What Education Do I Need for a Career in Child Counseling?

A master's degree in counseling or marriage and family therapy (MFT) typically is needed to start a career in child counseling. Keep reading to learn more about these graduate programs. Schools offering Clinical Psychology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Master's Programs in Child Counseling

Aspiring child counselors typically complete a master's degree program in counseling, marriage and family therapy or a related field. Graduate-level counseling programs often offer a specialty in marriage, family and child counseling.

Through these programs, prospective child counselors explore various counseling theories and techniques. They learn to consult with and assess patients as well as conduct group counseling sessions. They also examine legal and ethical aspects of counseling.

Courses that are specific to child counseling tend to cover developmental and preventative concerns. Topics might include infant mental health, play therapy, and family, school and community approaches to intervention. Child counseling courses also might address depression in older children and adolescents, as well as trauma and crisis counseling.

Additionally, students might explore why children and teens act out and learn how to assess and treat students with ADHD. Most programs also include several practicums as well as one or more internships, which could have a focus in child counseling.

Licensure Requirements

Child counselors fall under the category of MFTs, meaning they typically need to be licensed by their state to practice. Licensure requirements vary by state, but they usually include a master's degree and 2,000-4,000 hours of supervised clinical experience beyond what's completed as part of a degree program. Successful completion of a state exam, adherence to ethical standards and annual completion of continuing education courses are additional requirements for entering and staying in the child counseling field.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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