Schools for Aspiring Licensed Professional Counselors: How to Choose

Dec 07, 2019

A master's degree program in counseling can prepare students to become Licensed Professional Counselors (LPCs), sometimes known as Licensed Mental Health Counselors (LMHCs) or Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors (LPCCs). Depending on the career focus of the student, both Master of Arts (M.A.) and Master of Science (M.S.) programs are available in this field, with students studying the theories, techniques and practices of counseling.

State licensure requirements for Licensed Professional Counselors (LPCs) vary, but typically include completion of at least a master's degree in counseling. In these programs, students learn about techniques and approaches in the field to assist those struggling with mental or emotional disorders, or personal crisis and issues.

10 Schools with Master's Degrees in Mental Health Counseling

Here's a list of school with applicable programs:

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Tuition 2018-2019*
Boston Graduate School of Psychoanalysis, Inc. Brookline, Massachusetts 4-year, Private Master's $18,480
Carson Newman University Jefferson City, Tennessee 4-year, Private Master's $8,780
Emporia State University Emporia, Kansas 4-year, Public Master's In-state tuition $6,328
Out-of-state tuition $19,403
Fitchburg State University Fitchburg, Massachusetts 4-year, Public Master's, certificate $2,124
John Brown University Siloam Springs, Arkansas 4-year Private Master's $13,152
Mississippi College Clinton, Mississippi 4-year, Private Master's, doctorate $10,962
North Carolina Central University Durham, North Carolina 4-year, Public Master's In-state tuition $4,740
Out-of-state tuition $17,964
Southern Methodist University Dallas, Texas 4-year, Private Master's $40,896
Texas A&M University-Central Texas Killeen, Texas 4-year, Public Master's In-state tuition $4,264
Out-of-state tuition $11,734
University of Arizona Tucson, Arizona 4-year, Public Master's In-state tuition $11,716
Out-of-state tuition $32,065

Sources: National Center for Education Statistics

School Selection Criteria

Prospective students should keep these considerations in mind when choosing their school:

  • Master of Arts (M.A.) programs are available for those pursuing counseling careers and Master of Science (M.S.) programs for those pursuing doctoral studies, followed by research or program evaluation careers, with non-thesis (and sometimes thesis) degrees likely requiring students to pass a comprehensive exam.
  • Counseling program concentrations include career counseling, child and adolescent therapy, Christian counseling, clinical mental health counseling, marriage and family therapy and school counseling with licensure requirements possibly varying from those for LPCs.
  • Programs with faculty ties to the professional counseling community offer the best opportunities for career counseling and advice.
  • Best choices may be schools that prepare them for the National Counselor Examination (NCE), an important part of the LPC licensing process in many states and a precursor to voluntary certification as a National Certified Counselor (NCC).

Master's Degree in Counseling

Students enrolled in a M.A. or M.S. program in counseling typically learn about counseling practices, theories and techniques, including methods of interviewing, assessing and researching. Additionally, aspiring LPCs may be required to complete individual and group practicums, as well as a counseling internship. They also might explore cross-cultural counseling, crisis intervention and substance abuse counseling.

Before enrolling in a professional counseling program, students must verify that available degree paths and concentrations match their career aspirations and prepare them for the licensing process.

Next: View Schools

Popular Schools

The listings below may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users.

Find your perfect school

What is your highest level of education?