One of the fastest-growing careers across the country is counseling psychology, which paves the way for licensed counselors in communities where they are in desperate need. Below is a list of the top 9 schools to consider if you are looking for a program to fast track your career and transition into counseling.
1. University of Maryland – College Park College Park, MD
The MPS in Clinical Psychology from the University of Maryland College Park offers students an accredited degree program that consists of a curriculum founded in psychological principles and training in clinical psychology. This program is ideal for students looking to advance their careers or move forward in Academia with a doctoral degree.
This program is competitive as space is limited in the program. Students are not required to take the GRE, but they do need to complete an essay question, provide letters of recommendation, and have a 3.0 undergraduate GPA in order to be admitted into the program.
Tuition: $731 per credit hour
Total Credit Hours: 30
2. University of North Carolina – Greensboro
At the University of North Carolina – Greensboro, the MS in Counseling offers students the option to take their background in psychology to a new level with counseling. They have the option to choose from one of three concentrations, including clinical mental health.
Students who graduate from this program are able to find employment in their desired career field and also have the educational foundation to pursue a Ph.D. level degree in counseling or psychology if they so choose. One of the highest rated programs in the Southeast, student come from all around to grasp this program and build off of the curriculum provided.
Tuition: $255 per credit hour
Cohort: 32-36 students annually
3. Fitchburg State University – Fitchburg, MA
One of the most popular graduate degree options at Fitchburg State University is the MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Students are looking to make that career move into mental health counseling. This program can take between two to three years for completion based on the student’s pace. This tuition fee is $1002.00 for every 3 credit courses taken at the graduate level, making it one of the more affordable options.
This program accepts students on a rolling admissions basis, allowing them to take on the program when ready. It is also ideal for many students because there are no GRE or MAT scores required to enter the program. Only official transcripts, a personal statement, and the completion of undergraduate prerequisites are required with the application. Courses can be taken at the hybrid level, meeting online and in the evenings so students can maintain a full-time work schedule if necessary.
Students who have completed this program have successfully found employment at various counseling clinics at both the private and government levels. If these graduates are not already working in the industry and gaining promotion, over 80% find employment within the first 6 months after graduation. They can expect an average salary at $40,000 or higher depending on if they take a position in the private sector or not.
Tuition: $1002 per 3-hour course
Instructor-Student Ratio: 14:1
4. University of Wisconsin – Madison, WI
When students pursue the MS in Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling, they are taking their basic understanding of psychology and pairing it with hands-on experience to assist and understand the rehabilitation needs of their patients in their carers. Students who pursue this degree take advantage of practicums as a part of the curriculum and gain licensure as a counselor.
Because it is available in a distance format, it gives students across the country the option to pursue high quality and accredited degree program without having to uproot their lives.
Accreditation: Council on Accreditation of Counseling and Related Education Programs
Tuition: $807.95 per credit hour
5. Webster University – St. Louis, MO
When the demand for counselors and counseling professionals took off, Webster University decided to introduce the MA in Counseling program. Designed to include practice, skills, and knowledge for these individuals who will go out and work in a variety of counseling avenues. Everything from the individual, group, and family counseling is taught in this program and an internship where students have hands-on experience in the counseling field.
This program is designed to allow students to direct their program in a certain direction with the following emphasis options:
- Community Counseling
- Clinical Mental Health Counseling
- School Counseling K-12
- Family Life Counseling
- Couples, Marriage, Family & Child Counseling
With satellite campuses available across several states, students who may not live in Saint Louis, MO, have the option to partake in this program. Campuses are located in 18 states and the nation’s capital.
This program is one of the highest-rated masters in counseling psychology because it has a foundation in psychology. At the same time, students earn 48 credit hours with this program. Admission requirements include an undergraduate GPA of 2.5 and all college transcripts submissions at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Personal statements and professional references are also included in the total application requirement list and attend a personal interview with a program representative.
With program officials working with students throughout the program, students are placed with hands-on experience with internships where many find full-time employment. The outlook for this career is on the rise in each of the emphasis options provided, and the salary scale is competitive among all of these states and locations.
Tuition: $750 per credit hour
Program course length: 48 credit hours
6. Louisiana State University – Shreveport, LA
For students in Louisiana who want to pursue a career in counseling psychology, the MS in Counseling from Louisiana State University – Shreveport for students who want to advance a current career or move that career into counseling. Students who pursue this degree also gain a solid foundation for further education at the doctoral level.
Before you apply to the program, students must have two reference letters attached to the application and a personal statement of why you want this degree and how you plan to utilize it in your future. Students who pursue this program also can take the 12-hour concentration in rehabilitation for those who want to work specifically with mental health patients and those who need behavioral rehabilitation. If a student does not have the necessary undergraduate work in psychology, they will need to take these courses first before being admitted to the program.
Students who pursue this 60-credit hour program find employment in counseling centers and crisis centers across the state of Louisiana and other places in the nation. The demand for these counselors and professionals with this level of education and background is expected to continue rising over the next decade across the country.
Tuition: $344 per credit hour
Accreditation: Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Program
7. Appalachian State University – Boone, NC
Located in the heart of Appalachia, in the Western North Carolina mountains is Appalachian State University. Students who want to pursue a career in counseling psychology find success with the MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. It is a program that builds the skills of the student with research and in-depth methods and personal assessments. Students take their courses on campus and conclude their program with an internship where they work directly in the field gaining experience as a counselor.
The program comes with five concentration options that include expressive arts therapy, marriage and family counseling, addictions counseling, general counseling, and body-centered therapy. Students can dive right into their concentration with internships and practicums where they work directly with patients who have these concentration needs. It does lead to professional licensure or certification in the state of North Carolina.
Tuition: $ 28,852 annually
Instruction Style: On-Campus for 2 years
8. Francis Marion University – Florence, SC
Located in the Pee Dee region of South Carolina is Francis Marion University. One of their most popular graduate-level programs is the MS in Clinical/Counseling Psychology. Designed for working professionals, students are able to take their classes in a hybrid format, with some online instruction and others in the evening and Saturdays. The curriculum of this program builds around the growing need for clinical counselors and teaches them the essentials to assisting medical staff with patients that could benefit from this type of care.
These students are required to complete hands-on experience either with their current employer or through an internship. Since the program began in 2013, more than 40 percent of graduates have found employment in the private sector, with another 30 percent moving on to public or non-profit employers in their field. Approximately 13 percent decided to continue their education and pursued a doctoral program after graduation.
Tuition: $5306 per semseter
Enrollment: 25 students
9. Seton Hall University – South Orange, NJ
At Seton Hall University, offering students a program that will assist them with their counseling career is found with the MA in Professional Counseling. The base of this program is 48 hours for each student with an additional 12 hours of hands-on experience for a grand total of 60 hours in the program. This can take 2-3 years depending on the course load for the student and what works with their personal schedule.
At the completion of this program, students can practice as a licensed counselor in the state of NJ. If they plan to return out of state after the program has concluded, they need to be sure that the licensure can transfer to their home state. Students get to know their faculty one-on-one and build from their personal experience working in the field.
Tuition: $1304 per credit hour
Accreditation: Council for the Accreditation of Education Preparation
The schools above were ranked on their graduation rate, accreditation, and tuition cost for students. While some may cost more than others, the direction that you want to take your career is essential and the right program will help you get there. We strived to pull colleges from across different states where counseling psychology is growing in interest to let students know what their options are.
If you have any questions or would like further information on the schools mentioned above, reach out to us today. We look forward to helping you with your career goals.