Our minds are commonly considered incredibly sophisticated machines. They are machines that, like any other machine, is prone to break downs, damage, enhancements, and the need for proper care. Of course, also just like real machines, the more sophisticated they are, the more delicate they are. And the human mind in all its delicacy is also biological, emotional, and rational, all impacting the type of thinking and processes we each are able to engage in. Unfortunately, despite our best attempts at controlling our thoughts and mastering ourselves, our minds seem to…well, they seem to have a mind of their own. This means that there are areas of ourselves that we can’t completely control, and that many internal and external influences beyond our control ultimately shape much of who we are. Thankfully, unlike machines, our minds are constantly growing and changing, which means that with the guidance of individuals talented in the fields of psychology, counseling, and mental health, we have the means by which we can constantly tweak and improve ourselves. When you earn your Associate’s Degree in psychology, counseling, and mental health, you are acquiring the type of self-understanding that will go far in aiding many different types of individuals.
Psychology, counseling, and mental health are each very diverse fields. However, they all intertwine around the mind, and the more you understand about how the mind works at all its levels, the better equipped you will be to help others. In many cases, you’ll be applying your wisdom to help improve the physical and emotional health of patients’ minds. There are a wide array of areas where people often require professional help, including issues associated with addition, substance abuse, family relationships, parenting, marital issues, stress, self-esteem, and effects of aging. If this sounds broad to you, that’s because it is. For as many benefits our incredible biological machines produce, there are many areas of weakness that need professional supplement to improve. Each of these areas could potentially become a specific area of focus, and the job titles you might work under include psychologist, therapist, counselor, or mental health professional.
There are many different areas where this type of care is provided to patients. Most commonly, a professional with this kind of specialty will find employment at outpatient care centers, individual and family services facilities, residential mental health facilities, local government positions, physicians’ offices, and educational environments. The services provided might largely be the same, but the type of people who they provide services to will differ depending on the facility. Also, the type of experience and specialization a mental health professional possesses will largely influence what types of patients are seen.
A range of courses in both theoretical and clinical areas are needed to provide a complete program of study. Associate’s Degree programs include courses related to human development, research methodology, psychopathology, ethics and law, mental health counseling, and group counseling. These are designed to equip students with both the knowledge and the skills necessary to directly interact with patients in a productive and healthy way.
So while our minds are delicate, sensitive machines that are often times subject to the whims of our external environment, our careers don’t have to be the same way. With your Associate’s Degree in psychology, counseling, and mental health, you are preparing yourself for a wide range of opportunities to meet and help patients. Many individuals cannot necessarily control their thoughts or behaviors to the degree that they would like, but you have the unique skillset that will help empower individuals to make appropriate growth. There are a multitude of careers at a multitude of locations where patients are eagerly waiting for your talents, knowledge, and caring personality to help them.
Do the inner workings of the human mind intrigue you? Is it your nature to analyze even the simplest of daily decisions and functions that a person makes? Have you decided to put this natural ability to work for you in a professional capacity? Have you thought about completing the necessary educational requirements so that you could work as a mental health counselor? In this profession you would be working with groups, individuals, and family units to provide intervention and treatment for a wide variety of emotional and mental disorders. Start your degree in psychology today. In order to be qualified to work as a mental health counselor you will likely want to complete a Master of Science degree program that is concentrated in mental health counseling. Of course, before you can be admitted into a master’s level degree program in mental health counseling you must have successfully completed an undergraduate degree program in a related field. A Master of Science degree program will require you to complete between 48 and 60 credit hours over approximately a two year period. You can expect to learn about career development, group counseling techniques, the theories of counseling, ethics, and diagnostic strategies. You may also have the chance to choose an area of concentration within your curriculum, such as youth, children, or families.
You can expect to be required to complete coursework such as: family therapy, human development, research methods, counseling applications, tools for diagnostic measuring, crisis intervention, group and individual counseling, and clinical assessment. Upon completion of your course requirements you will be able to sit for the licensing exam as mandated by your state of residence. It is important to note that the requirements for licensure vary slightly from one state to another; therefore, you will want to make sure you are aware of what is required by your state. In addition, you will be required to complete continuing education hours in order to maintain your licensure. Take a few minutes and request a free information packet from any of the schools shown on our site that appeal to you and your goals. As a degree holder in an area of mental health counseling you will also be able to pursue employment in areas such as substance abuse counseling, vocational rehabilitation counseling, behavioral analysis, or clinical psychology. Of course, as a mental health counselor you could work within a hospital setting, within a school system, or you could open your own counseling practice. If you have always wanted to start your mental health counseling degree but didn’t know where to start then today is your day…start below by requesting information from any of the schools.
Many of the jobs you’ll find in forensic psychology is focused around sexual and violent crimes. This is a great career for those who truly wish to help others. A PhD or PsyD is usually required as well as being fully licensed in your state where you wish to practice. You’ll conduct and interpret tests including conduct court ordered forensic clinical examinations. Often your evaluation will be used in court to see if the individual you studies is competent to stand trial and even capable of waiving their Miranda rights. This is a very challenging career that is rewarding to all who work hard.
Do you love working with children but want to do more than become a teacher? As a child psychologists you’ll work with children on their developmental issues. You’ll conduct diagnostic assessments, treatment planning, psychotherapy, psychological testing for children. You’ll also provide the proper outreach and develop early childhood treatment programs. Most employers request a doctoral degree in psychology from an APA accredited academic program.
Marriage and Family Therapy
As a licensed Marriage and Family Therapists you’ll screen, access and treat patients and couples based on many factors including mental health in order for them to have a healthy, happy and secure life. Some of the areas you’ll routinely encounter include those with post-traumatic stress disorder, sex addition and infidelity. Salaries range from $72,000 to over $98,000. You’ll typically be required to have a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in Psychology as an education qualification.
As a pastoral counselor your primary function is to private patients with spiritual car including performing spiritual assessments and provide support to family members. You’ll assess the needs of the patients and conduct prayer services as well as provide individual/family counseling and even crisis intervention when needed. A Master’s Degree in Counseling is recommended and many are looking for graduates who have had previous experience in a religious organization and church.
Teenagers go through some pretty tough times and schools these days are turning to trained psychologist as school counselors. The normal school counselor that helps talk to kids and choose career paths are being replaced with licensed professionals to help kids through these adolescent years. Counselors need to be trained to work with kids who are recovering addicts, have social issues interacting with others as well as dealing with a loss of a family member of friend. Also teen social media suicides are on the rise and counselors need to be prepared on how to cope with how new technology affects kids.
Dealing with an injury is one thing however what happens when the injury isn’t physical but mental. As a sports psychologist you’ll work with teams and individuals and provide interventions and psychotherapy to address a range of psychological problems including problematic adjustment to injuries, depression, anxiety, sleep concerns, disordered eating patterns as well as substance abuse problems. Earning a Master’s or PhD is required for most sports psychology jobs available.
Substance Abuse Counseling
Helping others who have problems dealing with substance abuse issues is the area of psychology that is growing the fastest. As drugs kill the lives of so many people each year the focus has been on treatment and prevention since stopping the flow of narcotics isn’t working. As a substance abuse counselor you’ll work with others either individually or as a group and help them deal with rebuilding their lives. One great thing about this area of psychology is many qualify for employment simply by earning a certificate from one of the accredited schools listed. These certificate training programs cost between $12,000 and $18,000 and can typically be completed in less than 18 months. It will give you a chance to enter into the industry without investing too much time into your education. If you find you love your job you can always continue with your schooling and earn your Master’s or PsyD degree.
A lot of factors go into how to choose the best school to attend for your psychology degree. Take your time and review all of the factors below which will save you time and perhaps money in the long run.
Degree Level – The rewarding field of psychology is one of the few areas of employment where it truly does matter the type of degree you possess. Schools offer usually 3 levels of education (certificate, Associate’s, Bachelor’s and Master’s/Graduate. Most schools that offer certificate level psychology programs are using them as an introduction only program into the field of psychology. You cannot become a psychologist with only certificate training. With that said certificate training goes have a role in the industry and many who would like to work for a psychologist or in an office can qualify simply by having a certificate. The first degree level is an associate degree in psychology. This is a 2 year degree and will start getting you prepared for higher level courses in psychology that you can build on. A Bachelor’s degree is the minimum education requirement that we recommend in order to qualify for any of the employment opportunities out there. You do qualify to work I alcohol and drug counseling at this level as well as school counseling. The next level is the graduate degree level (PsyD). There is the level of education you should strive for if you want to become a licensed psychologist in your state. It is a 2-4 year program after you have earned your Bachelor’s degree. You can focus on your PhD or PsyD depending on if you are going to focus on research aspects of psychology or if you are going to work directly with patients. PsyD programs are not easy and take a lot of time and commitment by the student. If you are serious about your education and want a quality, accredited school then review the colleges we have listed below to continue.
Online Degrees – In the early 2000’s when we talked about online education it was kind of a laughing point in the industry as nobody took training seriously. A few schools offered degree programs online however it wasn’t accepted by the masses. Fast forward to today and almost every major college and university in the county offers online degrees. The reason is simple, convenience. Colleges listened to their students who were motivated to learn however their work schedules didn’t allow them to attend a traditional college campus. Schools that offered psychology degrees started adding in courses online to take and before you knew it schools were offering psychology degrees 100% online. Currently, over 276 schools in the US offer psychology related programs in over 200 different concentrations.
Career Salary – When looking into what psychology degree you first start by looking at the concentrations by career, then working backwards into finding the right psychology school that matches that are of focus. You might find that you only need an undergraduate degree to qualify for many of the jobs or learn that it takes years of schooling to become licensed psychologists. Research your career first on job related websites to see what the average salary is in your area. What are companies paying people for the career you want? What are other additional qualifications you need to have to qualify for that job? Psychology career salaries range from $40,000 to over $200,000, it really depends on what your career goals are.
School Accreditation – It goes without saying that earning a online psychology degree must be taken from an accredited college or university. Your future employer and even clients will want to make sure that your license or credentials are valid and all state agencies require that the school you attend be fully accredited. You can find out if the school is approved by the APA (American psychological association ) first. This is the gold standard when it comes to psychology licensing approvals. You can also look into the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB) to learn about credentials in your particular state.
Tuition Cost – The cost of college tuition is at an all-time high. Most certificate psychology programs range from $4000 to $18,000 where a four-year degree can run in excess of $60,000 and this is before you start your Masters or Graduate studies in psychology. Since costs are so high you might want to consider attending a community college for the first 2 years of your education to get the general education requirements completed first. Some community colleges have credit hours costing between $20-$60 per credit which is cheaper than the $300-$800 you’ll find at most major colleges. Be sure to ask the school if they offer any psychology scholarships for new students as well as any work study programs and grands. Often psychology departments offer specific amounts to those who declare psychology their major.