Published June 2016
Welcome to our ranking of the seven top master’s degrees in counseling in New Jersey.
If you’re thinking about earning your master’s or Ph.D. in counseling and you live in New Jersey take a look at these top-ranked schools. In-state and out-of-state students alike will find plenty to love in this state, which provides a balanced yet varied selection of counselor education programs. On this top master’s in counseling degree ranking alone you’ll find certificate, master’s, and Ph.D. programs; career training for work as a school, clinical mental health, student affairs, or marriage and family counselor; and tuition rates that range from reasonable to affordable – and are all justified in the value they provide.
Click here to see the methodology we used for this best master’s in counseling degree ranking.
Kicking off this New Jersey counseling master’s degree ranking is Montclair State University, a school with more accredited counselor education programs than any other institution on this list. And while variety alone might not be enough to earn Montclair a 1st place ranking, you’d be remiss not to take a close look at what these programs have to offer. As evidence, simply consider the sheer number of students who choose MSU above all other options. Nearly 500 students are currently enrolled in one of the department’s three accredited counseling master’s degrees, plus dozens more are working toward their Ph.D. (the only CACREP accredited doctorate in counseling in New Jersey!).
Tuition and Fees: $14,298/yr
Being a professional counselor is about much more than listening, nodding, and asking, “How does that make you feel?” William Paterson University understands the realities of the occupation well, and as such it has developed a detailed mission statement for its counseling graduate degree programs. At WPU, counseling students can expect to learn about psychological development, cultural and ethnic diversity, and family dynamics while becoming proficient in several different therapeutic techniques. But that’s not all. To be a successful counselor, the program faculty at WPU will also push you to develop a sense of self-awareness and practice ethical decision-making in all areas of your life.
Tuition and Fees: $17,187/yr
At Caldwell University, the academic experiences associated with the Master’s Program offer three areas of specialization, each of which is CACREP-accredited: Clinical Mental Health Counseling, School Counseling, and Clinical Mental Health Counseling with an Art Therapy emphasis, the last of these being the only such program in the country. The curriculum prepares students to work with persons of diverse racial and cultural identities and faith traditions, as well as persons of varying ages and stages of development in a wide variety of settings. In the context of a wellness model, Caldwell’s program has promoted the integration of spirituality throughout the coursework so that future counselors may draw upon this resource where appropriate. Small class sizes enable faculty to know the students well and the responsibility for professional and personal growth is shared jointly by faculty and students.
Tuition and Fees: $17,120/yr
If your vision of the best master’s degree in counseling in New Jersey includes a tightly-focused program that enrolls a tight-knit group of students, look no further than Fairleigh Dickinson University. The school’s primary degree program in Clinical Mental Health Counseling attracts a small but serious group of approximately 30 students. Over the course of 60-credit hours, a 100-hour practicum, and 600 hours of experience as an intern, you’ll get to know both classmates and professors as you move together toward your ultimate goal: graduation and the national certification exam (not to worry, FDU boasts a 99% completion rate and exam pass rate!). Starting in Fall 2016, Fairleigh Dickinson will also offer specializations in school counseling and addiction so that even more students can take advantage of its high caliber academics.
Tuition and Fees: $22,220/yr
With an accreditation that spans back to 2006, Rider University has some of the oldest, most distinguished programs on this top counseling master’s degree ranking. The school’s two professional options in School Counseling and Clinical Mental Health consist of 48 and 60 credits of coursework, respectively, and qualify students to work in a professional capacity in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and most other states. And if you’re looking to bulk up your resume, Rider also provides certificate options that could help you obtain work as a student assistance coordinator, counseling director, or even a life coach.
Tuition and Fees: $22,307/yr
The Rutgers University Graduate School of Education houses a School Counseling program with a clear mission to “prepare culturally competent professional[s]…who are culturally sensitive to the diverse and changing needs of youth” and who are prepared to implement programs “based on data-driven and ethical decision making models.” In other words, this top graduate degree in counseling offers a modern education for the modern world, and classes like Multicultural Issues and Family: Systems Development will assist you in navigating the complex issues and home dynamics that can affect children both in and out of the classroom.
Tuition and Fees: $24,034/yr
The College of New Jersey enjoys the distinct honor of being named #1 on this best master’s in counseling degree ranking for a few simple reasons: it claims the longest continuous CACREP accreditation in the state, graduates students with near-perfect job placement and exam pass rates, and maintains a tuition rate well below the national average. TCNJ is also the only school in New Jersey to offer a CACREP-accredited program in Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling. And if you are already a licensed professional counselor but are looking to expand your knowledge, consider TCNJ’s affordable counseling graduate degree (post-master’s) for Educational Specialists. This 24-credit program offers in-depth training specifically in marriage and family therapy topics.
Tuition and Fees: $19,220/yr
This concludes our ranking of the best graduate degrees in counseling in New Jersey.