How Long Will it Take Me to Complete a Master of Education in Counseling?

couselingIf you want to impact a young person’s life, there is perhaps no better choice than work as a school counselor. Unlike other professionals, you will be a front line interventionist, with almost daily contact with students, parents and staff. Although there are several degrees that could lead to your eventual licensure, the most direct route is the Master of Education in Counseling. If you are considering this path, you might have questions about the program, what you will learn and how long it will take for you to complete your degree. If that’s the case, the following information is written for you.

M.Ed in Counseling

In general, an M.Ed in Counseling is a two-year academic program that follows successful completion of a baccalaureate degree. Once admitted, you can expect the program to focus on the following areas of study:

  • Assessment and diagnostic skills, with an emphasis on identifying “at-risk” students
  • Counseling theories that emphasize work with diverse populations
  • Intervention skills to facilitate academic learning and social development.
  • Understanding the broad influence and personal impact of a school counselor and how they affect change.
  • Knowledge of legal and ethical responsibilities related to the practice of school counseling
  • Understanding the application evidenced based practice in terms of counseling services.
  • Fundamental knowledge individuals, group and family work.


Field learning is the centerpiece of any counselor-in-training program because it combines academic knowledge with practical training. It allows the student to understand that their role is both micro and macro. Not only do they intervene with individual students, but they function in a political system whose environment is impacted by broader policy considerations at the state and federal level.

The field placement is generally incorporated into the two-year training program and includes an on-site field adviser who is already licensed in the discipline. This allows the student in-vivo practice in assessment, diagnosis and treatment under the supervision and guidance of a professional in the field. Most states will require this as a component for licensure, though you will have to check your individual board to see their specific requirements.

M.Ed in Counseling Careers

The M.Ed in School Counseling is specifically designed to help you obtain your license as an elementary or secondary school counselor. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary nationally is $53,380 per year with employment is forecast to grow by 19 percent throughout 2020. In some states, your academic preparation will also allow you to obtain more general counseling credentials so that you can also work in a community mental health clinic. You will need to check with the local board in your state for specific counseling requirements.

Final Notes

An effective school counselor is one of the most visible members of any school. Their ability to form trusting relationships between school personal and individual students and their families is often instrumental in terms of guiding a student to success. Given the complex and often fragmented social structures that underpin lives of so many students, it’s no wonder that a school counselor has become one of the most important members of the school system.

If you yourself working in this important field and need more information, you should review the website for the American School Counselor Association.