30 Most Affordable Master’s in Counseling Degree Programs 2019

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30 Most Affordable Master’s in Counseling Degree Programs 2019 2019-09-25T03:01:52+00:00

OPD-Most AffordableBy OPD Staff
August 2019

The influx of passionate individuals interested in a Master’s in Counseling is growing. This should come as no surprise; the field has helped several individuals overcome their obstacles and enabled them to lead healthy and productive lives. Employers from all over the country understand the need for qualified counselors and so access to counseling degrees have grown over the years.

This ranking is dedicated to the most affordable counseling degrees in the country. While many of these programs offer only on-campus programs, some also offer online counterparts, making it a worthwhile endeavor for working professionals who are interested in meeting the requirements for licensure. Graduate school is a significant investment that is made easier when schools lower their prices so that all who want to work towards the betterment of society can have a hand in the field. This is what this ranking shows; that it is possible to earn a degree and not become indebted because of it.

Methodology

A lot of work and research went into this ranking, helped along by the incredible resource that is the National Center for Educational Statistics and its publicly available College Navigator database. A list of 60 schools was created by searching for “Master’s in Counseling.” From there, every school was individually reviewed based on a variety of factors, the most important being that the school was affordable for everyone. The final 30 schools, which are listed below, were chosen based on the school’s total estimated in-state graduate tuition cost for the entire program.

Ranking Low-Cost Master’s in Counseling

30. The University of Wisconsin at Madison

Madison, Wisconsin

Master of Science in Counseling

30 Most Affordable Master’s in Counseling

The MS in Counseling requires 60 credit hours of coursework.

Website

Tuition: $30,024

The University of Wisconsin at Madison confers a Master’s in Counseling that is a great choice for professionals interested in becoming counselors. Students will note that this degree may lead to licensure; more information on requirements for the exam can be found by contacting the state’s licensing department. This program has no electives and was created to provide students with an understanding of the various specializations that encompass the field. Along with courses and research and theory, students will also take part in classes that focus on technique as well as setting-specific counseling methodologies. Along with the coursework, students will be expected to complete a practicum as well as an internship. Other requirements for graduation include 60 credit hours of coursework, the Professional Integration Exercise capstone experience, and a final comprehensive exam. Sample courses include Lifestyle and Career Development, Diversity Dialogues, and Foundations of Clinical Mental Health Counseling.

29. The University of Louisiana at Monroe

Monroe, Louisiana

Master of Science in Counseling

30 Most Affordable Master’s in Counseling

The online MS in Counseling requires 60 credit hours of coursework.

Website

Tuition: $29,533

The University of Louisiana at Monroe confers an affordable Master’s in Counseling that is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs. This program comes with two different concentrations: Clinical Mental Health Counseling and School Counseling. A thesis-optional degree, this program focuses on the curriculum over everything else. Students will find that the program requires a minimum of 600 clinical hours for graduation. This degree requires a minimum of 60 semester credit hours of coursework, the internship, a capstone experience, and a comprehensive final exam. A list of sample course offerings can be found by contacting the school’s graduate admissions office.

28. Lindsey Wilson College

Columbia, Kentucky

Master of Education in Counseling and Human Development

30 Most Affordable Master’s in Counseling

The M.Ed. in Counseling and Human Development requires 60 credit hours of coursework.

Website

Tuition: $28,440

The low-cost Master’s in Counseling available from Lindsey Wilson College was developed for professionals interested in completing a broad-based generalist degree. The program is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs. Students will note that this degree does not meet the requirements to become a professional counselor. The school provides both an on-campus and online version of the degree, both of which were designed to be taken as a part-time plan of study. It is possible to also earn a Certificate in Substance Abuse Counseling during the course of the degree. This program requires a minimum of 60 credit hours, an internship, and a culminating exam for graduation. More information on this degree and its requirements can be found by contacting the school’s graduate admissions office.

27. The University of Tennessee at Martin

Martin, Tennessee

Master of Science in Counseling

30 Most Affordable Master’s in Counseling

The MS in Counseling requires two internships and one practicum.

Website

Tuition: $28,224

The University of Tennessee at Martin delivers a great Master’s in Counseling degree that was built for working professionals. The program comes with three concentrations: School Counseling, Clinical Mental Health, and School Counseling Endorsement. This program was developed as a practitioner program; students will find that the program dedicates a good amount of time to field experiences, including two internships and one practicum. The curriculum is developed to ensure that students understand both research and practical applications for the theories and concepts that they learn about in class, enabling them to be well-rounded counselors prior to graduation. This program requires a minimum of 60 credit hours of coursework, internships, a practicum, and a comprehensive final exam. Sample courses include Expressive Arts in Counseling, Introduction to Marital and Family Counseling, and Mental Health and Psychopathology.

26. Southwestern Assemblies of God University

Waxahachie, Texas

Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

30 Most Affordable Master’s in Counseling

The MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling offers five degree concentrations.

Website

Tuition: $28,080

Students considering Southwestern Assemblies of God University will have the chance to complete a Christ-centered master’s in counseling. This degree was developed to combine both science and faith into one program. Students will note that this program does meet the requirements for students to sit for the Licensed Professional Counselor exam. There are five concentrations available with this program, including Addictions Counseling, Marriage and Family Counseling, and Clinical Psychopathology. More information on this degree, including graduation requirements and a list of sample course offerings, can be found by contacting the school’s graduate admissions office.

25. The University at Buffalo

Buffalo, New York

Master of Science in Rehabilitation Counseling

30 Most Affordable Master’s in Counseling

The MS in Rehabilitation Counseling requires 60 credit hours of coursework.

Website

Tuition: $27,408

The University at Buffalo offers students the chance to earn a master’s in rehabilitation counseling. This degree is fully accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs and may lead to national licensure. This program has an online companion that is only open to professionals who live within a 75-mile radius from the campus. Students will find that the degree focuses on a curriculum built for practical application as well as clinical internships every term in order to ensure that a student understands how to take their education and put it into practice. This program requires that students complete a minimum of 60 credit hours of coursework, field experiences, a portfolio, and a comprehensive final exam. Sample courses include Medical and Psychosocial Aspects of Disability, Introduction to Group Work, and Understanding Statistical Research.

24. Adams State University

Alamosa, Colorado

Online Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

30 Most Affordable Master’s in Counseling

The online MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling offers two degree concentrations.

Website

Tuition: $26,100

Students enrolled at Adams State University will have access to a Master’s in Counseling program that is fully accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs. This degree can lead to licensure for both school counselors and Licensed Professional Counselors. There are two concentrations available: Clinical Mental Health and School Counseling. Students may choose to complete the degree online as a low-residency program or take the full-time on-campus program. This degree requires a minimum of 60 credit hours of coursework, two internships, and a comprehensive final exam. Sample courses include Career Development, Assessment in Counseling, and Clinical Mental Health Counseling.

23. Concordia University

Mequon, Wisconsin

Master of Science in Education, Concentration in School and Professional Counseling

30 Most Affordable Master’s in Counseling

The MS in Education in School and Professional Counseling requires 60 credit hours of coursework.

Website

Tuition: $26,055

Concordia University delivers an affordable Master’s in Counseling that will provide students with a chance to earn the Substance Abuse Counselor – In Training credential. Other licensure options include Professional Counselor and School Counselor. Students will take on a curriculum that focuses on the practical application of counseling theories. The program also requires a practicum in a variety of settings, depending on whether a student is specializing in School Counseling or Professional Counseling. This program requires a minimum of 60 credit hours of coursework, a set of practicums, a portfolio, and a comprehensive final exam. Sample courses include Management for Counselors, Psychopharmacology, and Scripture and Christian Counseling.

22. Drexel University

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Online Master of Science in Addictions Counseling

30 Most Affordable Master’s in Counseling

The online MS in Addictions Counseling requires 45 credit hours of coursework.

Website

Tuition: $25,253

The Master’s in Counseling that is offered by Drexel University has a stated focus on addiction, making it a great choice for professionals who are interested in pursuing addictions counseling as their profession. This program can help students sit for the Master Addictions Counselor or Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor certification exams. This program was built specifically to provide students with the training they need to be qualified experts in their field. Students can expect to complete a minimum of 45 credit hours of coursework, a clinical appraisal, and a comprehensive final exam. Sample courses include Preventing Substance Abuse Disorders, Clinical Supervision Skills, and Addictions and the Family.

21. The University of the Southwest

Hobbs, New Mexico

Master of Science in Education, School Counseling

30 Most Affordable Master’s in Counseling

The MS in Education in School Counseling has no residency requirements.

Website

Tuition: $25,158

The University of the Southwest confers a Master’s in Counseling online that will provide students with a pathway to licensure as a school counselor. As a 100 percent online degree, students will never have to attend campus. The program was designed to be flexible and fit around the needs of the working professionals who have undertaken the degree program. Students will have access to the same program of study as on-campus students and will also need to complete field experiences; these are completed in their community. More information on this degree and its graduation requirements can be found by contacting the school’s graduate admissions office.

20. The University of Houston at Victoria

Houston, Texas

Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology

30 Most Affordable Master’s in Counseling

The MA in Counseling Psychology requires 60 credit hours of coursework.

Website

Tuition: $25,042

The Master’s in Counseling that is offered by the University of Houston at Victoria was designed to prepare students to sit for the Texas Licensed Professional Counselor exam. This is a rigorous program and it does require practicums, meaning that students may have to juggle an extra job while they complete this degree. Students will find that the curriculum was designed to spend more time on counseling psychology than the core curriculum, giving students the necessary education to become experts in the field. This degree requires a minimum of 60 credit hours of coursework, three practicums, a culminating experience, and an intellectual assessment.

19. The University of the Cumberlands

Williamsburg, Kentucky

Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

30 Most Affordable Master’s in Counseling

The MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling requires internships.

Website

Tuition: $25,000

The University of the Cumberlands confers a low-cost Master’s in Counseling that was developed for professionals who are interested in becoming licensed professional counselors. This program is fully accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs. Students will learn what it takes to create and sustain a private practice, work with children and families, and even try their hand at advanced counseling theories. This program does require internships, so it is advised that students keep this in mind when applying. More information on this degree, including graduation requirements and course offerings, can be found by contacting the school’s graduate admissions office.

18. Indiana Wesleyan University

Marion, Indiana

Master of Arts in Clinical Addictions Counseling

30 Most Affordable Master’s in Counseling

The online MA in Clinical Addictions Counseling requires 60 credit hours of coursework.

Website

Tuition: $24,960

The Master’s in Counseling that is offered by Indiana Wesleyan University is an accredited program that features a Christian perspective on the field. This degree has six specializations: Clinical Addictions Counseling, Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Community Care, Marriage and Family Counseling, School Counseling, and Student Development Administration. All specializations are accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs. Students will find that their degree plan will focus on their specialization, including field experiences that will take place in those settings. This degree requires a minimum of 60 credit hours of coursework, a practicum, an internship, and a comprehensive final exam. Sample courses include Integration of Christian Faith in Professional Counseling, Theories and Treatment of Addiction, and Counseling Addicted Families.

17. Drake University

Des Moines, Iowa

Master of Science in Counseling, Specialization in School Counseling

30 Most Affordable Master’s in Counseling

The MS in Counseling in School Counseling requires 48 credit hours of coursework.

Website

Tuition: $24,000

Drake University confers a Master’s in Counseling that focuses on school counseling. This degree was designed to prepare students to sit for the school counselor licensure exam in the state of Iowa. The program is open to all students; however, those who are licensed Iowa teachers will be able to complete the degree faster than other students. This degree is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs. Students will be required to complete a supervised internship for graduation. Other requirements for graduation include a minimum of 48 credit hours of coursework, a portfolio, and a comprehensive final exam. Sample courses include Comprehensive School Counseling, College and Career Readiness, and Program Implementation.

16. Antioch University

Culver City, California

Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

30 Most Affordable Master’s in Counseling

The MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling is a low-residency program.

Website

Tuition: $24,375

The master’s in counseling that is offered by Antioch University was designed for professionals who are ready to take on graduate study. This program can be completed online or on campus; students will be able to choose their preferred delivery format. The program is fully accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs and will help a student meet the needs to sit for licensure. This program focuses on different aspects of counseling and methodologies, providing students with a way to learn what methodology might work best for them in their practice. This degree requires a minimum of 60 credit hours of coursework, 1,000 clinical hours, and a comprehensive final exam. Sample courses include Career and Lifestyle Counseling, Social Cultural Diversity, and Fundamentals of Therapeutic Interaction.

15. The University of Kansas

Lawrence, Kansas

Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology

30 Most Affordable Master’s in Counseling

The MA in Counseling Psychology requires 60 credit hours of coursework.

Website

Tuition: $22,626

The University of Kansas confers a Master’s in Counseling that was developed for professionals who are interested in a generalist degree. This program can be completed in just two years when students enroll full-time. The program is accredited by the Masters in Psychology and Counseling Accreditation Council and is meant for students who are interested in earning a doctoral degree after graduation. Students will be required to complete a practicum for graduation. Other requirements include a minimum of 60 credit hours of coursework and their choice of culminating experience. Sample courses include Advanced Counseling Skills, Theory of Couples and Family Counseling, and Group Theory and Process.

14. Hampton University

Hampton, Virginia

Master of Arts in Counseling, General Counseling

30 Most Affordable Master’s in Counseling

The MA in Counseling can be completed in one year of study.

Website

Tuition: $21,545

Students interested in completing a Master’s in Counseling will find what they are looking for at Hampton University. This degree is a foundational program and can be used in the state of Virginia to meet the requirements as a Qualified Mental Health Provider. This is a program that does not take very long to complete; some full-time students will graduate in one year. The program requires that students complete a minimum of 31 credit hours and a comprehensive final exam. More information on this degree and its requirements can be found by contacting the school’s graduate admissions office.

13. Angelo State University

San Angelo, Texas

Master of Science in Counseling Psychology

30 Most Affordable Master’s in Counseling

The MS in Counseling Psychology requires 60 credit hours of coursework.

Website

Tuition: $21,324

Angelo State University confers a low-cost Master’s in Counseling that provides students with a pathway to sit for licensure as either a psychologist or Licensed Professional Counselor. This program features small class sizes, evening classes, and online coursework to better accommodate working professionals. The program has no electives and instead provides a broad-based curriculum aimed at ensuring that students understand all the aspects of counseling. Practicums are optional for this degree; it is advised that professionals interested in sitting for licensure take on a practicum. This degree requires a minimum of 60 credit hours of coursework and a thesis or comprehensive final exam. Sample courses include Ethics and the Law in the Counseling Profession, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and Developmental Psychology.

12. The University of Southern Mississippi

Hattiesburg, Mississippi

Master of Education in School Counseling

30 Most Affordable Master’s in Counseling

The online M.Ed. in School Counseling requires 48 credit hours of coursework.

Website

Tuition: $21,648

The Master’s in Counseling that is available at the University of Southern Mississippi was designed to be completed as a low-residency online program. Students will note that this degree may provide a pathway forward for licensure in their state but it is incumbent upon them to confirm that the program meets the requirements in their state. All students, regardless of their teacher certification status, are welcome to apply. This program requires a minimum of 48 credit hours and a comprehensive final exam for graduation. More information on the program can be found by contacting the program coordinator.

11. Chadron State College

Chadron, Nebraska

Master of Arts in Education – Clinical Mental Health Counseling Concentration

30 Most Affordable Master’s in Counseling

The MA in Education in Clinical Mental Health Counseling requires two practicums and an internship prior to graduation.

Website

Tuition: $20,925

Chadron State College is home to a Master’s in Counseling that prepares students to work as professional counselors. While a teaching degree is recommended for entry into the program, it is not required to be considered for placement. Students will note that this is an online degree; courses are completed through the school’s virtual portal. The program is also available as an on-campus option. Students will be required to complete two practicums and an internship prior to graduation. Other requirements include a minimum of 60 credit hours of coursework and a comprehensive final exam. Sample courses include Career and Lifestyle Development, Advanced Human Development, and Crisis Counseling.

10. The University of West Alabama

Livingston, Alabama

Master of Education in School Counseling

30 Most Affordable Master’s in Counseling

The M.Ed. in School Counseling requires 48 credit hours of coursework.

Website

Tuition: $20,592

The online Master’s of Counseling that is offered at the University of West Alabama is the twin to the school’s on-campus program. A one-year degree that is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation, students will find that they will be eligible for an Alabama Teaching Certification at the end of the program; it will not lead to certification as a school counselor. The degree was designed to provide students with a solid foundation in counseling techniques and skills to manage multicultural populations. This program requires a minimum of 48 credit hours, an internship, a practicum, and a comprehensive final exam. Sample courses include Counseling Children and Adolescents, Strategies for Crisis Intervention, and Group Counseling.

9. Creighton University

Omaha, Nebraska

Master of Science in School Counseling and Preventive Mental Health

30 Most Affordable Master’s in Counseling

The MS in School Counseling and Preventive Mental Health requires  36 credit hours of coursework.

Website

Tuition: $20,160

Creighton University confers a Master’s in Counseling that is open to all students, regardless of their educational background. This is a two-year program that comes with three concentrations: Elementary School Counseling, Secondary School Counseling, and PK-12 Guidance Counseling. Each concentration has a site-specific internship that will provide students with additional training in a school setting. Students who take the degree will be required to also complete two practicums in order to meet the criteria for graduation. This program requires a minimum of 36 credit hours of coursework, field experiences, and a comprehensive final exam. Sample courses include Career Perspectives in School Counseling, Theoretical Perspectives in School Counseling, and Ethical Guidelines for School Counselors.

8. Grand Canyon University

Phoenix, Arizona

Master of Science in Addiction Counseling

30 Most Affordable Master’s in Counseling

The MS in Addiction Counseling requires 36 credit hours of coursework.

Website

Tuition: $18,540

The Master’s in Counseling that is offered by Grand Canyon University is focused on addictions counseling. Graduates from the program will be prepared to sit for the Licensed Associate Substance Abuse Counselor or Licensed Independent Substance Abuse Counselor exams in the state of Arizona. This program focuses on the different aspects that inform addiction counseling and will ensure that students have a firm grasp of the field prior to graduation. This degree requires a minimum of 36 credit hours of coursework, a practicum, and a comprehensive final exam. Sample courses include Family Issues and Addictive Disorders, Counseling Theories, and Professional Counseling Orientation and Ethics.

7. Emporia State University

Emporia, Kansas

Master of Science in School Counseling

30 Most Affordable Master’s in Counseling

The MS in School Counseling requires 48 credit hours of coursework.

Website

Tuition: $18,497

Emporia State University is home to a Master’s in Counseling degree that can be taken as a full-time or part-time plan of study. Students may also choose to take this degree entirely on-campus or as a hybrid degree. This program is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs. Students will note that it licensed Kansas teachers will have fewer requirements than others; this is because these individuals are already licensed as teachers and work in the classroom. All students will be expected to complete a minimum of 48 credit hours of coursework, a practicum, an internship, and a thesis or additional coursework. Sample courses include Counseling Theories, Professional and Ethical Issues in Counseling, and Assessment in Schools.

6. Lamar University

Lamar, Texas

Master of Education in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

30 Most Affordable Master’s in Counseling

The online M.Ed. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling can be completed in less than three years of study.

Website

Tuition: $16,500

Students interested in Lamar University will have the chance to complete the school’s online Master’s in Counseling. This degree focuses on clinical mental health counseling and is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs. This program can be completed in less than three years when students choose to study full-time. Students will be required to complete a practicum and two internships for graduation. Other requirements include Counseling Skills, Consultation, and Abnormal Human Behavior.

5. Capella University

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Master of Science in Clinical Psychology

30 Most Affordable Master’s in Counseling

The MS in Clinical Psychology requires 75 credit hours of coursework.

Website

Tuition: $16,005

Capella University confers a Master’s in Counseling online that was built for students who are interested in a versatile degree. This program has three concentrations: Applied Research, Clinical Counseling, and Forensic Psychology. This degree is taken as a low-residency program; students will need to attend campus three times throughout their degree. Practicums are also necessary for this degree and can be completed in a student’s community. This program requires a minimum of 75 credit hours of coursework, two practica, and a comprehensive final exam. Sample courses include Lifespan Development, Career Counseling Theory, and Introduction to Psychopathology.

4. North Carolina Central University

Durham, North Carolina

Master of Arts in Mental Health Counseling

30 Most Affordable Master’s in Counseling

The MA in Mental Health Counseling  requires 60 credit hours of coursework.

Website

Tuition: $15,398

The master’s in counseling from North Carolina Central University was designed to prepare students to work in a variety of mental health settings. This is a 100 percent online course of study that has an on-campus option as well. This program is fully accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs as well as being a full member of the International Registry for Counselor Education Programs. This degree will meet the requirements for students to sit for the Licensure as a Clinical Addictions Specialist exam. Students will be expected to complete a minimum of 60 credit hours of coursework, a practicum, an internship, and a comprehensive final exam. More information on this degree can be found by contacting the program coordinator.

3. The University of Missouri

Columbia, Missouri

Master of Education in Educational, School and Counseling Psychology with an Emphasis in Mental Health Practices

30 Most Affordable Master’s in Counseling

The M.Ed. in Educational, School and Counseling Psychology requires 34 credit hours of coursework.

Website

Tuition: $14,734

The University of Missouri is home to an exceptional master’s in counseling that focuses on mental health in schools. This is an exclusively online program; there are no residency requirements. The degree is fully accredited by the Teacher Education Accreditation Council. Completion of this degree will not lead to licensure of any kind but rather was designed to add to a student’s education in the field. This degree requires a minimum of 34 credit hours of coursework and a capstone paper. Sample courses include Diversity Issues in School Mental Health, Overview of Research Methods, and Preventions and Interventions in School Mental Health.

2. The University of Texas at Tyler

Tyler, Texas

Master of Arts in School Counseling

30 Most Affordable Master’s in Counseling

The MA in School Counseling requires 39 credit hours of coursework.

Website

Tuition: $11,950

Students at the University of Texas at Tyler can complete a Master’s in Counseling fully online. It is noted that this degree does not prepare students to counsel in agencies or in private practice; it is intended for educational settings only. Students will be eligible to earn certification as a school counselor in Texas once they have completed two years of teaching in the state. This program requires that students complete a supervised internship in an educational setting. Other requirements include 39 credit hours of coursework and a final comprehensive exam. Sample courses include Career Counseling and Assessment, Advanced Principles of School Counseling, and Tests and Measurements.

1. Southeastern Oklahoma State University

Durant, Oklahoma

Master of Education in School Counseling Online

30 Most Affordable Master’s in Counseling

The M.Ed in School Counseling requires 42 credit hours of coursework.

Website

Tuition: $11,130

Southeastern Oklahoma State University confers a Master’s in Counseling that can be completed in just two years. This program was designed to be completed online with no residency requirements. This degree does require that a student complete a supervised internship in their community for graduation. The curriculum focuses on a student’s preparation for that internship and is delivered in a sequential format. This degree requires a minimum of 42 credit hours of coursework, the internship, and a comprehensive final exam. Sample courses include Developmental School Counseling, Research in Counseling, and Developmental School Counseling.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the Career Options for an Affordable Master’s in Counseling?

  • Clinical Therapist
  • Forensic Psychologist
  • Chemical Dependency Counselor
  • Mental Health Counselor
  • Vocational Services Specialist
  • Correctional Counselor
  • School Counselor
  • Applied Behavior Analyst
  • University Professor
  • Career Counselor
  • Academic Advisor
  • Human Services Care Specialist
  • Social Worker
  • Licensed Professional Counselor
  • Clinical Director

How Much Can You Earn in this Field?

The average salary for a counselor in America is $60,000. The salary range for the field is $35,000 to $175,000. These numbers account for all positions across the country that require a counseling degree. It also includes positions that may not require a counseling license or that require additional training and education.

The most important factor in a professional’s salary is their specialization. As counseling is a wide-ranging discipline, professionals will most likely choose a specialization during the course of their master’s degree in order to be competitive for positions. It also prepares them to step into advanced training for their career path; some counseling specializations do require additional schooling.

Specializations like industrial-organizational psychology or psychiatry, are some of the most well-paid positions. Professionals can easily land a salary over $175,000 in these fields or go into private practice. Other specializations, such as chemical dependency counseling or career counseling, pay significantly less; these positions average a salary of around $50,000.

Counselors who are interested in finding financial success may want to consider going into private practice. This will provide them with the chance to build up their own client list as well as give them the time to write and research in order to write books. This is a great choice for ambitious professionals who understand that the time and dedication they put into their career will result in personal stability.

What are the Various Disciplines of Counseling?

Counseling is a large field that has implications for individuals and families in a variety of different scenarios. This means that there are not only a variety of main disciplines but also sub-disciplines that play a role in a counselor’s life. In fact, many of those sub-disciplines are fields in their own right.

The main disciplines of counseling are psychology, lifespan development, economics, law, sociology, statistics, healthcare, and research. Economics and law may seem out of place in this list, but they are quite important as economics plays a role in not only how counseling moves forward as a field of study but also how individuals can obtain counseling. Law is also important because the field is governed both by state and federal laws, making it important to consider the legal and ethical ramifications of counseling as a whole.

Sub-disciplines, also known as specializations, are numerous. Some examples include rehabilitation counseling, corrections counseling, child and adolescent counseling, and school counseling. These sub-disciplines are categorized by the setting in which a counselor will interact with their patients. It also means that a counselor who chooses a specialization will spend a great deal of their schooling learning how the field is impacted by the setting in which they have chosen to practice.

Can You Become Eligible for Licensure After Completing This Degree?

Yes, it is possible to become eligible for a counseling license after graduating with a Master’s in Counseling. However, the type of license, as well as eligibility requirements for that license, depends on a student’s chosen specialization. Students must also keep in mind that not all programs will meet the requirements to enable them to sit for licensure, something that will be covered below.

Obtaining licensure can only be done by attending an accredited university; this is because licensure requires specific educational and work requirements that is offered by schools for supervisory reasons, meaning that a student must demonstrate competency in their field prior to sitting for the exam. The accreditation necessary for this is provided by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs, also known as CACREP. If a student has questions about whether a school’s program leads to licensure, they can either check the program’s website or call the school directly.

Licensure is usually done through individual states; eligibility requirements for sitting for the exam will depend on the needs for that state. Some specializations, such as rehabilitation counseling, have national licensing exams that will provide students with a way to practice in the United States without having to obtain new licensure when they move to a new state. Students will need to check the licensure requirements for their specialization in order to confirm what exam they will need to take.

Not all schools will provide a pathway to licensure. Schools are required to specify whether or not a program leads to licensure on the program’s website, as indicated above. This does not mean a school does not offer a quality education but rather that the school has not yet met the requirements to offer a pathway to licensure.

Why Do Some Programs Require Clinical Hours for Graduation?

Clinical hours are important to a counseling degree precisely because a professional needs to demonstrate, in a supervised setting, that they can work with clients in an ethical and engaging manner. The field is focused on practice, meaning that a professional is working with clients in a setting that can be at times harmonious but is most often fraught with emotion and conflict. Clinical hours provide the needed training to ensure that the student is dedicated to the work and is also competent to handle their counseling duties, regardless of the situation.

Schools that require clinical hours also know the importance of clinical hours for licensure; most states have a mandated clinical hour requirement before a student can sit for the licensing exam. Because professionals cannot find an internship or field experience without the help of a degree, many programs have incorporated clinical hours to ensure that students have an understanding of their responsibility as counselors. This is why these degrees require a minimum number of clinical hours for graduation.

Counseling is a necessary part of American life. Whether an individual is struggling with an addiction or dealing with PTSD, it is clear that individuals all across the nation need access to counselors who can help them through situations that are causing them harm. A Master’s in Counseling provides professionals with the necessary education and training to be able to handle any situation with compassion and empathy, making this an important career that passionate individuals should pursue.

This concludes our ranking of the Top 30 Most Affordable Master’s in Counseling degree programs.