Counseling is definitely not an activity where an expert analyzes and judges whether the client is crazy or not. It is rather a process that concentrates on developing the psychological well-being of an individual where a counselor and the client work together in order to create constructive transformations in the client's attitude towards life.
Many people regard counseling as a support for weak people, only for those who have major stress or psychological issues, for those who think they are losing their minds. Usually the same people who have these notions think that professionals who are into counseling, psychology, psychiatry, and other related careers are shrinks.
Counseling is not a skill that anyone can have. It is a gift that can be nurtured and put into good use. Counseling specialists help people grow and achieve their full potentials. If you know how to listen well and think perceptively, you could cultivate your abilities by earning a degree in counseling and eventually use your skills and education in a range of fields with a job as a counselor. Today it is relatively easier to earn a degree as you can get one from either on-campus or Internet programs. As for online counseling programs, you can start your preparation and search by considering the following steps.
- Determine your own strengths and weakness. This is a personal issue that you need to establish prior to selecting a type of counseling degree. Are you people-oriented? Are you good with relationships? Would you prefer working with adults or children? Would you like to work with the disabled or mentally challenged? Would you want to be a marriage or family counselor, guidance counselor, mental health counselor, rehab counselor, substance abuse counselor, or career counselor? These are just some of the things you need to evaluate in order to pursue the level and type of degree that matches your passion and personal goals. Having established these factors will help you prepare for the demands of your chosen discipline.
- Check and compare websites of different schools offering a variety of counseling programs. Many institutions provide associate, bachelor, Master’s or doctoral degrees online. For undergraduates the typical courses offered are psychology, sociology, social work, and education. While you can find a host of schools providing counseling degrees, the challenge is to find an accredited online university or institution that gives you the flexibility to adjust to your schedule and requirements. Take note that counseling courses may require you hands-on training or practicum. Training arrangements will of course vary depending on the school and your field of specialization.
- Counseling licensure is required in most states. In addition employers by and large prefer not only your degree but your license in practicing your profession as well. If you already have a school in mind, determine the requirements for licensure in your state prior to selecting your degree program. Know how many hours of internship and other requirements you need to fulfill.
With a vast number of options you can find on the Internet, online counseling programs can be confusing to decide on. However with your goals clearly established, you can trim down your options and zoom into that particular program that is best for you. If you'd like to become a counselor yourself then attending online counseling classes is a very popular option these days.