How To Earn a 2-Year Counseling Degree (With Definition and Types)

Top 10 Associate Degrees (The BEST 2 Year Majors)

Benefits of a 2-year counseling degree

Earning an associate degree in counseling can have many advantages, even though most states require licensed counselors to have a master’s degree in counseling and a bachelor’s degree in a related field. A two-year counseling degree can help you:

Determine a career path

Obtaining an associate’s degree in counseling can help you choose a career path and learn more about this field. Associate programs in counseling typically give students a thorough understanding of various psychological theories as well as the abilities they need to succeed in this field. You can decide whether you want to pursue a career in counseling through further education or entry-level employment after completing these courses and receiving your associate degree.

Continue your education

A lot of students first complete an associate’s degree before enrolling in a four-year bachelor’s program. The educational requirements for the first two years of a bachelor’s degree are frequently satisfied by an associate program. If students choose to transfer to a four-year program after earning their associate degree, many colleges or universities accept these credits. Before transferring to the final two years of a bachelor’s program, where you typically take more classes related to your major or preferred area of study, this can be a good option for students who want to continue working or save money while earning their associate degree.

Find entry-level employment

You can find many entry-level positions in the counseling field with an associate’s degree. As a counseling assistant, for instance, you can work closely with a licensed counselor to provide administrative support if you have an associate’s degree. These jobs can help you decide whether you want to pursue further education to become a licensed counselor and what counseling specialization you might want to pursue. You can acquire useful knowledge and skills in these positions that will support the career path you ultimately choose.

What is a 2-year counseling degree?

After completing an associate program at a community, technical, or affiliated college, students can earn a two-year counseling degree. These courses assist students in getting ready for higher education, like a bachelor’s degree, or entry-level counseling jobs, like those of a mental health technician or caseworker. Many students’ first step toward a career as a counselor is to obtain an associate’s degree in counseling.

The majority of two-year counseling programs demand that students finish a core curriculum of classes that combines general education requirements like math and social science with counseling-related coursework like psychology and human behavior. An Associate of Arts in counseling is the typical degree awarded to graduates of programs with more liberal arts courses. However, students who enroll in more core science or math courses typically graduate with an Associate of Science or Associate of Applied Science degree.

Types of 2-year degrees in counseling

There are various two-year counseling degrees that you can pursue. Here are some common types of associate degrees in counseling:

Child development

Learning more about the growth of young children is facilitated by earning an associate’s degree in this field of counseling. Classes on how to educate young children, locate resources for children with special needs, or manage programs for children may be part of this degree’s curriculum. Students who want to pursue a career as a licensed school counselor or who want to work with children, such as as family social workers, teacher assistants, or child care providers, may find this associate program to be a good choice.

Substance abuse

Students can gain knowledge of the psychology of addiction and effective communication techniques by obtaining an associate’s degree in substance abuse counseling. Normally, associate degree candidates in this field of counseling take courses in case management, interviewing, addiction counseling, and prevention initiatives. Students with this degree may be able to find employment with social service organizations, residential treatment centers, or prisons. With an associate’s degree, you can get your substance abuse counseling license in some states.

Marriage and family studies

With this associate’s degree, students can get ready to work with families as counselors and foster healthy relationships. Family engagement, family advocacy, infant and child development, and societal parenting are some of the common courses for this degree. With this degree, candidates can typically find entry-level employment as a human services assistant, case aide, or provider of juvenile services. Many graduates of this program opt to continue their education in a bachelor’s program in order to become certified marriage and family counselors.

Mental health

Students can learn how to support those with mental health issues by getting an associate’s degree in mental health counseling. Classes in areas like social services, behavioral health care, case management, and counseling theories are frequently included in the coursework for this degree. Students who want to work in human or social services can benefit from this degree. Many students who graduate with this associate degree continue their education in a four-year counseling or allied field, like psychology, program to earn their bachelor’s degree.

How to get a 2-year counseling degree

The steps you can take to obtain an associate’s degree in counseling are as follows:

1. Choose a type of counseling

Select the type of counseling you want to study before submitting an application for an associate program. When making this choice, take your interests and long-term professional goals into account. For instance, if you are certain that you want to work with young children, you might decide to apply for an associate program in family studies or child development. Some associate programs are more narrowly focused on one aspect of counseling, while others have a more varied curriculum. Knowing the type of counseling you want to pursue will help you choose the programs that are most likely to be beneficial to you.

2. Research programs

When you’ve decided what you want to study, look into some of the available programs. Find out whether local colleges offer an associate program in counseling by conducting an online search. Find universities that offer associate degree programs online if there aren’t any nearby. To get a sense of the types of classes the university offers and other elements that may be important to you, such as financial aid, read through the program descriptions. Create a checklist when looking into associate programs to help you decide which institution best fits your needs.

3. Meet eligibility requirements

Once you’ve chosen your top school, carefully review the admissions requirements to make sure you meet them. Typically, applicants to associate programs must possess a high school diploma or an equivalent, such as the GED. Candidates for many associate programs must also fulfill academic prerequisites, such as placement test results in reading, writing, or mathematics. Your high school grades can frequently assist you in meeting this requirement. It’s a good idea to take a college entrance exam like the SAT or ACT if you want to use your associate degree to help you transfer to a four-year program.

4. Apply for acceptance

You may submit an application for admission to your desired associate program if you meet the eligibility requirements. You can submit an online application to many schools. Although many schools don’t charge an application fee, some may Your GED or high school transcript, as well as an essay outlining your interest in the associate program or your long-term career goals, may also be requested by a school along with your application. When you have all the required materials prepared, be sure to submit your application by the deadline specified by the school.

5. Graduate with an associate degree

After being accepted into an associate program, you can start taking classes in your first semester. You typically take a variety of classes to fulfill the program’s requirements, such as counseling classes and core curriculum courses like statistics or communications. After completing 60 credits of coursework, full-time associate program in counseling students can anticipate to receive their degree in two years. Consider joining a psychology club or working on a community service project as extracurricular activities or volunteer opportunities while pursuing your associate degree in order to develop your counseling skills.

6. Consider your options

After earning your associate’s degree in counseling, think about your career options. In order to eventually work toward their master’s degree and a professional license in counseling, many students with a two-year counseling degree choose to transfer their credits to a bachelor’s program. Others prefer to look for entry-level positions in the counseling industry so they can gain professional experience before deciding whether they want to pursue further education. Here are some typical jobs you can get with an associate degree if you want to work in counseling after earning your degree:


What is the best degree for counseling?

Counselors must earn a four-year undergraduate degree, and typically a master’s degree, in order to begin their practice.

Doctoral Programs
  • PhD in Counseling Psychology.
  • PsyD in Counseling Psychology.
  • EdD (Doctor of Education) in Counseling Psychology.
  • PhD in Marriage and Family Therapy: General Family Therapy.

What is the fastest field in counseling?

Career Counselors One of the counseling profession’s fastest-growing specialties is career counseling. One factor is that there is a steady need for vocational counselors in a variety of educational organizations. This implies that career counselors work with people of all ages in various contexts.

Is a counseling degree worth it?

For many students, a master’s degree in mental health counseling is worthwhile. Over the next ten years, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that jobs in community and social service occupations will grow by 12%, which is significantly faster than the average for all occupations.

Which degree would allow someone to be called a counseling psychologist?

An undergraduate or graduate degree in counseling psychology is possible. Students with either a counseling psychology degree or a general psychology degree are typically accepted into master’s programs, provided that the general degree includes counseling classes or independent study.

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