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The Top 30 Master’s Degrees in Counseling in the South, 2019

By: BCD Staff
August 2019

Welcome! We have put together a list of the Top 30 Master's Degrees in Counseling in the South. Here you will find the best and most affordable graduate programs offering counseling degrees. This list is a part of a four part series of top graduate programs in counseling sorted by region. All graduate schools in the South (from the following states: Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas, Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Delaware and the District of Columbia) were taken into consideration for this ranking.

For this list we have selected only the graduate programs that are accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) and/or the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE). Graduate programs work hard to earn accreditation by the CACREP and/or the COAMFTE. To earn this status the program needs to develop their curriculum, internship, and practicum experiences to meet the requirements of state licensing boards. This ensures that students will have access to a well rounded education. Graduates of CACREP and COAMFTE accredited programs are generally able to move through the state licensing process with ease. However, because licensing requirements vary by state, we always recommend that when researching a graduate program that applicants cross reference program requirements with the academic criteria outlined by their state licensing board.

The programs chosen here offer a variety of formats of study with courses available on-campus, online, or a combination of both with a hybrid program. Students attending these schools will complete supervised clinical training through practicum and internship experiences. Graduates of these counseling programs will be trained and ready to pursue licensure and credentialing as a professional counselor, marriage and family therapist, school counselor, or rehabilitation counselor. Holding a license in counseling will allow graduates to work professionally with diverse populations in a range of settings including community mental health clinics, private practice, schools, and hospitals.

We are confident you will find a master's degree in counseling to match your career goals here. Also, check out our other top graduate programs in counseling by region with our lists of the Top 30 Master's Degrees in Counseling in the West, the Top 30 Master's Degrees in Counseling in the Northeast, and our list of the Top 30 Master's Degrees in Counseling in the Midwest.

#30 Texas A&M University – Commerce

Commerce, TX

Master of Science in Counseling

Texas A&M University Commerce offers a Master of Science in Counseling with concentrations in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and School Counseling. Students can choose which area of emphasis to complete based on their professional goals. For students that would like to be able to work professionally as a school counselor and as a licensed professional counselor the School Counseling with LPC emphasis can be completed. All students will complete core and specialized coursework and engage in supervised clinical work. Graduates will have the education and clinical experience to pursue credentialing and licensure and work professionally in their chosen area of focus.

Unique feature: The program offers an option to complete a Master of Science in Counseling with an Emphasis in School Counseling and LPC. This 60 credit track provides graduates with the opportunity to pursue professional credentialing and licensure in both fields.

  • Cost: $ 11,100.00
  • Credits Required: 51-60
  • Accreditation: CACREP

#29 University of Holy Cross

New Orleans, LA

Master of Arts in Counseling

A CACREP accredited Master of Arts in Counseling, with three areas of concentration, is available at the University of Holy Cross. Students can choose to concentrate in School Counseling, Marriage and Family Counseling, and Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Courses will cover topics including: Ethics; Diagnosis of Mental Disorders; Treatment of Mental Disorders; Treatment of Chemical Dependency; Treating Individuals, Couples, and Families; Working in Schools; and Working with the Impact of Trauma.

Unique feature: The University of Holy Cross emphasizes a commitment to the personal and professional growth of each student with a focus on supporting the students spiritual growth and service to the community.

  • Cost: $ 11,091.00
  • Credits Required: 60
  • Accreditation: CACREP

#28 Mississippi College

Clinton, MS

Master of Education in School Counseling

Master of Science in Marriage and Family Counseling

Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling

The Department of Psychology and Counseling at Mississippi College offers CACREP accredited graduate degrees in counseling. Students can earn a Master of Education in School Counseling, a Master of Science in Marriage and Family Counseling, and a Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling. Students in the program benefit from focusing on a specific area of interest while collaborating with peers and faculty across disciplines within the department.

Unique feature: The Department of Psychology and Counseling at Mississippi College collects data on student satisfaction. Students report that faculty members are prepared, accessible, and interested in students well being.

  • Cost: $ 10,962.00
  • Accreditation: CACREP

#27 Southeastern Oklahoma State University

Durant, OK

Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Southeastern Oklahoma State University offers a CACREP accredited Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Students will complete coursework and clinical training in preparation for professional licensure. The program reports a 100% pass rate for the National Counselor Exam. Graduates have been successful in the field of clinical mental health counseling and many have moved into roles as supervisors, administrators, and adjunct instructors in higher education.

Specialized courses include: Personality Assessment in Counseling; Counseling Consultation, Administration, and Program Evaluation; Psychopathology and Treatment Planning; Substance and Behavioral Addiction Counseling; Crisis and Disaster Counseling; Psychopharmacology in Counseling; Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling.

  • Cost: $ 10,872.00
  • Accreditation: CACREP

#26 University of New Orleans

New Orleans, LA

Master of Education in Counseling

A Master of Education in Counseling is available at the University of New Orleans. Concentrations are available in Clinical Mental Health and School Counseling. Students will complete CACREP accredited courses in the core, area of emphasis, and electives for a total of 60 credits. Graduates will be prepared to work professionally in the setting of their choice from residential treatment programs to the judicial system to private practice.

Unique feature: Students have a diverse range of practicum/internship sites to choose from in New Orleans. Students will provide valuable services to the community while developing and strengthening their clinical skills.

  • Cost: $ 10,660.00
  • Accreditation: CACREP

#25 Lenoir-Rhyne University

Hickory, OK

Master of Arts in Counseling

Lenoir-Rhyne University offers a Master of Arts in Counseling. This CACREP accredited graduate degree in counseling has two areas of specialization with the Clinical Mental Health Counseling track and the School Counseling track. Each track requires the completion of 61 credits. The class schedule is designed to be convenient for working students with classes offered in the evening as well as online and through a combination of online and face-to-face programming. Additionally, to contribute to increased flexibility courses can be completed at any of the three Lenoir-Rhyne campus locations.

Unique feature: The program offers multiple start dates throughout the year enrollment open at the beginning of each semester.

  • Cost: $ 10,620.00
  • Credits Required: 61
  • Accreditation: CACREP

#24 East Central University

Ada, OK

Master of Science in Human Resources

A Master of Science in Human Resources with options to specialize in Clinical Mental Health Counseling or Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling is available at East Central University. Specialized courses are offered such as: Assessment of Psychological, Social, and Relational Aspects of Disability; Medical Aspects of Disability; and Career and Life-Style Development. Graduates of this 60 credit CACREP accredited masters degree in counseling will be prepared to pursue credentialing as a Licensed Professional Counselor or a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor.

Unique feature: Courses are offered in a variety of formats including: Online; Face to Face; Blended with a combination of online and face to face; Independent Study; and Synchronous Online Courses.

  • Cost: $ 10,551.00
  • Accreditation: CACREP

#23 University of Southern Mississippi

Hattiesburg, MS

Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy

The University of Southern Mississippi offers a COAMFTE accredited Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy. Students will engage closely with faculty with small class sizes with a program 6 to 1 student faculty ratio. Students will also work together and closely with faculty throughout their internship and practicum experiences through onsite and off-campus placements. Graduates will be ready to pursue professional licensure as marriage and family therapists.

Unique feature: The program reports a 100% pass rate on the National Exam and a 96% employment rate for graduates within three months.

  • Cost: $ 10,514.00
  • Accreditation: COAMFTE

#22 Campbellsville University

Campbellsville, KY

Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy

A Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy is offered at Campbellsville University. The coursework for this program is designed to align with the values and perspectives of this Christian University. The program strives to support the individual growth of each student while supporting the student in developing professional competencies to serve the diverse needs of children and families across the lifespan. This program is accredited by the COAMFTE and requires the completion of 60 credits.

Unique courses include: Crisis Intervention and Trauma Counseling for the Marriage and Family Therapist; Premarital and Marital Counseling; Ethical, Legal and Professional Issues in Marriage and Family Therapy; and Addictions Counseling for the Marriage and Family Therapist.

  • Cost: $ 10,080.00
  • Credits Required: 60
  • Accreditation: COAMFTE

#21 University of Lynchburg

Lynchburg, VA

Master of Education in Counselor Education

A CACREP accredited Master of Education in Counselor Education is offered at the University of Lynchburg. Students can choose to major in School Counseling or Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Students have the opportunity to work closely with faculty in the classroom as well as to benefit from their diverse backgrounds and professional experiences in clinical supervision.

First year courses include: Counselor Professional Identity and Function of Clinical Mental Health Counselors; Group Counseling Procedures and Techniques; Legal and Ethical Issues in Counseling; Human Development; and Legal and Ethical Issues in Counseling.

  • Cost: $ 9,922.00
  • Accreditation: CACREP

#20 Johnson University

Knoxville, TN

Master of Arts in Counseling

Johnson University offers a Master of Arts in Counseling. Concentrations are available in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (63 credits) and in School Counseling (60 credits). This degree is available to students through the hybrid format. Students will benefit from the best of online learning combined with in-class face-to-face time. The on-campus commitment tends to be two weekends a term. For clinical training, the program works with students to select practicum and internship experiences that are accessible and convenient for students.

Unique feature: The program works to support a high quality learning experience for all students through a low student to faculty ratio of 12:1 or lower.

  • Cost: $ 9,630.00
  • Credits Required: 60 – 63
  • Accreditation: CACREP

#19 Northeastern State University

Tahlequah, OK

Master of Science in Counseling

A Master of Science in Counseling with three areas of specialization is offered at Northeastern State University. The program can be completed at Tahlequah or Broken Arrow campuses. The CACREP accredited Master of Science in Counseling can be completed for 60 credits made up of 42 credits of core credits and 18 credits in the chosen area of specialization. Areas of specialization are: Clinical Mental Health Counseling; Addiction Counseling; and School Counseling. Graduates will be prepared to pursue professional licensure and credentialing in their chosen area of specialization.

Faculty research interests include: Test Development and Assessment; Gender Roles; Labeling Bias/Discrimination; Prosocial Development; Stress Reduction; Animal Intelligence; Human Sexuality and the Family; and Effective Supervision and Supervisor Training.

  • Cost: $ 9,518.00
  • Credits Required: 60
  • Accreditation: CACREP

#18 Trevecca Nazarene University

Nashville, TN

Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Master of Marriage and Family Counseling/Therapy

Trevecca Nazarene University offers graduate counseling programs in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and in Marriage and Family Counseling/Therapy. Students complete comprehensive coursework and engage in clinical training to develop confidence and skills to meet the needs of diverse individuals and families. These 60 credit CACREP accredited graduate programs in counseling prepare graduates for licensure in professional counseling and marriage and family therapy.

Unique feature: Students have the opportunity to choose from over 60 community based internship sites that the university has partnered with. This allows students to engage in a clinical training experience that matches their professional interests and goals.

  • Cost: $ 9,504.00
  • Credits Required: 60
  • Accreditation: CACREP

#17 Columbia International University

Columbia, SC

Master of Arts in Counseling

A CACREP accredited Master of Arts in Counseling is available at Columbia International University. The 66 credit graduate program can be completed in 36 months. Students will complete courses such as: Applied Biblical Foundations of Counseling; Personal and Spiritual Development; Foundations of Clinical Mental Health Counseling; and Foundations of Marriage, Family Counseling. These courses, and many others, along with clinical training will prepare graduates for careers in the setting of their choice.

Unique feature: As a Christian University, the program emphasizes a commitment to the spiritual growth of each student while in the program.

  • Cost: $ 9,360.00
  • Credits Required: 66
  • Accreditation: CACREP

#16 Louisiana State University

Baton Rouge, LA

Master of Education in Counseling

Louisiana State University offers a Master of Education in Counseling with a Concentration in School Counseling and a Master of Education in Counseling with a Concentration in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Both of these CACREP accredited degrees are offered through the College of Human Sciences and Education for 60 credits each. The program emphasizes a commitment to training graduates to work professionally with diverse populations with a commitment to social justice and advocacy work.

Unique feature: The program provides training to graduate students in the practice of career counseling and assessment.

  • Cost: $ 9,132.00
  • Credits Required: 60
  • Accreditation: CACREP

#15 Gardner-Webb University

Boiling Springs, NC

Master of Arts in School Counseling

Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

The School of Psychology and Counseling at Gardner-Webb University offers a Master of Arts in School Counseling and a Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Students in the graduate counseling programs at Gardner-Webb University will have the opportunity to work closely with faculty. Faculty members have a variety of unique research interests and professional experiences to enrich the students academic and professional growth.

Faculty research interests include: Counselor Supervision; Spirituality in Counseling; Career Development; Trauma and Crisis; and Multicultural/Diversity Education.

  • Cost: $ 9,000.00
  • Accreditation: CACREP

#14 Carson-Newman University

Jefferson City, TN

Master of Science in Counseling

A Master of Science in Counseling is offered at Carson-Newman University. This graduate degree in counseling offers options to specialize in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and/or Professional School Counseling. The program offers a Dual Degree for students that want to work towards licensure in both clinical mental health counseling and school counseling and earn a Master of Science in Counseling as well as an Educational Specialist degree. The program offers many courses through a hybrid format of study with both online and in classroom components.

Unique feature: Carson-Newman is a Christian University. This program will be a good fit for students that would like to have an education grounded in Christian values.

  • Cost: $ 8,780.00
  • Accreditation: CACREP

#13 Converse College

Spartanburg, SC

Master of Marriage and Family Therapy

Converse College offers a COAMFTE accredited Master of Marriage and Family Therapy degree. The 63 credit program integrates coursework with an intensive clinical training program. Students will complete practicum hours at a teaching clinic that works closely with Converse College. At the clinic students will have the opportunity to provide individual, couple, and family therapy under close and supportive supervision.

Unique feature: The program works to meet the needs of students with options to complete the program at a part time or full time pace in 2-5 years. Additionally, students can choose to take classes at the Converse campus or at the University Center of Greenville.

  • Cost: $ 8,736.00
  • Credits Required: 63
  • Accreditation: COAMFTE

#12 Lindsey Wilson College

Columbia, KY

Master of Education in Counseling and Human Development

A CACREP accredited Master of Education in Counseling and Human Development is available online at Lindsey Wilson College. Students completing this program have the opportunity to earn additional certification with a Substance Abuse Counseling Certificate. This certificate would be useful for graduates that hope to have the skills and understanding to provide therapeutic services to individuals and families impacted by the disease of addiction. With a focus on valuing multiculturalism, graduates will have the awareness and insight necessary to work successfully with diverse populations across the lifespan.

Unique feature: The program offers an online education with flexible and supportive scheduling.

  • Cost: $ 8,651.00
  • Credits Required: 60
  • Accreditation: CACREP

#11 Wilmington University

New Castle, DE

Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Wilmington University offers a Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. This CACREP accredited graduate degree in counseling trains graduates to meet complex mental health issues challenging diverse populations of individuals, couples, and families across the lifespan. This 60 credit program can be completed in three years. Students will have the opportunity to complete electives covering topics such as: Counseling Children and Adolescents; Evidence Based Family Treatment; Cognitive-Behavioral Counseling; and Motivational Interviewing.

Unique feature: The program strives to integrate multicultural awareness and competence throughout the curriculum and training experience.

  • Cost: $ 8,586.00
  • Credits Required: 60
  • Accreditation: CACREP

#10 Langston University

Oklahoma, OK

Master of Science in Rehabilitation Counseling

A Master of Science in Rehabilitation Counseling is available through the Department of Rehabilitation and Disability Studies at Langston University. Students earning a degree in Rehabilitation Counseling will learn how to work with individuals experiencing disabilities and support their clients growing independence. All students will engage in clinical training and have the opportunity to work in a professional setting with the ongoing support of an onsite supervisor and a faculty supervisor.

Unique feature: A unique focus of the Department of Rehabilitation and Disability Studies is to prepare graduates to support the growth of the field through research and advocacy.

  • Cost: $ 8,262.00
  • Accreditation: CACREP

#9 Liberty University

Lynchburg, VA

Master of Education in School Counseling

Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Liberty University offers online CACREP accredited graduate degrees in counseling. Degrees are offered online with a 60 credit Master of Arts in Counseling and a 48 credit Master of Education in School Counseling. Courses are offered online along with face-to-face intensives during which students have the opportunity to develop clinical skills with the support of peers and the valuable training of faculty. The programs work to be accessible for all students and allow transfer credits. Liberty University integrates a Christian perspective throughout all courses.

Unique feature: Liberty University offers military benefits with tuition discounts to qualified military students and their spouses.

  • Cost: $ 7,904.00
  • Credits Required: 48 – 60
  • Accreditation: CACREP

#8 Jackson State University

Jackson, MS

Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Master of Science in Education in School Counseling

The Department of Counseling, Rehabilitation and Psychometric Services at Jackson State University offers a Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and a Master of Science in Education in School Counseling. The Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling can be completed for 60 credits and the Master of Science in Education in School Counseling can be completed for 51 credits, both degrees are accredited by the CACREP.

Unique courses include: Introduction to Professional Counseling; Marriage and Family Counseling; Counseling Assessment and Evaluation; Social and CUltural Foundations of Counseling; Lifestyles and Career Development; Theories of the Helping Relationship; Spirituality in Counseling; Grief Counseling; Counseling the Gifted; and Counseling Adolescent Females and Women.

  • Cost: $ 7,876.00
  • Credits Required: 51 – 60
  • Accreditation: CACREP

#7 Delta State University

Cleveland, MS

Master of Education in Counseling

A CACREP accredited Master of Education in Counseling is available through the Division of Counselor Education and Psychology at Delta State University. Two areas of specialization are offered for this degree with the School Counseling or the Clinical Mental Health Counseling option. Students will complete core courses and clinical work in order to be well prepared for the National Counselor Exam. Graduates will have the academic training and clinical experience to work successfully as professional counselors in clinic or school settings.

Unique feature: All students in the Counseling program at Delta State University are matched with an academic adviser when they are admitted to the program. Students will have the opportunity to work closely with their adviser for ongoing support and guidance throughout their academic experience.

  • Cost: $ 7,076.00
  • Accreditation: CACREP

#6 Nicholls State University

Thibodaux, LA

Master of Education in School Counseling

Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

The College of Education at Nicholls State University offers a Master of Education in School Counseling and a Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Both CACREP accredited programs strive to meet state and national requirements for professional credentialing and licensure. Graduates of the school counseling program have been successful in securing employment in PK-12 school settings in a variety of professional roles from school counselors, to behavioral interventionists, to curriculum directors. Graduates of the clinical mental health counseling program will be prepared to work professionally as licensed counselors and supervisors.

Elective courses include: Clinical Sexuality for Mental Health Professionals; Interventions for Diverse Needs; Counseling Strategies with Children and Adolescents; Theory and Practice of Play Therapy in Counseling; Problems in Counseling; Substance Abuse Counseling; Exceptional Children; and Practice of School Leadership and School Improvement.

  • Cost: $ 6,779.00
  • Accreditation: CACREP

#5 Louisiana State University Shreveport

Shreveport, LA

Master of Science in Counseling

A CACREP accredited Master of Science in Counseling is available at Louisiana State University in Shreveport. Students will complete 60 credits of coursework designed to provide them with a comprehensive and well rounded education. Courses available include: Ethics and Law in Counseling; Social and Cultural Foundations in Counseling; Case Formation; and Consultation in Human Development Settings. Graduates will be prepared to work professionally in settings such as: residential treatment centers; community mental health clinics; K-12 schools, colleges and universities.

Unique feature:The Master of Science in Counseling program at Louisiana State University is grounded in the wellness model with attention to helping clients reach their highest level of functioning and well-being.

  • Cost: $ 6,196.00
  • Credits Required: 60
  • Accreditation: CACREP

#4 Henderson State University

Arkadelphia, AR

Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Master of Science in Education in School Counseling

Teachers College at Henderson State University offers a Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and a Master of Science in Education in School Counseling. Both programs are accredited by the CACREP and require the completion of 60 credits to meet the educational requirement for professional licensure as a counselor. Program graduates will also be prepared to continue their education with a doctoral degree if that is of interest.

Unique feature: The Counselor Education Department at Henderson State University emphasizes a commitment to supporting the professional growth of each student. All students will complete a Professional Development Plan outlining their plan for professional growth throughout their academic experience in collaboration with their adviser.

  • Cost: $ 6,048.00
  • Credits Required: 60
  • Accreditation: CACREP

#3 University of the Cumberlands

Williamsburg, KY

Master of Arts in Addiction Counseling

Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

The University of the Cumberlands offers two online CACREP accredited master's programs in counseling. A Master's in Addiction Counseling and a Master's in Clinical Mental Health Counseling can both be completed online at University of the Cumberlands. Students will have the opportunity to complete courses focused on their area of specialty such as: Psychopharmacology and Addictions; Family Therapy in Addiction Treatment; Marriage and Family Counseling; and Child and Adolescent Counseling. Graduates will be prepared to pursue professional certification and licensure in their chosen field.

Unique feature: The program reports they are the only online program in addiction counseling in the country that is accredited by the CACREP.

  • Cost: $ 5,670.00
  • Accreditation: CACREP

#2 Southern University and Agricultural and Mechanical College

Baton Rouge, LA

Master of Science in Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling

A CACREP accredited Master of Science in Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling is available at Southern University and A&M College. Students will complete focused courses designed to prepare graduates to work professionally with, and advocate for, individuals with a range of disabilities. Additionally, graduates will have the education and training to conduct research to contribute to the growing understanding and field of rehabilitation counseling.

Unique feature: This longstanding accredited Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling program was first established in 1983.

  • Cost: $ 5,336.00
  • Credits Required: 60
  • Accreditation: CACREP

#1 Xavier University of Louisiana

New Orleans, LA

Master of Arts in Counseling

Xavier University of Louisiana offers a Master of Arts in Counseling. This graduate degree in counseling offers areas of specialization in school counseling as well as in clinical mental health counseling. Both specializations in this CACREP accredited program require the completion of 60 credits of core courses, specialization courses, electives, and clinical work experience. Applicants that meet the admission requirements may be chosen to attend a group interview where they will have the opportunity to meet with faculty and learn more about the program.

Elective courses include: Couples and Relationships Counseling; Marriage, Couple and Family Counseling: Principles and Practices; Special Topics in Counseling; Advanced Play Therapy; Spirituality in Counseling; Clinical Perspectives in Human Sexuality; and Substance Abuse and Addictions Counseling.

  • Cost: $ 2,652.00
  • Credits Required: 60
  • Accreditation: CACREP

Methodology: To develop the ranking of The Top 30 Master's Degrees in Counseling in the South, we used information gathered from the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) and the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE) for schools offering master's level programs in counseling. Next, we sorted out schools that are in the Southern United States as determined by the United States Census Regions Map. Finally, we sorted the schools by net price as listed on the Institute of Education Sciences' College Navigator and we present the top 30 schools in our ranking.