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  1. #1
    kajo13 is offline Registered User
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    Counseling/Psychology MA - Best Programs?

    I hope this is the right location for this thread.

    So after much deliberation, I've decided to embark on a second career in psychology . However, I'm not interested in accruing any debt just because the higher education system in this country determines that the more you pay for a degree, the more valuable it is. That's proven to be a fallacy.

    I have no interest in clinical research, however fascinating it is to read. My goal is straight-forward, one-on-on counseling . The prevailing opinions on this board suggest that pursuing a MA should be sufficient to open an private counseling practice.

    So my question is which programs are the most reputable and accredited? I assume that not all courses can be taken online if a practicum is required.

    Thanks for any input. And let me know if I'm off track on closing the door to a a Psy.D.

  2. #2
    JBjunior is offline Registered User
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    What state do you live in? If you want to do counseling , in some states CACREP is required for MA in counseling programs. For psychology , in some states you can do things at the MA/MS level but some require a certain number of butt-in-seat courses. Start with what state you plan to practice in and find out what is required.

    Butt-in-seat?
    48 or 60 hours?
    CACREP?
    MS in Leadership -- Duquesne University (2017)
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  3. #3
    kajo13 is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by JBjunior View Post
    What state do you live in? If you want to do counseling , in some states CACREP is required for MA in counseling programs. For psychology , in some states you can do things at the MA/MS level but some require a certain number of butt-in-seat courses. Start with what state you plan to practice in and find out what is required.

    Butt-in-seat?
    48 or 60 hours?
    CACREP?
    My family are moving, but undecided between New Mexico and Washington. I envision a practice with a online therapy component (but I don't think that'll be relevant to the degree needed).

    So is it safe to say that there is NOT an accredited, MA counseling , online program that leads to licensure?

  4. #4
    kajo13 is offline Registered User
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    We're moving, so we're considering New Mexico or Washington state . So I'll look into both. However, is it safe to assume there are no online, regionally accredited programs, specifically for counseling ?
    Last edited by kajo13; 07-17-2012 at 03:53 PM.

  5. #5
    Psydoc is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by kajo13 View Post
    We're moving, so we're considering New Mexico or Washington state. So I'll look into both. However, is it safe to assume there are no online, regionally accredited programs, specifically for counseling?
    There are several places where you can get an online MA in Counseling - you may need to spend a couple of weeks at the school for the practicuum. Forgive me if I don't post the links.

    Liberty University - my MA in Counseling is from Liberty
    University of West Alabama - with a little manipulation of the curriculum. I have a
    masters in Psychology from UWA.
    Chadron State State
    Peru University
    Capella University - CACREP - but probably the most expensive of the schools. I have a PhD from Capella .

    There are just off the top of my head.

    Good luck.

  6. #6
    DxD=D^2 is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by kajo13 View Post
    We're moving, so we're considering New Mexico or Washington state. So I'll look into both. However, is it safe to assume there are no online, regionally accredited programs, specifically for counseling?
    kajo13,

    There are a lot of online, regionally accredited programs, but what you need to consider is the state requirements. I'll provide you a list of schools that offer online degrees. To be safe, you typically want to go with a 60 unit masters in either MFT or in Clinical Counseling (as much as you don't want to do this type of program, in order to be a licensed counselor, most programs requires clinical practice of some time). Please take into consideration all the courses you need. Also, you want to get into a program that supported by the APA since those tend to be better schools.

    I would recommend viewing this site to help you find online grad schools with counseling majors:

    132 Online Counseling Psychology Masters Programs & Graduate Schools Page No: 1 - GradSchools.com
    PhD Leadership - University of the Cumberlands ('19)
    MA Leadership & Organizational Studies - Azusa Pacific University ('17)
    MS Psychology - Southern New Hampshire University ('16)
    BS Psychology - Liberty University ('13)

    In his heart, a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps. — Proverbs 16:9

  7. #7
    Psydoc is offline Registered User
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    [QUOTE=DxD=D^2;412849]kajo13,

    There are a lot of online, regionally accredited programs, but what you need to consider is the state requirements. I'll provide you a list of schools that offer online degrees. To be safe, you typically want to go with a 60 unit masters in either MFT or in Clinical Counseling (as much as you don't want to do this type of program, in order to be a licensed counselor, most programs requires clinical practice of some time). Please take into consideration all the courses you need. Also, you want to get into a program that supported by the APA since those tend to be better schools.

    I would recommend viewing this site to help you find online grad schools with counseling majors:


    I may be wrong, but I don't believe the APA had made it into the Counseling Environment. This is mostly a CACREP thing - however, most states will accept for licensure a degree that meets the requirements of CACREP even though the degree may lack the certification of CACREP. By all means, find a program that has at least 48 S/H and I would encourage one that is 60 S/H. According to most of the literature, NBCC will soon require 60 S/H to sit for the LPC Exam. Good luck, I hope you find a program that suits your needs.

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  9. #8
    graymatter is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by kajo13 View Post
    My goal is straight-forward, one-on-on counseling. The prevailing opinions on this board suggest that pursuing a MA should be sufficient to open an private counseling practice.
    First about me: I am a licensed counselor (in 3 states) with 10+ years of clinical experience. I have facilitated online courses for 5 years in 7 different programs (2 graduate, 5 undergraduate).

    An MA isn't automatically private-practice eligible. You do need to check on the policies of the state in which you plan to practice and some require courses that not all schools offer in a basic MA Counseling track. Most states now require a 60 year MA. Some schools still offer 30 or 48 hour MAs so you'll want to keep that in mind. You'll also be required (again, in most states) to do a 2+ year supervised practice before you'd be eligible to go out on your own.

    Quote Originally Posted by kajo13 View Post
    So my question is which programs are the most reputable and accredited? I assume that not all courses can be taken online if a practicum is required.
    A practicum can be coordinated even in programs that are fully online. Some states do require that a certain number of courses be taken on campus so that would be a factor for you.

    Quote Originally Posted by kajo13 View Post
    Thanks for any input. And let me know if I'm off track on closing the door to a a Psy.D.
    Its okay with me. I have been impressed with some PsyD programs if practice is your intention (as you've noted it is). My (anecdotal, no citations will be provided) understanding is that there isn't enough additional bang for the buck. Most insurance panels top out at the rate for licensed therapists. A therapist with a PsyD is not reimbursed at a higher rate than one with an MA (I'm open to being corrected on this but I do know that the rate of reimbursement is not increased much between MA and PhD).

  10. #9
    graymatter is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by JBjunior View Post
    What state do you live in? If you want to do counseling, in some states CACREP is required for MA in counseling programs. For psychology, in some states you can do things at the MA/MS level but some require a certain number of butt-in-seat courses. Start with what state you plan to practice in and find out what is required.
    While CACREP (as much as I loathe it) should be a factor, I don't see them being able to lobby for this change to be as across the board as previously expected. As I recall the states who have made CACREP a requirement are less than a handful and there are huge loopholes. That being said, several employers have asked me if my degrees are CACREP so there is utility there.

    I do agree (again) that you'll want to find out the regulations in the state you intend to practice in. Maybe even check with someone in the field in your area.

  11. #10
    graymatter is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by Psydoc View Post
    There are several places where you can get an online MA in Counseling - you may need to spend a couple of weeks at the school for the practicuum.
    I would add Grand Canyon University . And I would note that the practicum is not onsite.

    I'll also note that Liberty does require three (sometimes more) weeks on campus but that is not in any way related to practicum. In fact, I'm not sure how or why a school would require an on-campus practicum in an online program.

  12. #11
    graymatter is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by DxD=D^2 View Post
    To be safe, you typically want to go with a 60 unit masters in either MFT or in Clinical Counseling (as much as you don't want to do this type of program, in order to be a licensed counselor, most programs requires clinical practice of some time). Please take into consideration all the courses you need. Also, you want to get into a program that supported by the APA since those tend to be better schools.
    I disagree that MFT (or MSW ) has more utility than an MA in Counseling . That used to be the case in some limited contexts (such as government contracts).

    APA is related to psychology programs. It doesn't credential ANY counseling programs so that isn't a factor at all.

  13. #12
    graymatter is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by Psydoc View Post
    Most states will accept for licensure a degree that meets the requirements of CACREP even though the degree may lack the certification of CACREP. By all means, find a program that has at least 48 S/H and I would encourage one that is 60 S/H. According to most of the literature, NBCC will soon require 60 S/H to sit for the LPC Exam.
    I agree. And I should have noted the point about just about every program being in CACREP format anyway (even if they don't have CACREP credentials - which is just a racket but that's a different thread for another time).

  14. #13
    JBjunior is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by graymatter View Post
    I agree. And I should have noted the point about just about every program being in CACREP format anyway (even if they don't have CACREP credentials - which is just a racket but that's a different thread for another time).
    I agree, I think when I was researching the only die-hard CACREP state was Oregon. I had settled on Liberty 's program but being active duty military the requirements were too great.
    MS in Leadership -- Duquesne University (2017)
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  15. #14
    kajo13 is offline Registered User
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    Thanks for your input everyone. I looked into the state requirements in both Washington and New Mexico. Wow! what a difference. New Mexico just requires a core curriculum to be completed, whereas Washington requires numerous hours of supervised counseling and they look favorably on CACREP degrees. Too bad there isn't a resource that lists CACREP online programs.

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    kajo13 is offline Registered User
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    I just posted, but it disappeared to be moderated. That happened yesterday and I never saw the post. Is there something I should know?

  18. #16
    SurfDoctor is offline Moderator
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    Quote Originally Posted by kajo13 View Post
    I just posted, but it disappeared to be moderated. That happened yesterday and I never saw the post. Is there something I should know?
    Hi kajo13. Welcome to Degree Info. I hope you find all of the information you need.

    You ask if there is something you should know and the answer is yes. Here it is: New Users Ask: Where did my posts go? The timing always depends on mods being online.
    "If ignorance is bliss, why are the ignorant so angry?" Shannon Wheeler

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