Hi! I am interested in becoming a counselor for this type of company (Thriveworks Philadelphia Therapy Center). I graduated The University of Rhode Island with a degree in Communications and my interests have changed to become a counselor. Is there a specific masters degree I should pursue besides mastering in psychology?
This is great news! I am happy to give you some direction on this. I, too, have an undergraduate degree in communications. While it may not seem like a nature step from this degree into the field of counseling, it certainly won’t hurt you. There are many graduate-level degree programs that offer courses or concentrations in counseling. Depending on what your career interests are, you’ll want to pick the one that has the greatest potential of preparing you for a career in professional counseling.
If you desire to work in a helping profession that may not require you to have the certification of Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), a Masters in Human Services may be right for you. This degree would allow you to obtain employment at certain Community Services Boards, Social Services settings, and some educational settings. It’s a relatively short degree program (usually around 30 credit hours) and can be completed in one year. This degree, however, does have its limitations.
If you really want to expand your career possibilities, you need to consider pursuing a degree program that provides you the opportunity to be license-eligible.
These degrees are typically 60 credit hours and provide you with the theory and training needed to become a Licensed Professional Counselor. Depending on the school, this type of degree might be a Masters in Professional Counseling, a Masters in Social Work, or a Masters in Education with a Community Counseling concentration. Each of these degree programs require a practicum and internship. Upon your graduation, you will need to find an office or agency where you can gain the clinical hours needed to gain the LPC status. I recommend finding a job in the counseling field. Be sure that someone in your place of employment is a LPC and is willing to provide you with clinical supervision (your professors will explain this in greater detail). This is a lot of work, but in the end, you will have significantly more options than you would if you had earned a Masters in Human Services.
There are some great schools that offer online degree programs, so do some research to see what meets your needs best.
Best wishes on your decision.
Director of Clinic Operations at Thriveworks