselor||$42,150|
|Substance Abuse Counselor||$41, 070|
|Private Practice Counselor||$39,130|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
Some of these careers do require a master’s degree.
The Benefits of Online Accelerated Counseling Degree Programs
Multiple Start Dates: You could start right now. Getting your counseling degree is much more flexible than it previously was. September start dates are a thing of the past. Many online universities throughout North America will offer you start dates every month.
Finish Faster: To get an accelerated counseling degree, you need to get credit for all the required classes. A traditional semester lasts 16 weeks, but you can complete an accelerated online class in 6-8 weeks. You still learn all the same material you need to know, you complete insightful assignments, and the class shows up the same on your transcript. But you’re done twice as fast.
Study Anywhere, Anywhen: When you take classes online, you don’t have to move to or live near campus. You don’t have to go to class at a certain time. You study when and where it’s convenient for you!
3 Ways to Accelerate Your Counseling Degree Even More
These 3 ideas are valuable assets to add to your degree plan because they will save you a lot of time and money.
1. Test Out of College Classes (Save Up to 1 Year)
You don’t have to go to class to get credit. You have the option to register to take almost all of your core classes and electives as credit for exam. Register with the College Level Examination Program, pay $85 for a 3-credit, 90-question, multiple-choice exam. As long as you get 50% right, you get the credit. You could earn 3 credits in less than 2 hours.
Most universities will allow you to earn up to 30 credits by exam. That’s 10 classes that you could knock off your degree by just taking the exam. Even if the course is something you are not familiar with, you can purchase a study guide and learn the material faster than you would in class.
2. Get College Credit for Your Life and Work Experience (Save another Semester!)
Not only can you earn credit without attending class, you can earn credit for your life and work experience. This is called Credit for Prior Learning, and each university has a specific outline of how it works. Typically you can earn credit for:
- On the job training
- A course you have taken through work
- Military experience
- Volunteer and overseas work
Take advantage of your life experience to earn up to 15 credits from your university. That’s 5 classes you don’t have to pay for or attend.
3. Stay Continuously Enrolled with the Max Course Load
Most people take 12-15 credits per semester, but you can actually take 18 credit hours each semester. Also, there are 3 semesters if you count summer. With 3 rounds of 18 credits, you will earn you 54 credits in a year instead of 30. Hard work? Yes. Twice as fast? Also yes.
Bonus: Transferring Your Existing College Credits
You can use the college classes that you took before to meet your counseling degree requirements.
Just check that:
- You earned at least a C.
- Your college was accredited.
Even if the class will not fit into your counseling degree, you can still use the credit to fill an elective spot.
Lower Tuition Costs
Currently, Americans owe over $750 billion in student loans. That is a painful number! And a horrible way to start a new career. To move yourself forward financially, you will often need a university degree. But it doesn’t have to cost you as high as the sticker price says it will.
Taking 30 credits by Credit by Exam will cost you $850. Then, 15 credits earned through Credit for Prior Learning can cost you $1,000-2,000 for the portfolio assessment, still less than the cost of tuition for those credits.
But your out-of-pocket savings don’t stop there. Fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to see what you qualify to receive in grants and loans. Then, research scholarship opportunities from your university and private organizations. If you’re working, talk to your employer about tuition assistance.
Counseling Degree Accreditation
Counseling is a regulated profession. That means if you want to get a job, be licensed, or go on to a master’s degree, you have to make sure that your bachelor’s degree is from an accredited college. Accreditation is a process that your school goes through to receive an official designation that recognizes the school’s credibility.
For you, it means you aren’t wasting your time or money on a fake degree. Some of the accreditors to look for with a counseling degree are:
- APA Commission on Accreditation
- Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs
- Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA)
- Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC)
- American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT)
Your school should also be regionally accredited, so do a little background check on your school before you start and ensure that you’ll be getting a high-quality education.
Wise Counsel Says…
An accelerated counseling degree online can start you on the path to helping people in a professional capacity in hospitals, schools, prisons, homeless shelters, or government agencies. There is a projected booming job market for counselors in the next 9 years.
Decide which Counseling concentration is right for you and apply to 3-5 schools that offer that program. Then, test out of as many classes as you can, get as much credit for prior learning as you can, take as many accelerated classes as you can, and finish in as early as 18-24 months.