Which Counseling Degree is Right for You?
Types of Counseling Degrees
Associate’s Degree in Counseling
Bachelor’s Degree in Counseling
Master’s Degree in Counseling
Doctorate in Counseling
Counseling Specialties Guide
- Mental health counselors are counseling generalists trained in supporting the mental and emotional health of their patients. They can provide assistance with issues relating to family, stress, addiction, self-esteem, relationships, and aging. As such, licensure as a mental health counselor requires a minimum of a master’s degree and thousands of hours of supervised clinical work.
- School counselors support students with issues related to academic success, career readiness, and adolescent socialization. To become one requires a minimum of a master’s degree in school counseling (or another relevant graduate degree) as well as state-issued license.
- Marriage and Family Therapists (MFTs), sometimes called marriage or family counselors, use goal-oriented cognitive behavioral therapy to help clients manage and improve their relationships. Each prospective MFT must complete a graduate-level degree in the field, complete a supervised internship experience, and obtain a license in the state(s) where he or she wishes to practice.
- Addiction / Substance abuse counselors are the rare exception in the counseling world that do not require a graduate-level degree to practice. These professionals provide counsel for those directly or indirectly affected by addiction. Depending upon the state and specific position, it is possible to become an addiction counselor with either a high school diploma and associate’s degree or a bachelor’s degree.
- Rehabilitation counselors specialize in helping patients with various physical, mental, emotional, and/or developmental disabilities effectively navigate the challenges of daily life. A master’s degree is the typical educational requirement.
- Suicide counselors aim to save lives by working with those contemplating their own. They also work to support clients directly impacted by acts of suicide. This demanding and rewarding profession requires specialized training, typically at the graduate level.
- Grief / Bereavement counselors help clients deal with the mental and emotional effects of loss – typically the death of a friend or loved one. However, grief counseling also exists to support those suffering from other types of losses such as abandonment issues or debilitating health issues. It is possible to perform this work with a master’s degree, however many in the field continue their education to the doctoral level.