Top 100 Most Affordable Master’s in Counseling in the U.S. by Region 2021

A master’s in counseling is one of the most popular choices for graduate studies. It is also a demanding and fast-growing profession. The demand for Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors will grow 25% through 2029 (BLS). School and Career Counselors’ market will grow at 8%, still faster than the national average for other jobs. 

Counselors work with patients to help them cope with various mental health issues. They use techniques like assessments, tests, and meetings to meet treatment goals. A master’s in counseling program teaches students how to understand the underlying causes of mental health issues and treat them. They also learn to work with patients’ family members, groups, and other medical professionals. 

The curriculum prepares graduates to take the national and state licensure exams. These exams lead to certification and practice as effective counselors. Graduates work in hospitals, schools, mental health clinics, social welfare agencies, or businesses. But, many students opt for doctorate degrees. These programs can be campus-based, online, or hybrid. Students can choose the option that best matches their learning needs. Here we have considered the affordable programs which are offered in various formats. 

What is a master’s degree in counseling?

A master’s degree in counseling prepares graduates to become licensed professional counselors (LPCs). The coursework prepares them to take the state licensure exams after graduation. Some schools also prepare them for national licensure exams. Depending on the concentration, students choose various career paths. Graduates work in hospitals, schools, mental health clinics, social welfare agencies, or businesses. 

A typical master’s in counseling program takes two years to complete. Some universities offer a flexible option that can be part-time or online. Students can complete in three to four years at their own pace. Some also offer an accelerated version, which means students can complete in less than two years if they want. 

A master’s degree prepares them to enter the workforce, but most students opt for doctorate degrees. The latter helps them gain the research and analytical skills they need to be a good counselor. Graduates learn to help patients identify ways to meet challenges and address issues that affect their mental health. 

Format

Students can choose the traditional option, which is campus-based. Many schools offer online and hybrid versions as well. Check with the schools you are shortlisting to see if they match with your learning needs. Here we have considered the affordable programs which are offered in various formats. 

What will you learn in a master’s in counseling program?

The curriculum emphasizes psychological development, assessment and counseling techniques, and research methods. It also includes practicums or internship experiences in clinical settings. Some of the standard course topics are:

  • Human Development
  • Ethics and Legal Issues in Counseling
  • Theories of Counseling
  • Career Counseling
  • Crisis Counseling
  • Psychopathology
  • Multicultural Counseling
  • Group Process and Dynamics
  • Counseling Addictive Disorders
  • Lifespan Development
  • Psychopharmacology
  • Research Methodology and Program Evaluation
  • Couples and Family Counseling

There are many specialization options available in a master’s in counseling program. These concentrations allow students to prepare for specific careers. 

How to choose the right master in counseling program?

Students need to do their research well before choosing an affordable master’s in counseling program. Here are some things to keep in mind. Look at the program and school accreditation, licensure, or certification prep. Also, consider the ease of pursuing a doctoral program and entering the workforce. This article has looked at all these options to shortlist the best affordable programs in the country. For ease of navigation, this ranking has been broken down into 4 regions: Northeast, South, Midwest, and West. 

Table of Contents

  1. Northeast
  2. South
  3. Midwest
  4. West

Methodology:

Tuition

  • Net Price Below $10,000: 4 points
  • Net Price Below $15,000: 3 points
  • Net Price Below $20,000: 2 points
  • Net Price Below $25,000: 1 point

Student to Faculty Ratio

  • Less than 20:1: 1 point
  • Less than 15: 1: 2 points
  • Less than 10: 1: 3 points

Return on Investment (ROI)

  • Top 500: 1 point
  • Top 300: 2 points
  • Top 150: 3 points

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

Concentrations/Specializations – 1 point per item

Accreditation (School-Wide and Program-Specific) – 1 point per item

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

   

Northeast

#25 University of Rochester

Rochester, NY

25 Most Affordable Master's in Counseling in the Northeast - University of Rochester

MS in Mental Health Counseling

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Points: 5

The University of Rochester offers a Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling. It prepares students to become qualified and Licensed Mental Health Counselors. Graduates work with people challenged by emotional, behavioral, and relationship issues. The curriculum is well-grounded in counseling theory, research, and practice. Graduates can pursue practice opportunities across a wide array of settings like:

  • Community-based mental health clinics
  • Hospitals
  • Private practice
  • Human services agencies
  • Drug and alcohol treatment centers
  • Institutions of higher education

Students learn to treat diverse client populations, including children, adolescents, adults, and seniors.

Fast facts:

  • 60 credits
  • Offered through: Warner Graduate School of Education and Human Development
  • Format: Campus-based
  • Accreditation:  CACREP; Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Tuition per credit: $1598 

#24 Pace University

Pleasantville, NY

25 Most Affordable Master's in Counseling in the Northeast - Pace University

MS in Mental Health Counseling 

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Points: 6

Pace University offers a Master of Science degree in Mental Health Counseling. Students develop a range of skills for a variety of counseling settings. An important feature of the program is the emphasis on hands-on skill development. Students learn through interview techniques, role-playing and group exercise, research methods, and internships. It offers a blend of cognitive-behavioral, existential-humanistic, and developmental counseling approaches. Specialty areas include: 

  • Loss and grief counseling
  • Substance abuse
  • Post-traumatic stress and resilience
  • Positive psychology

The program prepares graduates to become licensed practitioners in mental health counseling. It provides the foundational credits for students who wish to move on to a doctoral program.

Fast facts:

  • 60 credits
  • Offered through: Dyson College of Arts and Sciences 
  • Format: Campus-based
  • Accreditation:  CACREP; Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Tuition per credit: $1,344 

#23 LIU Post-Long Island University

Brookville, NY

25 Most Affordable Master's in Counseling in the Northeast - Long Island University - Post

M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

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Points: 7

LIU Post offers a Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. The program trains students to be effective counselors in clinical settings. The program covers:

  • Professional issues and ethics
  • Counseling theories; Counseling skills
  • Human development; Career development
  • Foundations of mental health counseling
  • Psychopathology and psychopharmacology

The program meets the requirements for licensure in New York. Graduates are eligible to take the National Counselor Examination. 

Fast facts:

  • 60 credits
  • Offered through: COLLEGE OF EDUCATION, INFORMATION & TECHNOLOGY
  • Format: Campus-based
  • Accreditation:  CACREP; Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools
  • Tuition per credit: $1,274

#22 St. John Fisher College

Rochester, NY

25 Most Affordable Master's in Counseling in the Northeast - St. John Fisher College

MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

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Points: 8

St. John Fisher College offers a Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. The curriculum examines the psychological foundations of mental health and related developmental issues. It focuses on diagnostic assessment, including both its strengths and limitations. Graduates work in different settings like:

  • Community agencies
  • Clinics and Hospitals
  • Residential treatment and rehabilitation settings
  • Substance abuse treatment programs
  • Schools, colleges, and universities

Graduates become licensed to treat adults/children with emotional, mental, and physical challenges. 

Fast facts:

  • 60 credits
  • Offered through: Wegmans School of Nursing
  • Format: Campus-based
  • Accreditation:  CACREP; Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Tuition per credit: $975 

#21 Rider University 

Lawrenceville, NJ

25 Most Affordable Master's in Counseling in the Northeast - Rider University

MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

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Points: 8

Rider University offers a Master of Arts degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. It prepares students for doctoral studies in Counselor Education & Supervision or Counseling Psychology. The two concentration options are Clinical Mental Health Counseling and Dance/Movement Therapy. Graduate work in a variety of counseling positions in: 

  • Community agencies; Mental health agencies
  • Hospitals; Government facilities
  • Institutions of higher education
  • Substance abuse treatment facilities
  • Industry and private practice

The program emphasizes case studies, active learning, self-awareness and personal exploration.

Fast facts:

  • 60 credits
  • Offered through: College of Education and Human Services
  • Format: Campus-based
  • Accreditation:  CACREP; CAEP; Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Tuition per credit: $930 

#20 Carlow University

Pittsburgh, PA

25 Most Affordable Master's in Counseling in the Northeast - Carlow University

MS in Professional Counseling

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Points: 8

Carlow University offers a Master of Science Degree in Professional Counseling. The program prepares graduate-level students for careers in the counseling profession. Graduates are prepared for licensure as professional counselors in the state of Pennsylvania. The Clinical Mental Health track is for those interested in working in mental health-related fields. They work with children, adults, and families across a wide array of settings like: 

  • Schools
  • Hospitals
  • Correctional facilities
  • Community mental health agencies

Graduates work in the field as helping professionals who advocate for their clients and systemic change.

Fast facts:

  • 60 credits
  • Offered through: College of Arts & Sciences
  • Format: Campus, Hybrid, or Online
  • Accreditation:  Seeking CACREP accreditation; Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Tuition per credit: $902 

#19 La Salle University 

Philadelphia, PA

25 Most Affordable Master's in Counseling in the Northeast - LaSalle University

MA in Professional Clinical Counseling

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Points: 9

La Salle University offers a Master of Arts degree in Professional Clinical Counseling. It blends counseling theory and training in the assessment and treatment of patients. The program focuses on a client-centered rather than an illness-centered approach. Graduates become licensed professional counselors in mental health and related settings. Key features of the program:

  • Places emphasis on the integration of theory and practice
  • Can be completed within four years on a part-time basis or within three years on a full-time basis
  • Prepares students for doctoral study

It fulfills licensure requirements in Pennsylvania and other states and NBCC certification.

Fast facts:

  • 60 credits
  • Offered through: School of Arts and Sciences
  • Format: Campus-based
  • Accreditation:  CACREP; Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Tuition per credit: $875 

#18 Fairfield University

Fairfield, CT

25 Most Affordable Master's in Counseling in the Northeast - Fairfield University

MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

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Points: 9

Fairfield University offers a Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling degree.  The program meets the licensure requirements as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in Connecticut. The program develops knowledge and skills in these areas: 

  • The helping relationship; Clinical skills
  • Human growth and development
  • Lifestyle and career development
  • Social and cultural foundations
  • Research and evaluation; Group counseling
  • Individual appraisal; Professional orientation 

Graduates prepare for licensure and work in mental health agencies, colleges, hospitals, and private practice. 

Fast facts:

  • 60 credits
  • Offered through: Graduate School of Education & Allied Professions 
  • Format: Campus-based
  • Accreditation:  CACREP; NCATE; New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)
  • Tuition per credit: $850

#17 Canisius College

Buffalo, NY

25 Most Affordable Master's in Counseling in the Northeast - Canisius College

MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

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Points: 9

Canisius College offers a Master of Science degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Students are trained to serve clients diagnosed with mental and emotional disorders. The program meets the requirements of the New York State License in Mental Health Counseling. Graduates work with individuals, couples, families, or groups in settings like:

  • Mental health counseling agencies
  • Substance abuse clinics/agencies
  • Crisis counseling centers
  • Private practice hospitals

Students develop practical clinical skills through lab-based courses, projects, internships, and field experiences. 

Fast facts:

  • 60 credits
  • Offered through: School of Education & Human Services
  • Format: Campus-based
  • Accreditation:  CACREP; Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Tuition per credit: $840 

#16 Marywood University

Scranton, PA

25 Most Affordable Master's in Counseling in the Northeast - Marywood University

MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

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Points: 9

Marywood University offers a Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. It trains students in consumer-oriented therapy. They learn to create a dynamic and efficient path for change and problem resolution. It combines traditional psychotherapy with a practical, problem-solving approach. Graduates work in settings like:

  • Mental health, child welfare, and family counseling agencies
  • Institutions for the aging
  • Employment and personnel offices
  • Parishes
  • College counseling centers

The program qualifies students to sit for the National Counseling Exam, which leads to National Counselor Certification (NCC).

Fast facts:

  • 60 credits
  • Offered through: Psychology & Counseling Department
  • Format: Campus-based
  • Accreditation:  CACREP; Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Tuition per credit: $824

#15 Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Newark, NJ

25 Most Affordable Master's in Counseling in the Northeast - Rutgers University

M.S. in Rehabilitation Counseling, CMHC

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Points: 10 

Rutgers offers a Masters in Rehabilitation Counseling – Clinical Mental Health Counseling Track. The program has a unique cognitive-behavioral counseling approach. Key features:

  • Students gain the specialized knowledge, skills, and ability to counsel people
  • They help people suffering from psychiatric, developmental, sensory, or physical disabilities
  • They develop strategies and skills to change problematic behaviors
  • They help clients cope better with difficult situations and manage disabilities

The program is designed to advance the career of experienced people and new entrants to the field. Graduates may apply for the National Counselor Examination (NCE). 

Fast facts:

  • 60 credits
  • Offered through: School of Health Professions
  • Format: Campus, online, hybrid
  • Accreditation:  CACREP; Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Tuition per credit: $775 

#14 University of Massachusetts Boston

Boston, MA

25 Most Affordable Master's in Counseling in the Northeast - UMASS Boston

MS in Mental Health Counseling 

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Points: 10

The University of Massachusetts Boston offers a Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling. The program meets licensure’s educational requirements in Massachusetts and other states. Key features of the program:

  • The curriculum integrates theory, practicum, and internships
  • Students develop professional skills and competencies 
  • Prepares students for doctoral studies 
  • Students intern in diverse settings

The program allows students to add a counseling concentration. The course makes them eligible to become a K-12 school adjustment counselor. 

Fast facts:

  • 60 credits
  • Offered through: College of Education and Human Development 
  • Format: Campus-based/Online
  • Accreditation:  MPCAC; New England Association of Schools and Colleges
  • Tuition per credit: $768.10 

#13 Kean University

Union, NJ

25 Most Affordable Master's in Counseling in the Northeast - Kean University

Master’s in Counseling- CMHC

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Points: 10

Kean University offers a Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. It provides the knowledge and skills needed to work effectively as a professional counselor. Graduates are eligible to apply for the Licensed Associate Counselor (LAC) credential. They are also prepared to take the National Counselor Examination (NCE). The curriculum provides education and training to work in a variety of settings like:

  • Agencies
  • Community organizations
  • Mental health centers
  • Hospitals
  • Private centers

The courses are a blend of theory, practicum, and internships.

Fast facts:

  • 60 credits
  • Offered through: Nathan Weiss Graduate College
  • Format: On-Campus, Online
  • Accreditation:  CACREP; Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Tuition per credit: $764.90 

#12 University of Saint Joseph

West Hartford, CT

25 Most Affordable Master's in Counseling in the Northeast - University of Saint Joseph

Master’s in Counseling (CMHC)

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Points: 10 

The University of Saint Joseph offers a Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling.  It combines lecture, interactive problem-based learning, individual project work with a peer to peer discussion. Students learn to focus on the problems that confront any individuals dealing with stress. They train to work in settings like:

  • Community mental health centers
  • Private practice
  • Social service agencies
  • Health services organizations
  • Businesses
  • Educational institutions
  • Pastoral settings

Graduates effectively serve the mental health needs of individuals across a lifespan.

Fast facts:

  • 60 credits
  • Offered through: School of Interdisciplinary Health and Science
  • Format: Campus-based
  • Accreditation:  CACREP; New England Commission of Higher Education
  • Tuition per credit: $735

#11 Messiah University 

Mechanicsburg, PA

25 Most Affordable Master's in Counseling in the Northeast - Messiah University

Master’s in Counseling Online

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Points: 11

Messiah University offers a Master of Arts in Counseling. The program helps students become competent counselors who work with clients in a variety of settings. It also prepares them for the counseling licensure exam (LPC) and marriage and family therapy licensure exam (LMFT). They can also become a certified school counselor in Pennsylvania. Students have the flexibility to study at their own pace and complete the required courses in two to four years. 

Graduates work as:

  • Clinical mental health counselors
  • Couple and family counselors
  • School counselors

The curriculum is designed for busy professionals and includes both theory and field experiences.

Fast facts:

  • 60 credits
  • Offered through: School of Graduate Studies 
  • Format: Online
  • Accreditation:  CACREP; Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools
  • Tuition per credit: $710 

#10 Waynesburg University

Waynesburg, PA

25 Most Affordable Master's in Counseling in the Northeast - Waynesburg University

Master’s in Counseling and Human Services

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Points: 11 

Waynesburg University offers a Master of Arts in Counseling program. It blends theory and clinical practice to prepare students to practice as licensed counselors. Coursework includes:

  • Advanced Techniques of Mental Health Counseling
  • Family Counseling; Counseling Trauma Survivors
  • Professional Issues in Clinical Mental Health Counseling
  • Psychopathology and Diagnosis
  • Theories of Addiction and Recovery

 The program can be completed in 20 months. It includes 5 Semesters, with each course lasting for eight weeks. 

Fast facts:

  • 60 credits
  • Offered through: Department of Counseling 
  • Format: Online/Traditional classroom/Hybrid 
  • Accreditation:  CACREP; Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Tuition per credit: $690 

#9 Lehigh University

Bethlehem, PA

25 Most Affordable Master's in Counseling in the Northeast - Lehigh University

Master’s in Counseling and Human Services

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Points: 12

 Lehigh University offers a Master’s (M.Ed.) Counseling and Human Services. The program prepares students to become Licensed Professional Counselors (LPC) in Pennsylvania. Students of the program:

  • Gain an understanding of the role of professional counselors
  • Gain the skills and interventions to work with diverse groups of people 
  • Innovative and experienced professors mentor them
  • They learn from the latest research and advanced techniques in the field

Graduates work in community organizations and governmental agencies, as well as at hospitals. 

Fast facts:

  • 60 credits
  • Offered through: College of Education 
  • Format: Campus-based
  • Accreditation:  MPCAC; Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Tuition per credit: $565 

#8 Plymouth State University

Plymouth, NH

25 Most Affordable Master's in Counseling in the Northeast - Plymouth State University

MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

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Points: 12

Plymouth State University offers a Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. It provides educational requirements that align with the New Hampshire Board of Mental Health Practice. These requirements act as requisite to attaining mental health counseling licensures. Students are trained to function as licensed clinical mental health counselors. Students can opt for one of the following concentrations:

  • Addictions Treatment
  • Marriage and Family Therapy
  • Eating Disorders
  • Play Therapy

The three-year job placement rate for PSU graduates actively seeking a position is approximately 100%.

Fast facts:

  • 63 credits
  • Format: Campus-based
  • Accreditation:  CACREP; New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)
  • Tuition per credit: $550

#7 Indiana University of Pennsylvania 

Indiana, PA

25 Most Affordable Master's in Counseling in the Northeast - Indiana University of Pennsylvania

MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

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Points: 13

The Indiana University of Pennsylvania offers a Clinical Mental Health Counseling master’s degree. Students develop creative, clinical, and critical thinking skills. The curriculum is based on the educational standards set by the National Board for Certified Counselors. The rigorous curriculum prepares students for licensure after graduation. Graduates work in:

  • Mental health centers
  • Drug and alcohol treatment programs
  • Specialized community agencies
  • Rehabilitation programs
  • Correctional institutions
  • Health care settings
  • Business and industry 

The program blends field experience and theory to help students earn certification.

Fast facts:

  • 60 credits
  • Offered through: College of Education and Communications 
  • Format: Campus-based
  • Accreditation:  CACREP; Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Tuition per credit: $516 

#6 Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania 

Slippery Rock, PA

25 Most Affordable Master's in Counseling in the Northeast - Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania

Master’s in Counseling (CMHC)

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Points: 13

Slippery Rock University offers a Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. The program leads to eligibility for Pennsylvania licensure as a Professional Counselor (LPC). It provides advanced coursework combined with hands-on experience through practicums and internships. Student can choose from four areas of concentration: 

  • Youth Counseling
  • Adult Counseling
  • Addiction Counseling
  • Counseling Older Adults

Students have the opportunity to work collaboratively with the SRU Counseling Center. Graduates work in community mental health agencies, residential treatment facilities, and hospitals.

Fast facts:

  • 60 credits
  • Offered through: College of Education 
  • Format: Campus-based/Flexible
  • Accreditation:  Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Tuition per credit: $516 

#5 The College of New Jersey

Ewing, NJ

25 Most Affordable Master's in Counseling in the Northeast - The College of New Jersey

MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling 

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Points: 14

The College of New Jersey offers a Master of Arts in Counseling-Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Graduates work in settings like:

  • Community and government agencies
  • Higher education
  • Business and industry 
  • Substance abuse clinics

The addiction counseling elective meets licensure requirements for Licensed Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LCADC) and a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in New Jersey.  Those interested in general practice may take various elective courses with their core courses.  The general practice option also meets licensure requirements as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in New Jersey.

Fast facts:

  • 60 credits
  • Offered through: School of Education
  • Format: Campus-based
  • Accreditation:  CACREP; Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Tuition per year: $14,556

#4 The City College of New York

New York, NY

25 Most Affordable Master's in Counseling in the Northeast - The City College of New York

MA in Mental Health Counseling

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Points: 14

The City College of the City University of New York offers a Master of Arts in Mental Health Counseling. The curriculum blends theory and practice to prevent and ease psychological distress. Students learn to help people with psychological change and development. Students learn about: 

  • Theories of psychological development
  • Evaluating the effectiveness of programs
  • Examining issues related to the ethics of providing counseling
  • Understanding varied cultural backgrounds 
  • Problems that may arise when working in various clinical settings

Graduates become eligible for NY State Licensure as a Mental Health Counselors. 

Fast facts:

  • 60 credits
  • Offered through: Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership
  • Format: Campus-based
  • Accreditation:  New York State Department of Education; Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools
  • Tuition per credit: $470 

#3 Southern Connecticut State University

New Haven, CT

25 Most Affordable Master's in Counseling in the Northeast - Southern Connecticut of State University

Clinical Mental Health Counseling, M.S.

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Points: 15

Southern Connecticut State University offers a Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. The licensure track program meets the requirements for Connecticut State Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC). Key features of the program:

  • Students are trained to help patients with varied mental and emotional disorders
  • They learn to treat them individually, as couples, or in group settings
  • They focus on promoting mental health and wellness
  • They gain knowledge of diagnosis, treatment, referral, and prevention of mental illness

Graduates work in community counseling agencies, college counseling centers, and hospitals.

Fast facts:

  • 60 credits
  • Offered through: Department of Counseling and School Psychology
  • Format: Campus-based
  • Accreditation:  CACREP; New England Commission of Higher Education
  • Tuition per year: $13198

#2 University of Southern Maine

Portland, ME

25 Most Affordable Master's in Counseling in the Northeast - University of Southern Maine

MS in Counseling-CMH

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Points: 15

The University of Southern Maine offers a Master of Science in Counseling (MSC) degree with a concentration in Clinical Mental Health. It provides students with counseling knowledge and skills to treat clients facing acute problems and developmental life issues. Specialized elective options include:

  • Children
  • Family systems 
  • Use of the creative arts
  • Mind-body approaches
  • Spirituality
  • Substance-use
  • College mental health

Graduates are prepared to apply (or sit) for the National Counselor Examination (NCE). They may also apply for the clinical professional counselor (LCPC) license in Maine. There are additional certificate options for graduates intending to advance in fields like substance abuse or family systems.

Fast facts:

  • 63 credits
  • Offered through: 
  • Format: Campus, online, hybrid, blended
  • Accreditation:  CACREP; New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)
  • Tuition per credit: $432 

#1 Central Connecticut State University

New Britain, CT

25 Most Affordable Master's in Counseling in the Northeast - Central Connecticut State University

M.S. In Counselor Education-Clinical Professional Counseling 

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Points: 16

Central Connecticut State University offers a Master of Science in Counselor Education with a Specialization option in Clinical Professional Counseling. It prepares diverse students for the clinical professional counseling field. The program teaches students to: 

  • Become multi-culturally competent practitioners
  • Use systemic clinical counseling and ethical practices
  • Gain foundational knowledge in the area and learn to apply that knowledge
  • Learn current ethical and legal issues in counseling 
  • Promote multicultural competence in systemic clinical counseling practice
  • Articulate a personal theory of counseling

Students also learn to adhere to professional counseling standards CACREP and NBCC.

Fast facts:

  • 63 credits
  • Offered through: Department of Counselor Education & Family Therapy
  • Format: Campus-based
  • Accreditation:  CACREP; New England Commission of Higher Education
  • Tuition per year: $ 12,356

South

#25 Hampton University

Hampton, VA

25 Most Affordable Master's in Counseling in the South - Hampton University

Master’s in Counseling 

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Points: 6

Hampton University offers a Master of Arts degree in Counseling. It prepares graduates to be leaders, advocates, and positive change agents. They work in communities and various school settings at local, national, and international levels. Students can choose from any of these areas to graduate in:

  • General Counseling (Does not meet Virginia requirements for Licensed Professional Counselor)
  • School Counseling
  • Student Affairs/College Student Development
  • Community Mental Health Counseling
  • Pastoral Counseling
  • Addiction Counseling

Graduates advance to optimize individual development, academic, and career development. They bring about emotional and spiritual wellbeing through their leadership and advocacy.

Fast facts:

  • 51 credits
  • Offered through: School of Liberal Arts and Education 
  • Format: Campus-based/Hybrid
  • Accreditation:  CACREP; Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
  • Tuition per semester hour: $665.00

#24 Johnson University

Knoxville, TN

25 Most Affordable Master's in Counseling in the South - Johnson University

Master’s in Counseling (CMHC)

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Points: 7

Johnson University offers a Master of Arts in Counseling. It blends high-quality theoretical training and clinical experience with a holistic Christian atmosphere. Students can complete the program in two to five years. Concentration options include:

  • Clinical Mental Health Counseling 
  • School Counseling

The program combines in-class discussion, experiential activities, and online learning. A less than 12:1 student-faculty ratio allows for direct interaction and engagement between faculty and students. Flexible practicum and internship options include campus and off-campus site placements. Graduates are eligible to pursue professional licensure in most states. 

Fast facts:

  • 60 credits
  • Offered through: School of – Social & Behavioral Sciences  
  • Format: Campus-based/Hybrid
  • Accreditation:  CACREP; Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges 
  • Tuition per credit: $575

#23 University of Lynchburg

Lynchburg, VA 

25 Most Affordable Master's in Counseling in the South - University of Lynchburg

MEd in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

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Points: 7

The University of Lynchburg offers a Master of Education in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. It provides education in the areas of individual, family, and group counseling. Students are trained to be effective and ethical clinical mental health counseling practitioners. The curriculum emphasizes both scholarly rigor and extensive experiential learning. Graduates work in:

  • Community mental health agencies
  • Human service organizations
  • Outpatient counseling centers
  • Drug and alcohol treatment programs
  • Psychiatric hospitals

The program promotes personal growth, academic excellence, diversity, and learning of best practices. Graduates excel in areas of individual, family, group, and school counseling. 

Fast facts:

  • 60 credits
  • Format: Campus-based
  • Accreditation:  CACREP; Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges 
  • Tuition per credit: $555

#22 Columbia International University

Columbia, SC 

25 Most Affordable Master's in Counseling in the South - Columbia International University

Master’s in Counseling

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Points: 7

Columbia International University offers a Master of Arts in Counseling. The program facilitates the growth of well-qualified clinical mental health counselors. They learn to help diverse populations in their hour of need.  Graduates work in the following areas:

  • Christian marriage counseling
  • Hospitals and Mental health clinics 
  • Drug and alcohol addiction programs
  • Counseling centers in churches 
  • Private practice
  • Educational Institutes
  • Doctoral studies

The training focuses on the personal and spiritual development of students. It also combines professional knowledge and research with practical interpersonal and clinical skills. 

Fast facts:

  • 60 credits
  • Format: Campus-based
  • Accreditation:  CACREP; Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Tuition per credit: $550

#21 Liberty University 

Lynchburg, VA

25 Most Affordable Master's in Counseling in the South - Liberty University

MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

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Points: 7

Liberty University offers a Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC). The program meets the Virginia requirements for licensure as a Professional Counselor (LPC). It blends theory, structured practica, and internships. Students graduate as ethically and spiritually aware mental health counselors. Specialization options include:

  • Crisis Counseling
  • Clinical Diagnosis and Treatment Planning
  • Substance Abuse: Diagnosis, Treatment, and Prevention

Students gain knowledge and skills to promote mental health and holistic wellness. The faculty provides quality clinical mental health training from a faith-based perspective.

Fast facts:

  • 60 credits
  • Offered through: School of Behavioral Sciences
  • Format: Campus-based/ Online
  • Accreditation:  CACREP; Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges 
  • Tuition per credit: $545

#20 Gardner–Webb University

Boiling Springs, NC

25 Most Affordable Master's in Counseling in the South - Gardner-Webb University

Master’s in Counseling (CMHC)

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Points: 8

Gardner–Webb University offers a Masters of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Students gain theoretical, technical, and experiential training for a successful counseling career. The curriculum emphasizes:

  • A scientist-practitioner model
  • Integration of counseling theory and practice
  • Critical thinking and decision making
  • Examination of how personal values and experiences influence clinical practice 
  • Acquisition and application of knowledge and skills for counseling practice

Students become skilled clinicians and leaders in the mental health field. 

Fast facts:

  • 60 credits
  • Offered through: Gayle Bolt Price School of Graduate Studies 
  • Format: Campus-based
  • Accreditation:  CACREP; Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges 
  • Tuition per credit: $510

#19 Alabama State University

Montgomery, AL

25 Most Affordable Master's in Counseling in the South - Alabama State University

Master of Rehabilitation Counseling (MRC)

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Points: 8

Alabama State University offers a Master of Science in Rehabilitation Counseling. It prepares students to become competent Rehabilitation Counselors. The program provides intensive coursework as well as practicum and internship experiences. Students learn to integrate practical knowledge and clinical skills for professional practice. Coursework includes:

  • Diagnosis and treatment planning
  • Career counseling
  • Individual and group counseling
  • Treatment interventions focused on psychosocial adjustment to disability
  • Case management and service coordination
  • Interventions to remove environmental, employment, and attitudinal barriers

Graduates are eligible to sit for the certified rehabilitation counselor examination. 

Fast facts:

  • 51 credits
  • Offered through: College of Health Sciences
  • Format: Campus-based
  • Accreditation:  CACREP; Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
  • Tuition per year: $12,628

#18 West Virginia University

Morgantown, WV

25 Most Affordable Master's in Counseling in the South - West Virginia University

Master’s in Counseling 

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Points: 8

West Virginia University offers a Master of Arts program in Counseling. It prepares students to work in either clinical mental health counseling or school counseling. They become competent and ethical counselors who can work in varied settings. Students may choose an Area of Emphasis (AOE) in:

  • Community Agency
  • School Counseling
  • Clinical Mental Health

Students learn to apply mental health, psychological, and human development principles. They learn about cognitive, affective, behavioral, or systemic intervention strategies. They are trained to bring about wellness, personal growth, and career development in their clients. 

Fast facts:

  • 51 credits
  • Offered through: College of Education and Human Services
  • Format: Campus-based/Online
  • Accreditation:  CACREP; Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition per credit: $490

#17 Wilmington University

New Castle, DE

25 Most Affordable Master's in Counseling in the South - Wilmington University

Master’s in Counseling (CMHC)

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Points: 8

Wilmington University offers a Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. It prepares students to be effective counselors in a diverse world and profession. Electives options include:

  • Advanced Seminar: Counseling Children & Adolescents 
  • Advanced Seminar: Evidence-Based Family Treatment
  • Advanced Seminar: Cognitive-Behavioral Counseling
  • Motivational Interviewing

The curriculum provides multicultural awareness, knowledge, and skills. Students master the knowledge and counseling skills needed to practice effectively. They work in community mental health and human service agencies. Graduates also work in various educational institutions, government, business, and industrial settings. 

Fast facts:

  • 60 credits
  • Offered through: College of Social and Behavioral Sciences  
  • Format: Campus-based
  • Accreditation:  CACREP;  Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Tuition per credit: $488

#16 Florida State University

Tallahassee, FL

25 Most Affordable Master's in Counseling in the South - Florida State University

Master’s in Counseling (CMHC)

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Points: 9

Florida State University offers a Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Graduates will also earn a specialist (Ed.S.) degree. The program includes five full semesters of academic coursework, practica, and internship. Students prepare to practice and excel in a variety of settings. Students gain hands-on experience through:

  • Independent practices and community agencies
  • Managed behavioral health care organizations
  • Hospitals and hospice care
  • Military organizations
  • Employee assistance programs
  • Student counseling centers
  • Substance abuse centers

Graduates will be eligible for licensure in Florida and other states. 

Fast facts:

  • 63 credits
  • Offered through: College of Education
  • Format: Campus-based
  • Accreditation:  CACREP; Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
  • Tuition per credit: $479.32

#15 Xavier University of Louisiana

New Orleans, LA

25 Most Affordable Master's in Counseling in the South - Xavier University

Master’s in Counseling

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Points: 9

The Xavier University of Louisiana offers a Master of Arts in Counseling. The program has two specialty areas: school counseling and clinical mental health counseling. Elective options include:

  • Substance Abuse and Addictions Counseling
  • Clinical Perspectives in Human Sexuality
  • Spirituality in Counseling
  • Introduction to Play Therapy
  • Advanced Play Therapy
  • Special Topics in Counseling
  • Marriage, Couple & Family Counseling: Principles & Practices
  • Couples & Relationships Counseling
  • Thesis in Counseling

Both specializations meet the academic requirements of licensure in Louisiana. The school counseling specialization meets the state requirements for a three-year school counselor K-12 ancillary certificate.

Fast facts:

  • 60 credits
  • Offered through: Division of Education and Counseling
  • Format: Campus-based
  • Accreditation:  CACREP; Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges 
  • Tuition per credit: $464

#14 Jackson State University

Jackson, MS

25 Most Affordable Master's in Counseling in the South - Jackson State University

MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

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Points: 9

Jackson State University offers a Masters of Science in Clinical Mental Health. The program boasts of a 95% completion and job placement rate. Graduates are eligible for licensure in Mississippi and other states. Coursework includes:

  • Lifestyles and Career Development
  • Dynamics of Group Process 
  • Psychological Aspects of Human Growth & Develop
  • Theories of the Helping Relationship 
  • Psycho-diagnosis and Treatment

Students graduate as effective counselors. Jackson State University is designated as a “high research activity” institution by the Carnegie Foundation.

Fast facts:

  • 60 credits
  • Offered through: Department of Counseling, Rehabilitation, and Psychometric Services
  • Format: Campus-based
  • Accreditation:  CACREP; Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges 
  • Tuition per credit: $460

#13 The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Knoxville, TN

25 Most Affordable Master's in Counseling in the South - University of Tennessee Knoxville

Master’s in Counseling 

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Points: 10

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, offers a Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. It trains professionals to use a strong professional identity and relationship skills. The program includes a special focus on work with at-risk children and youth. Graduates work in diverse counseling settings, including Community agencies, Nonprofits, and Private practice. Elective options include:

  • Thesis
  • Practicum in Grief Support
  • Child-Centered Play Therapy
  • Crisis Intervention for Counselors
  • Counseling Children and Adolescents (3)

Students learn to embrace the core values–Commitment, Openness, Respect, Integrity, and Self-Awareness. The curriculum meets requirements for professional licensure in Tennessee and other states.

Fast facts:

  • 60 credits
  • Offered through: College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences
  • Format: Campus-based
  • Accreditation: CACREP; Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
  • Tuition per year: $13,380

#12 Delta State University

Cleveland, MS  

25 Most Affordable Master's in Counseling in the South - Delta State University

Master’s in Counseling (MEd)

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Points: 10

Delta State University offers a Master of Education (MEd) degree in Counseling. The program is a comprehensive blend of teaching, training, supervision, and experiential activity. There are two specialization options – 

  • Clinical Mental Health Counseling – Trains students to work in mental health counseling venues. Graduates can sit for the National Counselor Exam and apply for state licensure. 
  • School Counseling – Trains students to be school counselors in Mississippi and other states. Graduates can sit for the National Counselor Exam and apply for state licensure. 

The program develops ethical, competent, and culturally sensitive counselors.  

Fast facts:

  • 60 credits
  • Offered through: College of Education & Human Sciences
  • Format: Campus-based
  • Accreditation:  CACREP; Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Tuition per credit: $442

#11 Marshall University

Huntington, WV

25 Most Affordable Master's in Counseling in the South - Marshall University

Master’s in Counseling 

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Points: 11

Marshall University offers a Master of Arts Degree in Counseling. It prepares aspiring Counselors to serve their communities and schools. They are trained to be ethical, competent, and culturally sensitive practitioners. Program features:

  • All Counseling students are required to complete site-based clinical experiences for both emphases
  • Practicum requires a minimum of 100 site-based hours 
  • Clinical Mental Health and School require a minimum of 600 site-based hours 
  • Students must complete the internship over two semesters

Graduates in both areas are eligible to sit for national and state licensure exams. 

Fast facts:

  • 60 credits
  • Offered through: College of Education and Professional Development 
  • Format: Campus-based/Hybrid/Online
  • Accreditation:  CACREP; Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition per credit: $417.25

#10 Western Kentucky University

Bowling Green, KY

25 Most Affordable Master's in Counseling in the South - Western Kentucky University

MA in Education: Counseling

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Points: 11

Western Kentucky University offers a Master of Arts in Education: Counseling program with a concentration in Mental Health counseling. Key features of the program:

  • Graduates meet the licensure requirements in Kentucky and other states
  • Provides foundational clinical skills and knowledge to become a professional mental health counselor
  • Teaches students to provide counseling under supervision at a clinical site 
  • Teaches counseling theories, skills, and research-based counseling interventions
  • Teaches students to work with clients from varied cultural and religious perspectives

Students graduate with knowledge of current issues and trends that affect the profession. 

Fast facts:

  • 60 credits
  • Offered through: Department of Counseling and Student Affairs
  • Format: Campus-based (evenings, on weekends); Online
  • Accreditation:  CACREP; Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges 
  • Tuition per year: $11,142

#9 Texas State University

San Marcos, TX

25 Most Affordable Master's in Counseling in the South - Texas State University

M.A. in Professional Counseling

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Points: 11

Texas State University offers a Master of Arts in Professional Counseling. It provides training and knowledge to meet the academic requirements for credentialing. Students prepare for professional work in schools and mental health agencies. Students train in a dynamic and multi-modal learning setting. There are three concentrations within the program: 

  • Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC)
  • Marriage, Couple and Family Counseling (MCFC)
  • School Counseling (SC)

Each concentration meets the academic requirements for licensure and certification in Texas. All three are also accredited with CACREP. The program promotes prosocial autonomy, lifelong learning, and ethical behavior. 

Fast facts:

  • 60 credits
  • Offered through: College of Education
  • Format: Campus-based
  • Accreditation:  CACREP; Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
  • Tuition per credit: $347.34

#8 Henderson State University 

Arkadelphia, AR

25 Most Affordable Master's in Counseling in the South - Henderson State University

Master’s in Counseling

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Points: 12

Henderson State University offers Master’s degrees in Counseling. It has two degree tracks – School Counseling and Clinical Mental Health Counseling:

  • M.S.E. in School Counseling – Equips students with specialized knowledge and skills as counselors. Graduates work in public or private K-12 schools in Arkansas. 
  • M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling – Provides the knowledge and skills needed to be mental health counselors. Trains graduates to be competent professionals. 

Both tracks lead toward professional licensure. Students gain the knowledge, counseling experience, and clinical skills to work in varied settings. 

Fast facts:

  • 60 credits
  • Offered through: Department of Counselor Education
  • Format: Campus-based
  • Accreditation:  CACREP; Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition per credit: $310

#7 Southeastern Oklahoma State University

Durant, OK

25 Most Affordable Master's in Counseling in the South - Southeastern Oklahoma State University

MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

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Points: 12

Southeastern Oklahoma State University offers a Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. It produces competent and ethical counselors who are qualified to be licensed at the state level. The Degree Plan is broken down into four areas of study, including:

  • Core counseling courses 
  • Clinical Mental Health Counseling Specialization Courses
  • One pre-approved elective course
  • Counselor Clinical Training Sequence 

Upon completion, graduates can take the National Counselor Certification Exam leading to state licensure. Most graduates from the CMHC program work as licensed professional counselors. 

Fast facts:

  • 60 credits
  • Offered through: College of Education
  • Format: Campus-based/Online
  • Accreditation:  CACREP; Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition per credit: $289

#6 Texas A&M University-Commerce

Commerce, TX

25 Most Affordable Master's in Counseling in the South - Texas A&M University Commerce

Master’s in Counseling

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Points: 13

Texas A&M University-Commerce offers a Master of Science in Counseling. The program aims to meet the demand for the growing need for counselors in the state of Texas. Students can choose from two emphasis areas: 

  • School Counseling – for students seeking certification as a professional school counselor. They are also eligible for the LPC credential 
  • Clinical Mental Health Counseling – for students who want licensure as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC)

Students learn clinical theories, techniques in therapy, and characteristics of mental health. Both programs include a common core as well as courses specific to each emphasis.

Fast facts:

  • 60 credits
  • Offered through: College of Education and Human Services
  • Format: Campus-based
  • Accreditation:  CACREP; Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
  • Tuition per semester: $3,683

#5  Oklahoma State University

Stillwater, OK

25 Most Affordable Master's in Counseling in the South - Oklahoma State University

M.S. in Counseling

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Points: 13

Oklahoma State University offers a Masters in Counseling. It provides a variety of counseling training opportunities and experiences. Students go on to work and excel in a variety of settings.

The program offers two options: 

  • School Counseling 
  • Mental Health Counseling

A diverse and experienced faculty offers state-of-the-art training. The school boasts a 98% pass rate for the NCE exams, a 99% completion rate, and a 95% hiring rate. School counseling graduates have a 100% pass rate for their certification exams. 

Fast facts:

  • 60 credits
  • Offered through: College of Education and Human Sciences
  • Format: Campus-based
  • Accreditation:  CACREP; Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition per credit: $230.45

#4 University of North Texas

Denton, TX

25 Most Affordable Master's in Counseling in the South - University of North Texas

Counseling – M.ED.

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Points: 14

The University of North Texas offers a Master of Education in Counseling. It is a student-centered program that cultivates leaders who positively impact others. Students can pursue two program tracks:

  • School counseling – Prepares students to become k-12 school counselors. They learn about school counseling and guidance services. They develop competencies of professional counselors.
  • Clinical mental health counseling – Prepares students to counsel a broad range of clients. They may specialize in work with children, teens, or adults.

Each track meets the requirements for state certification as a school counselor or licensure as a professional counselor. 

Fast facts:

  • 60 credits
  • Offered through: College of Education
  • Format: Campus-based
  • Accreditation:  CACREP; Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
  • Tuition per credit: $227.79

#3  Northeastern State University

Tahlequah, OK 

25 Most Affordable Master's in Counseling in the South - Northeastern State University

Master’s in Counseling

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Points: 14

Northeastern State University offers a Master of Science in Counseling. Students apply scientific thought and principles to the practice of professional counseling. It has three emphasis areas:

  • Clinical Mental Health Counseling
  • Addiction Counseling
  • School Counseling

It is a cohort program, and students need to complete courses in the sequence listed on their degree plan. The Clinical Mental Health Counseling and School Counseling tracks lead to eligibility for licensure as Professional Counselors (LPC). The latter also leads to eligibility for PK-12 school counseling certification. Addiction Counseling track leads to licensure as Alcohol and Drug Counselors (LADC).

Fast facts:

  • 60 credits
  • Offered through: College of Education
  • Format: Campus-based
  • Accreditation:  CACREP; Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition per year: $5,734

#2 East Central University 

Ada, OK 

25 Most Affordable Master's in Counseling in the South - East Central University

Master’s in Counseling: HR- CR & CMHC

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Points: 15

East Central University offers a Master of Science in Human Resources Options. Clinical Rehabilitation and Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Students gain the knowledge necessary to become highly-skilled professional counselors. The curriculum meets the demands of clinical rehabilitation and clinical mental health counseling. Program features:

  • Prepares graduates for the fields of rehabilitation and mental health counseling
  • Helps develop the interpersonal, consultation, and coordination skills
  • Provides specialized experiences related to the students’ desired career objectives

100% of the 2018 graduates have found employment. They are well-prepared to work in a variety of public and private settings. 

Fast facts:

  • 60 credits
  • Offered through: School of Graduate Studies
  • Format: Campus-based
  • Accreditation:  CORE; CACREP; Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
  • Tuition per semester: $2,835.00

 #1  Fort Valley State University

Fort Valley, GA

25 Most Affordable Master's in Counseling in the South - Fort Valley State University

MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

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Points: 16

Fort Valley State University offers a Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. It helps students gain effective counseling skills and broad-based expertise. They learn to help people with diverse issues and meet their counseling needs. Coursework includes:

  • Career and lifestyle development
  • Behavior assessment and modification
  • Human growth and development
  • Multicultural counseling
  • Substance abuse and addictions counseling
  • Family counseling and guidance
  • Crisis counseling & Psychopathology

Students also have to complete field experiences, including practicum and internships. Graduates are eligible for licensure in Georgia.

Fast facts:

  • 60 credits
  • Offered through: College of Education and Professional Studies
  • Format: In-person/Hybrid
  • Accreditation:  CACREP; Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges 
  • Tuition per credit: $181

Midwest

#25 National Louis University 

Chicago, IL

25 Most Affordable Master's in Counseling in the Midwest - National Louis University

Master’s in Counseling

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Points: 5

National Louis University offers a Master of Science in Counseling. It prepares students to work as counselors in various settings like schools, communities, and mental health clinics. Students can customize their degree by choosing one of the following concentrations:

  • Addictions Counseling
  • School Counseling
  • Clinical Mental Health Counseling 

Students get professional counseling skills and engage with scholarly research.  The program fulfills the educational requirements to become a Nationally Certified Counselor (NCP). This leads to a Licensed Professional Counselor (LCP) or a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC). Those wishing to become a licensed school counselor in Illinois may apply for Professional Educator License (PEL).

Fast facts:

  • 60–67 credits
  • Offered through: College of Psychology and Behavioral Sciences
  • Format: Campus-based
  • Accreditation: CACREP, Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition per credit: $759

#24 Walsh University

North Canton, OH 

25 Most Affordable Master's in Counseling in the Midwest - Walsh University

Master’s in Counseling and Human Development

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Points: 5

Walsh University offers a Master of Arts in Counseling and Human Development. The program aims to develop conscientious, professionally skilled counselors. The curriculum covers counseling skills, crisis intervention, self-care, and trauma skills. Graduates are responsive to the needs and individual differences of all people. Specialization options include: 

  • Clinical Mental Health Counseling
  • School Counseling

Walsh also offers a Chemical Dependency Certificate program. Students receive clinical education and experiential training with a case-oriented learning approach. Seasoned educators and active practitioners teach and train them for future practice. 

Fast facts:

  • 60 credits
  • Offered through: School of Behavioral and Health Sciences
  • Format: Campus-based
  • Accreditation: CACREP, Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition per credit: $745 

#23 University of Dayton

Dayton, OH

25 Most Affordable Master's in Counseling in the Midwest - University of Dayton

MSE-Clinical Mental Health Counseling 

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Points: 6

The University of Dayton offers a Master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Students gain the knowledge and skills to become successful counselors in varied settings. Key features:

  • The program incorporates a generalist curriculum
  • It embraces a holistic approach to working with individuals, families, and communities
  • Students learn to use leading methodologies to practice effectively in any environment
  • It helps them establish a professional counselor identity
  • They learn to appreciate the cultural differences and their influence on counseling practice

Graduates go on to work in public and private behavioral health care systems.

Fast facts:

  • 60 credits
  • Offered through: School of Education and Health Sciences
  • Format: Campus-based
  • Accreditation: CACREP, Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition per credit: $685

#22 DePaul University 

Chicago, IL 

25 Most Affordable Master's in Counseling in the Midwest - DePaul University

MA/MEd in Counseling 

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Points: 6

DePaul University offers a Master’s Counseling. Students have the option to specialize in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. It lays the foundation for successful counseling careers. 

Key features of the practitioner-oriented program:

  • Integrates counseling knowledge, skills, and clinical field experiences
  • Provides a sound foundation in counseling and mental health training
  • Help students develop their professional identities as counselors
  • They learn to address and resolve personal, familial, and social concerns of their clients
  • They learn to help clients lead healthy and productive lives

Graduates work in various clinical settings like health, educational, and social services. 

Fast facts:

  • 48-60 credits
  • Offered through: College of Education 
  • Format: Campus-based
  • Accreditation: CACREP, Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition per credit: $655 

#21 Central Michigan University

Mt Pleasant, MI

25 Most Affordable Master's in Counseling in the Midwest - Central Michigan University

Master’s in Counseling 

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Points: 7

Central Michigan University offers a Master’s degree in Counseling. Students gain knowledge and skills to grow as professional counselors. The program offers three concentrations: 

  • Addiction Counseling – Prepares students for licensure as a Professional Counselor (LPC) in Michigan. It is designed for students who wish to work in the addiction field
  • Clinical Mental Health Counseling – Prepares students for licensure as Licensed Professional Counselors (LPC) in Michigan
  • School Counseling – Designed for students with Teacher Certification who wish to earn a School Counselor Endorsement. Also meant for non-teachers who want to earn a School Counselor License. 

Students participate in intense supervised counseling experiences before their internship placements. 

Fast facts:

  • 60 credits
  • Offered through: College of Education and Human Services
  • Format: Campus-based/Hybrid
  • Accreditation: CACREP, Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition per credit: $637

#20 Heidelberg University

Tiffin, OH

25 Most Affordable Master's in Counseling in the Midwest - Heidelberg University

MA in Counseling 

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Points: 7

Heidelberg University offers a Master of Arts in Counseling. Students gain the skills and knowledge necessary to address client issues in a diverse and global society. They also learn to deal with emerging issues in mental health and wellness. Concentration options include: 

  • Clinical Mental Health Counseling – Meets the Ohio Counselor’s requirements, Social Worker and Marriage & Family Therapist Board licensure.
  • School Counseling – Approved through the Ohio Department of Education (ODE), the Ohio Department of Higher Education, and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). 

Graduates are eligible for licensure in Ohio and other states. 

Fast facts:

  • 50-60 credits
  • Format: Campus-based/Hybrid
  • Accreditation: CACREP, Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition per credit: $598

#19 Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota

Winona, MN 

25 Most Affordable Master's in Counseling in the Midwest - Saint Mary's University of Minnesota

M.A. in Counseling and Psychological Services

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Points: 8

The Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota offers a Master of Arts in Counseling and Psychological Services. It provides the knowledge and practical experience needed for successful counseling careers. Key features:

  • Students explore different areas of counseling and psychological services
  • Taught by professors who are experts in their field 
  • Gives students knowledge of the complex nature of human behavior and social interaction
  • Helps students to develop tools for assessing human problems 
  • They learn to assist individuals in developing greater understanding and acceptance of themselves

The program meets the requirements for licensure in Minnesota and other states.

Fast facts:

  • 48 credits
  • Offered through: School of Health and Human Services
  • Format: Campus-based
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition per credit: $540

#18 Lincoln Christian University

Lincoln, IL

25 Most Affordable Master's in Counseling in the Midwest - Lincoln Christian University

MA in Counseling

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Points: 8

Lincoln Christian University offers a Master of Arts in Counseling. It is a seminary based degree grounded in a Biblical worldview. Key program features: 

  • Designed to serve both traditional students and working adults
  • Brings together a community of learners who are taught by faculty with real-world experience
  • Students learn through lectures, labs, and supervised clinical training experiences
  • They master basic counseling techniques and choose electives according to their interests
  • They prepare for the NCE and state licensure exams while studying theology and Scripture

The program prepares them to practice in faith-based or secular settings with equal ease. 

Fast facts:

  • 60 credits
  • Format: Campus-based/Hybrid
  • Accreditation: CACREP, Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition per credit: $466

#17 Minnesota State University, Mankato 

Mankato, MN 

25 Most Affordable Master's in Counseling in the Midwest - Minnesota State University Mankato

MS in Counseling and Student Personnel

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Points: 9

Minnesota State University, Mankato offers a Master of Science in Counseling and Student Personnel. Students learn about clients’ and students’ needs in higher education, mental health settings, and K-12 schools. The program has three emphasis areas:

  • College Student Affairs – Covers college campus admissions, counseling. Students also learn about career development and student affairs administration
  • Mental Health Counseling – Blends coursework and supervised experience to teach about mental health issues
  • Professional School Counseling – Prepares students to be effective counselors in K-12 schools

The intensive program prepares students to excel in the field of professional counseling.

Fast facts:

  • 50-60 credits
  • Offered through: College of Education
  • Format: Campus-based
  • Accreditation: CACREP, Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition per credit: $444.10

#16 Winona State University 

Winona, MN

25 Most Affordable Master's in Counseling in the Midwest - Winona State University

MS in Counseling

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Points: 9

Winona State University offers a Master of Science in Counseling. It prepares students for careers as licensed professional counselors. There are three concentrations that students can choose from. These are Clinical Mental Health Counseling, School Counseling, and Human Services Professional Masters Program.

Graduates practice in public and private community counseling settings that include:

  • Community mental health agencies
  • Social services agencies
  • Residential care facilities
  • Correctional institutions
  • Medical and rehabilitation settings

Students are eligible for licensure in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and other states. 

Fast facts:

  • 60 credits
  • Offered through: College of Education
  • Format: Campus-based
  • Accreditation: CACREP, Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition per credit: $428.28

#15 Illinois State University

Normal, IL

25 Most Affordable Master's in Counseling in the Midwest - Illinois State University

MS in Clinical-Counseling Psychology 

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Points: 10

Illinois State University offers a Master of Science in Clinical-Counseling Psychology. The program provides rigorous training in various areas of psychology and their application. Students learn about assessment, counseling, and psychotherapeutic treatment. Graduates offer counseling services in settings such as:

  • Mental health centers
  • Family service agencies
  • Employee assistance programs
  • Community colleges
  • Substance abuse treatment facilities
  • Health clinics

The program meets the requirements to sit for the Illinois Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor exam. Graduates are also prepared for Licensed Professional Counselor Examinations. The master’s degree can be completed with two years of full-time enrollment on campus.

Fast facts:

  • 48 credits
  • Offered through: Department of Psychology
  • Format: Campus-based
  • Accreditation: CACREP, Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition per credit: $403.59

#14 Youngstown State University

Youngstown, OH

25 Most Affordable Master's in Counseling in the Midwest - Youngstown State University

Counseling MSEd

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Points: 10

Youngstown State University offers a Master of Science in Education in Counseling. It prepares graduates to serve mental health centers, schools, recovery centers, and universities. Students can earn their masters in Counseling through one of the four areas.

  • Addiction Counseling
  • Clinical Mental Health Counseling
  • School Counseling
  • Student Affairs & College Counseling

The program meets the licensure needs of northeastern Ohio, western Pennsylvania, and other areas. The required core courses cover the knowledge and skills essential for professional counselors in all environments. The curriculum helps students understand and apply various counseling methods and techniques. 

Fast facts:

  • 63 credits
  • Offered through: Beeghly College of Liberal Arts, Social Sciences & Education
  • Format: Campus-based
  • Accreditation: CACREP, Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition per year: $12,390

#13 North Dakota State University 

Fargo, ND

25 Most Affordable Master's in Counseling in the Midwest - North Dakota State University

M.S./M.Ed. in Counselor Education 

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Points: 11

North Dakota State University offers an M.S. or M.Ed. in Counselor Education. Students can choose from two tracks like Clinical Mental Health Counseling and School Counseling. The program provides students with: 

  • Appropriate academic preparation, clinical experiences, and personal growth opportunities
  • Preparation to work in a diverse world
  • Ability to recognize the needs of a multicultural society and diverse issues
  • Opportunity to work on research projects that reflect their interests 
  • Opportunity to take part in professional counseling organizations 
  • Qualifications to pursue licensure, certification, and credentialing

The program objectives and curriculum are guided by CACREP standards.

Fast facts:

  • 48-60 credits
  • Offered through: School of Education
  • Format: Campus-based
  • Accreditation: CACREP, Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition per credit: $389.60

#12 Ohio State University

Columbus, OH

25 Most Affordable Master's in Counseling in the Midwest - The Ohio State University

Master’s in Counseling

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Points: 11

Ohio State University offers a master’s degree in counseling. It trains professional counselors and teaches the concepts of counseling related to theory and practice. Students can choose from the following tracks:

  • School Counseling – Prepares students to practice in public and private K12 school settings. They learn to collaborate within the school and in the community for the good of students
  • Clinical Mental Health Counseling – Prepares students to work in community-based agencies and hospitals in Ohio and the nation

Graduates become either a Professional School Counselor or a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor. 

Fast facts:

  • 63 credits
  • Offered through: College of Education and Human Ecology
  • Format: Campus-based
  • Accreditation: CACREP, Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition per credit: $361.25

#11 Governors State University

University Park, IL

25 Most Affordable Master's in Counseling in the Midwest - Governors State University

MA in Counseling 

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Points: 12

Governors State University offers a Master of Arts in Counseling. It equips students to diagnose, consult, and evaluate clients; provide preventive intervention. Graduates help improve individuals, couples, families, and groups’ mental health at every stage of life. Through real-world experience, they bring about life-changing results through counseling. Students can choose from the three concentrations as their primary field of interest:

  • Clinical Mental Health Counseling
  • Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling
  • School Counseling (K-12)

Students have to complete the coursework along with practicum experience and internship. They gain practical experience through the on-campus counseling lab that serves the surrounding community. 

Fast facts:

  • 60 credits
  • Offered through: College of Education 
  • Format: Campus-based/Hybrid
  • Accreditation: CACREP, Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition per credit: $353

#10 Indiana University Bloomington 

Bloomington, IN 

25 Most Affordable Master's in Counseling in the Midwest - Indiana University Bloomington

M.S.Ed. in Mental Health Counseling & Counselor Education

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Points: 12

Indiana University Bloomington offers an MSEd. in Mental Health Counseling and Counselor Education – Mental Health Track. It prepares students to be professionally-licensed mental health counselors. They go on to practice in a variety of community settings. Elective options include:

  • Introduction to Clinical Science
  • Principles of Psychopathology
  • Intervention and Evaluation
  • Assessment
  • Neuropsychopharmacology

The curriculum combines coursework, laboratory experiences, practica, and internships. Students develop effective counseling qualifications and skills to help others. They learn to improve the mental and emotional health of their patients through psychotherapy. 

Fast facts:

  • 60 credits
  • Offered through: School of Education
  • Format: Campus-based
  • Accreditation: MPCAC, Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition per year: $10,376

#9 Western Illinois University

Macomb, IL 

25 Most Affordable Master's in Counseling in the Midwest - Western Illinois University

MA/MEd in Counseling 

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Points: 12

Western Illinois University offers a Master of Science in Education (M.S.Ed.) in Counseling. It provides the skills and knowledge to become competent counselors. The M.S.Ed. in Counseling degree has two options: 

  • School Counseling – Prepares students to work as counselors in K-12 schools; prepares them for school counselor licensure; also accredited by the Illinois State Board of Education.
  • Clinical Mental Health Counseling – Prepares students for licensure and practice. They work in a variety of clinical settings

A comprehensive examination and a passing score is required for degree completion.

Fast facts:

  • 90-quarter hours
  • Offered through: QC campus/Department of Counselor Education
  • Format: Campus-based
  • Accreditation: CACREP, Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition per semester: $5,097.30 

#8 University of South Dakota

Vermillion, SD

25 Most Affordable Master's in Counseling in the Midwest - University of South Dakota

MA in Counseling 

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Points: 13

The University of South Dakota offers a Master of Arts in Counseling. It provides the skills and knowledge needed to become professional counselors. Students can choose from concentrations like:

  • School Counseling – Students are trained to become licensed and certified professionals. They learn to provide mental health, personal, developmental, and academic support in K-12 schools 
  • Clinical Mental Health Counseling – Students are trained to help people of all ages address their problems. They work in settings from private practices, hospitals, and correctional facilities.

The program includes a state-of-the-art training clinic and experienced faculty.

Fast facts:

  • 60-64 credits
  • Offered through: School of Education
  • Format: Campus-based
  • Accreditation: CACREP, Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition per credit: $336.80

#7 South Dakota State University 

Brookings, SD

25 Most Affordable Master's in Counseling in the Midwest - South Dakota State University

CHRD-Clinical Mental Health Counseling MS

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Points: 13

South Dakota State University offers a Master of Science in Counseling and Human Resource Development specializing in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Students learn about the developmental needs of individuals, families, schools, and communities. They learn to use strategies like support, education, assessment, and treatment to help clients. They understand assessment strategies, various mental illnesses, and their effective treatments. Graduates work in: 

  • Community mental health organizations
  • Outpatient care centers
  • Residential mental health and substance abuse facilities
  • Psychiatric hospitals and private practice

The curriculum prepares them to pursue licensure as a professional counselor.

Fast facts:

  • 60 credits
  • Offered through: Department of Counseling and Human Development
  • Format: Campus-based
  • Accreditation: CACREP, Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition per credit: $336.80

#6 Southeast Missouri State University 

Cape Girardeau, MO

25 Most Affordable Master's in Counseling in the Midwest - Southeast Missouri State University

MA in Mental Health Counseling 

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Points: 13

Southeast Missouri State University offers a Master of Arts in Mental Health Counseling. It trains ethical and skilled clinicians to serve the diverse needs of clients in the southeast Missouri region. Students in the program:

  • Develop a strong foundation of knowledge to serve as professional counselors
  • Are challenged to self-reflect on their professional development through the program
  • Become eligible for counselor licensure and national certification

The program is project-based and focuses on developing clinical skills to work in a variety of mental health settings. 

Fast facts:

  • 57 credits
  • Offered through: Department of Psychology and Counseling
  • Format: Campus-based/Online
  • Accreditation: CACREP, Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition per credit: $331

#5 Chicago State University 

Chicago, IL

25 Most Affordable Master's in Counseling in the Midwest - Chicago State University

MA in Counseling

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Points: 14

  • Clinical Mental Health Counseling 
  • School Counseling

The program has a strong clinical emphasis with a three-course clinical sequence. Graduates receive effective, evidence-based, and comprehensive training in clinical skills. A multicultural emphasis is infused into every course throughout the curriculum. Graduates can sit for state and national licensure exams. 

Fast facts:

  • 60 credits
  • Offered through: Department of Psychology
  • Format: Campus-based
  • Accreditation: CACREP, Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition per credit: $325

#4 Missouri State University 

Springfield, MO

25 Most Affordable Master's in Counseling in the Midwest - Missouri State University

MS in Counseling

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Points: 14

Missouri State University offers a Master of Science in Counseling. Students are required to complete a 47-hour professional counseling core. They also need to complete a minimum of 13 credit hours in one of two counseling options. These include School Counseling or Clinical Mental Health Counseling. 

The Clinical Mental Health Counseling core consists of:

  • Introduction to Mental Health Counseling
  • Practicum
  •  Internship
  •  Electives

The School Counseling core consists of:

  • Introduction to School Counseling
  • Practicum
  • Secondary School Counseling Internship
  • Elementary School Counseling Internship
  •  Electives

Students interested in K-12 School Counseling certification should complete the School Counseling option.

Fast facts:

  • 60 credits
  • Offered through: Department of Counseling, Leadership and Special Education
  • Format: Campus-based
  • Accreditation: CACREP, Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition: $19,348

#3 University of Nebraska at Kearney

Kearney, NE

25 Most Affordable Master's in Counseling in the Midwest - University of Nebraska Kearney

MSED in Clinical Mental Health Counseling  

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Points: 14

The University of Nebraska at Kearney Master of Science in Education in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. It prepares counselors to provide culturally sensitive services for individuals, families, and communities. Students learn to help clients :

  • Explore emotions and experiences
  • Adjust to difficult life challenges
  • Improve family and other relationships

They are trained to diagnose and treat mental and behavioral disorders and develop strategies for coping and change. Elective options are:

  • Assessment, Case Planning & Management of Addiction
  • Medical & Psychosocial Aspects of Addictions

Graduates work in community agencies, treatment centers, correctional facilities, and medical settings. 

Fast facts:

  • 60 credits
  • Offered through: Department of Counseling and School Psychology
  • Format: Blended
  • Accreditation: CACREP, Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition per credit: $315

#2 Wayne State College 

Wayne, NE

25 Most Affordable Master's in Counseling in the Midwest - Wayne State College

Master’s in Counseling

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Points: 15

Wayne State College offers a Master’s degree in Counseling. Students develop and refine counseling skills to serve the needs of clients and communities. The program blends innovative counseling research, theory, and treatment approaches. Students can choose from one of the following tracks to customize their degree:

  • Clinical Mental Health – Prepares students to become a licensed counselor
  • School Counseling – Offers a pathway to becoming a school guidance counselor
  • Student Affairs and College Counseling – Prepare students to serve as a counselor or advisor in higher ed settings

The programs are nationally ranked and recognized for ROI and innovative learning.

Fast facts:

  • 48- to 60-hours
  • Offered through: School of Education and Behavioral Sciences
  • Format: Campus-based/Hybrid
  • Accreditation: CACREP, Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition per credit: $232.50

#1 Purdue University Northwest

Hammond, IN 

25 Most Affordable Master's in Counseling in the Midwest - Purdue University Northwest

MA/MEd in Counseling 

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Points: 16

Purdue University Northwest offers a Master of Science in Education in Mental Health Counseling. It prepares students to become ethical and culturally competent counselors. Key features:

  • The curriculum integrates the theory, skills, and multicultural knowledge
  • It stresses evidence-based treatment practices and reinforces that throughout the program
  • It prepares students to create a strong professional identity
  • They learn to provide individual and group counseling; offer consultation to diverse populations

Upon graduation, students are eligible to become licensed mental health counselors. 

Fast facts:

  • 60 credits
  • Offered through: College of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences
  • Format: Campus-based
  • Accreditation: CACREP, Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition per year: $5,145

West

#25 Hawaiʻi Pacific University

Honolulu, HI 

25 Most Affordable Master's in Counseling in the West - Hawai'i Pacific University

MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling 

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Points: 5

Hawaiʻi Pacific University offers a Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. The program design and training philosophy reflect the scientist-practitioner model of training. The goal is to produce clinicians who can integrate the science of mental health research with clinical practice.

Key features:

  • The core curriculum includes course work in theory, methods, and skills 
  • It provides a foundation for professional practice and doctoral studies
  • Students benefit from small, seminar-type classes, academic rigor, and engagement with faculty
  • The program fulfills educational requirements for state licensure in Hawaii and other states

Fast facts:

  • 60 credits
  • Offered through: College of Liberal Arts
  • Format: Campus-based/Evening
  • Accreditation: MPCAC; WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)
  • Tuition per credit: $1125 

#24 Northwest University

Kirkland, WA 

25 Most Affordable Master's in Counseling in the West - Northwest University

MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling 

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Points: 6

Northwest University offers a Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. It combines academics and hands-on experiences to train students to be successful counselors. Key features of the program:

  • Places a strong emphasis on integrating the curriculum with the Christian worldview
  • Combines lecture, discussion, and research, and application of knowledge
  • Has unique multicultural focus with an emphasis on social justice
  • Prepares students to serve individuals from different backgrounds 

Graduates go on to become licensed practitioners in Washington and other states. 

Fast facts:

  • 60 credits
  • Offered through: College of Social and Behavioral Sciences
  • Format: Campus-based/Evening
  • Accreditation: Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
  • Tuition per credit: $771

#23 Regis University

Denver, CO

25 Most Affordable Master's in Counseling in the West - Regis University

M.A. in Counseling 

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Points: 6

Regis University offers a Master of Arts in Counseling. Students develop a strong foundation of theoretical knowledge and practical counseling skills. It prepares them to work with diverse populations in mental health counseling settings. Key features:

  • Students engage in personal reflection and critical thinking
  • They learn through hands-on counseling experiences at interactive learning centers
  • Graduates make a positive impact with an emphasis on social justice and advocacy 
  • Specialized certifications are offered in Counseling Children and Adolescents and Depth Psychotherapy

It meets the academic requirements for Colorado Licensed Professional Counselors (LPC).

Fast facts:

  • 60 credits
  • Offered through: Rueckert-Hartman College for Health Professions
  •  Format: Campus-based
  • Accreditation: CACREP; Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition per credit: $735

#22 Utah State University

Logan, UT 

25 Most Affordable Master's in Counseling in the West - Utah State University

MRC-Rehabilitation Counseling 

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Points: 7

Utah State University offers a Master of Rehabilitation Counseling. Students learn to provide services to adults with a broad range of disabilities. They help them get gainful employment and lead fuller lives. They help them manage disabilities issues in areas like:

  • Physical
  • Mental
  • Developmental
  • Cognitive,
  • Emotional 

The program emphasizes counseling skill development, vocational, and mental health assessment. Graduates are eligible to take the national Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) examination. USU students pass at a 94% rate on the first attempt. Almost 100 percent of graduates find employment as rehabilitation counselors.

Fast facts:

  • 61 credits
  • Offered through: Emma Eccles Jones College of Education & Human Services
  • Format: Campus-based/Online
  • Accreditation: CACREP; Northwest Commission of Colleges and Universities
  • Tuition per credit: 709.38

#21 Colorado Christian University

Lakewood, CO

25 Most Affordable Master's in Counseling in the West - Colorado Christian University

MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling 

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Points: 7

Colorado Christian University offers a Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. It combines rigorous coursework, experiential learning, and mentoring relationships. The curriculum is designed to help students become culturally responsive professional counselors. Students get a strong clinical counseling background within a Christian framework. It equips them to be effective counselors in various settings. The curriculum breakup:

  • Counseling Core (41 hours)
  • Bible and Theology (4 hours)
  • Practicum/Internship (9 hours)
  • Electives (6 hours)

Graduates are prepared to take the National Counselor Exam for licensure in Colorado and many other states. 

Fast facts:

  • 60 credits
  • Offered through: College of Adult and Graduate Studies 
  • Format: Campus-based/Online
  • Accreditation:  CACREP; Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition per year: $681

#20 Alaska Pacific University

Anchorage, AK

25 Most Affordable Master's in Counseling in the West - Alaska Pacific University

MS in Counseling Psychology

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Points: 7

Alaska Pacific University offers a Master of Science in Counseling Psychology. It is a wellness and skills-based degree program. It is grounded in a strength-based approach to psychology. Students benefit from rigorous coursework and training. The program is offered in a wide variety of counseling specialties: 

  • The coursework is a mix of synchronous online and evening classes
  • The flexible format provides time for material delivery and discussion 
  •  There are on-campus intensives every six weeks, which allow students to practice and prepare for internships 

The program meets Alaska requirements for the Licensed Professional Counselor designation.

Fast facts:

  • 60-69 credits
  • Offered through: Institute of Health & Wellness 
  • Format: Online/Hybrid
  • Accreditation:  Northwest Commission of Colleges and Universities
  • Tuition per credit: $650

#19 University of Northern Colorado

Greeley, CO

25 Most Affordable Master's in Counseling in the West - University of Northern Colorado

MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

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Points: 8

The University of Northern Colorado offers a Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Students gain the skills to work with children, youth, and adults. Key features:

  • Study formats include intense academic preparation, clinical training with live supervision, and feedback
  • Students enjoy extensive field experience opportunities
  • They work closely with dedicated, knowledgeable, and approachable faculty
  • They benefit from a wide range of networking opportunities that help them get established in the field

Graduates prepare to work with a diverse range of clients and in varied settings. 

Fast facts:

  • 60 credits
  • Offered through: College of Education and Behavioral Sciences
  • Format: Campus-based- traditional/flexible weekend-based
  • Accreditation: CACREP; Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition per credit: $615

#18 Oregon State University

Corvallis, OR

25 Most Affordable Master's in Counseling in the West - Oregon State University

Master of  Counseling 

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Points: 8

Oregon State University offers a Master of Counseling degree. Students have the option to graduate in:

  • School Counseling: Leads to a Master of Counseling degree with a major in counseling. Graduates are eligible for licensure as a school counselor from TSPC and CACREP.
  • Clinical Mental Health Counseling: Leads to a Master of Counseling degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. It is designed for those who want to help people live the quality of life they desire. Students learn theory and practice to deliver professional counseling services in varied settings.

Graduates can appear for state and national licensure exams. 

Fast facts:

  • 75-90 credits
  • Offered through: College of Education
  • Format: Campus-based/Online
  • Accreditation: CACREP; Northwest Commission of Colleges and Universities
  • Tuition per credit: $590

#17 Colorado State University

Fort Collins, CO

25 Most Affordable Master's in Counseling in the West - Colorado State University

M.A. in Counseling and Career Development 

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Points: 8

Colorado State University offers a Master of Arts in Counseling and Career Development. The program of study includes a core curriculum, a clinical practicum, and an internship. Students choose from specializations like:

  • Career Counseling – Trains students to help people develop life-career plans and offer guidance
  • Clinical Mental Health Counseling – Trains students to blend psychotherapy and practical tools to help clients 
  • School Counseling – Helps students develop the knowledge and skills to guide the academic, social-emotional, and career needs of K-12 students

Upon graduation, all students are licensure-eligible and eligible to become National Certified Counselors.

Fast facts:

  • 60 credits
  • Offered through: College of Health and Human Sciences
  • Format: Campus-based/Evening
  • Accreditation: CACREP; Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition per credit: $584

#16 University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo

Hilo, HI

25 Most Affordable Master's in Counseling in the West - University of Hawai'i Hilo

M.A. in Counseling Psychology  

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Points: 8

The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo offers a Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology. It is designed to provide multicultural, student-centered training in counseling psychology. Students have the option to specialize in clinical mental health counseling. Students learn to:

  • Help personal and interpersonal functioning across the life span 
  • Focus on emotional, social, vocational, educational, health-related, developmental, and organizational concerns
  • Integrate theory, research, and practice in their work
  • Focus on problems associated with physical, emotional, and mental disorders
  • Equal focus on regular developmental issues

Graduates help people improve their well-being, reduce distress, and resolve crises.

Fast facts:

  • 60 credits
  • Offered through: Department of Psychology
  • Format: Campus-based/Online for State students
  • Accreditation: MPCAC; Western Association of Schools and Colleges.
  • Tuition per credit: $584

#15 University of Alaska Fairbanks

Fairbanks, AK

25 Most Affordable Master's in Counseling in the West - University of Alaska Fairbanks

M.Ed., Counseling

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Points: 9

The University of Alaska Fairbanks offers a Master of Education in Counseling. It prepares students to become culturally responsive and effective counseling practitioners. The course work and supervised internship experiences emphasize an ecological perspective. 

Concentration options include: 

  • School Counseling (elementary or secondary) – This is a 48-credit-hour program. Students who complete this track are eligible for school counselor certification in Alaska. 
  • Clinical Mental Health – This is a 60-credit-hour program. Students in this track are eligible for licensure as professional counselors. They may be some additional post-degree requirements. 

Graduates work in varied educational, community, and mental health settings.

Fast facts:

  • 60 credits for CMHC/48 for SC
  • Offered through: School of Education 
  • Format: Campus-based
  • Accreditation:  CACREP: Northwest Commission of Colleges and Universities
  • Tuition per credit: $513

#14 Boise State University

Boise, ID 

25 Most Affordable Master's in Counseling in the West - Boise State University

MA in Counseling 

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Points: 9

Boise State University offers a Master of Arts in Counseling. It prepares individuals for varied counseling related careers. Students have the option to choose from the two concentrations:

  • Addiction Counseling – Students learn to work with individuals and families affected by substance abuse and other addictive behaviors. They work in education, prevention, and intervention settings.
  • School Counseling – Future counselors learn to work with students ranging from kindergarten to high school. They train to promote the academic, career, and personal development of students. 

The program meets the State Board of Occupational Licenses’ criteria for licensure as a professional counselor. 

Fast facts:

  • 60 credits
  • Offered through: College of Education
  • Format: Campus-based
  • Accreditation: NCATE; CACREP; Northwest Commission of Colleges and Universities
  • Tuition per credit: $469.64

#13 National University

La Jolla, CA

25 Most Affordable Master's in Counseling in the West - National University

MA in Counseling Psychology (California) 

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Points: 9

National University offers a Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology (California). It is designed for students seeking a career in professional counseling. They can choose from two specialization options: 

  • The standard Marriage and Family Therapist Option – Emphasizes marriage and family therapy.  Meets the academic requirements for the Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT) License in California 
  • The Combined MFT/PCC Option – Designed for students also seeking a license as a Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC) in California. Meets the academic requirements for both the LMFT and LPCC 

The program also prepares students for doctoral studies.

Fast facts:

  • 90 quarter units
  • Offered through: College of Letters and Sciences
  •  Format: Campus-based/Online
  • Accreditation:  WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)
  • Tuition per credit: $442

#12 Arizona State University 

Tempe, AZ

25 Most Affordable Master's in Counseling in the West - Arizona State University

Master of Counseling

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Points: 10

Arizona State University offers a Master of Counseling (MC) program. It prepares students for licensure as professional counselors in Arizona and other states. Program features:

  • Has a strong focus on multicultural counseling across the lifespan
  • Teaches students to promote the health of individuals, families, groups in a diverse society
  • Prepares students to work with clients in a variety of mental health settings
  • Prepares students for doctoral-level studies
  • Approved by the Arizona Board of Behavioral Health Examiners

It has a 94% program completion rate and a 100% licensure/certification exam pass rate.

Fast facts:

  • 60 credits
  • Offered through: College of Integrative Sciences and Arts 
  • Format: Campus-based/Online
  • Accreditation:  Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition per year: $11,720

#11 University of Arizona

Tucson, AZ

25 Most Affordable Master's in Counseling in the West - University of Arizona

Master’s in Counseling 

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Points: 10

The University of Arizona offers a Master of Arts in Counseling. Students train to work with persons with disabilities as well as children and youth in school settings. The curriculum draws from foundational content in rehabilitation, school, and mental health counseling. Students of the program will specialize in one of the following areas:

  • Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling
  • Clinical Mental Health Counseling
  • School Counseling

Graduates work as certified rehabilitation counselors, certified school counselors, and licensed associate counselors. They focus on promoting personal well-being, empowerment, and improved quality of life of their patients. 

Fast facts:

  • 60 credits
  • Offered through: College of Education 
  • Format: Campus-based/Online/Hybrid
  • Accreditation:  Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition per year: $11,400

#10 Northern Arizona University

Flagstaff, AZ

25 Most Affordable Master's in Counseling in the West - Northern Arizona University

Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling 

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Points: 11

Northern Arizona University offers a Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. It is designed for students passionate about making a positive difference in their communities. Key features of the program:

  • The curriculum is a blend of classroom instruction, fieldwork experiences, and internships 
  • Prepares students to become applied counseling practitioners and work with a diverse clientele
  • Prepare students to be culturally sensitive/responsive, ethical, and evidence-based counseling practitioners

 The program meets the Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) coursework requirements of Arizona and other states. Graduates go on to become thriving licensed professional counselors. 

Fast facts:

  • 60 credits
  • Offered through: College of Education 
  • Format: Campus-based
  • Accreditation:  CACREP; Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition per year: $10,480

#9 University of Colorado Denver

Denver, CO

25 Most Affordable Master's in Counseling in the West - University of Colorado Denver

Master’s in Counseling and Career Development 

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Points: 11

The University of Colorado Denver offers a Master of Arts degree in counseling. Students learn to provide mental health services and make a positive impact on their communities. 

Students can choose from three tracks:

  • School Counseling – Prepares advocates for adolescents and children and helps address mental health in schools
  • Clinical Mental Health Counseling – Prepares students to serve a wide range of clients in diverse settings 
  • Couples and Family Counseling/Therapy – Prepares students for careers as couples and family therapists

Graduates are prepared for licensure exams nationally and in many states. 

Fast facts:

  • 63 credits
  • Offered through: School of Education and Human Development 
  • Format: Campus-based
  • Accreditation: CACREP; COAMFTE; Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition per year: $10,458

#8 Idaho State University

Pocatello, ID

25 Most Affordable Master's in Counseling in the West - Idaho State University

M.Coun. Clinical Mental Health Counseling 

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Points: 12

Idaho State University offers a Master of Counseling. The program emphasizes wellness, development, and advocacy related to clients and the community. It prepares students to provide counseling services in various settings. Graduates pursue careers in:

  • Individual, Couples and Group Counseling
  • Marriage and family counseling
  • Case Management
  • Consultation Services
  • Crisis Intervention
  • Program Planning
  • Administration

They learn strategies and integrated behavioral health care for various mental health issues. Graduates work in mental health centers, hospitals, rehabilitation counseling offices, and alcohol and substance abuse centers.

Fast facts:

  • 60 credits
  • Offered through: College of Health
  • Format: Campus-based/Evening
  • Accreditation: CACREP; Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
  • Tuition per year: $9,925.96

#7 University of Nevada, Reno

Reno, NV

25 Most Affordable Master's in Counseling in the West - University of Nevada Reno

Master’s in Counseling 

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Points: 12

The University of Nevada, Reno offers a Master of Arts in Counseling. It educates competent and ethical counselors who provide exceptional public and private services. There are three specialization options: 

  • Marital, family, and couples counseling (MFCC)
  • School counseling
  • Clinical mental health counseling (CMHC) 

Students receive in-depth training in conceptualization skills. They also learn the theoretical and practical application of systems theory. Graduates train to deal effectively with a variety of issues and family constellations. Besides formal coursework, students can intern in the Downing Counseling Clinic. The clinic serves as a low-cost clinic for the surrounding community.

Fast facts:

  • 57-67 credits
  • Offered through: College of Education & Human Development
  • Format: Campus-based/Hybrid on-line 
  • Accreditation: CACREP; Northwest Commission of Colleges and Universities
  • Tuition per credit: $297.25

#6 New Mexico Highlands University

Las Vegas, NM

25 Most Affordable Master's in Counseling in the West - New Mexico Highland University

Master’s in Counseling 

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Points: 13

New Mexico Highlands University offers a Master of Arts in Counseling. It offers four concentrations: 

  • Clinical Mental Health Counseling – Prepares students to work in various educational, health, and community settings 
  • Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling – Provides training to work with diverse people and their needs
  • Rehabilitation Counseling – Students learn to work in vocational rehabilitation settings with people with disabilities 
  • School Counseling – Teaches classroom guidance (preventative education), group and individual counseling, program management, student planning.

All four tracks prepare students for licensure in New Mexico and other states. 

Fast facts:

  • 48-60 credits
  • Offered through: School of Education
  • Format: Campus-based/Hybrid on-line 
  • Accreditation: CACREP; Northwest Commission of Colleges and Universities
  • Tuition per credit: $295.75

#5 University of Colorado, Colorado Springs

Colorado Springs, CO

25 Most Affordable Master's in Counseling in the West - University of Colorado Colorado Springs

MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling 

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Points: 13

University of Colorado Colorado Springs offers a Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. It prepares students to practice professional counseling involving the principles of psychotherapy. They learn to promote the optimal mental health of diverse individuals and groups. Topics include:

  • Human development
  • Learning theory
  • Group dynamics
  • Etiology 
  • Diagnosis of mental illness and dysfunctional behavior

The curriculum meets the licensure requirements for professional counselors (LPC) in Colorado. Graduates will be eligible to take the National Counselor Exam. They work in educational, military, business or industrial, health or medical, private practice, or human services settings.

Fast facts:

  • 60 semester-hours 
  • Offered through: College of Education 
  • Format: Campus-based/Evening
  • Accreditation: CACREP; Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition per year: $8,846

#4 University of Montana

Missoula, MT

25 Most Affordable Master's in Counseling in the West - University of Montana

MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling 

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Points: 14

The University of Montana offers a Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. The rigorous program blends theory with hands-on learning. Coursework includes:

  • Counseling Methods: Agency (AKA: Internship)                
  • Diagnosis and Treatment Planning
  • Interviewing and Case History Techniques
  • Psychopharmacotherapeutics
  • Intro to Mental Health Systems
  • Electives 

Students have to complete practicum and internships to meet all graduation requirements. The coursework prepares students to become licensed professional counselors in Montana. Graduates are prepared to practice in diverse mental health settings. 

Fast facts:

  • 60 credits
  • Offered through: Phyllis J. Washington College of Education
  • Format: Campus-based/Hybrid on-line 
  • Accreditation: CACREP; Northwest Commission of Colleges and Universities
  • Tuition per year: $8,348

#3 University of Nevada, Las Vegas 

Las Vegas, NV

25 Most Affordable Master's in Counseling in the West - University of Nevada Las Vegas

MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling 

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Points: 14

The University of Nevada, Las Vegas, offers a Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. It prepares students to work in community agencies, educational settings, and private practice. Key features:

  • Provide the latest methods, theories, and techniques of the discipline
  • Provides a field experience for a theory-to-practice developmental training approach
  • Enhances the clinical skills needed to function as a professional counselor
  • Trains students to be critical thinkers, scientifically minded, and culturally sensitive

Graduates can take the National Counselor Examination (NCE), leading to certification. They may also seek licensure as a Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC) in Nevada.

Fast facts:

  • 60 credits
  • Offered through: College of Education
  • Format: Campus-based/Hybrid on-line 
  • Accreditation: CACREP; Northwest Commission of Colleges and Universities
  • Tuition per year: $6,517

#2 Montana State University 

Bozeman, MT 

25 Most Affordable Master's in Counseling in the West - Montana State University

Master’s in Counseling 

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Points: 15

Montana State University offers a Master of Science (MS) degree in Counseling. The program emphasizes knowledge of clients’ developmental and social contexts. It also covers theory-based approaches to individual, family, and group counseling.

Students can graduate with a degree in:

  • Marriage, Couples, and Family Counseling – Lead to MS degree and can be completed in two years
  • Mental Health Counseling – Lead to MS degree and can be completed in two years
  • School Counseling – Leads to a Master of Education (MEd) degree; consists of 48-semester credits and can be completed in two years

Graduates become competent and capable professional counselors.

Fast facts:

  • 60 credits
  • Offered through: Department of Health and Human Development
  • Format: Campus-based
  • Accreditation: CACREP; Northwest Commission of Colleges and Universities
  • Tuition per year: $5,408

#1 California State University, Northridge

Northridge, CA

25 Most Affordable Master's in Counseling in the West - California State University Northridge

Master’s in Counseling

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Points: 16

California State University, Northridge offers a Master of Science in Counseling. Students can specialize in four areas:

  • College Counseling and Student Services – Offers specializations focused on college counseling and student services. Graduates can take the National Counselor Examination (NCE) 
  • Marriage and Family Therapy – The COAMFTE accredited program trains therapists to serve the needs of a diverse clientele. Meets the (LMFT) and (LPCC) licensure requirements
  • School Counseling – Prepares counselors for various PreK-12 public school settings. Meets the accreditation standards of the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC)
  • School Psychology – Meant for students with a background in education or psychology. Can be combined with an Advanced Pupil Personnel Services Credential

Graduates work in varied community settings as professional clinical counselors. 

Fast facts:

  • 72 units
  • Offered through: Michael D. Eisner College of Education 
  • Format: Campus-based/Evening
  • Accreditation:  COAMFTE; WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)
  • Tuition per year: $6246

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