Learn How You Can Become a Mental Health Counselor Online

August 13th, 2013 by

One of the most interesting and rewarding careers out there is that of mental health counselor. Daily work involves working one on one with patients to overcome mental issues or even addiction, and this kind of therapy can be intensely rewarding for the right candidates. To work as a mental health counselor, you will need to meet a handful of licensing requirements from the state where you plan to be employed.

Discover what you will need to do in order to become a licensed mental health counselor.

Start With an Online Bachelor’s Degree

The first step towards becoming a mental health counselor is earning a four-year bachelor’s degree. You can earn this degree from a traditional college campus, but many busy students find that the online option fits much better into their busy schedule.

Thanks to perks like live streaming lectures, recorded classroom sessions and online message boards for students, you can get a quality education on your own terms. At this stage of your education, you do not specifically need to commit to a degree focusing on mental health counseling. Popular majors at the bachelor’s level include that of psychology, sociology or any of the related social sciences.

Earn Your Master’s Degree Online

While some states will allow you to become a mental health counselor with just a bachelor’s degree, the majority will also expect you to hold a master’s degree. This certification will take anywhere from one to two years for you to complete. Just like the bachelor’s degree, the master’s degree can be easily earned online through any number of colleges and universities.

At this stage, you may want to focus more intently on mental health and counseling. Options for your degree focus can include social work, therapy, counseling or mental health.

Gain Supervised Work Experience

Either during your master’s degree program or directly afterwards, you will need to find work as a mental health counselor or in the field. Ideally, you would be able to find a successful mentor who can supervise your first therapy sessions and teach you how best to interact with clients and patients. You might work in nursing homes, schools, for the local government, in a prison or in a private practice.

Your work needs to be supervised in order to meet the requirement set by each state for those who want to find full-time work in the field. Your work experience typically needs to be a minimum of one year in duration.

Pass the State Licensing Exam

The final step in becoming a fully licensed and trained mental health counselor is to sit and pass the state licensing exam. These exams are held in a number of cities around the country several times each year, and you simply need to find one that best fits into your schedule. Students can study and sit for this exam as many times as it takes to pass.

Although becoming a mental health counselor takes years and is certainly challenging, degree programs offered by accredited online colleges make the process simpler. Visit to explore your options for studying online to earn your degree.

About the Author:

Sandy Davis

Sandy Davis is a long-time educator who holds a Master’s Degree in Education, having taught English, writing, and communication on the secondary and college levels. With ten years of experience in blogging, social media and content management, she is a freelance writer and content marketing specialist for a diverse range of clients.

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