Updated on June 13, 2024
Edited by Evelyn Keener
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What is Child Counseling?

Child counseling plays a crucial role in addressing the mental health needs of children and adolescents. In the state of Arkansas, access to quality counseling services for children is a priority as it can have a lasting impact on their overall well-being.

Child counseling is an interdisciplinary field requiring professionals with extensive knowledge in child development, psychology, and therapeutic techniques to assist children and their families with emotional or behavioral challenges. These professionals work directly with them to offer guidance in managing emotional or behavioral challenges effectively. In Arkansas, child counselors can work in various settings including schools, community mental health centers, private practices, and social service agencies. They employ a range of therapeutic approaches such as play therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and family therapy to help children overcome difficulties and achieve positive mental health outcomes.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were 1,190 mental health counselors employed in Arkansas as of May 2020, with a mean annual wage of $40,260. While this data does not specifically focus on child counselors, it provides a broader perspective on the counseling field in the state.

Arkansas child counseling services are expected to experience steady demand as awareness about mental health and early intervention rises. Schools, in particular, have come to recognize the necessity of dedicated counseling services for students facing unique challenges. Additionally, with the rise in tele-health services, child counselors in Arkansas have the opportunity to provide online counseling to children and families who may have limited access to in-person sessions. This opens new avenues for employment and increases the potential reach of child counselors across the state.

College students interested in completing a counseling program can find plenty of degrees in the state that can help you get into the field. Options include Arkansas State University at Little Rock, Harding University, Henderson State University, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, and plenty of other colleges and universities.


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Online Child Counseling Education in Arkansas

A child counselor, also known as a child therapist or a child psychologist, is a professional who specializes in providing mental health support and guidance to children and adolescents. They are trained to work with young individuals who may be experiencing emotional, behavioral, and psychological difficulties and may be found in school counseling or school psychology positions.

Child or school counselors can play an invaluable role in supporting young individuals as they navigate challenging situations and create healthy coping mechanisms. By working closely with these young individuals to understand their emotions, thoughts, and behaviors - providing effective interventions and strategies tailored specifically for their specific needs - child counselors provide vital assistance when things go awry for young individuals.

The primary goal of a child counselor is to create a safe and supportive environment where children feel comfortable expressing themselves. They can use various therapeutic techniques - such as play therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and art therapy - to engage with children at their developmental level and help them explore and understand their feelings. It's important to know that school counselors offer less varied techniques but may deal with more children through group counseling programs and day-to-day work in their school or other settings.

Child counselors work across several settings including schools, private practices, hospitals, and community agencies. They collaborate with parents, teachers, and other professionals involved in a child's life to provide a holistic approach to his or her wellbeing, conducting assessments to diagnose any underlying mental health conditions before designing treatment plans to treat them effectively.

Child counseling covers a wide range of issues that children may face, including anxiety, depression, trauma, grief, family conflicts, divorce, bullying, academic difficulties, and social skills challenges. By providing a non-judgmental and supportive space, child counselors empower children to increase their self-awareness, build resilience, enhance problem-solving skills, and improve their overall emotional well-being.

Those who wish to work with children in a counseling position can find roles as school counselors, clinical mental health counselors, certified rehabilitation counselors, school psychologists, etc. Those who meet graduate degree requirements can provide high quality services and make a good income.

Online Associate Degree in Child Counseling (AS)

An associate degree in child counseling will likely be hard to find, as there are usually more general degrees offered at this level, such as those focused on psychology or counseling. Even so, an associate degree offers a unique opportunity to gain foundational knowledge and practical skills in supporting the emotional and mental well-being of children by learning about developmental psychology, counseling techniques, and more. However, these psychological insights and therapeutic techniques are usually not yet tailored specifically for young clients.

Furthermore, an associate degree can serve as a steppingstone for those who aspire to pursue further education or certification in this field. These programs not only hone interpersonal communication and empathy, but can also emphasize the ethical considerations involved in counseling. With a growing demand for professionals specializing in all kinds of mental health topics, these degrees can open the door to more education can lead to meaningful career opportunities within schools, community organizations, or private practice settings. Ultimately, embarking on this educational path equips individuals with the necessary tools to make a positive impact on the lives of vulnerable children and their families.

Online Bachelors Degree in Child Counseling (BS)

The pursuit of a bachelor's degree in counseling, social work, psychology, human services, and other related programs offers a unique opportunity to delve into the intricate world of psychology and therapeutic interventions. However, even at this level, a specialized program in child counseling may not be available. Even so, these degrees can equip students with an understanding of developmental stages, behavioral patterns, and intervention techniques that can be applied to children. Through coursework that merges theories and practical experience, graduates gain the skills to begin to effectively support individuals facing various emotional, social, and mental health challenges.

Furthermore, a bachelor's degree can open doors to some career paths that can allow you to work with and support the mental health services of children. Graduates can pursue roles in community-based organizations specializing in child welfare, as psychiatric aides, non-profit organizations that aid children, and more. This degree also lays the foundation for further education at the master's or doctoral level, enabling individuals to become licensed professional counselors with expertise in child-specific interventions. Ultimately, this degree program not only provides valuable knowledge but also cultivates empathy and compassion essential for making a meaningful impact on the lives of children and their families.

National Rankings - Best Online Bachelors in Counseling

Online Masters Degree in Child Counseling (MS or MC)

Earning a master's degree in child counseling is a transformative journey that equips individuals with profound insights into the psychological and emotional needs of children. These specialized programs go beyond traditional counseling techniques to address the unique challenges of working with young clients. By delving into developmental psychology, family dynamics, and trauma-informed care, students gain a comprehensive understanding of how to support children through difficult circumstances. Furthermore, the hands-on experience gained through internships and practical training allows aspiring child counselors to build crucial skills in assessment, intervention, and therapeutic rapport-building.

In today's increasingly complex world, the demand for skilled child counselors has never been greater. This degree not only prepares graduates to serve as advocates for vulnerable youth but also empowers them to become influential voices in shaping mental health policies related to children's well-being. Through advanced coursework and research opportunities, students can explore innovative interventions and evidence-based practices that are reshaping the landscape of child counseling. Ultimately, pursuing a master's degree in child counseling opens avenues for making meaningful impacts on future generations while contributing to vital advancements in mental health care for children.

This degree level can also prepare students to specialize in another related field. The available options might include clinical mental health counseling, school counseling, school psychology, clinical rehabilitation counseling, counselor education, educational psychology, family therapy, drug counseling, and other related educational programs.

National Rankings - Best Online Masters in Counseling

Online PhD Degree in Child Counseling (PhD)

A PhD in child counseling is a rigorous yet rewarding pursuit for those passionate about making a positive impact on the lives of young people. These advanced degrees go beyond the foundational skills of counseling to delve deeper into child development, psychology, and therapeutic techniques tailored specifically to children. Graduates of these programs are equipped with comprehensive knowledge and specialized expertise to address the unique challenges faced by young individuals, allowing them to provide effective support and guidance. However, they also learn all about research and education in the field.

Pursuing a PhD in child counseling offers opportunities for cutting-edge research and innovation in the field. It enables students to explore new avenues for understanding and improving mental health outcomes for children, as well as contributing valuable insights to the larger body of knowledge in counseling and psychology. Ultimately, this degree empowers professionals to make meaningful contributions within their communities while advocating for the well-being of children on both individual and systemic levels.

What are the highest paying counseling jobs?

Online Child Counseling Certifications

Child counseling certifications are essential for professionals working with children and adolescents as they demonstrate specialized training and expertise in this delicate field. These counseling certifications validate a counselor's knowledge of child development, mental health issues, and effective therapeutic interventions specifically tailored for young clients. By obtaining these certifications, counselors can show their commitment to providing the best possible care for the emotional well-being of children and their families.

One significant point to consider is that different child counseling certifications may focus on specific areas such as play therapy, trauma-informed care, or behavioral interventions. These specializations allow counselors to target their skills toward particular needs of young clients, enhancing their ability to address diverse emotional and psychological challenges effectively. Moreover, these certifications often require ongoing professional development and supervision, ensuring that certified counselors stay updated with the latest research and best practices in child psychology.

Overall, pursuing child counseling certifications not only elevates the standards of care provided to children but also offers a clear pathway for professional growth and development within the field of mental health. By prioritizing continuous learning and specialized training through these certifications, counselors can make an even greater impact in supporting the emotional well-being of our youth.

Check out our counseling resources and scholarships guide What are your options to pay for college?

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Become a Child Counselor in Arkansas

Child counselors play a crucial role in supporting the mental and emotional well-being of children and adolescents, helping them overcome challenges and develop healthy coping mechanisms. If you're interested in pursuing this rewarding career path, here are the steps you can take to become a child counselor.

  • Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's Degree

    To become a child counselor, a bachelor's degree in psychology, counseling, or a related field is the first requirement. During your undergraduate studies, you can try to focus on courses related to child development, abnormal psychology, and counseling techniques. Additionally, it's helpful to gain practical experience through internships or volunteering opportunities that provide services for children.

  • Step 2: Pursue a Master's Degree

    Following completion of your undergraduate degree, the next step should be pursuing a master's degree in counseling or another related field. Look for programs offering specialization in child counseling or child and adolescent therapy - during such programs, you'll gain comprehensive training in counseling techniques, assessment methods, and ethical considerations specific to working with young clients.

  • Step 3: Complete Supervised Clinical Experience

    Arkansas, and most other states, mandate that licensure as a counselor requires completion of supervised clinical experience under supervision from an LPC (licensed professional counselor). Usually this means providing counseling services for children under this supervision for an agreed upon number of hours under direct supervision by this professional counselor and practicing all that you've learned through practicum and internship hours in real life settings.

  • Step 4: Obtain Licensure

    Once you've finished your master's program and supervised clinical experience, licensure as a professional counselor in Arkansas must be pursued. This involves passing the National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification (NCE) along with meeting any state-specific requirements, such as postgraduate supervised hours completed and passing a jurisprudence exam. Once licensed, you'll be free to practice independently as a child counselor.

What Can I Do with a Bachelor's in Child Counseling?

With a bachelor's in counseling or psychology, the career opportunities can be diverse and rewarding, though you will not be able to work as a school or pediatric counselor. Graduates can, instead, pursue positions as child and family social workers (with a social work bachelors), providing vital support and intervention to children and families facing difficult circumstances. Additionally, they could work in community programs aimed at helping children or students navigate personal challenges and achieve academic success. They may also find meaningful careers in community organizations or non-profits, developing and implementing programs that address the mental health needs of children and adolescents.

Beyond these roles, a bachelor's in counseling or psychology most often serve as a solid foundation for further specialization through advanced degrees. This might include pursuing a master's degree in counseling psychology or social work to become licensed therapists specializing in working with children. Even so, the knowledge gained from a bachelor's program in this field can be valuable for those interested in advocacy work aimed at influencing policies related to child welfare and mental health services. Ultimately, the potential impact of a degree in child counseling is far-reaching, offering professionals the opportunity to positively influence the lives of young people while contributing meaningfully to their communities.

Potential Careers for Child Counseling Graduates

Child, Family, and School Social Worker

Child, family and school social workers play an essential role in advocating for the wellbeing of children and families. These dedicated professionals offer essential assistance by assessing family dynamics, identifying areas of concern, and offering interventions to enhance overall functioning. Furthermore, they act as liaisons between schools, families, and community resources so that every child has access to support systems necessary for success.

Necessary Requirements:

  • Bachelor's or Master's degree in social work or a related field
  • State licensure or certification as a social worker (if required by the state)
  • Knowledge of child development, family dynamics, and school systems
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
  • Ability to work collaboratively with diverse populations and professionals in various settings

Estimated Salary

  • The mean annual wage for child, family, and school social workers in the US in 2022 was $56,680
  • The mean annual wage for child, family, and school social workers in Arkansas is $42,160
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Psychiatric Technicians and Aides

Psychiatric technicians and aides provide support and assistance to psychiatric patients under the supervision of medical staff. They work in mental health facilities, hospitals, and residential care facilities - helping patients with their daily activities and providing therapeutic support.

Necessary Requirements:

  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • Completion of a psychiatric technician or aide training program
  • Strong communication and interpersonal skills
  • Ability to remain calm under pressure and handle challenging situations
  • Compassion and empathy for individuals with mental health challenges

Estimated Salary

  • The median annual wage for psychiatric technicians in the US in 2022 was $37,330
  • The mean annual wage for psychiatric technicians in Arkansas is $31,010

Clinical Counseling or Psychologist

emotional and psychological challenges. These professionals are trained to assess, diagnose, and treat various mental health issues using evidence-based therapies and interventions. What sets them apart is their emphasis on understanding the unique needs of each client and tailoring treatment plans accordingly, fostering a collaborative and empowering therapeutic alliance.

Necessary Requirements:

  • Doctoral degree in clinical or counseling psychology from an accredited institution
  • State licensure as a clinical psychologist or counseling psychologist
  • Strong knowledge of psychological assessment tools and therapeutic techniques
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and the ability to establish rapport with diverse patient populations
  • Commitment to ongoing professional development through continuing education and training

Estimated Salary

  • The mean annual wage for clinical and counseling psychologists in the US in 2022 was $102,740
  • The mean annual wage for clinical and counseling psychologists in Arkansas is $128,130
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Substance Abuse Counselor/Addiction Counselor

Substance abuse counselors work with those struggling with addiction to drugs, alcohol, or other substances to provide counseling, support, and guidance that helps their clients overcome substance use problems and make positive changes in their lives.

Necessary Requirements:

  • Bachelor's or master's degree in counseling, psychology, social work, or a related field
  • Certification or licensure as a substance abuse counselor (e.g., Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor - CADC)
  • Knowledge of various treatment modalities and evidence-based practices for substance abuse treatment
  • Strong communication and interpersonal skills
  • Empathy, patience, and the ability to build rapport with clients from diverse backgrounds

Estimated Salary

  • The median annual wage for substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors in the US in 2022 was $49,710
  • The mean annual wage for substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors in Arkansas is $63,250
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Special Education Teacher (Kindergarten)

A special education teacher at the kindergarten level is responsible for providing specialized instruction and support to students with disabilities in a kindergarten classroom setting. The role involves developing and implementing individualized education plans (IEPs) to address the unique needs of each student, as well as collaborating with general education teachers and parents to ensure a supportive learning environment for all students.

Necessary Requirements:

  • Bachelor's degree in special education or a related field; state teaching certification in special education
  • Experience working with young children, particularly in a kindergarten or early childhood setting
  • Knowledge of special education laws, regulations, and best practices for supporting students with disabilities
  • Strong communication and collaboration skills to work effectively with colleagues, parents, and support staff
  • Patience, empathy, and a commitment to creating an inclusive and supportive learning environment for all students

Estimated Salary

  • The median annual wage for special education teachers (kindergarten and elementary school) in the US in 2022 was $68,580
  • The mean annual wage for special education teachers (kindergarten and elementary school) in Arkansas is $51,040
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Behavioral Disorder Counselor

Counselors for behavioral disorders specialize in providing counseling and therapy services to those living with autism, ADHD, conduct disorders, and related conditions. Their goal is to assist clients in creating coping mechanisms, increasing social skills, and managing emotions and behaviors more effectively.

Necessary Requirements:

  • A bachelor's or master's degree in psychology, counseling, social work, or a related field
  • Licensure or certification as a professional counselor or therapist (depending on state requirements)
  • Experience working with individuals with behavioral disorders
  • Strong communication and interpersonal skills
  • Knowledge of different therapeutic techniques and interventions for behavioral disorders

Estimated Salary

  • The median annual wage for substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors in the US in 2022 was $49,710
  • The mean annual wage for substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors in Arkansas is $63,250
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