Online Counseling Degree

The Online Counseling Degree is becoming much more popular due to cost effectiveness, scheduling, and increased options. However, you may be wondering if you will be sacrificing a quality education by earning your counseling degree online, as opposed to a traditional university. Are online counseling degrees as good or are people with online counseling degrees as effective clinicians as people who have traditional degrees?

This is an important question. The need for higher education has grown and therefore the numbers of college graduates have grown. Some people may wonder if there is quality in any education now that the numbers have grown so much and education can feel like an assembly line in a factory. Has quality been sacrificed for quantity in a world that sees numbers and dollar signs instead of people? Perhaps in some ways, yes.

This would vary from University to University however and is not totally dependent on whether a degree is acquired online or not. It is true that one online counseling degree may be better than others just as some traditional counseling degrees are better than others. Quality, however, is not necessarily sacrificed because it is online.

Face-To-Face Hours

Online counseling degrees, like traditional degrees, also require a practicum and internship. These requirements vary depending upon the University you choose to attend. These requirements also vary depending upon current accreditation criterion and the state in which the individual wishes to be licensed.

If you are looking to complete an online counseling degree or traditional degree, it's vital to make sure your degree will satisfy state licensure requirements where you plan on practicing.

A practicum and internship are a student's opportunity to begin working in the counseling field while receiving specialized supervision from both a site supervisor and a University professor. Hours spent working directly with clients are called face-to-face hours, or direct service hours.

Your online counseling degree will require that you complete a certain amount of these hours versus indirect service hours. Indirect service hours, or non-face-to-face hours, are hours spent studying related information for your online counseling degree such as reading books, attending psychology conferences / seminars, attending staff meetings / consultations, completing supervision hours, and doing paperwork, e.g. progress notes and assessments. Your online counseling degree will also require that a certain percentage of your hours be direct service, e.g. 60% direct service and 40% indirect service. The University that you choose for your online counseling degree will have these requirements outlined in more detail.

online counseling degree

Collaboration With Other Professionals and Students

Another important aspect of your online counseling degree is collaboration with others. You might be wondering how this can be accomplished if the class does not meet each other in the same way as traditional schools. Depending on your chosen online counseling degree, you may have a class forum page where you can conduct online chat sessions or post thoughts and questions in a message board format.

Some online counseling degrees are part online and part in person and require that students meet together for a few months in the year. Other online counseling degrees hold live classes that you have to log into at scheduled times. There are also online counseling degrees that allow the student to watch lectures on their own schedule.

Assignments, of course, are submitted online, corrected by the professor, and returned online. Typical rules such as plagiarism and other forms of cheating are also enforced.

Students in an online counseling degree program can still converse with their professors as well. Depending on your University, you may talk to your professor via webcam or Skype, e-mail, message boards, telephone and e-mail. Remember, professors want to help you be successful because if you are successful then they are successful too.

What about the library?

Ahh yes. The gigantic University library. Online counseling degrees don't sacrifice access to this vital source of information either. In fact, what library could be bigger than the internet? Online Universities have online libraries that connect students to periodicals, journals, textbooks, classic books in their field and the latest research.

Some Universities even have an interlibrary loan system in which you submit a request for a particular text (journal article, book, etc.) and if they cannot give you a link to it online, they will arrange to have the item mailed to your home at no additional cost to you (well, the service is part of student fees that you have to pay anyway). You then mail the book back in a return addressed padded envelope that they included with your library book. How cool is that? (Check your chosen University for your online counseling degree to see if they offer this service.)

Hopefully this has answered some of your questions but I encourage you to explore all the psychology schools here on You should also look at ratings online for several Universities and ask other students questions. Call a few counseling centers and ask professionals if any of them have an online counseling degree. Most likely, many of them have and will probably be more than happy to answer your questions and concerns. You can also use the college search engine to find out more information about Universities that offer an online counseling degree.