As you prepare for a counseling career, regardless of the specification, there are a few things you can do to improve your chances of success. Perhaps the most essential of these is your education. A good education can help counselors thrive, but what happens if you don’t have the time or money to attend an in-person school full-time? If this is the case, then an online counseling degree might be for you.
Traditional vs online study
When you begin your journey to become a counselor, you will find yourself with a few different study options. The first is a traditional college education. This consists of attending a physical campus for in-person study. Students who are interested in a college experience with face-to-face instruction might find this idea appealing, but there are a few things to keep in mind before you pick this option. First, studying in person is often more expensive than other study options. This can translate into thousands of dollars of debt for new graduates, a mountain that some people struggle to ascend. Another difficulty posed by in-person study is the limited schedule support. If you do not plan to study full-time and keep to a relatively stable schedule, you might find it difficult to fit classes around other commitments.
The second study option to consider is online coursework. Unlike in-person study, online programs exist solely online and do not require students to meet in person or travel to a physical campus. Lectures are generally recorded in advance and made available online, allowing you to study whenever you have time. This is good news for students who live some distance away from the nearest brick-and-mortar university offering counseling degrees. Instead of uprooting their lives and moving away from home, students can study from their own home and, in some instances, in their own time. Perhaps more importantly, online study is less expensive than in-person study. You stand to save more than just tuition costs though. Studying from home means that you don’t have to pay for gas, for parking passes, and for on-campus meals.
Note that there are a few different types of online study to consider. While we discussed fully in-person and fully online programs, hybrid courses are also an option. This kind of program allows students to complete some of the course online, but typically via a livestream of an in-person class. This removes some of the schedule flexibility, though it still affords students much more downtime without traveling to and from campus as well as to and from classes. Students are typically required to take tests in person.
If you are hoping to maximize your time spent out of class, whether it’s to work on establishing your career or simply to spend time with loved ones, a fully online counseling program might be the best fit. If you would like to learn about how technology has changed online counseling education, visit Walsh University – a leader in the education industry – and take a look at the articles it offers.
Counseling job outlook
There has never been a better time to consider online study. In terms of both job security and job flexibility, now is the time to pursue a career in the healthcare industry. As the popularity of online healthcare has been steadily increasing, people around the world have come to expect many more telehealth options than they did even five or 10 years ago. Of those services, one of the most popular health services offered online is counseling. Mental health counseling in particular, whether it concerns online or in-person care, is projected to grow nearly 25% by 2030.
This does not mean that you must offer online care to find a secure job. As counseling professionals begin to gravitate towards the flexible work options made available by the demand for internet-based care, in-person counselors will likely become fewer in number, but no less needed. Regardless of how you would like to work, mental health counseling might be a great choice.
But what kind of skills do you need to build a successful career, and will an online degree help to develop them? Let’s take a look.
Counseling requires the use of many different skills. From good communication to self-discipline, it is important for anyone who wants to be a counselor to practice and master important skills in order to succeed and help their clients as much as possible. Here are a couple of the most important skills:
- Self-discipline: As a counselor, you must be on top of many things. Your emotions cannot overwhelm your reason, for example, and you cannot put things off to the last minute. Remember that you are holding someone else’s wellbeing in your hands, and if you don’t do your best, they are the ones who will be most impacted. Self-discipline also gives you the strength you need to do things well, the first time around, as well as to make good decisions and follow through.
Studying online is a great way to develop self-discipline. When you do not have professors encouraging you in person to get work done, it is easy to fall behind and procrastinate. Doing so, however, can have a serious impact on your success. It takes self-discipline to stay on top of your work even when no one is there to tell you to work hard.
- Communication: This might be obvious, but counselors must have good communication skills. This is what helps build a rapport with clients. However, even in writing, it is critical to explain yourself well and concisely. Remember that not everyone can parse online communication for the proper tone, which can lead to misunderstandings. Clear communication helps to avoid these issues.
Online studying requires impeccable writing skills and, depending upon the form of assignments, oral communication skills.
What do you think about online classes versus in-person degrees? Whichever you ultimately choose, keep our tips and information above in mind to help make the process a bit easier.