Top Schools for Counseling and Guidance

Find information about the top schools for counseling and guidance, through which students learn how to help children and adults cope with problems and develop life skills. Read about the degree options at three leading institutions, as well as an overview of other schools in the U.S. that offer training for counselors.

School Information

In most circumstances, counselors need a license before they can provide professional services in community settings or schools. Licensing requirements typically include completion of a master's degree program in counseling, school psychology or a closely related field, which can be found at the three high-ranking national universities highlighted below.

1. College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA

School Highlight: The College of William and Mary ranked 34th on the U.S. News & World Report list of top national universities in 2015, as well as 27th for the reputation of high school counselors.

The School of Education at this public research university offers a 3-year master's degree program in school psychology, as well as a 2-year master's program in counseling. The counseling program includes concentrations in community, family and school counseling. Students also participate in an internship. Graduate students can also pursue a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Counselor Education.

2. Pennsylvania State University in University Park, PA

School Highlight: U.S. News & World Report ranked Pennsylvania State University sixth for rehabilitation counseling programs and seventh for counseling and personnel services in 2015.

Through the Department of Educational Psychology, Counseling and Special Education, students can earn a master's degree in counseling psychology, school or educational psychology, and rehabilitation and human services counseling. In addition to completing clinical experiences, students in the rehabilitation counseling program learn how to advocate for others, develop treatment plans and manage caseloads. Penn State also offers master's and Ph.D. programs in counselor education.

3. University of Wisconsin in Madison, WI

School Highlight: U.S News & World Report ranked the University of Wisconsin 11th among the country's public schools and 41st among national universities in 2015.

The University of Wisconsin offers a terminal Master of Science in Counseling program, including two full years of coursework and an additional year for a required internship. Graduate programs also include a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology, which is accredited by the American Psychological Association. Additionally, the university's School of Education features a counseling psychology training clinic, which supports faculty research and offers psychology and mental health services to clients.

Top Counseling and Guidance Programs

George Washington University Master's degree in rehabilitation counseling offered online Washington, D.C.
Ohio State University Master's degree program prepares students who wish to become school or clinical counselors Columbus, OH
University of Florida Ranked ninth by U.S. News & World Report for its student counseling and personnel services programs in 2015 Gainesville, FL
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Students in the counseling program must complete a 1-year internship before pursuing a doctoral degree Champaign, IL
University of Iowa Ranked third for rehabilitation counseling by U.S. News & World Report in 2011 Iowa City, IA
University of Maryland Offers undergraduate, graduate certificate, master's and doctoral programs through its Department of Counseling and Personnel Services College Park, MD
University of North Carolina Students may choose to specialize in either Developmental Disabilities, Psychiatric Disabilities or pursue a Dual program focused in both areas Chapel Hill, NC

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