Associate Degrees in Counseling
The rates for depression and other debilitating psychological conditions have skyrocketed over the last several decades. So if you enjoy helping people and have a real compassion for suffering people, a career in counseling may be just for you. An associate degree in counseling teaches how to help people who suffer from career and stress management, chemical addiction, suicidal depression, and many other issues. Counselors divide their time between counseling patients, researching mental health issues and analyzing patient conditions, so an associate degree in counseling makes sure you are prepared with the basics of the profession. An associate degree in counseling is a two-year degree that qualifies you for an entry-level position in counseling or can be used as a steppingstone to a more advanced degree in counseling.
Associate Degree in Counseling Success Factors
Earning an associate degree in counseling requires that you have strong analytical ability, solid communication skills, display tremendous patience and sympathy, remain calm under pressure and are able to manage a variety of tasks at once.
Associate Degree in Counseling Specializations
While earning an associate degree in counseling, you are able to specialize in a particular area of counseling, including abuse counseling, community counseling, mental health counseling, school counseling, rehabilitation counseling, substance guidance counseling and vocational counseling. Mental health counselors assist people in coping with depression, stress, addictions and substance abuse. Rehabilitation counselors help people deal with the effects of disabilities. School counselors assist students deal with every phase of the school experience. Marriage and family therapists treat individuals, family groups, or couples modify behavior and enhance communication and understanding.
Associate Degree in Counseling Curriculum
The courses you take while earning an associate degree in counseling include psychology, sociology, child development, statistics, research and counseling. Two years of clinical training usually follow coursework, yet you'll need an advanced degree for this career track.
An associate degree in counseling is an introductory degree and is usually not sufficient to practice as a certified counselor. In order to receive certification, you typically must pursue advanced degrees in counseling. Some alcohol and other drug abuse counselors need only an associate degree to practice. Yet the majority of counselors earn a post-bachelor's graduate degree, either a Master of Arts of PhD. Both psychologists and counselors help people cope with emotional stress, but psychologists must have a doctorate in psychology. More than half of licensed counselors have master's degrees. Most counseling degrees are accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), and most states require licensure or certification. The National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) grants a general practice credential, National Certified Counselor (NCC), to counselors who have passed their examination, have completed a graduate degree and have 2 years of fieldwork. There are a number of mental health counselor certification boards that grant such titles, including the Certified Mental Health Counselor (CMHC), Certified Clinical Mental Health Counselor (NACCMHC), Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), and Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC).
Since most counseling jobs require advanced degrees, an associate degree in counseling will likely only qualify you for entry-level counseling jobs. There are dozens of professions that counselors can pursue, contingent upon their area of specialization and degree earned. Different types of counselors include clinical psychologists, psychiatrists, psychoanalysts, licensed social workers, school psychologists, and marriage, family, and child counselors.