Sunday, June 29, 2014

Distinctions Between Counseling Degrees

Disclosure: This guest post is brought to you by Wake Forest University.

Whether you're currently working in your field or you've just completed your undergraduate degree, you may decide to continue your education and become a fully licensed and qualified professional counselor. In the field of psychiatry and psychology, there are four main designations for graduate degrees. In addition to these four degree programs, there are also sub-specialties like marriage counselor, social worker and psychiatric nurse. All professional counselors must meet national educational, licensing and certification requirements. There are additional state requirements.

Psychologist with Psy.D.

This is a professional degree conferred upon individuals who plan to enter into the field as professional counselors. The coursework and internships are geared more toward clinical work and less on the research side of the spectrum. Students will typically have a combined total of up to 4,500 hours of pre-intern and intern clinical experience before finishing their degree and taking the required licensing exams. The experience will include all clinical settings.

Psychologist with Ph.D.

This degree focuses more on clinical research and statistics than working in a clinical setting. The length of time for this doctoral program is usually five to seven years. The student either chooses private practice or a career in academia upon completion of the coursework and other requirements.

Psychiatrist M.D.

A psychiatrist is a medical doctor with a specialization in psychiatric science. The student will attend medical school with an emphasis on diagnosis, treatment and theory regarding psychiatric disorders. A term in clinical rotation at a psychiatric center is part of the final requirements before moving on to a residency and then full licensing.

Counselor M.A. or M.S.

This is a master's degree in clinical psychology that requires completion of a two-year master's degree program at an accredited graduate school and a thesis pertaining to a related theory in the field of counseling.

Wake's degree in counseling is an example of a master's program that takes a focused approach to learning while concentrating on developing critical thinking skills. Students who wish to make a career of helping others learn compassion. Once you decide on your career concentration, choosing a degree program that compliments your decision and helps you to hone your abilities within that career path is easier. When looking for a university at which to continue your education, shop around, look at the course offerings and choose the one that best embodies your philosophy and goals.


Ellen said...

That's good to know. I didn't realize what the differences were.

Dede said...

I have my undergraduate degree in psychology, with a Master's in education. Sometimes I think about going back to pursue a graduate degree in psych. I'd love to do something that helped people more directly than teaching.

Athena Nagel said...

I have actually always wondered about this. With children with mental health illnesses I have had appointments with all different titles and never knew the difference.

Jeff Taylor said...

I never understood the differences and specialities. Your article makes it clear and easy to understand. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Good to know. I'm currently pursuing a bachelor's in psychology and never really understood which graduate degrees were appropriate for which type of work. Thanks for the information!