Published September 2016
Welcome to our ranking of the 16 top master’s degrees in counseling in Ohio.
Ohio earns the distinction of being one of the most abundant sources of counselor education programs in the Midwest. There are nearly two-dozen colleges and universities across the state that house accredited master’s degrees in counseling, and many of these institutions provide counseling graduate programs for Ph.D. students as well. Given the quantity (and quality) of options, we have split the Ohio ranking into two distinct lists. Stick around for information on top master’s degrees, or visit our Ohio Ph.D. counseling degree ranking to read about your options at the doctoral level.
Click here to see the methodology we used for this best master’s in counseling degree ranking.
The University of Dayton offers one of Ohio’s top counseling master’s degrees, with highly structured programs for both Clinical Mental Health Counseling and School Counseling. Although students have access to relatively few electives compared to some of the other programs on this counseling graduate degree ranking, many will appreciate the straightforward schedule, which enables them to obtain either degree in just two and a half years. That tight format also enables the school to utilize a cohort-based course structure and small, close-knit class sizes to provide plenty of opportunities for collaboration and networking with fellow students.
Tuition and Fees: $15,764/yr
Kent State’s was the first counselor preparation program in northern Ohio when it began in 1946, and over the past 70 years the school has built a strong reputation as one of the best master’s degrees in counseling in Ohio. That long history has enabled Kent State to develop one of the largest in-house counseling centers in the nation: the Counseling and Human Development Center, which allows master’s students in the school’s Clinical Mental Health Counseling and School Counseling degree programs to obtain first-hand experience working with Kent State students.
Tuition and Fees: $14,622/yr
Like many of the other schools on this accredited master’s in counseling degree ranking, the Franciscan University of Steubenville uses a cohort-based structure to encourage close relationships between its students. This two-year, 60-hour program requires all students to take two faith-based courses: Pastoral Counseling and Family Counseling. Those hoping to enter the ministry or work as a counselor in a Christian setting will appreciate the ability to graduate with a concentration in Christian Counseling with just two additional courses in Pastoral Counseling and Human Sexuality and Christian Marriage and Family Counseling.
Tuition and Fees: $12,618/yr
If you’re looking for a more intensely Christian-based counseling education, check out Cincinnati Christian University’s affordable master’s in counseling degree. CCU designed its program expressly to prepare students to enter careers as faith-based counselors, and accordingly there are biblical studies and basic theology prerequisites for entering the program. The coursework for the degree itself includes only one explicitly faith-based course, in Spiritual Formation and Counseling. But with extensive on-campus worship opportunities, CCU’s top graduate degree in counseling provides plenty of opportunities for future counselors to explore the link between their faith and their careers.
Tuition and Fees: $11,880/yr
Wright State is one of the few programs on this Ohio counseling graduate degree ranking to offer both thesis and non-thesis tracks in its M.Ed. in School Counseling and M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling programs. Despite requiring only 54 credits, the School Counseling M.Ed. includes a two-semester internship, one-semester practicum, and a year and a half of supervised professional training. This efficient and inexpensive program is worth a close look, especially for students who are short on time but interested in exploring a particular subject area without committing to a doctoral degree.
Tuition and Fees: $17,506/yr
Xavier University offers highly flexible and affordable counseling master’s degrees that enable students to obtain the training they need to work in either the clinical mental health field or in academic environments with adolescents. In addition, XU has designed its program so that students can apply for licensure from the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker and Marriage and Family Therapist Board or the Kentucky Board of Licensed Professional Counselors. They can even obtain an Ohio Chemical Dependency Counselor license. Few other programs on this list provide such a variety of professional options at such a low cost.
Tuition and Fees: $10,920/yr
The accredited master’s in counseling degree at Malone University is perfect for working professionals; students take just one class at a time, with each class six or eight weeks in length, and can even take some online courses for additional flexibility. Malone is one of only a few Quaker institutions to offer such a career-focused and affordable graduate degree in counseling, making it a great choice for Christian professionals looking to move into faith-based counseling careers. Whether Malone students choose the Classroom-Based Counseling and Advocacy, School Counseling, or Clinical Counseling track, they’ll benefit from Malone’s many spiritual growth opportunities.
Tuition and Fees: $10,260/yr
One unique feature of the top counseling graduate degree at Walsh University is the school’s international experience program in Uganda, which enables students to obtain elective credits while helping to establish counseling services in the East African republic. The opportunity for studying abroad isn’t the only unusual element in WU’s program — the school also operates a peer mentoring program that pairs new students with those further along in the program to help provide guidance, advice, and networking. That kind of one-on-one guidance is invaluable for such a career-focused degree and makes Walsh’s one of the best counseling graduate degrees in Ohio.
Tuition and Fees: $11,710/yr
Cleveland State offers master’s degrees in both Clinical Mental Health Counseling and School Counseling, the former in a three-year accelerated program and the latter in a two-year accelerated format. That makes either of these accredited master’s degrees in counseling a great option for students who want to obtain their degree quickly and have enough flexibility for a full-time schedule. Despite its accelerated format, the Clinical Mental Health Counseling degree still requires 60 credit hours, meaning there is plenty of room for electives, a practicum, and two field-based internships. For students interested in chemical dependency counseling and early childhood mental health counseling, CSU also offers two certificate programs in those subject areas.
Tuition and Fees: $13,833/yr
John Carroll University’s highly career-focused accredited master’s in counseling degree qualifies graduates for a whole range of professional licensures, ensuring that they can work in supervisory positions, maintain private practices, and treat patients without supervision. Students can also augment the 60-credit program with a concentration in Substance Use Disorders, which makes them eligible to take the Licensed Independent Chemical Dependency Counselor exam upon graduation. What’s more, students interested in pursuing their doctoral degrees can take the counseling department’s Preparation for Doctoral Studies course. JCU offers a wide variety of options for counseling students, all of which are designed to provide clear paths to career advancement or additional education.
Tuition and Fees: $14,377/yr
The Ashland Theological Seminary offers the school’s Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, which aims to teach students how to apply biblical principles to the counseling field. Ashland is the least expensive school on this Ohio master’s in counseling degree ranking, but graduates from the 64-credit program are eligible for the same Buckeye State licensure as the other programs on this list. Ashland’s degree offers a full set of counseling courses and practicum and internship experiences, and all students take classes in Biblical Interpretation and Christian Theology.
Tuition and Fees: $5,713/yr
Counseling students at the University of Akron are spoiled for choice, with affordable counseling graduate degrees in Classroom Guidance for Teachers, Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Marriage and Family Counseling/Therapy, and School Counseling. Not many of the other schools on this Ohio graduate degree in counseling ranking offer such a variety of degree programs. All programs benefit from the school’s state-of-the-art Clinic for Individual and Family Counseling, a 30 year-old institution that offers residents low-cost care and graduate students the opportunity to treat patients in a supervised setting before graduation.
Tuition and Fees: $12,068/yr
Youngstown State is the University of Akron’s only rival when it comes to variety; in addition to degrees in School Counseling and Clinical Mental Health Counseling, the school offers unique programs in Addiction Counseling and Student Affairs and College Counseling. The latter is the only such program in Ohio, and it provides a 66-hour licensure option that enables graduates to begin work immediately upon graduation. This unique mix of counseling and administrative instruction means students graduate from this top counseling master’s degree program prepared to enter into a variety of careers involving the guidance and treatment of college-aged students.
Tuition and Fees: $10,940/yr
The University of Cincinnati offers one of the best master’s in counseling degrees in Ohio because of its long history – it was established over half a century ago – and its unusual focus on research. The school works hard to involve both master’s and doctoral students in research, and graduate students can take advantage of the school’s cutting-edge Center for Traumatic Stress Research. That institution is especially focused on investigating trauma in children, families, and communities due to cultural hegemony in education, natural and human-made disasters, and child sexual abuse, so students interested in working in any of those areas should look closely at the University of Cincinnati.
Tuition and Fees: $20,339/yr
Bowling Green State’s low cost, flexible structure and variety of elective courses make it one of the best master’s degrees in counseling in Ohio. Despite being incredibly affordable, BGSU offers more diverse coursework and a larger number of elective options than many other more expensive programs. The School Counseling program is particularly robust, with courses in everything from Play Therapy to Alcohol and Substance Abuse Treatment. In addition, the school is one of the few on this Ohio counseling graduate degree ranking to make it possible for students to become eligible for state licensure in both School Counseling and Mental Health Counseling with just a few extra courses.
Tuition and Fees: $11,822/yr
Like Bowling Green State, Heidelberg University offers students the option to become eligible for licensure in both clinical mental health and school counseling. But unlike BGU and the other schools on this counseling master’s degree ranking, Heidelberg’s Master of Arts in Counseling is actually a single degree with optional concentrations in both Clinical Mental Health Counseling or School Counseling. That means the school offers a shared core coursework most semesters and has plenty of experience preparing students for licensure and careers in both fields. Heidelberg’s extremely affordable price, unusual dual-licensure program, and career-focused curriculum make it the best master’s degree in counseling in Ohio.
Tuition and Fees: $9,025/yr
This concludes our ranking of the best graduate degrees in counseling in Ohio.