Psychology and Counseling FAQs

Browse through frequently asked questions about helping professions and the different paths you can take in your career.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you’re considering going back to school for a degree that makes an impact, you have more options than ever to choose from. Browse through these FAQs to explore the right path for your career and find a UMass Global program that helps you achieve your goals.

Child Psychology

  • Child psychology helps serve the population who need help the most – our young people. ADHD, anxiety and behavior disorders are among the most common disorders that can be diagnosed during childhood, but not all children, or parents, have the resources to address them. See the stats and more.
  • Child psychologists focus on 3 key areas: physical, cognitive and emotional development. These professionals teach children important coping skills for managing their emotions while helping them progress through each new stage. Essential skills and procedures for this job includes assessment, intervention, prevention program development and research design. Find out more.
  • A master’s degree is expected of child psychologists. However, most employers look for those with a doctoral degree, which can also include an internship and supervised field experience. All psychologists in clinical practice must earn licensure, pass an industry examination and pursue continuing education units. See more requirements.

Marriage and Family Therapy

  • Marriage and family therapy is a holistic approach to health care that emphasizes the long-term well-being of people and those within their support systems. Professionals can diagnose a wide range of mental disorders and provide treatment in one-on-one or group settings while focusing on the relationships that influence behavior. Read more
  • The most common path into the field is earning a MA in Psychology then completing two years of post-degree supervised clinical experience. All states require MFTs to be licensed, which generally involves passing the Marriage and Family Therapy National Exam and completing continuing education courses throughout their career. Learn more

Mental Health Therapy

  • A mental health therapist is a human services professional who helps people cope with mental and emotional challenges. This career path allows you to work with clients facing issues like depression, anxiety, phobias, stress, self-esteem issues, grief, or relationship problems. Read on to learn more
  • The primary duty of mental health therapists is to provide a safe, non-judgmental space for clients. They do this by collecting information through interviews, observations, or tests. This can include diagnosing disorders; crafting service plans, and coordinating treatment with other health care professionals; and performing crisis interventions as needed. More info.
  • Some professionals in this sector work with specific populations — such as the elderly, children or college students — while others serve a more encompassing role. Example workplaces include mental health clinics, schools, government organizations, social service agencies, employee assistance programs, and correctional or juvenile detention facilities. Full List
  • The two most common fields of study are psychology and social work. You'll need a master's degree in a mental health-related field such as an MFT. Licensure can require 2,000 to 4,000 hours of supervised clinical experience, along with continuing education courses and specified exams. More info
  • Substance abuse counselors can be instrumental in helping those experiencing addiction. Their work is greatly needed and rewarding. They guide clients in changing their attitudes and behaviors by adapting to new life practices and utilizing important coping skills through therapeutic care, education and support. Explore more reasons
  • These professionals work with clients individually and in group settings to provide counseling services and strategies to help them rebuild their lives and careers. A typical day might include collaborating with other professionals to address co-occurring disorders, conferring with family members, or documenting caseloads, including charting progress. See other typical duties.
  • The minimum requirement for a substance abuse counselor is a bachelor’s degree, but often a master’s in social work, psychology or a similar field is expected. Licensure is a prerequisite for opening a private practice, and some states may require you to pass a state-issued exam. Explore more job requirements.

School Psychology and Counseling

  • A school psychologist typically works with individual students and their families while a counselor tends to work with the larger school population. School psychologists for example might help qualify an individual for special services, while a counselor tackles matters such as crisis intervention and preparing students for their overall future success. Read more
  • School psychology focuses on helping students succeed academically, socially, behaviorally and emotionally. Professionals in this field also support students with disabilities by identifying and addressing their unique needs and collaborating with others who assist in providing services. Learn more.
  • Although they work directly with students daily, they also advocate at the individual and system level to ensure all children have equal access to education. In addition, they counsel and advise teachers and fellow staff on how to support students with mental, emotional and behavioral disorders. Read more career insights like salary and job projections
  • Most school psychologists work full-time in K–12 public schools; others may be employed in private schools, community health organizations and universities. See the breakdown
  • Some foundational skills schools and districts are looking for in candidates include patient education and support, disorder diagnosis, treatment and care, and strong written and oral communication skills. Those with specializations in telehealth, report writing and crisis intervention are positioned well for these critical roles. Additional skills.
  • A successful school psychologist will excel in most or all the following areas:
    • Teamwork and collaboration
    • Interpersonal and group communication
    • Research
    • Writing
    • Planning
    • Problem solving
    • Organization
    If you can relate to many of the qualities above, you may be a natural fit for a career in school psychology.
  • Just like other mental health professions, you will need an advanced degree to practice as a school psychologist. Some states, like California, also require a specific credential program dedicated to the area of study. Once these prerequisites are complete, you’ll then apply for licensure. Break down these steps

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