This article talks about the Master of Science (M.S.) degree program in Community Counseling and their coursework, career options, job and wage outlook, and continuing education options.
Master of Science (MS) Degree Program in Community Counseling
Master of Arts (M.A.), Master of Science (M.S.), and Master of Education (M.Ed.) degrees in the field are available with several concentrations. Concentrations include school, clinical, and rehabilitation counseling. The focus of these programs are on both the practice and theories of counseling relating to a client’s mental health. Through hands-on clinical practice and lecture-based courses, students are taught about assessing clients and offering solutions that lead to the promotion of ethical behavior and empowerment. Part-time learning schedules are available through some schools. Graduates enjoy eligibility for licensure.
Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a bachelor’s degree before they can apply to a master’s program, but schools don’t require any specific major.
Coursework is devised to teach students about the ways in which behavior changes due to patient interaction with professionals, family, and community members. The curriculum incorporates the explorations of methods of providing guidance and assistance to individuals to acknowledge behavioral accountability. Coursework covers diagnostic practices, research methodology, and treatment techniques related to community counseling. Internship or fieldwork opportunities are devised to allow students to enjoy real-world experience performing work with clients in group settings. Core coursework may cover topic areas such as:
•Mental health counseling
•Theories of personality
Program graduates can seek careers in mental health clinics, community centers, hospitals, government agencies, correctional institutions, or schools. Alternately, they may opt for private practice involving the provision of counseling services to community members. Counselors in most settings must compulsorily obtain state licensure, but each state may have its separate specific requirements. They may choose from job positions such as:
•Program case manager
•Mental health consultant
•School social worker
•Counselor in a group setting
Job and Wage Outlook
Over the 2016-2026 decade, school and career counselors are expected to see a 11% job growth. Mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists are predicted to witness a 20% job growth (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). In 2016, school counselors brought in an average annual wage of $54,560 while mental health counselors earned $42,150 (BLS).
Continuing Education Options
Program graduates who seek continuing education can enroll in graduate and post-graduate certificate programs in topic areas such as gerontology, family therapy, school counseling, and drug-abuse counseling. Workshops and conferences are available through professional organizations, such as the American Counseling Association (ACA), to those keen on staying abreast of the latest methods and theories in counseling. Program graduates can seek career advancement to pursue doctoral degree programs in a related field, such as psychology, counseling, or human behavior. Licensed professionals must maintain licensure via continuing education.