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Top 30 Affordable Private Universities for Graduate Degrees in Counseling

TCS-Best ValueA graduate degree in counseling teaches students the best practices for assisting families, individuals, and communities in need. It is designed for individuals who are passionate about helping others and make a positive impact on their lives. The intensive graduate program curricula blend theory and practice to create competent counselors who can effectively support their clients in their social, psychological, professional, and other needs.

Students can opt for a master of arts or a master of science degree, depending on the school and the specializations they choose. No matter which pathway they opt for, they are trained and prepared to provide a variety of services and in varied settings. While most students who enroll in a graduate counseling program hold a bachelor’s degree in counseling or psychology, some come from other fields. This broad and interdisciplinary field has options for students from all backgrounds.

The curricula cover various topics like stress, lifespan development, drugs and addiction, legal and ethical issues in counseling, relationships, family issues, group counseling, career counseling, psychopathology, multicultural counseling. They also provide foundational knowledge so that students can practice as successful professionals or pursue doctoral studies in counseling and psychology.

Most graduate program counseling prepares students to sit for their state and national licensing exams. As licensed counselors, they can help their patients deal with various social and emotional problems as well as life changes. They learn to conduct assessments, collaborate with patients and their families to develop effective treatment plans. They can help in situations like domestic violence, family therapy, substance abuse, and rehabilitation, anger management, mental health and PTSD, disabilities, career guidance, anxiety, child therapy, and corporate counseling.

Graduates of counseling master’s degree programs work in varied settings like educational institutions, mental health facilities, government agencies, social work agencies, community clinics, hospitals, private research facilities, business organizations, and private practices.

While public universities are funded mainly by state governments, private universities are neither funded nor operated by governments. The latter are mostly supported by their endowment funds, wealthy donors, and tuition paid by students. While many private universities are nonprofit organizations, most are for-profit. Most of the time, though not always, they tend to be more expensive than most state-funded schools.

Depending on their location and government policies, some may receive tax breaks or grants. This article will give you information about the most affordable programs offered by private colleges in the US if you want to pursue graduate studies in counseling psychology. You will find the different programs, specializations, affordability, credit hours required for completion, and accreditation details. They have been ranked in terms of affordability, high to low tuition rates.

Methodology:

Net Price (as reported by the NCES):

  • Under $10,000: 4 points
  • Under $15,000: 3 points
  • Under $20,000: 2 points
  • Under $25,000: 1 point

Program Flexibility (asynchronous course delivery, hybrid options, part-time/full-time schedule, etc. ) – 1 point per item

Student Support Network (faculty mentors/advisors, writing/technology support, etc.)— 1 point per item

Concentrations/Specializations – 1 point per item

Accreditation: 2 points for regional, 1 point for national

Program recognition or alignment with recognized standards: 1 point for each

“Wow” Factor – 1 point (anything that would mark a program as unique. Special qualities that make a program “stand out from the crowd”)

#30 Vanderbilt University

Nashville, Tennessee

Master of Education (M.Ed.)- School Counseling

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Points: 7

Vanderbilt University is a private research university in Nashville, Tennessee. It offers a much sought after Master of Education with Specialization in School Counseling program through its famous Peabody College. The 48-credit program is designed for students interested in making a positive difference in individual lives. Students develop practical, creative, and critical-thinking skills to become competent counselors in various educational settings. They learn through innovation, research, and hands-on experiential learning, all of which help make them well-rounded professionals. The interdisciplinary curriculum provides rigorous and humanistic training covering areas like counseling principles and ethics, creative strategies, problem-solving, human development, and social-emotional care. Students can complete the program in two to three years. The program is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). Vanderbilt University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
Tuition per credit: $2,025

#29 University of Southern California

Los Angeles, California

Master of Education in School Counseling

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Points: 7

The University of Southern California is a private research university in Los Angeles, California. It offers a Master of Education in School Counseling through its Rossier School of Education. The 49 unit program is designed for those who aspire to become school counselors in K–12 settings and create positive change in the lives of children. The program focuses on the well-being of children by supporting their social, emotional, and academic needs. Students explore the relevant challenges affecting 21st-century schools, as they prepare to pursue a credential as a school counselor. They also learn to employ decision making and problem-solving for implementation and evaluation, coordinate school counseling goals to meet the needs of the students and organization. The program is officially recognized as a credentialing program that prepares students to be recommended for the California Commission on Teaching Credentialing. The University of Southern California has been fully and continuously accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.
Tuition per credit: $1,928

#28 Boston University

Boston, Massachusetts

M.A. in Mental Health Counseling & Behavioral Medicine

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Points: 7

Boston University is a private research university in Boston, Massachusetts. The school ranks among the top colleges in the country, and so do the counseling programs. The Master of Arts in Mental Health Counseling & Behavioral Medicine provides students with a complementary background in behavioral medicine, health psychology, and neuroscience. It prepares them for careers in clinical mental health counseling. The 60 credit curriculum helps students gain knowledge and experience in applying counseling skills to promote health behavior change and aid in the prevention and treatment of medical illness. The program is designed to meet the requirements for independent licensure in clinical mental health counseling in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and other states. It is the first program of its kind to be housed in an academic medical school. It is CACREP-accredited. Boston University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.
Tuition per year: $56,854

#27 Case Western Reserve University

Cleveland, Ohio

MS in Genetic Counseling

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Points: 8

Case Western Reserve University is a private research university in Cleveland, Ohio. It offers a Master of Science in Genetic Counseling, one of the most popular graduate programs in the field. The 40 semester hours curriculum blends academic course work, clinical, and laboratory rotations with research. Courses include basic genetics concepts, genetic counseling principles, medical genetics, embryology, biochemical genetics, cytogenetics, genomics, molecular genetics, cancer genetics, population genetics, psychosocial issues, human development, interviewing techniques, along with ethical and professional issues in genetic counseling. Clinical rotations include one intensive three-week laboratory rotation and participation in weekly conferences, seminars, and club activities. The Department of Genetics and Genome Sciences is affiliated with The Center for Human Genetics and The Genomic Medicine Institute (GMI). Case Western Reserve University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Tuition per semester hour: $1,882

#26 Boston College

Newton, Massachusetts

M.A. in Mental Health Counseling

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Points: 8

Boston College is a private Jesuit research university in Newton, Massachusetts. It offers a Master of Arts program in Mental Health Counseling through the Lynch School. The 60-credit program prepares students for careers as mental health counselors and to pursue doctoral studies in psychology or related fields. The program emphasizes both academic and applied experiences by incorporating social justice, developmental-contextual and multicultural frameworks. Students receive a broad background in counseling and mental health theories, understand how to promote mental health and well-being in diverse populations, Students receive an extensive background in counseling and mental health theories, gain core professional competencies, engage in reflective scholarship, and Master scientifically informed best practices. It is an MPCAC-accredited program. Boston College is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).
Tuition per credit: $1,538

#25 Fordham University

New York City, New York

Mental Health Counseling (MSEd)

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Points: 8

Fordham University is a private research university in New York City. The Mental Health Counseling (MSEd) offered by the school is a popular choice for students who wish to help others manage various life issues and lead better lives. The 60-credit program has a reflective practitioner orientation and includes a strong multicultural counseling emphasis. Graduates are eligible to obtain a New York State License as a Mental Health Counselor once they accrue 3,000 hours of post-graduate supervised mental health counseling experience and pass the licensing exam. After licensure, graduates go on to work in mental health clinics, hospitals, community mental health centers, nonprofit counseling agencies, corporate mental health services, college and university counseling centers, and independent private practices. The program is accredited by the Masters in Psychology and Counseling Accreditation Council (MPCAC). Fordham University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the Middle States Association.
Tuition per credit: $1,442

#24 Adler University

Chicago, Illinois

M.A. in Counseling: Clinical Mental Health Counseling

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Points: 8

Adler University is a private university with two campuses in North America, one in Chicago, Illinois, and one in Vancouver, British Columbia. Among its popular counseling programs lie the 62-credit Master of Arts in Counseling with a Specialization in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. It is offered via the Department of Counseling and Integrated Programs. Students are prepared for a promising life-long career in the field of counseling and to provide culturally sensitive therapeutic services in a wide range of clinical settings. As culturally competent counselors and social justice activists, they become advocates for diverse client needs. They learn from experienced counseling professionals and gain extensive real-world experience during their internships. Graduates are empowered to bring about change and help individuals, families, groups, communities, and society. The program is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs (CACREP). Adler University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
Tuition per credit: $1,342

#23 Springfield College

Springfield, Massachusetts

MED or M.S. in Rehabilitation Counseling

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Points: 9

Springfield College is a private college in Springfield, Massachusetts. It offers a Master of Education or Master of Science in Rehabilitation Counseling that makes graduates eligible to sit for the Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) exam. The program aims to develop and hone students’ counseling skills through a combination of coursework and professionally supervised clinical experiences. It is designed for students who have a passion for learning, helping others, and the desire to make a difference. The 60-credit curriculum has a strong focus on practice, which is blended with modern theory. Students are taught by clinically experienced faculty and offered opportunities for internships and practicums, which prepare them to become licensed rehabilitation counselors. The program is fully accredited by the Council of the Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs (CACREP). Springfield College is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.
Tuition per credit: $1,105

#22 Barry University

Miami Shores, Florida

MS in Counseling

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Points: 9

Barry University is a private Catholic university in Miami Shores, Florida. The school is known for its counseling program and has a long history of preparing students to be professional counselors, scholars, and leaders. The program integrates theory, research, and practice to train students to become effective counselors who assist individuals, couples, and families. Students can choose from multiple specializations like Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Marital, Couple, and Family Counseling, School Counseling, all of which need 42 credits for completion. There is also the option for Multiple Specializations, which like the others, encourage students to find solutions and untapped resources to work through challenges that bring them to counseling. The school offers an inclusive and diverse academic community that is fostered through collaboration, scholarly and critical analysis, and respect. The program is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). Barry University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Tuition per credit: $990

#21 Northcentral University

San Diego, California

M.A. in Marriage and Family Therapy

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Points: 9

Northcentral University is a private online nonprofit university with its headquarters in San Diego, California. Northcentral University is among the schools offering affordable counseling degrees like its Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy. It is the first distance education MFT degree to receive accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE). The 45-credit curriculum helps students develop vital skills and become competent, ethical, culturally sensitive, and licensable marriage and family therapists. Students seeking licensure may be required by their state to complete up to 60 credit hours. The rigorous training and coursework facilitate personal and professional growth; they need to practice effectively in the field of marriage and family therapy and make a positive difference in their communities. The program is accredited by the International Accreditation Commission for Systemic Therapy Education (IACSTE) and COAMFTE. Northcentral is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.
Tuition: $42,490

#20 Roosevelt University

Chicago, Illinois

M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

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Points: 10

Roosevelt University is a private university with campuses in Chicago, Illinois and Schaumburg, Illinois. It offers a Master’s of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling via its College of Education. Students learn how to diagnose and manage serious mental illnesses and obtain resources and support. The 60 credit curriculum prepares students to help diverse individuals of all ages and backgrounds cope with stressful life events and problems. The intensive, field-based curriculum satisfies academic requirements for licensure as a professional counselor and professional clinical counselor in the State of Illinois. It also meets the academic requirements for national certification in mental health counseling (CCMHC) and national counselor certification (NCC). The program is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs. Roosevelt University is fully accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
Tuition per credit: $882

#19 Augustana College

Rock Island, Illinois

MS in Genetic Counseling

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Points: 10

Augustana College is a private Lutheran liberal arts college in Rock Island, Illinois. It offers a Master of Science in Genetic Counseling through a collaboration with Sanford Health and numerous other partners. The 21-month, full-time program blends classroom learning with hands-on participation and rich clinical experience. The mission of the 62 credit hour program is to cultivate wisdom and advanced patient care knowledge in genetic counselors. They go on to become scholarly professionals and engaged members of their communities. After attaining this terminal degree, graduates go on to work in a clinic or hospital settings directly with patients, but other settings also exist. The program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Genetic Counseling, Inc. It is the only ACGC-accredited program in South Dakota. Augustana University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
Tuition per year: $26,265

#18 Union Institute & University

Cincinnati, Ohio

M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

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Points: 7

Union Institute & University (UI&U) is an American private research university in Cincinnati, Ohio. It offers a Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling that equips students for future doctoral studies in counseling and related fields. Students are well-prepared for certification or licensure as a professional counselor or clinical mental health counselor. There are regular campus options along with a hybrid blending online learning with face-to-face residency experiences. The 60 credit hour program also includes supervised practicum and internship experiences as required by state and national agencies and credentialing bodies. Students successfully pursue licensing and certification after completing this advanced training and degree. Others use this solid foundation to pursue doctoral studies and research. The program is CACREP accredited. Union Institute & University (UI&U) is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Tuition per credit: $810

#17 Nova Southeastern University

Davie, Florida

MS in Counseling

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Points: 11

Nova Southeastern University is a private university with its main campus in Davie, Florida. One of its popular and affordable graduate programs is the Master of Science in Counseling, which is offered through the College of Psychology. It 33 semester hours of graduate credit along with a selected concentration. Students can choose from six Specialty Concentrations like Clinical Mental Health Counseling (60 credits total), School Counseling (48 credits total), Substance Abuse Counseling (48 credits total) / Substance Abuse Counseling and Education Concentration (60 credits total), Applied Behavior Analysis (51 credits total) and an ABA Non-Degree Program (18 credits total). The 48-credit School Counseling blends theory and practice to equip students to become competent counselors and positively impact their communities. The School Counseling concentration is approved by the Florida Department of Education. Nova Southeastern University (NSU) is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
Tuition per credit: $790

#16 Webster University

St. Louis, Missouri

School Counseling (M.A.)

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Points: 11

Webster University is a private university with its main campus in Webster Groves, Missouri. It offers an affordable graduate school counseling degree program through its College of Arts & Sciences. The 48 credit hours of coursework provide high-quality learning experiences to students so that they can get the necessary knowledge, practice, and skills for working with individuals, children, families, and groups in a variety of mental health and educational settings. The blend of theory and practicum helps them become expert professional school counselors who can practice in varied settings like educational institutions, mental health and human service, business, government, industrial organizations, and private practice settings. The culturally inclusive curriculum trains students who wish to contribute to an enhanced quality of life in local, national, and global societies. Webster University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.
Tuition per credit: $750

#15 University of Saint Joseph

West Hartford, Connecticut

Clinical Mental Health Counseling, M.A.

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Points: 11

The University of Saint Joseph is a private Roman Catholic university in West Hartford, Connecticut. It offers a Master of Arts degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling that prepares graduates to become leaders in the field of counseling and effectively and compassionately serve the mental health needs of individuals across a lifespan. Students combine coursework, internships, and other experiential learning, which helps them develop culturally appropriate skills that serve to foster change in clinical settings. The 60-credit program helps them gain a deep understanding of self that will enhance counseling abilities, teaches them to create and personalize counseling plans for each patient, cultivate a positive counseling process by identifying all aspects of counselor-client interaction. The program is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). The University of Saint Joseph is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).
Tuition per credit: $735

#14 Southern New Hampshire University

Manchester, New Hampshire

M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

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Points: 11

Southern New Hampshire University is a private university located in Manchester, New Hampshire. It is known for its graduate programs, among them the highly sought after counseling programs. The Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling teaches students to work effectively with clients experiencing a range of behavioral and emotional issues. Graduates embrace an active role in improving mental health as they foster relationship skills and guide clients on a journey to wellness. The 60-credit program requires two face-to-face residencies to help better strengthen their workforce abilities. Students develop culturally-relevant and appropriate counseling approaches while becoming more adept at client consultation, intervention, treatment, and prevention. The curriculum aligns with the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) standards but is not currently accredited by CACREP. Southern New Hampshire University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education, Inc. (NECHE).
Tuition per credit: $700

#13 John F. Kennedy University

Pleasant Hill, California

M.A. in Counseling Psychology

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Points: 12

John F. Kennedy University is a nonprofit, private university in Pleasant Hill, California, with a satellite campus in San Jose. It offers a much sought after Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology via its College of Psychology. The 90-units program prepares students to work with groups and individuals of all ages and life circumstances, guiding them through many challenges. Through this license-eligible program, graduates gain an expanded focus on clinical skills, assessment, and diagnosis. The extensive training that they receive helps them attain their full potential as practitioners by developing clinical skills through practical experience. The school is known for producing graduates who go onto become successful therapists in the competitive Bay Area job market. John F. Kennedy University is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).
Tuition per unit: $700

#12 Regis University

Denver, Colorado

M.A. in Counseling

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Points: 12

Regis University is a private Jesuit university in Denver, Colorado. It offers a Master of Arts in Counseling (MAC) program that helps students develop a strong foundation of theoretical knowledge and practical counseling skills. The 60-credit-hour degree offers hands-on counseling experiences at interactive learning centers, which encourage students to engage in personal reflection and critical thinking while developing a discerning mind and heart to serve those in need. They can choose from specialized certifications like Counseling Children and Adolescents, Counseling Military Families, Marriage and Family Therapy, and Depth Psychotherapy. Graduates are preparing to work with diverse populations in mental health counseling settings. The program meets the academic requirements for Colorado LPC set forth by the Colorado Licensed Professional Counselor Examiners Board. The program is accredited by CACREP, CHEA, and approved by the IRCEP. Regis University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
Tuition per credit: $695

#11 Santa Clara University

Santa Clara, California

M.A. in Counseling Psychology

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Points: 12

Santa Clara University is a private Jesuit university in Santa Clara, California. It offers a Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology that prepares students to practice as competent counselors in various settings. This intensive 90-unit program allows students to choose from four emphasis areas in Correctional Psychology, Health Psychology, Latinx Counseling, or LGBT Counseling. Students not selecting an emphasis may opt for an elective to tailor their degree per their career goals. The MFT Track curriculum aligns with the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, and the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists. The LPCC Track curriculum aligns with the California Coalition for Counselor Licensure. Students who wish to gain more extensive training pursue doctoral studies. The Department of Counseling Psychology is accredited by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences Accredited Marriage and Family Therapists (BBS). Santa Clara University is accredited by The WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).
Tuition per unit: $654

#10 Mercer University

Macon, Georgia

M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

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Points: 13

Mercer University is a private university with its main campus in Macon, Georgia. Its College of Professional Advancement offers much sought after counseling programs that qualify graduates to help people suffering from myriad issues. The M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling prepares students to help people facing emotional, mental, or behavioral challenges. They learn from award-winning faculty with clinical experience and with supervised client interaction during their immersive internship experience. The 60-credit program also prepares students for Associate Professional Counselor (APC) and Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) licensure exams. Mercer graduates achieved a 95% first-time pass rate on the Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Examination (CPCE) in 2019, and they consistently score above the national average for other counseling programs. The program is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). Mercer University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
Tuition per credit: $636

#9 Southwestern University

Georgetown, Texas

M.A. in Counseling (Clinical Mental Health Counseling)

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Points: 13

Southwestern University is a private university in Georgetown, Texas. It offers an affordable Master of Arts. in Counseling-Clinical Mental Health Counseling that encourages student therapists to cultivate a practice of focusing on clients’ strengths, internal resources, and capacity for healing and growth. The holistic, integrative clinical curriculum combines alternative and indigenous healing perspectives, traditions, and ceremonies, with current evidence-based practices in psychotherapy to offer an authentic multicultural flavor and training experience. The 97 quarter unit curriculum lays heavy emphasis on personal transformation and development as a compassionate, mindful, reflective psychotherapist. They learn to work transformationally with clients and bring about positive change in the lives of many. The program is fully approved by the Higher Learning Commission and exceeds CACREP Standards. Southwestern University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Tuition per quarter unit: $590

#8 Cambridge College

Boston, Massachusetts

Mental Health Counseling Master’s Degree (MEd)

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Points: 13

Cambridge College is a private, nonprofit college based in Boston, Massachusetts. It is known for its high-quality education and graduate programs. The Master of Education (MEd) in Mental Health Counseling prepares students for the Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) exam. The 60-credit curriculum includes courses in mental health counseling theory, counseling skills used in both individual and group counseling settings, cross-cultural, ethical, and professional considerations in current counseling scenarios, as well as required practicum and internships. Students learn from a faculty that brings years of clinical mental health counseling experience. The program includes more field experience and clinical, hand-on experience than many Master’s degree programs in social work. A lower tuition rate offers more value to students and helps them achieve their academic and career goals. Cambridge College is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).
Tuition per credit: $574

#7 Liberty University

Lynchburg, Virginia

M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

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Points: 13
liberty-university
Liberty University is a private evangelical Christian university in Lynchburg, Virginia. It offers a Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling through its School of Behavioral Sciences. The program is designed for students who wish to work with individuals, families, and groups in treating mental health and behavioral problems and create positive change in their lives. Students are equipped with the specialized training they need to gain state licensure and become a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC). The 60-credit curriculum enhances their understanding of human psychology through field-tested techniques and theories. They learn the best practices from experienced faculty for promoting the mental health and holistic wellness of clients in diverse communities. The program is accredited by CACREP. Liberty University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Tuition per credit: $565

#6 John Brown University

Siloam Springs, Arkansas

MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

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Points: 14

John Brown University is a private, interdenominational, Christian liberal arts college in Siloam Springs, Arkansas. JBU’s graduate counseling programs are widely known for producing excellent counselors and therapists. The 64 credit Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program prepares students for certification as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC). It is designed for compassionate, empathetic students who have a deep desire to help others and make a significant impact on families and communities. Students also have the option to pursue both an M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and an M.S. in Marriage & Family Therapy–totaling 79 credit hours. JBU graduates have an average pass rate of over 90% on national board exams and clinical preparation, thanks to the intensive curriculum.
John Brown University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
Tuition per credit: $560

#5 Harding University

Searcy, Arkansas

Master’s Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

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Points: 14

Harding University is a private Christian university with its main campus in Searcy, Arkansas. It offers an affordable Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling via the Department of Mental Health and Wellness in the College of Education. The 68-hour program prepares candidates in advanced knowledge and skills and leads to professional credentialing as a Licensed Professional Counselor and Clinical Mental Health Counselor. Students learn to utilize current counseling principles in real-world settings through practicum and internship experiences and gain competencies (as defined by CACREP and ACA) designed to impact a variety of people across the lifespan positively. They are equipped with cognitive, affective, behavioral, or systematic interventions knowledge that addresses wellness, personal growth, crisis, and mental health, including pathology. This, in turn, prepares them to become leaders and practitioners in professional counseling/psychotherapy. The program is CACREP accredited. Harding University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Tuition per semester hour: $547

#4 American International College

Springfield, Massachusetts

M.A. in Counseling Psychology

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Points: 14

American International College is a private liberal arts college in Springfield, Massachusetts. It offers a low-cost Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology via its School of Education. The program is designed for students who wish to become licensed as professional counselors at state and national levels. The curriculum provides the knowledge and skills they need to practice in clinical settings and qualifies them for licensure for various clinical practices as well as to become a Clinical Mental Health Counselor. Extensive in-depth studies in counseling theory and practice, blends with theories of human development and personality development across the lifespan, family and group therapy principles, applied psychology concepts and principles, applied social and cultural foundations, biological basis of behavior, and professional orientation and ethics along with formal internships.
American International College is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.
Tuition per credit: $525

#3 Capella University

Minneapolis, Minnesota

MS in School Counseling

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Points: 15

Capella University is a for-profit, online university headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It is one of the top schools for affordable graduate programs in counseling. The Master of Science in School Counseling provides students with a unique blend of theory-based coursework and in-person learning experiences. They learn from a core faculty of doctorates and larger faculty of scholar-practitioners who are active within their professions and bring real-world experience to the classroom. The 72 total quarter credit curriculum covers the knowledge and skills to prepare students to pursue licensure as a school counselor. They get support from the licensure team through the license application process, and even beyond graduation. The curriculum incorporates the values, principles, and ethical standards of national, regional, and state professional counseling associations and honor societies, including the American School Counseling Association. The program is CACREP- and CAEP-accredited. Capella University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Tuition per credit: $487

#2 National University

La Jolla, California

M.A. in Counseling Psychology

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Points: 15

National University (N.U.) is a private university with its headquarters in La Jolla, California. It offers a much sought after Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology degree designed for students seeking a career in professional counseling. The 90 quarter units program offers two specialization options: The standard Marriage and Family Therapist Option and the Combined MFT/PCC Option. The former prepares graduates to help individuals, couples, and groups in psychotherapy. It meets the academic requirements for licensure in California and also prepares students for doctoral studies. The latter fits the academic requirements for both the LMFT and LPCC. It includes additional hours of practicum training experience to meet state requirements for PCC trainees. National University is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).
Tuition per quarter unit: $442

#1 William Carey University

Hattiesburg, Mississippi

MS in Counseling Psychology

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Points: 16

William Carey University is a private Christian liberal arts college in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. It offers one of the top counseling programs in the region. The Master of Science in Counseling Psychology The counseling degree offers concentration options in gerontology(60 semester hours), school counseling (48 semester hours), Christian counseling(60 semester hours), child and adolescent counseling(60 semester hours), and school psychometry(48 semester hours). All programs may lead to licensure and certification, and students are also encouraged to pursue doctoral studies They prepare graduates for ministry and employment in a variety of fields like schools, community mental health centers, private practice, religious counseling centers, mental health institutions, and pastoral care. William Carey University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Tuition per trimester hour: $400

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