Accredited Bachelors Degree in Counseling Psychology Programs

Why Consider Earning a Bachelors Degree in Counseling Psychology

Bachelors Degree in Counseling Psychology Programs are typically 4-year undergraduate degrees. ...

 Students may choose the route of a psychology or a counseling undergraduate degree. Both the Bachelor’s in psychology, and Bachelor’s in Counseling might provide the foundation for graduate degrees in psychology, counseling and social work, as well as provide a credential required by employers for some entry-level jobs.

Bachelors Degree in Counseling Psychology

Bachelors Degree in Counseling Psychology: Program Basics

Bachelor’s Degree in Counseling Psychology programs may require prospective students to have an associate’s degree in a related field or a certain number of college credits before enrolling. Other programs may admit candidates with a high school diploma or GED. In addition to in-classroom learning, students may be required to complete fieldwork or a practicum. Whether you are seeking to enter the workplace upon graduation or have a graduate degree and licensure in mind, there are different paths to choose from – counseling or counseling psychology. 

Bachelors in Counseling vs. Bachelors in Counseling Psychology

Before you go ahead and choose your undergraduate degree, it would be helpful to determine whether you wish to enter the workforce after graduation, use your Bachelors in Counseling Psychology as a springboard to continued education, or finally, whether you aspire to a career as a psychologist or as a licensed counselor. This way, you can research the academic requirements, training and licensure information necessary for beginning your intended career.You can also weigh the pros and cons of pursuing an undergraduate vs. graduate degree in counseling psychology

What is a Psychologist?

First of all, if you are deciding to pursue the path of a ‘psychologist’, counseling psychology is one of three specializations recognized by the American Psychological Association (APA).i Counseling Psychologists are professional psychologists who assist people with their emotional, behavioral, social, vocational or physical issues, problems or concerns. This can range from stress and anxiety to mental health issues. Psychology is a highly regulated field; if you are considering this route, understand that you are ultimately required to earn a doctorate degree – either a PhD or a PsyD.

Additionally, there are licensure requirements which vary depending on your state, and in some cases, you may have to keep up continued education. Regardless of which type of doctorate program you select, the program will need to be accredited by the American Psychological Association and will likely require 2-3 years of advanced coursework and 1-3 years completing a dissertation. Counseling psychology programs also require clinical training and supervised experience, usually undertaken during a 1-year full-time internship.

In other words, you will not be a counseling psychologist with an undergraduate degree. That being said, a Bachelor’s Degree in Counseling Psychology can either be used to transition into a Master’s/Doctoral program or to meet the entry-level education requirements often found in private business and government employment sectors. In other words, if the job requires a bachelor’s degree, this will suffice.

FUN FACT According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, most graduates with a bachelor’s degree in psychology find work in other fields such as business administration, sales, or education[i]

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Types of Bachelors in Counseling Psychology Degrees: BA vs. BS

If counseling psychology is the route for you, you might notice that you have two options: The Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Psychology and the Bachelor of Science (BS) in Psychology. They are similar, but you should check your school’s undergraduate course catalog to see how they differ in terms of core courses, electives and other subject matter. In any case, earning a bachelor's degree is the first step for prospective counseling psychologists.

 

Essentially, aBachelor of Arts degree in Counseling Psychology is likely to focus on more liberal arts general education courses. Students who choose this degree may also be required to complete a foreign language component. The B.A. option usually involves taking fewer courses in psychology and more classes in subjects outside of the major field area.

Bachelor of Science in Psychology

The Bachelor of Science degree in Counseling Psychology is likely to focus on more science and mathematics courses. Students pursuing a B.S. in Psychology may have to take more lab and statistics general education classes. Usually the B.S. option involves a stronger concentration on the major area of study and students take more psychology courses than those who are pursuing a B.A.

What is a Counselor?

As with the undergraduate degree in psychology, the Bachelor’s in Counseling might provide the foundation for the master’s or doctorate as well as provide the 4-year degree increasingly required by employers for entry-level roles. Bear in mind that Licensed Professional Counselors (LPCs) are mental health professionals who hold a master’s degree and must obtain supervised clinical experience and pass a state licensing exam. So, if you hope to work in private practice, you need to continue your education.

If you are hoping to enter the workplace after graduation, an undergraduate degree in counseling might qualify you to work as entry-level substance abuse or behavioral disorder counselorsiii or probation officers and correctional treatment specialists.iv

As with Psychology, you may have the option to choose a college or university with either a Bachelor of Science in Counseling or a Bachelor of Arts in Counseling. The same rule of thumb usually applies – more statistics and quantitative methods in a B.S. and more liberal arts in a B.A. Always helpful to check with your school and their course curriculum.

Potential Counseling Psychology Curriculums

Pre-professional undergraduate programs in counseling psychology are likely to help you develop your communication and observational skills, though each program may do this differently and through distinct course topics and concentration areas.

A broad overview of the potential curriculum for a Bachelor’s Degree in Counseling Psychology might include topics such as:

  • Fundamentals of psychology
  • Abnormal psychology
  • Neuropsychology
  • Statistics
  • Research Methodology
  • Human Behavior
  • Applied psychology

By contrast, a Bachelors in Counseling program may offer required courses in topics that might include:

  • Development
  • Research and social policy
  • Child psychology
  • Group counseling
  • Arts therapy

Your Search Made Simple: Online or On-Campus?

Under.GradSchools.com makes it easy to find the type of degree that aligns with your interests and learning method preferences. Search by online or on-campus formats depending on your needs. Sometimes distance-learning is more viable for working students, but because counseling therapy is a human-centered profession, there may be in-person requirements.

Find Bachelor’s Degree in Counseling Psychology Programs by location – use the city, state or country tabs to find schools with accredited programs in your field.

Keep in mind that if you are aiming for professional certification, you need to choose a program where completion may qualify you to meet the standards for state, national, and international certification in your field where applicable. Some of the sponsored listings are fascinating; check out Bachelor of Arts in Substance Abuse Counseling (Degree Completion), B.S. in Counseling with an Emphasis in Addiction, Chemical Dependency and Substance Abuse, and B.S. in Human Services – Addictions.

Continued Education

Counseling Psychology is a field with many academic options in terms of continued education - it all depends on your vocational goals and your interests. Some students prefer scholarly research to clinical practice. Graduate school is certainly a time to fine-tune these ambitions with either a Master of Arts or Master of Science in Counseling Psychology. Going further than that, if your intent is to practice as a licensed counseling psychologist you may need to think PhD in Counseling Psychology. Thinking ahead is a great way to stay prepared.

Take the Next Step

Earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Counseling Psychology could be considered a building block of both continued education and a potential career in a helping profession. If you have people skills and want to leverage your talents, choosing either counseling or counseling psychology as your undergraduate major may be an important next step!


sources: [i] apa.org/index.aspx |[ii] bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/psychologists.htm |[iii] bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/substance-abuse-and-behavioral-disorder-counselors.htm |[iv] bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/probation-officers-and-correctional-treatment-specialists.htm

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