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What is a Child Counselor?

Pursuing a degree in child counseling via an online or on-campus platform in Oklahoma offers a unique opportunity to impact the lives of young individuals at critical developmental stages. Child counselors are trained to provide support and guidance to children and adolescents, helping them cope with a variety of issues that can range from academic stressors to more severe psychological challenges. In Oklahoma, universities have tailored their programs to meet state licensure requirements, ensuring that graduates are well-prepared to enter the professional field.

Choosing an online child counseling degree can provide flexibility that accommodates your personal and work commitments while still delivering the comprehensive training needed to excel as a child counselor. Programs like a Master of Science in Counseling equip prospective counselors with a solid foundation in mental health principles, preparing them to translate theory into practical applications in diverse educational or therapeutic settings.

Overview of a Child Counseling Degree

In Oklahoma, pursuing a degree in child counseling allows you a great deal of flexibility and the ability to balance your studies with other life commitments. Child counseling is a dedicated field focused on supporting the mental health and emotional well-being of children and adolescents.

Your journey starts with an undergraduate degree, but to practice as a counselor in Oklahoma, a master's degree is crucial. Programs, such as a Master of Clinical Mental Health Counseling, offer thorough preparation for state licensure and equip you with the skills necessary for effective therapy and treatment of young clients.

Degree Requirements & Structure:

  • The typical child counseling program is approximately 60 credit hours – undergraduate degrees are closer to 120 hours but may not focus on child counseling specifically.
  • Time to Completion: These programs can be completed in about 24-30 months, but this varies by individual pace and the program's structure.
  • Licensing Preparation: Graduates are commonly prepared to become licensed professional counselors (LPC), although specific licensure requirements may vary.

Course Content:

  • Your curriculum will likely cover advanced therapy techniques and the latest practice models tailored for child and adolescent counseling.
  • A significant component is the practicum, where you'll gain hands-on experience in a real-world setting.
  • Graduate programs may include flexible class schedules to cater to diverse student needs including those who are working professionals.

When choosing a child counseling degree in Oklahoma, ensure the program is accredited and meets the state's educational requirements for licensure. This is a pivotal step in your career path, as becoming licensed is a mandate to professionally counsel children and adolescents in Oklahoma.

Understanding Child Counseling Programs

Pursuing a career as a child counselor in Oklahoma requires specific educational qualifications and completion of a certification process, whether that's for basic counseling or school counselor certification.

Education Requirements

Before you can become a child counselor in Oklahoma, you must complete a graduate program in counseling with a focus on child development and psychology.

The educational path typically comprises:

  • Bachelor's Degree: A four-year undergraduate degree in counseling, psychology, or a related field.
  • Master's Degree: A 60-credit master's program accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). This often includes courses in child and adolescent development, counseling theory, ethical practice, and diagnostic methods.

Required Practicum: To apply your knowledge in real-world settings, you'll need to complete at least 300 hours of supervised practicum or internship, focusing on child counseling.

Certification Process

After finishing your educational requirements, you must obtain certification to practice:

  • National Counselor Examination (NCE): Pass this examination administered by the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC).
  • State Licensure: Apply for licensure through the Oklahoma counselor board, ensuring you meet state-specific criteria.
  • Board-Approved Supervision: Accumulate the required hours of postgraduate supervised experience as per board mandates.
  • Continuing Education: Maintain your certification by engaging in ongoing professional development and education as stipulated by the board.

By satisfying the board’s educational standards and completing the certification process, you will be well-positioned to support children as a qualified counselor in Oklahoma.

Online Educational Pathways for a Child Counseling Degree in Oklahoma

Programs in Oklahoma are offered through a variety of educational pathways for you to start or advance your career in child counseling. Each level of education can serve as a steppingstone that equips you with the knowledge and credentials needed to specialize in counseling children and adolescents.

Online Associate Degree in Counseling or Psychology (AS)

At the associate level, you can begin with a foundational education in counseling or psychology. While this degree does not qualify you for licensure, it can be a steppingstone toward higher qualifications. Courses will cover introductory topics that form the bedrock for your future studies.

Online Bachelor’s Degree in Child Counseling (BS)

Bachelor's programs typically focus on psychology, child development, and educational psychology. These four-year degrees prepare you for entry-level positions – such as a role as a psychiatric technician or aide – and they can set the groundwork for your master's education, which is essential for clinical practice. You may still not find a degree focused on child counseling at this level and instead choose a program focused on mental health counseling or child development.

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Online Master’s Degree in Child Counseling (MS)

A master’s degree is the minimum requirement for becoming a licensed counselor in Oklahoma. Online master’s programs are designed to be comprehensive and include areas like mental health counseling and preparation for the National Counselor Exam, essential for licensure. It usually takes around two years to complete these programs, and this is the level at which you will find specializations such as child counseling, school counseling, clinical mental health counseling, behavioral counseling, etc. Graduates can work with child protective services as social workers or as a school counselor.

National rankings - online MS in counseling

Online PhD in Child Counseling (PHD)

If you aim for advanced research or teaching positions, a PhD in child counseling allows you to delve deeper into the field. Doctoral programs provide a high level of expertise and can open doors to leading positions and contributions to the field of child counseling. To complete one of these programs, you will have to write a dissertation and add original research to the field.

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Online Child Counseling Certifications

Certifications give you an opportunity to specialize further within child counseling. Thse are often available online and can help you stay current with best practices and meet continuing education requirements for maintaining licensure.

Funding Your Education

When considering a degree in child counseling, understanding your options for financing your education is essential. Your budget will need to include tuition, books, and any additional fees associated with the program.

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  • Financial Aid: Exploring financial aid opportunities is a prudent step. Begin by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine your eligibility for loans, grants, and work-study programs. Additionally, inquire directly with your chosen university's financial aid office as they may offer scholarships or payment plans that could ease the financial burden.
  • Scholarships: Research is key when searching for scholarships. Look for funding specifically aimed at graduate students pursuing degrees in education or counseling. Scholarships can be merit-based, need-based, or tied to specific criteria like your field of interest, demographic factors, or professional affiliations.
  • Employer Assistance: If you're currently employed, check if your employer offers tuition assistance or reimbursement programs. Some organizations support their employees' continuing education, particularly if it aligns with your job role or the company's goals.

Remember, investing time in researching and applying for various financial aid options can significantly reduce the overall cost of your education, making your goal more attainable.

Accreditation of Counseling Programs

When considering any child counseling degree, it’s important to ensure the program's accreditation, as this influences the recognition of your qualification and your licensure prospects.

Importance of Accreditation

Accreditation serves as a mark of quality for educational programs. When a program in child counseling is accredited, you can be confident that it meets rigorous academic standards and prepares students effectively for their professional career. It's essential for licensure and for your potential employment as licensure and employers require candidates with an accredited degree.

Accrediting Bodies for Child Counseling Programs

For counseling programs, the key accrediting body to look for is the Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs (CACREP). This organization assesses master's and doctoral programs in counseling and its specialties. In Oklahoma, you should verify that your chosen child counseling program is CACREP accredited to ensure it aligns with state licensure requirements. If the program you're considering isn't accredited, you may face challenges when pursuing licensure as a licensed professional counselor (LPC).

Accredited counseling psychology master's programs will clearly state their accreditation status, making it straightforward for you to verify this crucial credential before committing to a program.

Oklahoma's Counseling Environment

In Oklahoma, your pursuit of a child counseling degree encompasses a strong focus on mental health and adherence to state-specific regulations. The state provides educational routes and licensure requirements to ensure that you are fully equipped to support the mental well-being of children within a clearly defined legal framework.

Mental Health Counseling Focus

When pursuing a child counseling degree in Oklahoma, you will focus on mental health practices. Programs aim to prepare you for addressing a wide range of psychological challenges faced by children. Many institutions ensure the curriculum meets the necessary criteria to prepare you for various settings, from schools to private practices. The content may cover essential skills in clinical mental counseling, school counseling, and addictions counseling.

State Regulations

Your journey toward becoming a professional child counselor in Oklahoma requires a deep understanding of state regulations. The state mandates completing a 60-credit hour program for licensure as an LPC. Licensure is guided and approved by the Oklahoma State Board of Behavioral Health, which keeps professionals accountable and maintains a standard of practice to protect both you and your clients.

To comply with these regulations, make sure to enroll in programs that are pre-approved by the relevant state boards and fulfill the necessary educational and training requirements.

Potential Careers and Salaries for Graduates

As a graduate with a child counseling degree in Oklahoma, you’ll have a variety of career paths available to you. Your expertise in child development and behavioral science opens opportunities in mental health, social services, education, and healthcare settings. Here's what you can expect for some of these roles both in terms of job function and salary.

Mental Health Counselor:

Job description: In Oklahoma, mental health counselors can play a crucial role in helping both adult ad young clients cope with various psychological issues, using therapeutic techniques appropriate for their age and developmental stage.


  • Master’s degree, Growth Potential 18% (Much faster than average)
  • Evaluate clients’ mental and physical health, addiction, or problematic behavior and assess their readiness for treatment
  • Develop, recommend, and review treatment goals and plans with clients and their families
  • Assist clients in developing skills and behaviors necessary to recover from their addiction or modify their behavior
  • Work with clients to identify behaviors or situations that interfere with their recovery

Median Salary: $60,080

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Social Worker:

Job description: As a social worker, you can address the social and psychological challenges affecting youth of your state. Your responsibilities could range from case management to advocacy roles within the community.


  • Bachelor’s degree, Growth Potential 7% (Faster than average)
  • Identify people and communities in need of help
  • Assess clients’ needs, situations, strengths, and support networks to determine their goals
  • Help clients adjust to changes and challenges in their lives, such as illness, divorce, or unemployment
  • Research, refer, and advocate for community resources, such as food stamps, childcare, and healthcare, to assist and improve a client’s well-being

Median Salary: $68,800

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Psychiatric Technician and Aide:

Job description: Employment as a psychiatric technician or aide involves providing therapeutic care to clients or patients with mental illnesses or developmental disabilities, often within psychiatric units or residential facilities. Your work supports treatment plans and daily care routines.


  • Associate degree, Growth Potential 9% (Much faster than average)
  • Care for individuals with mental or emotional conditions or disabilities, following the instructions of physicians or other health practitioners
  • Listen to patients' concerns, observe their behavior, and record their condition
  • Report changes in patient health or behavior to medical staff
  • Monitor patients’ behavior and location in a mental healthcare facility

Median Salary: $43,650

Special Education Teacher (Kindergarten):

Job description: With a background in counseling and education, you might consider becoming a special education teacher at the kindergarten level. In this role, you'll design and implement educational programs tailored to young children with diverse learning needs.


  • Bachelor's degree
  • Observe students to evaluate their abilities, strengths, and weaknesses
  • Administer standardized ability and achievement tests to kindergarten students with special needs
  • Attend professional meetings, educational conferences, or teacher training workshops to maintain or improve professional competence
  • Collaborate with other teachers or administrators to develop, evaluate, or revise kindergarten programs

Median Salary: $71,770

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are the accreditation requirements for child counseling degree programs in Oklahoma?

To ensure quality education and eligibility for licensure, child counseling degree programs in Oklahoma must be accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). Accreditation confirms that the program meets rigorous academic standards.

How can one obtain a child counseling degree online in Oklahoma?

You can obtain an online child counseling degree in Oklahoma by enrolling in accredited online programs offered by various academic institutions. These programs may include a combination of online coursework, practical experience, and a culminating project or examination. Just be certain to keep in mind that you will also need to complete clinical experience, which can generally not be done online.

What are the prerequisites for enrolling in a master's in school counseling program?

The prerequisites typically include a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution. Some programs may require coursework in psychology or a related field, references, a statement of purpose, and a completed application.

How does one become a licensed professional counselor (LPC) in Oklahoma?

In Oklahoma, after completing an accredited master's program in counseling, you must accumulate 3,000 hours of supervised post-degree experience. Then, you must pass the LPC examination to become a licensed professional counselor.

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