MA in Professional Counseling

Counselors work in diverse settings and provide various counseling, rehabilitation, and support services to the communities they serve. Their duties vary greatly, depending on their specialty, which is determined by the setting they work in and the population they counsel. Counselors frequently work with children, adolescents, adults, or families that have issues, such as mental health disorders, addiction, school problems or vocational counseling needs, and trauma. Job settings typically include private practices, schools, offices, hospitals, community centers, and businesses. Counselors are trained to recognize these issues and to provide appropriate counseling and support.

Steps Toward an MA in Professional Counseling

To become a professional counselor, requirements vary significantly by state. Successful students typically complete the following steps:

  1. Earn proper undergraduate degree (requirements vary by state). Common undergraduate degrees include Bachelor of Science programs in education, psychology or human services.
  2. Earn proper graduate degrees (requirements vary by state) from an accredited institution like Capella, Kaplan, Liberty, or Walden University. Typically includes completing a Master of Arts degree with a concentration in professional counseling.
  3. Obtain proper licensure. Licensure requirements differ greatly by state, occupational specialty, and work setting.
  4. Consider certification options. Some counselors elect to be certified by the National Board for Certified Counselors, which grants a general practice credential of National Certified Counselor. While voluntary and distinct from state licensing, in some states, those who pass the national exam are exempt from taking a State certification exam. The board also offers specialty certifications in school, clinical mental health, and addiction counseling.

My Degree and What It’s Good For

A professional counselor is typically responsible for the following job duties:

  • Evaluate strengths and limitations of patients.
  • Provide personal and vocational counseling.
  • Offer case management support and guidance.
  • Arrange for medical care, vocational training, job placement and other outside services.

Online MA in Professional Counseling Degree Programs

Closely Related Programs

The following degrees are closely related to a master’s degree program in professional counseling, often allowing you to pursue a career in this field or others:

Search Colleges

Use the degree finder below, and we'll help you find a counseling program.