Counseling Psychologist Education Programs in Arkansas
The human mind is one of the most complex entities ever studied, with thousands and thousands of research papers published on the matter. No matter the breadth of current psychological research, thousands of questions remain unanswered, causing the field to expand rapidly into dozens of specialties.
If you want to work directly with patients and provide treatment for mental health issues, a counseling psychology degree may help you get on the right path. Education is the foundation of any psychology career, and it is particularly important when you are entrusted with the mental well-being of patients.
Keep reading about counseling psychology online programs and conventional programs in Arkansas.
Next… reach out to Arkansas counselor education programs to learn more.
Counseling Psychology Programs in Arkansas
One of the first decisions you have to make is which type of counseling psychologist program is right for you. Arkansas has several options to consider, from undergraduate Bachelor's degree programs to graduate psychology degrees and doctoral programs.
If you do not live near a physical campus or you have an inflexible work schedule, you may consider counseling psychology online programs. Compare admissions requirements and program outcomes to choose a school that accommodates your educational needs.
Entry Level Counseling Psychology Degrees in Arkansas
At the undergraduate level, you may want to earn a Bachelor's counseling psychology degree. This is an excellent option for those who currently have an Associate's degree or a Bachelor's degree in an unrelated field.
Over a period of four years, you study the field of psychology as a whole before taking elective courses that advance your knowledge of counseling psychology. If you already have an Associate's degree or Bachelor's degree, you may be able to graduate in less than four years, since general education requirements can often be transferred between degrees.
While comparing counseling psychology programs, look into their clinical experience requirements and opportunities. While some schools may not require an internship, an internship is still highly recommended for those who want to get established in the local social services community and get some applicable work experience.
An undergraduate degree may prepare you for entry-level psychology jobs and graduate-level degree options.
Undergraduate Psychology Counseling Courses
- Psychological Statistics: Whether you want to work in clinical practice or research, you must be able to understand statistics and research findings. This course may help you analyze research papers and understand their significance.
- Cognitive Psychology: This core class looks at the structure of the brain and how the functioning of different parts of the brain may contribute to actions, thoughts, and decisions.
- Educational Psychology: Learn how the principles of psychology can be applied to educational settings, including school counseling, teaching, and the development of enrichment programs.
- Multicultural Psychology: Cultural background is a major factor in psychological needs, thought processes, and decision-making patterns. In this course, you can learn how to remain culturally sensitive during counseling sessions to meet the needs of clients.
- Theories of Personality: Students in this class learn about the different factors that influence one's personality and how the development of one's personality may increase the risk for mental health issues in childhood or adulthood.
- Judgment and Decision Making: The curriculum for this class looks at the decision making process by exploring brain function, thought patterns, societal influences, and other key factors.
- Applied Behavior Analysis: Typically, this course is required to the end of your degree, since you should understand different psychological perspectives and theories before moving on to behavioral analysis. Through research and practice, learn how to look at an individual's decisions and understand the multitude of factors that influence every single one.
Arkansas Counseling Psychology Graduate Programs
If you want to become licensed as a mental health counselor, you must reach the level of a Master's in counseling psychology. Graduate psychology degrees require a Bachelor's degree from an accredited institution.
While most schools require an undergraduate degree in psychology or another area of the social sciences, there are some counseling degree programs in Arkansas that accept students from other educational backgrounds.
To get accepted to a Master's in counseling psychology program, you must have a consistent history of strong academic performance, acceptable scores on the GRE, and positive references from past instructors and professors. Accredited programs include a minimum of 60 credits, giving you about three years to get over 1000 hours of clinical experience and develop advanced clinical thinking skills.
Coursework Options in Graduate Psychology Degrees
- Legal and Ethical Issues in Counseling: It can be easy to slip into ethical gray areas when working with highly sensitive topics and situations in counseling. In this class, learn what the boundaries are for therapeutic relationships and how you can avoid legal or ethical dilemmas.
- Theories of Psychotherapy: Psychotherapy refers to talk therapy and counseling, which is often used to treat mental health issues alone or in conjunction with medication. This class offers an introduction to core counseling theories and principles.
- Psychopathology: Studying the pathology of mental illness may help you understand the needs of your clients and how you can best help them build healthy habits.
- Psychopharmacology: This course looks at the use of medication for mental health issues. Even though you cannot prescribe medication as a counselor, it is essential to understand how different medications work, since many of your clients may be on multiple psychological medications.
- Counseling Process and Skills: In this intensive class, dig deeper into the counseling process and start to develop the skills you need to be successful with clients.
- Treatment of Addiction: Substance abuse is one of the most common triggers that cause clients to seek out psychological treatment. Understand how addiction occurs and how it is best treated.
- Analysis of the Individual: In counseling, you must stay in the habit of looking at each client as an individual, rather than as a diagnosis. Upon completion of this course, you should be able to analyze the different influences that affect individuals.
PhD in Counseling Psychology Programs in Arkansas
Those who want to become a licensed counseling psychologist must complete a PhD counseling psychology program. If you begin your training after your Bachelor's degree, plan on earning approximately 120 credits over a period of four to six years.
Some schools only accept students who have already completed their graduate degrees. If you have a Master's in counseling psychology, you may save a significant amount of time on your counseling psychology education. Doctoral programs focus on clinical experience and research, using the scientist-practitioner model to prepare students for their future careers.
By the time you graduate, you should have completed a year-long internship, three separate rotation courses, and five or more practicum classes. In total, this works out to over 2000 hours of experience. Before you get your counseling psychology PhD, you must successfully defend your dissertation to a panel of experts.
PhD Counseling Psychology Coursework
- Group Psychotherapy and Counseling: This course uses your knowledge of individual counseling theories to make you a confident practitioner in group counseling sessions.
- Personality Assessment: With your understanding of personality development, you can enroll in this course and learn successful techniques for assessing a client's personality, a skill that may provide you with greater insight into their decision making process.
- Psychoeducational Assessment: In this class, combine your knowledge of counseling psychology and educational psychology to discover how to assess students and professionals in educational settings.
- Psychological Treatment and Methods: The outline for this class covers dozens of treatment options for mental illness, counseling methods, and medication-based methods that improve patient outcomes.
With our list of counseling psychology programs, you can compare Arkansas psychology schools and get in touch with those that may bring you closer to your career goals.
Contact undergraduate programs, counseling psychology graduate programs, and doctoral programs to request more detailed information.
Licensed Counseling Psychologists in Arkansas
Education is, by far, the most time-consuming part of becoming a counselor or psychologist in Arkansas. As you approach the final semester of your counseling psychologist education, you should begin the licensing process to avoid delays and processing and testing.
Through the Arkansas Board of Examiners in Counseling, you may apply to become a Licensed Associate Counselor. This requires a Master's degree from an accredited institution. Once you become an LAC, you can begin your supervised experience.
You need a total of 3000 hours of experience over a period of three years. You may then apply to become a Licensed Professional Counselor.
You must pay a $195 application fee to become an LPC. Arkansas requires passing scores on the National Counselor Examination and the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination. Once you have your license, you must renew it every two years and get 24 hours of continuing education during each renewal cycle.
The Arkansas Psychology Board licenses psychologists and psychological examiners. Graduates of counseling psychology graduate programs may become psychological examiners if they have at least 45 graduate credits and 600 hours of supervised work experience.
To become a psychologist, you need a doctoral degree, 2000 hours of internship work, and 2000 hours of supervised post-doctoral work experience. For both roles, you must take and pass the Examination for Professional Practice of Psychology.
The application fee is $200 and the current administrative testing fee is $50. After passing your tests, you must pay a $200 registration fee and a $100 provisional licensing fee. Renewal occurs on an annual basis, so you must pay your $300 renewal fee by July 1 every year.
Where Do Counseling Psychologists Work?
Your career options depend a lot on where you live in Arkansas and what type of supervised work experience you have. Ideally, your degree should provide you with work experience in several different settings. This makes it much easier to choose a work environment that makes full use of your talents and skills.
It's important to be self-guided in your work as a counselor or psychologist, since much of your time may be spent working one-on-one with patients. However, strong collaboration skills are still critical, since you may work with other care providers to further improve patient outcomes.
Most new graduates work for hospitals, clinics, or mental health centers. After building a patient base and reputation, some go on to open their own clinics or practices. This combines the duties of a psychology career with the challenges of business ownership. It also requires quite a bit of capital, which is why most wait until they have established themselves in a counseling career.
Common Work Settings for Counselors
- Mental health and emergency wards in hospitals
- Rehabilitation centers for patients with substance abuse disorders
- Residential care facilities
- Halfway houses
- Prisons and jails
- Schools, colleges, and universities
- Inpatient mental health institutions
- Outpatient mental health crisis centers
Counseling Psychology Salary and 2017 Job Outlook for Counselors in Arkansas
Learning how to become a counselor in Arkansas takes a lot of time, hard work, and dedication, which is why many positions have high income potentials. As a new counselor or psychologist, you may start at the low end of your salary scale. However, as you bring in business and retain clients, you may be able to move up quickly and build your reputation in the local social services community.
There's also quite a bit of variance between counseling and psychologist positions, so your level of education is a key factor in your starting income. In Arkansas, the average salary for a mental health counselor is $49,300 per year (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2017). Those who work as counseling psychologists bring in an average of $64,300 per year (BLS, 2017).
The job outlook in Arkansas is positive, reflecting the region's dedication to improved healthcare and mental health services. By the year 2024, demand for mental health counselors may increase 25% in Arkansas (O*Net, 2017). At the same time, job openings for counseling psychologists may increase 14% (O*Net, 2017).
You may enjoy an even stronger job outlook if you are willing to work in a rural part of the state or work with high-risk clients, such as those in transitional facilities or correctional facilities.
Resources in Counseling Psychology Near Me
- Arkansas Counseling Association
- Arkansas Mental Health Counselors Association
- Arkansas Psychological Association
- Mental Health Council of Arkansas
After earning a psychology and counseling degree, Arkansas students often focus exclusively on becoming licensed and meeting their supervised work experience requirements. However, don't make the mistake of neglecting your networking and continuing education requirements.
Not only is continuing education mandatory for license renewal, it makes you a better mental healthcare practitioner. There is constantly new research in psychology, and it is impossible for one person to keep up on all of it. Staying active in local counseling and psychology groups can help you learn about new research, practice techniques, and counseling standards.
The theories and skills you learn in counseling psychology courses may give you the confidence and competence you need to help people in your community, from young children going through family changes to struggling teenagers and adults going through midlife changes. Arkansas currently has the 16th highest suicide rate in the United States, which presents an immediate and pressing concern for mental health professionals (KATV, 2017).
When you provide counseling services in your community, you make mental health services more accessible to people of different ages and backgrounds, improving outcomes and contributing to public health efforts in Arkansas. As legislators create programs that combine criminal justice and social services, demand for skilled practitioners may grow even more in coming years.
Find out how you can make a difference and what unique skills you bring to the table.
Request information from counseling degree programs in Arkansas to make the first move.
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