How to Become a Child Counselor with an Online Degree Skip to content

July 12, 2021

How to Become a Child Counselor with an Online Degree

Are you passionate about children’s mental health? Maybe you find yourself wanting to reach out to the youth in your community, but, without a master’s degree, you can’t. It’s possible to pursue this passion without dropping the rest of your life. With an online master’s in clinical mental health counseling, all of your questions about how to become a child counselor will be answered, and your career in child counseling can begin!

Responsibilities of a Child Counselor

A child counselor helps young people who have mental and emotional disorders. This role also helps young people with other mental health needs, such as problems that stem from situations like poverty, abuse, trouble in school, divorce, and the death of a loved one.

Many clients receive psychotherapy, which involves therapeutic conversations and interactions between a therapist and a child or family. These activities include or are based in one or more mental health theories that guide the counselor’s ability to understand and help the client.

For those asking how to become a child counselor, The American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry lists several psychotherapies for children and adolescents that you should know.

  • Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) teaches children that thoughts cause feelings and moods that affect behavior. Therapy helps the child identify harmful thought patterns and then seeks to replace this thinking with thoughts that result in more appropriate feelings and behaviors. CBT mixes cognitive theory and behaviorism.
  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) emphasizes taking responsibility for one’s problems and helps the person examine how he or she responds to conflict and negative emotions. DBT is typically seen as a form of CBT.
  • Family therapy includes the child or adolescent, along with parents, siblings and grandparents. It focuses on helping the family function in more positive and constructive ways.
  • Group therapy involves multiple clients led by one or more therapists. It uses group dynamics and peer interactions to aid in understanding mental illness and/or to improve social skills.
  • Interpersonal therapy (IPT) is a treatment specifically developed and tested for depression. IPT focuses on the link between interpersonal events and the client’s emotional state.
  • Play therapy uses toys, games, drawing and other materials to help a child recognize, identify and verbalize feelings. Through play and talk, the child has an opportunity to better understand and manage their conflicts, feelings, and behavior.
  • Psychodynamic psychotherapy focuses on issues that motivate and influence a child’s behavior, thoughts, and feelings. Psychodynamic psychotherapy can be based on one or more theories of the psychodynamic model.

Salary and Job Outlook for Child Counselors

The median annual wage for mental health counselors is $41,880, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The highest 10 percent earn more than $68,790 and the lowest 10 percent earn less than $26,300.

Employment of mental health counselors is projected to grow 20 percent by 2024. This figure is nearly three times greater than the average for all occupations.

How to Become a Child Counselor

Child counselors need to be licensed in the state where they practice. Information on state boards regulating mental health counselors is available through the National Board for Certified Counselors. Licensure requires the following.

  • A master’s degree, typically in clinical mental health counseling, psychology, or a related mental health field.
  • 2,000 to 4,000 hours of post-degree supervised clinical experience.
  • A state-recognized exam.
  • Annual continuing education classes.

An online master’s degree in mental health counseling from Grace College prepares graduates for work in counseling environments. This faith-based program teaches students to apply Scriptural truth and principles as they learn how to become a licensed counselor.

This program is for you if you are serious about creating an impact in child counseling and are looking to complete your graduate degree online. With a Master in Mental Health Counseling online, you will be trained to help guide and assist children with their personal troubles. This program is also committed to the professional and interpersonal development of the student which is essential for effective counseling practice.

Are you ready to learn how to become a child counselor? 

Request more information about our online MACMHC degree today!