How to Get a Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling
Attending traditional, on-campus classes isn’t the only way to earn a master’s degree. Every student learns differently, and what’s most effective for someone else may not be best for you. With today’s technology, you can choose the educational environment that’s best for your own learning style and situation whether that’s online or on campus.
At Antioch University, you have the availability to attend classes on campus or online for your Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling degree. There are benefits to each option, and deciding which is best depends on your own situation and preferences.
Online education is flexible
Flexibility is a great benefit of an online master’s in mental health counseling program. Because coursework is asynchronous, you can fit school into a busy schedule, even if that schedule changes or involves frequent travel. Consequently, with online classes you can work full-time or care for your family while advancing your education.
In addition, with online education, the campus location is irrelevant. You can earn your master’s degree in mental health counseling wherever you are, without relocating. While more than half of all online students live within 50 miles of the campus[i], the online option helps them use their time effectively—studying rather than commuting, for example.[ii]
Online classes have evolved from simply reading and testing to include interactive discussions that involve each student, often by posting to classroom discussion boards and responding to others’ posts. Students, therefore, must express their ideas and interact with others, thus enhancing their engagement and building relationships with peers.
This type of education isn’t for everyone, however. To be effective, online students must be motivated, disciplined self-starters to ensure they log in daily and complete the required assignments on time. This often means dedicating certain hours for studying each day and ensuring those times are respected by family and friends.
If you need flexibility and are comfortable using communications technology, an online master’s in mental health counseling degree program may be right for you.
On-campus classes provide structure
On-campus courses, by contrast, feature set times for classes and offer more structure. If you aren’t present, you will miss the lecture. Therefore, you must be able to get yourself to classes at set times, despite the sometimes-competing demands of family and career, or transportation or weather issues. However, students in traditional classes have the benefit of immediate feedback during real-time classroom discussions, which can be an encouragement to complete assignments on time and to specification. Daytime and evening classes often are available, allowing some flexibility in managing school and other commitments.
If you prefer the stimulation of face-to-face interactions, an on-campus master’s in mental health counseling degree program may be best for you.
Expect comparable educations
Whether you study on-campus or online, your core education will be comparable. Both can be completed in three years and involve a residential colloquium and fieldwork.
Both online and campus-based students can choose a concentration in Substance Abuse/Addictions Counseling, or to focus on Counseling Military Service Personnel and Their Families.
Consider financial aid
When evaluating master’s degree programs, remember to consider overall finances. Financial aid is available for online classes as well as for on-campus degree programs through grants, scholarships, loans and employers’ programs[iii].
Request additional information about Antioch’s MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program, or call 855-792-1049.