Published July 2016
Welcome to our ranking of the 10 top value master’s degrees in counseling in Virginia.
If you’re thinking about earning your master’s in counseling and you live in Virginia (or you would like to), take a look at these top-ranked schools. In fact, if you’re looking for a counseling degree anywhere in the Southeast, Virginia is a great place to start your search. This state is home to more counseling graduate counseling programs than any other state in the region.
Click here to see the methodology we used for this best master’s in counseling degree ranking.
Students hoping to use their accredited master’s degree in counseling as part of a career in the ministry should look closely at Marymount University, one of the top Catholic institutions to offer such a program. In addition to School Counseling and Clinical Mental Health Counseling tracks, Marymount offers a unique specialization in Pastoral Clinical Mental Health Counseling. All three programs have earned CACREP accreditation, and the Pastoral Counseling track follows additional guidelines set forth by the Association for Spiritual, Ethical and Religious Values in Counseling. With such stringent curricular requirements, it’s clear that Marymount’s program boasts some of the top counseling graduate degrees in Virginia.
Tuition and Fees: $16,560/yr
Virginia Tech’s accredited master’s in counseling degree provides students with an opportunity to begin their clinical studies as early as the second semester of the program – and then continue that experiential learning throughout the next two years. This is just one example of the program’s emphasis on career training, so you’ll have plenty of opportunities to accrue the hours of experience you’ll need to obtain those all-important professional credentials. Whether students graduating from this counseling graduate degree in Virginia want to stay within the state or not, advisors work with all graduates to help them obtain licensure in their state of choice.
Tuition and Fees: $20,247/yr
Lynchburg College is home to the most affordable program on this Virginia counseling master’s degree ranking, and the school provides an incredible value for career-conscious students. Lynchburg’s counseling department has a strong track record of placing its graduates in positions with a variety of local institutions, including public schools within the city and its surrounding counties. How is it that Lynchburg students are so successful? Part of it is no doubt due to the school’s scholar-practitioner educational model, which ensures students learn how to apply their theoretical lessons to the real-world scenarios they’ll face as professional counselors.
Tuition and Fees: $8,642/yr
Students graduating from this top Virginia counseling master’s degree program at Radford are equipped to serve people from a wide range of backgrounds, as the school places a priority on diversity, both within its student population and the program’s coursework. To that end, both the School Counseling and Clinical Mental Health Counseling concentrations require a three-credit Cultural and Diversity Counseling class that provides students with a solid foundation in multicultural counseling theory and models. Those interested in digging deeper into diversity counseling can also choose from electives in Gender Issues and Human Sexuality.
Tuition and Fees: $15,038/yr
Old Dominion features one of the most robust programs on this list, with courses in a wide variety of counseling topics ranging from group counseling to addictive disorders to career development. This accredited master’s degree in counseling is ideal for students who don’t yet have a focus in mind for their coursework, as they’ll be able to dip a toe into a broader range of counseling subjects than at most other schools. And once they find an area they’re passionate about, students at Old Dominion can choose from concentrations in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, College Counseling, and School Counseling.
Tuition and Fees: $19,290/yr
At just 48 credit hours, this counseling master’s degree at Virginia Commonwealth University requires less time in the classroom than many of the other programs on this list (although the degree still takes two years to obtain). The reduced credit requirement leaves plenty of time for you to work toward meeting VCU’s practicum and internship requirements, which together will require you to spend 700 hours in a clinical setting – and 280 of those hours providing direct service to clients. Furthermore, VCU’s close relationship with local school systems gives students the opportunity to pursue internships and full-time employment in a range of elementary, secondary, and post-secondary settings.
Tuition and Fees: $18,391/yr
As one of the most affordable master’s in counseling degrees on this ranking, Argosy University’s M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling provides a great value, particularly for career-focused students who want to take advantage of the school’s central location. Because of its proximity to both Washington, D.C. and Maryland, Argosy has crafted a flexible program that could qualify you for licensure in one or more of these jurisdictions. This flexibility extends to the scheduling options, which even includes weekend class meetings – a popular choice among the region’s many full-time working professionals. Students will even find flexibility in the practicum requirements, which give them the space to either get started early – during their second year of study – or hold off until they finish all of their coursework.
Tuition and Fees: $13,628/yr
At James Madison University, students benefit from a somewhat “relaxed” pace compared to other counseling master’s degree programs. Don’t worry – you’ll still acquire 60 credit hours of valuable, industry-relevant training, but you’ll also have a full three years to earn your diploma. While this format might test your patience at times, it enables JMU to focus on providing a highly individualized education for every student and to keep class sizes small (usually no more than 10 students). Between this one-on-one attention in the classroom and a unique dual-degree program in Clinical Mental Health Counseling/Educational Specialist (another opportunity made possible by the extended program length), it’s clear that JMU has some of the best graduate degrees in counseling in Virginia.
Tuition and Fees: $18,576/yr
The University of Virginia has one primary focus when it comes to counseling: the K-12 school environment. The university’s singular accredited master’s degree in counseling is highly experiential, preparing you to work with students in elementary or secondary schools. In particular, a practicum in the second semester and a year-long internship starting in the second year of the program (where you’ll work under the guidance of a professional school counselor) will make sure you graduate with the career skills and confidence you need to succeed after graduation. Students even enroll in a seminar concurrent with their internship requirement, participating in group discussions and activities that will help them learn from their early counseling experiences.
Tuition and Fees: $21,993/yr
The College of William and Mary is home to the best program on this Virginia counseling master’s degree ranking – an honor the school earns due to the unusual strength and breadth of its offerings. These include a core Clinical Mental Health Counseling degree (with an optional specialty in Addictions) as well as equally high-quality programs in School and Marriage and Family Counseling. Despite the wide variety of degree options, William and Mary’s program is small, and the school fosters a highly collaborative environment that promotes hands-on faculty supervision and collaboration among the students. The school has earned its reputation through rigorous coursework and career-focused advising, so you can expect a challenging but supportive degree program.
Tuition and Fees: $20,972/yr
This concludes our ranking of the best graduate degrees in counseling in Virginia.