Log In

Can You Do A Counselling Course Online?

November 21st 2023
Home > Blog > Can You Do A Counselling Course Online?
Can You Do A Counseling course online?

Yes, you can. There are approximately 300 accredited online Master Programs approved by the American Counseling Association across the United States.

Although terms such as psychologist, counselor, therapist, and psychotherapist can often be used interchangeably, they have particular roles. A counselor is primarily involved in helping their clients overcome emotional, relational, and behavioral difficulties. 

Unlike clinical psychologists and psychotherapists, counselors are not allowed to prescribe medications. Counselors are often very helpful as family or marriage counselors or therapists. 

Reasons to Choose a Counseling Career

Two women sitting in a living room, having a conversation.

There are seven main reasons to choose a Counseling career, according to Ikon Institute of Australia, namely: 

1.  The Desire To Create Positive Change

A career in Counseling is a suitable choice if you possess a deep-seated desire to foster positive change in the world. 

2. The Desire for Career Flexibility

Counseling provides the opportunity to tailor your career path to fit your lifestyle. Launching your own counseling practice will allow you to work according to your own schedule, and provide flexibility in your career. 

3. Job Security

Job security in the Counseling field is positive, reflecting the growing recognition of mental health’s importance in society. 

Within the next decade, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects that job opportunities in various counseling fields will grow: school counseling by at least 13%, clinical mental health counseling by 23%, and substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counseling also by 23%.”

4. The Desire To Share Lessons Learned From One’s Own Life Experience

If you’re more mature and have a wealth of life experience, Counseling can be an ideal platform to share your insights and wisdom. 

5. Being A Naturally Good Listener

If you are someone who excels at listening and understanding others’ concerns, a career in counseling might be the perfect fit for you.

6. Witnessing Personal Progress In People’s Lives

Pursuing a career in counseling can also fulfill a longing for purpose, providing a profound sense of accomplishment as you witness tangible improvements in people’s lives.

7. Being Able To Complement An Existing Profession

Additionally, it presents an opportunity to formally validate your existing skills or complement your primary profession with counseling competencies, thereby broadening your impact and enhancing your professional versatility.

What are the benefits of Completing a Counseling Course Online?

An image of the keyboard of a laptop with someone typing. There are graphics of a download button, profile button, files, a graph and a notepad in the forefront of the image.

There are six main benefits to taking online counseling courses: 

  1. Flexibility: Online counseling degrees provide the flexibility to attend classes on your schedule, allowing you to study from anywhere in the world and manage your coursework around other commitments
  2. Variety of Programs: Online counseling degrees offer a variety of programs with different emphasis areas, such as professional Counseling, addiction, marriage and family therapy, and more. 
  3. Cost Savings: Pursuing a counseling degree online can lead to decreased overall costs by eliminating expenses related to commuting, such as gas and parking fees, making it a more cost-effective option for many students
  4. Work-Life Balance: Online programs enable students to maintain a better work-life balance by offering the flexibility to manage their schedules according to their professional goals and personal responsibilities.
  5. Earning Potential: The field of Counseling generally provides strong earning potential, especially with the rise in demand for counselors in various specializations, which can be further enhanced if you choose to go into private practice. 
  6. Career Opportunities: Completing a counseling course online opens up diverse career opportunities in a rapidly growing field, allowing individuals to make a positive impact on others and pursue a purpose-driven profession

What are the best Counseling online counseling programs in the United States?

An online course instructor conducting an online class.

The best online programs will prepare you for a successful career in your area of expertise. An online program consists of various online courses completed over a set period of time, that count towards a qualification such as a degree. According to Psychology.org, the ten best online programs for a Bachelor’s degree in Counseling are as follows:

1. University of Florida in Gainesville: best for those interested in biological bases of behavior, developmental changes through the lifespan, and sociocultural influences.

2. The University of Central Florida in Orlando: best for those interested in clinical psychology, experimental psychology, general psychology, human factors psychology, industrial/organizational psychology, and neuroscience.

3. St. Andrews University in Laurinburg, North Carolina: best for those interested in biopsychology, developmental psychology, drugs and behavior, and gender psychology. The curriculum includes internships and a senior capstone project to prepare graduates for employment or graduate study.

4. National University in San Diego: best for those interested in biological psychology, developmental psychology, personality theory, psychopathology, and social psychology. 

5. Florida International University in Miami: best for those interested in applied, developmental, experimental, personality/abnormal, and social psychology.

6. Eastern New Mexico University: best for those interested in cognitive psychology, research methods and statistics, and writing and careers in psychology.

8. Trine University in Fort Wayne, Indianapolis: best for those interested in addiction counseling. Students can also combine their psychology degrees with a double major in criminal justice.

9. John Brown University in Arizona: best for those interested in integrating the science of psychology with faith and theology.

10. Ottawa University in Arizona: best for those interested in research and theories of understanding individuals, cultures, and groups.

The following programs are recognized by the American Counseling Association (A.C.A.) as the best Masters program in their field of specialization: 

  1. Best for Mental Health Counseling: Bradley University
  2. Best for Counseling Psychology: Golden Gate University
  3. Best for Marriage and Family Counseling: University of Holy Cross
  4. Best for Addiction Counseling: Governors State University
  5. Best for School Counseling: University of Southern California

How do you train to be a counselor in the U.S.?

A group of students listening to a lecturer in a classroom.

The following process needs to be followed to train as a counselor in the United States:

  1. Complete a Bachelor Program

You must enroll in a Bachelor’s program to learn the basics of psychology and counseling techniques. Students who have attained a bachelor’s degree can practice as associate counselors under the supervision of a licensed counselor. It will take 4 to 6 years to complete a Bachelor program. 

2. Enroll in a Masters Program 

After a Bachelor’s program, you must select a Master’s program in a specific counseling discipline, such as family therapy or addiction counseling. This will take another 18 to 36 months.

The following four fields of specialization are recognized by the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics:

1. Mental Health Counselors, Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder

2. Marriage and Family Therapists

3. Educational, Guidance, and Career Counselors

4. Rehabilitation Counselors

During your master’s program, prospective counselors undergo practical training in the counseling room, where a student receives guidance and feedback on how to help the client best. 

It’s advised that you also work on your own emotional and mental health to ensure that your issues do not affect your work with clients. 

The work’s emotional nature requires counselors to have the right skills to keep their mental and emotional health thriving. After a practical session, lecturers can debrief students to guide them through emotions students may find difficult to process. 

Trained counselors eventually learn how to deal with their work’s emotional and mental strain in a healthy, positive way; this is a vital part of the training process. 

 3. Complete an Internship

Candidates would need an internship, practicum, and prerequisite coursework of either 48 or 60 credits to gain more experience. After completing an internship, you must complete a specific number of hours of experience providing direct and indirect services under clinical supervision (the amount of hours depends on the State). A completed internship and supervised experience qualify candidates to apply for a state license.

4. Apply for Licenses to Practice in Your State

After your training is complete, you will need to apply for additional licenses required by the State you wish to practice in, such as a licensed professional counselor (L.P.C.), licensed marriage and family therapist (L.M.F.T.), and licensed clinical psychologist (L.C.P.).

Want to host your own counselor course and build a community? Start your free 14 day trial at Teach.io today!

How to become an online counselor

Two women having a conversation via videocall.

There are three steps to building an online counseling practice: accessing a client base, setting up the technical aspects of your practice, and keeping up to date with your professional development.

  1. Gain Access To Your Client Base 

If you wish to build an online counseling practice, consider how you would reach potential clients. Follow the five steps below to market your service to your prospective client base: 

  1.  Develop a professional website

Build your website to showcase your qualifications and explain how your clients can benefit from your service. Clearly state which specific problems (such as addictions, marital, or depression) you can help your clients with. Starting a blog on your website is a helpful way to reach people online as you can share helpful mental health information that interests your prospective clients. 

  1. Advertise Your Service on Online Databases

Find platforms where you can advertise your services. You can turn to online counselor databases such as Psychology Today to promote your online practice.

      3. Social Media Marketing

Being active on social media can help extend your reach and build awareness. Use ads on platforms like Facebook and Instagram, and publish posts regularly to market your services.

      4. Media Interviews

Reach out to online, print, and televised news media outlets to share about your unique online practice and attract clients through positive human interest stories.

      5. Networking

Network with other professionals in your field through conferences, events, or presentations to promote your online practice.

2. Setting Up Your Online Counseling Practice

A person on a video call waving to the person on the laptop screen.

Once you have attracted clients, use the following three steps to conduct your online counseling practice: 

  1. Establish an Efficient Client Intake Process

Develop a process for scheduling appointments, collecting payments, and securely gathering client information. A simple example would be requesting that clients fill out an intake form with their personal details and payment agreements. 

 2. Use secure online platforms to perform interviews.

Your clients will share confidential information with you, and their data needs to be treated with care. Therefore, all online tools you use must be HIPAA-compliant. 

HIPAA-compliant platforms are digital tools and services that comply with the HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) standards in the United States.

The following is a list of platforms suitable for an online counseling practice:

  • Epic is a popular electronic health records system that offers comprehensive clinical, financial, and patient engagement solutions.
  • Teladoc offers virtual healthcare services, allowing patients to consult with healthcare providers online.
  • Signal is a secure messaging app offering end-to-end encryption that can be used for HIPAA-compliant communications if set up correctly and within HIPAA guidelines.
  • Google Cloud Platform offers HIPAA-compliant cloud services, provided that a Business Associate Agreement (B.A.A.) is in place and users configure it according to HIPAA requirements.
  • Microsoft Azure provides a secure cloud computing platform with services that can be configured for HIPAA compliance.
  • SimplePractice: A practice management software that offers secure patient communication, telehealth, and document management for healthcare providers.

   3. Professional Development

Keep your professional development up to date by networking with other professionals, attending training workshops, and following guidelines from the American Counseling Association. 

In conclusion, a career in counseling offers substantial advantages, including the flexibility to obtain qualifications through online courses and the opportunity to establish a virtual practice. This path not only facilitates personal and professional growth but also enables individuals to make a significant, positive impact on society.

Latest posts
Teach uses cookies as an essential part of our website.
This site uses cookies to store information on your computer. Some are essential to make our site work; others help us improve the user experience. by using the site, you consent to the placement of these cookies. Read our Cookie Policy to learn more