Updated on June 13, 2024
Edited by Evelyn Keener
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University Headquarters (HQ) is an industry-leading, independent educational organization that provides independent college rankings using a proprietary formula to create first class unbiased rankings. The team at University HQ strives to provide accurate and trustworthy rankings that highlights the best programs for child counseling in Iowa.

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What is Child Counseling?


Child counseling is a crucial aspect of mental health care for children and adolescents in Iowa. Many children may face challenges such as anxiety, depression, trauma, or behavioral issues that can significantly impact their well-being and development. Child counselors work with young clients to address these issues and provide them with the necessary support and coping skills to navigate through difficult times.

Iowa provides child counseling services provided by licensed mental health professionals such as licensed counselors, psychologists, or social workers who specialize in working with children and adolescents. These professionals possess the training and expertise required to deliver tailored therapy or support tailored specifically to meet young client's unique needs.

Iowa's child counseling industry is flourishing. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, around 1,100 child, family, and school social workers were employed as of May 2020 while there were approximately 260 clinical, counseling, and school psychologists also working there at the same time.

These professionals work in a variety of settings including schools, community mental health centers, private practices, and hospitals to provide counseling services to children and adolescents. They may use a range of therapeutic techniques such as play therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and family therapy to help young clients address their emotional and behavioral challenges.

Students interested in earning a counseling education in Iowa will have a variety of options when it comes to programs and schools in the state. These options include clinical mental health counseling, school counseling, counselor education, and more from the University of Iowa, the University of Northern Iowa - Cedar Falls, Cornell College, and other psychology schools. Those with the appropriate counseling degrees can become counseling professionals with state licensure.

 

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Online Child Counseling Education in Iowa


Child counselors offer more than simply listening ear to young individuals; they're highly trained professionals who specialize in meeting the specific emotional, social, and behavioral needs of children and adolescents. Through techniques like play therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, art therapy, and more - they provide a safe space where children can express themselves freely while working through challenges they face.

Child counselors play a pivotal role in helping kids build resilience to challenges that may come their way, including teaching stress management techniques and improving communication skills. Furthermore, child counselors often collaborate with parents, teachers, and other caregivers to form a holistic support system that maximizes overall well-being for the child in question.

Child counselors aim to equip young individuals with the tools needed to lead fulfilling and happy lives by equipping them with empathy, understanding, and techniques tailored specifically for each child's unique needs. Thus, child counselors play a pivotal role in encouraging positive mental health outcomes among youth.

Online Associate Degree in Child Counseling (AS)

An associate degree in child counseling serves as an essential foundation for individuals aspiring to make a difference in the lives of children facing emotional or behavioral challenges. These degree programs equip students with fundamental skills in child development, communication strategies, and therapeutic interventions. By focusing on early intervention and support, graduates of these programs are well-prepared to assist children in managing their emotions and navigating difficult situations. The blend of theoretical knowledge and hands-on practical experience offered through an associate degree cultivates a well-rounded understanding of child psychology and counseling techniques.

Moreover, pursuing an associate degree in child counseling can open doors to various career opportunities within the field of mental health services for youth. Graduates can explore a variety of roles, though they will not be able to gain full licensure as child counselors until they complete more education. Acquiring foundational counseling skills through this program can lay the groundwork for further specialization or advanced studies in child psychology or social work.

Online Bachelors Degree in Child Counseling (BS)

Earning a bachelor of child counseling degree can open doors of opportunity for individuals passionate about making a positive difference in children's lives. This level of education equips students with knowledge in child psychology, developmental theories, and counseling techniques tailored specifically towards working with young clients. Graduates equipped with this degree are closer to being prepared to work in various settings such as schools, community centers, or social service agencies supporting those experiencing emotional or behavioral challenges.

Experience gained through internships and practicums is a standout feature of earning a bachelor's degree in child counseling, giving students the chance to put theoretical knowledge into action under supervision by licensed professionals. Working directly with children and families allows students to not only build essential counseling skills but also gain empathy, compassion, and cultural competence crucial for effective child counseling practice.

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Online Masters Degree in Child Counseling (MS)

Master of child counseling programs open a host of possibilities to those eager to make a significant difference in the lives of children and their families. Attaining this advanced level of education equips aspiring counselors with specialized skills necessary for dealing with trauma, mental health disorders, and behavioral challenges; as well as giving them the education they need to gain full licensure. Students gain insight into research-based techniques and interventions which provide comprehensive support as they help young individuals navigate difficult circumstances toward optimal health and happiness.

Master's degrees in child counseling go beyond simply imparting theoretical expertise; they also emphasize practical experience through practicum placements and internships, which offer students hands-on opportunities to apply their learning in real world settings under supervision from experienced professionals, encouraging the development of clinical skills as well as deep emotional connections with young clients. This is vital because it is a requirement for licensure. A combination of academic rigor and practical training provided in master's programs produces competent child counselors ready to accept challenges of working across diverse environments such as schools, hospitals, private practices, or community organizations. Specialties at this level include options in clinical mental health counseling, school counseling, gifted education, counselor education, a school psychology program, rehabilitation counseling, and other related educational programs.

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Online PhD Degree in Child Counseling (PhD)

PhD child counseling programs equip individuals with not only advanced clinical skills but also deeper insights into the psychological processes at play in children. With so much cutting-edge research being conducted at this level, the result can be transformative child mental health interventions of the future - making a PhD child counseling truly meaningful in terms of providing impactful contributions that further the field.

An education in child welfare and mental health advocacy opens doors to leadership positions within organizations dedicated to child welfare and mental health advocacy, making graduates into thought leaders that design innovative practices and policies to benefit children and families' wellbeing. Furthermore, its multi-disciplinary nature provides professionals with diverse perspectives necessary for meeting all the complex needs of young clients efficiently.

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Online Child Counseling Certifications

Child counseling certifications offer specialized training for professionals working with children facing emotional or behavioral challenges. These certifications provide practitioners with the necessary tools and techniques to address the unique needs of young clients. By obtaining a certification in child counseling, individuals demonstrate their commitment to improving the mental health and well-being of children in Iowa.

In addition to enhancing their skills and knowledge, holding a child counseling certification can also lead to increased career opportunities and advancement within the field. Employers often value candidates who have pursued additional certifications as it shows dedication to professional development. Ultimately, earning a child counseling certification can empower counselors to make a meaningful impact on the lives of children and families in need of support.

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Become a Child Counselor in Iowa


If you have a passion for helping children navigate the challenges they face in life, becoming a child counselor in Iowa could be the perfect career path for you. Here are some steps to consider if you are interested in pursuing a career in child counseling.

  • Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology or a Related Field

    As the first step to becoming a child counselor, the initial step should be obtaining a bachelor's degree in either psychology or another related field such as social work, counseling, or human services. Completion of courses such as child development theory, abnormal psychology, and counseling techniques will lay a strong foundation for future career success.

  • Step 2: Obtain a Master's Degree in Counseling

    While certain states may allow you to become licensed as a substance abuse counselor with only a bachelor's degree, nearly all counseling positions require at least a master's in counseling or a related field. Look for programs focusing on child and adolescent counseling so you have the expertise required to work with young clients.

  • Step 3: Gain Experience through Internships or Volunteer Work

    To broaden your skills and expertise, consider engaging in internships or volunteering at settings serving children and adolescents. Doing so will allow you to put what you know into action in a real-world setting under the supervision of licensed professionals while simultaneously honing your counseling abilities. Not to mention, this experience will be a requirement to gain full licensure.

  • Step 4: Obtain Licensure as a Professional Counselor

    Iowa requires child counselors to obtain professional licensure as professional counselors in order to practice. To do so, one must complete a certain number of supervised clinical hours, pass an exam for licensure, and satisfy other specific criteria set by the Iowa Board of Behavioral Science Examiners.

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


With a bachelor's degree in child counseling, there are plenty of opportunities, though most of these will be outside a counseling role. You can pursue a career in various settings such as schools or community organizations, but you cannot work as a counselor for children. You may be able to find a career in editing, non-profits focused on children’s well-being, human resources, social science research, and more – but you will need to continue your education to work as a child counselor.

Potential Careers for Child Counseling Graduates


Special Education Teacher (Middle School):

A special education teacher in this grade works closely with middle school students with Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) to promote both their academic and social-emotional growth. This role requires creating and implementing specialized lesson plans, providing accommodations and modifications to accommodate for disability-related conditions, collaborating with other teachers and support staff members as needed, and advocating on their behalf with regards to any special requirements that might exist for IEP students.

Necessary Requirements:

  • Bachelor's degree in special education or a related field (Master's degree preferred)
  • Valid teaching license/certification in special education
  • Knowledge of special education laws and regulations
  • Experience working with students with disabilities, particularly in a middle school setting
  • Strong communication and collaboration skills
  • Patience, empathy, and a passion for supporting the unique needs of students with special needs

Estimated Salary

  • The median annual wage for special education teachers in the US in 2022 was $62,950
  • The mean annual wage for special education teachers, middle school in Iowa is $60,680

Behavioral Disorder Counselors:

Behavioral disorder counselors offer invaluable assistance and support services for individuals suffering from addiction, aggression, or mental health disorders. Their counseling and support services assist clients in controlling their behaviors and creating effective coping mechanisms.

Necessary Requirements:

  • Bachelor's or Master's degree in counseling, psychology, social work, or a related field
  • State licensure or certification as a counselor or therapist
  • Experience working with individuals with behavioral disorders
  • Strong communication and interpersonal skills
  • Ability to remain calm under pressure and handle challenging situations effectively

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 Iowa is $56,460

School and Family Social Workers:

School and family social workers provide crucial assistance to both students and families as they face social, emotional, and behavioral challenges. By offering guidance, support services, intervention techniques, and resources for positive academic achievement, positive relationships, and overall well-being - they aim to assist their clients and make an impactful difference in their lives.

Necessary Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s or master’s degree in social work or a related field
  • State licensure or certification as a social worker
  • Experience working with children, families, and schools
  • Strong communication and interpersonal skills
  • Knowledge of child development, family dynamics, and social services
  • Ability to work collaboratively with diverse populations

Estimated Salary

  • The median 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 Iowa is $51,460

School Psychologists:

School psychologists play an integral part in supporting both mental health and academic achievement for their student population. Going beyond simply treating behavioral issues, school psychologists offer holistic support that encompasses understanding and nurturing psychological well-being for young minds. Working closely with teachers, parents, and other professionals - they tailor interventions specifically tailored to each student's individual needs.

Necessary Requirements:

  • Master's or doctoral degree in school psychology or a related field
  • State licensure or certification as a School Psychologist
  • Knowledge of psychological theories, assessment tools, and intervention strategies
  • Strong communication and collaboration skills
  • Experience working with children and adolescents in an educational setting

Estimated Salary

  • The mean annual wage for school psychologists in the US in 2022 was $87,550
  • The mean annual wage for school psychologists in Iowa is $68,370

Clinical and Counseling Psychologists:

Clinical and counseling psychologists play an integral part in helping individuals overcome mental health challenges and enhance their overall well-being. Although both fields involve providing therapy and support services to clients, clinical psychologists often specialize in working with those suffering from severe mental illnesses while counseling psychologists specialize in encouraging personal growth and life adjustment - these differences underscore their specific training and tailored approaches in therapy sessions.

Necessary Requirements:

  • Doctoral degree in psychology (PhD, PsyD) from an accredited institution
  • State licensure as a clinical psychologist or counseling psychologist
  • Strong knowledge of psychological theories, assessment tools, and therapeutic techniques
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
  • Ability to maintain confidentiality and ethical standards in practice

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 Iowa is $94,740

Marriage and Family Therapists:

Marital and family therapists specialize in treating emotional, psychological, and interpersonal difficulties within individuals, couples, families, and relationships. Their aim is to facilitate improved communication among clients; quickly resolving disputes, strengthening family ties, and improve marriages or partnerships.

Necessary Requirements:

  • Master's degree in marriage and family therapy or a related field
  • State licensure as a marriage and family therapist
  • Strong communication and interpersonal skills
  • Ability to maintain confidentiality and professionalism
  • Experience working with diverse populations and cultural backgrounds is preferred

Estimated Salary

  • The median annual wage for marriage and family therapists in the US in 2022 was $56,570
  • The mean annual wage for marriage and family therapists in Iowa is $52,050

Special Education Teacher (Secondary School):

Secondary school special education teachers serve as a critical ally and source of empowerment for their students with diverse learning needs. Beyond academic instruction, these educators promote individual growth and self-confidence among their pupils while creating safe spaces where everyone feels valued and capable of attaining success.

Necessary Requirements:

  • Bachelor's degree in special education or a related field (Master's degree preferred)
  • Teaching certification in special education
  • Experience working with secondary school students with special needs
  • Knowledge of special education laws, regulations, and best practices
  • Strong communication and interpersonal skills
  • Ability to work collaboratively with a team of educators and support staff
  • Patience, empathy, and a passion for supporting the educational needs of students with disabilities

Estimated Salary

  • The median annual wage for special education teachers in the US in 2022 was $62,950
  • The mean annual wage for special education teachers, secondary school in Iowa is $62,970
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