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Texas Counselor Certification Requirements and Program Summaries

Texas has more than 50 colleges and universities that offer counselor related programs. Learn about the degree, tuition info and program options for the ten largest schools to make an informed education decision.

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Essential Information

Counselors are typically required to have a master's degree in their intended field of specialization. Additional education and experience requirements vary by field, but counseling programs often include opportunities for internships, clinical practice, and test preparation. The schools listed below represent some of the largest schools in Texas that offer graduate programs for potential counselors. These programs include instruction in research methods, patient assessment and counseling techniques.


Lamar University

Located in Beaumont, this school offers a master's degree program in clinical mental health counseling. General requirements for the degree program include completing 60 unit hours of psychology courses, nine of which must be spent completing specialized courses related directly to clinical mental health counseling. Graduate students will also need to write and defend a thesis. They must also complete a practicum course that includes at least 300 hours' worth of supervised clinical training at local mental health facilities. Potential course topics for this program include abnormal behavior, counseling theory, research and program evaluation and the foundation of mental health counseling.

Sam Houston State University

Students at this university in Huntsville can pursue a master's degrees in school counseling or clinical psychology. The school counseling option will prepare students for earning the licensed professional counselor (LPC) credential as well as the certified school counselor (CSC) credential. To be eligible for the school counseling certification exams, however, students must already be certified teachers with at least two years of experience, and they must also hold master's degrees. Students in the clinical psychology degree program have the option to complete a thesis or complete additional coursework. Both degree programs require students to participate in several practicum field experiences with real patients.

Stephen F. Austin State University

At the campus in Nacogdoches, students can enroll in one of three professional counseling master's degree programs. Areas of specialty include school counseling, rehabilitation counseling or clinical health counseling. Common courses throughout all three programs may include theories of counseling, group counseling, mental health counseling, multicultural counseling, assessment, adolescent therapy, lifespan development and family counseling. All graduate students in these counseling degree programs must participate in practicum and internship hours, with 100 hours being spent on campus providing treatment to students, and an additional 600 hours of training must be spent off-campus providing therapy to members of the community. All three programs lead to earning the LPC credential, and students in the rehabilitation counseling specialty will also be eligible to earn the certified rehabilitation counselor (CRC) credential. Likewise, students in the school counseling concentration will be eligible to earn the CSC credential.

Texas A & M University - College Station

There is a master's degree program with a focus in school counseling available at this university in College Station. All courses for this degree program are offered exclusively online, but students have to complete practicum field experiences in person and off-campus at local area K-12 schools. Although it is preferred that graduate students have teaching experience prior to coming into this degree program, the experience is not required, but information on the website points out that students will need to develop relationships with local area schools to complete the program. Required courses for this program include child and adolescent development, school counseling theories and techniques, career counseling in schools, consultations in special education, group interventions, assessment and research techniques.

Texas State University - San Marcos

Located in San Marcos, this university offers a master's degree program in professional counseling with three vocational options, including marital, couple and family counseling, community counseling and school counseling. The community counseling option meets all Texas state requirements for preparing individuals for the LPC credential, and this program trains students for dealing with both adult and adolescent patients. Students who complete the marital, couple and family counseling option will fulfill the requirements to become LPCs as well as Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFTs). The school counseling option does not prepare students to become LPCs, but the program will meet all requirements for helping students become CSCs. Along with coursework, each vocational degree option requires students to complete practicum field experience hours working with patient populations unique to each student's field of specialty.

Texas Tech University

The Lubbock campus offers two master's degree programs related to counseling, one in school counseling and one in clinical mental health counseling. The school counseling option requires students to complete 48 units of graduate-level coursework, and available classes may include child and adolescent counseling, school and community counseling, addiction therapy, dysfunctional behavior, counseling techniques and group counseling. During the course of the program, students will participate in practicum field experience projects at local community or school locations. According to the college's website, students may pursue the master's degree in counseling psychology, but they may only elect to earn the master's degree while they are in the process of earning their doctorate degrees. Students in this program also have to commit to a one-year internship at a designated mental health facility, which may or may not be on campus. Students pursuing the doctorate degree instead of just the master's degree may be responsible for writing a formal dissertation and completing additional coursework and practicum field experiences.

Texas Woman's University

At the Denton campus of this university, students can enroll in several master's degree programs related to counseling. Available program focuses include counseling and development, counseling psychology, clinical mental health counseling and school counseling. All of these degree programs meet the necessary requirements for graduates to earn their LPCs. Students in the counseling psychology program can also earn their LMFTs, and students in the school counseling specialty can become certified in their field. Typical courses in the counseling psychology focus include psychological tests and measurements, family counseling, cross-cultural psychology and advanced psychopathology. Coursework in the clinical mental health counseling and school counseling focuses vary, but some common core counseling classes include counseling theory and practice, professional ethics and multicultural counseling. All counseling degree programs require students to complete practicum hours where students will have the opportunity to work with real patients in various healthcare settings.

The University of Texas - Rio Grande Valley

Located in Edinburg, this school offers several master's degree programs related to counseling. Graduate students can specialize in either rehabilitation counseling, clinical counseling or school counseling. The clinical counseling program prepares students to become LPCs. The school counseling degree program provides preparation for students to obtain the CSC credential, and there is an optional LPC track for students who wish to gain professional licensure. Similarly, students in the rehabilitation counseling program will be eligible to become CRCs, and they will have the option to take the additional coursework necessary to prepare them for becoming LPCs. Individuals interested in becoming school counselors will need some teaching experience prior to starting the graduate program. Students in the clinical counseling degree program can choose whether they want to write a master's thesis or simply take more coursework, and common courses in this program include behavior management, lifespan development, psychological measurements, personality assessment, group therapy and practicum field experiences.

University of Houston

Students at this campus in Houston can pursue master's degrees in counseling with either professional counseling or school counseling concentrations. According to the university's website, it is possible to earn degrees in both specialties within two years of full-time study, provided students choose the necessary electives and coursework sequences to fulfill all requirements. The degree program in professional counseling prepares students mainly for working in mental health facilities as LPCs, and the school counseling degree program can lead to certification in this field. To complete the degree program in school counseling, though, the state of Texas requires students to have at least two years of teaching experience and be certified as public school teachers. Common courses for both degree programs include career counseling, family counseling, cross-cultural counseling, assessment and counseling practices. Students are also required to complete practicum field experiences and internships with their focus patient population groups.

University of North Texas

Also located in Denton, this University offers multiple counseling degree programs in various specialties, including elementary and secondary school counseling, rehabilitation counseling and clinical mental health counseling. Students in either the school counseling tracks have to complete 15 units of program-specific coursework, 33 units of core counseling classes, an internship with no less than 600 hours of work experience and a 100-hour practicum training program. Students in the clinical mental health track have similar program requirements, but they have to complete 27 units of program-specific coursework and take a comprehensive exam at the end of their program. Rehabilitation counselors are eligible to earn certification in their field, provided they complete their 48 units worth of practicum experience and classroom lectures. Internship and practicum hours may take place at any of the on-campus clinics or centers, including the center for animal-assisted therapy, the child and family resource clinic, the counseling and human development center or the center for play therapy.

Career Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are several different types of counseling fields, including family and marriage therapy, mental health and school counseling. All states require counselors to go through either a state licensing or state certification program. Texas has a licensing process, not a certification process. However, certification is available for potential counselors who meet education, experience and testing requirements. Information from the Texas administrative code indicates that professional counselors seeking licensure must have the minimum of a master's degree in a specific field of counseling, have at least 3,000 hours of supervised experience and be able to pass the state jurisprudence examination as well as the National Counselor Exam.

School Comparison: At a Glance

School Name School Type & Setting Counseling Degrees Offered Average In-State Graduate Tuition & Fees (2018-2019)*
Lamar University 4-year public school; midsize city Master of Education in Clinical Mental Health Counseling $8,174 in-state
$15,644 out-of-state
Sam Houston State University 4-year public school; distant town Master of Education in School Counseling,
Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology
$7,791 in-state
$15,261 out-of-state
Stephen F. Austin State University 4-year public college; rural fringe Master of Arts in Professional Counseling with Concentration in Clinical Mental Health Counseling,
Master of Arts in Professional Counseling with Concentration in Rehabilitation Counseling,
Master of Arts in Professional Counseling with Concentration in School Counseling
$6,877 in-state
$14,347 out-of-state
Texas A & M University - College Station 4-year public college; small city Master of Education in School Counseling $9,812 in-state
$21,164 out-of-state
Texas State University - San Marcos 4-year public school; small suburb Master of Arts in Professional Counseling with Concentration in Clinical Mental Health Counseling,
Master of Arts in Professional Counseling with Concentration in Marital, Couple and Family Counseling,
Master of Arts in Professional Counseling with Concentration in School Counseling
$8,449 in-state
$16,749 out-of-state
Texas Tech University 4-year public college; midsize city Master of Education in Counselor Education - School Counselor,
Master of Education in Counselor Education - Clinical Mental Health Counselor,
Doctor of Philosophy in Counseling Psychology
$8,015 in-state
$15,485 out-of-state
Texas Woman's University 4-year public school; midsize city Master of Science in Counseling and Development - Clinical Mental Health Counseling,
Master of Science in Counseling and Development - Professional School Counseling,
Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology
$7,336 in-state
$14,806 out-of-state
The University of Texas - Rio Grande Valley 4-year public college; small city Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology,
Master of Science in Rehabilitation Counseling,
Master of Arts in School Psychology,
Master of Education in Guidance and Counseling
$6,889 in-state
$14,359 out-of-state
University of Houston 4-year public school; large city Master of Education in Counseling $9,216 in-state
$18,465 out-of-state
University of North Texas 4-year public college; midsize city Master of Education in Elementary School Counseling and Secondary School Counseling,
Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling,
Master of Science in Rehabilitation Counseling
$7,338 in-state
$14,808 out-of-state

Sources: *NCES College Navigator.

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