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 four leading institutions, as well as an overview of other schools in the U.S. that offer training for counselors.

Counseling and guidance programs are typically found at the master's degree level. Highly-rated schools that offer these programs include the College of William and Mary, Pennsylvania State University, the University of Wisconsin and George Washington University.

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 four high-ranking national universities highlighted below. These schools were ranked by U.S. News & World Report.

College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA

School Highlight: The College of William and Mary ranked 32nd on the U.S. News & World Report list of top national universities for 2017, as well as 36th 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.

Pennsylvania State University in University Park, PA

School Highlight: U.S. News & World Report ranked Pennsylvania State University 6th for rehabilitation counseling programs in 2015, and 5th for counseling and personnel services in 2016.

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.

University of Wisconsin in Madison, WI

School Highlight: U.S News & World Report ranked the University of Wisconsin 10th among the country's public schools and 44th among national universities in 2016.

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.

George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

School Highlight: U.S News & World Report ranked George Washington University 6th for rehabilitation counseling programs in 2015.

The school offers an online master's degree in rehabilitation counseling. The program requires a 100-hour practicum and a 600-hour internship. A counseling doctorate program is also available. Students train at a variety of hospitals, clinics and facilities.

Top Counseling and Guidance Programs

Other top schools for counseling and guidance programs include the following:

  • Located in Columbus, OH, Ohio State University's master's degree program prepares students who wish to become school or clinical counselors.
  • The University of Florida in Gainesville, FL was ranked 6th by U.S. News & World Report for its student counseling and personnel services programs in 2016.
  • At the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in Champaign, IL, students in the counseling program must complete a 1-year internship before pursuing a doctoral degree.
  • The University of Iowa in Iowa City, IA, was ranked third for rehabilitation counseling by U.S. News & World Report in 2015.
  • The University of Maryland in College Park, MD, offers undergraduate, graduate certificate, master's and doctoral programs through its Department of Counseling and Personnel Services.
  • At the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, NC, students may choose to specialize in either developmental disabilities, psychiatric disabilities or pursue a dual program focused in both areas.

Students who are interested in pursuing a counseling and guidance degree at one of the country's top schools have many options to consider. To decide which top school might be right for them, students might want to think about online availability, internship requirements, specializations and concentrations.

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