A master degree in counseling changed my life. The choice to pursue a masters degree came in late 1990, after I had staffed my first New Warrior Adventure weekend, and I was on fire to carry the message of Men's Initiation to anywhere and everywhere I could, and I wanted the credentials of a Master's Degree to add weight to that passion, so I enrolled at Illinois State University, where I had completed my undergraduate work.
Illinois State had a program for non-traditional students, meaning older students, since I was 42 years old in 1990, and that program made it easier to get started. We could just register for a class and complete the enrollment to the program at a later date.
If I remember correctly, I could even pay on an installment plan, which was very helpful because I had been laid off, and had little money.
Colleges and Universities were working to take advantage of the Boomers and our need for credentials to continue advancing professionally.
And now you can get your masters degree in counseling online.
In 1990, many of my peers were speaking of the World Wide Web with awe, and AOL had just mailed out their CD to every household in America and huge numbers of people were curious about computers.
I remember that I was quite proud not to know how to use a computer when I went back to graduate school, until I went to the library to research my first paper, and discovered that my old familiar card catalog, the block long cabinet filled with type written index cards was now on computers.
I was a little worried that the kids, who are always so technologically adept, would laugh at me, but I waded in and before long, I was finding research results with the best of them.
Even since I have become an online business person with this website, about two years ago, there has been an amazing amount of ease brought to the online education market place.
Two years ago, there was little in the way of evaluation of online schools, and I do not think that many of them were accredited, and employers were a bit sceptical of online degrees.
Did they really prepare folks for the offline job market, and it looks to me like business people are opening up to the benefits of hiring those who have completed online degree programs, in part because companies are doing more in-house online training and recognizing the its benefits.
So one way to achieve a master degree counseling is to enroll in an online school, and you can certainly pursue your degree at a bricks and mortar campus program.
I really looked up to and appreciated the faculty at ISU. And I think they appreciated the maturity and seriousness that we non-traditional folks brought to the classroom.
Not that the younger students were frivolous, but with age comes some seasoning from making hard choices.
The class room lectures and discussions were captivating as far as I was concerned, as was the material we were exposed to in the texts.
Our professors came from a wide variety of backgrounds and theoretical orientations, which was challenging professionally.
And online trainings do offer a version of that same kind of interaction.
And I remember how proud I was when I finished my last final and got my grade and knew that I had succeeded.
It was a wonderful, wonderful feeling, which I invoke every once in awhile because can.
I had set a goal for myself that changed the course of my life, and I had perservered, working diligently for myself and my family, since I was the first (I believe) to achieve a graduate degree, and one of the few to achieve an undergraduate degree.
And then came the part of building a business, and credentialing, and staff training, and continuing education, and developing some clear understanding of how to handle ethical issues, documentation, marketing, and finances.
Yes, you will make more money, and you will need a plan to handle the tax issues, for example, that come with that.
Take my word for it, if you do not take time to handle taxes and accounting and deductions, the IRS will make you pay dearly.
And then there are the counseling relationships I have with clients who reveal some profound and very private truths because they trust.
It is a delight to watch clients grow and change and it is a severe challenge when change is resisted or the call to change is ignored.
The consequences that some folks accept, up to and including death, are a mystery that I will not ever be able to penetrate, which is probably a good thing.
So I would say to you if you are considering a master degree in counseling, go for it.
You will change and so will the world because of your efforts.
Very early in my personal growth experience, a wise person taught me to use the phrase "gratitude is the attitude" when I was resentful or afraid and that phrase has helped me feel better tens of thousands of times.
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