Written by: Rachel Schneider
Last Updated: May 2020
Graduates who earn their counseling degree in Arizona can pursue careers as rehabilitation counselors, school counselors, mental health counselors, and a variety of other specialized positions. Counselors carry out different responsibilities, depending on their specialty and workplace. This guide explores the best counseling degrees and career opportunities in Arizona.
Salary opportunities for Arizona counselors range from $34,120-$51,140, depending on the position and employer. Employment levels in the state typically fall between 310-8,850 positions per counseling specialty. While salaries and employment rates vary by counseling subfield, workplace policies can also influence their earning potential and employment opportunities.
Arizona counseling degrees prepare candidates to pursue state licensure. While licensing requirements and application processes depend on the type of license candidates want to pursue, all applicants should hold a master's degree in counseling from an accredited institution. Candidates must also complete and pass the appropriate licensing exam.
Career Outlook for Counselors in Arizona
Counselors who want to base their careers in a state with a high projected job growth should consider opportunities in Arizona. Counseling positions in the state are projected to grow by 34%.
The counseling profession provides individuals with the opportunity to specialize their career by focusing on a specific area of counseling and work with a certain patient population. Specialty areas include marriage and family therapy, school counseling, and addictions counseling.
Counselors can explore opportunities within a variety of industries and settings, including individual and family services, government, elementary and secondary schools, outpatient care centers, and residential care facilities. The elementary and secondary schools are the top-paying settings for counselors, while the individual and family services industry offers the highest employment levels.
How much counselors make depends on their specialty area. Rehabilitation counselors in Arizona draw annual mean wages of $34,120, while all other counselors in the state enjoy an annual mean wage of $47,000.
Counseling Degree Programs in Arizona
Arizona State University ("ASU")
School of Letters and Sciences, Department of Counseling and Counseling Psychology
ASU's Department of Counseling and Counseling Psychology focuses on educating professional psychologists and counselors to provide counseling with a high degree of cultural competence. This central aim strives to ensure maximum proficiency in a variety of mental health environments and settings.
Clinical Mental Health Counseling ("MC")
Grooming graduate scholars for positions as mental health counselors with competency in culturally diverse practice in a broad spectrum of mental health backdrops is the general MC program objective. In furtherance of this aim, educators endorse the American Counseling Association ("ACA") competency standards and American Psychological Association ("APA") multicultural instructional guidelines.
Curricular components include 60 credits in one of two available Options. A Practitioner Option track heavily emphasizes supervised field experience and requires comprehensive final exam passge. A Research Option track emphasizes research competency development, supervised field experiential, and requires graduate thesis completion.
The ASU M.C. degree program is CACREP-accredited.
Terence Tracey, Faculty Head
446 Payne Hall
1000 S. Forest Mall
Tempe, AZ 85287
Northern Arizona University ("NAU")
College of Education, Department of Educational Psychology
"Developing educational leaders capable of creating tomorrow's opportunities" is a concise restatement of the self-stated objective of NAU's College of Education. Academician administrators strive toward that end via a series of seven smaller steps that facilitate fulfillment of its overall academic agenda.
The Department of Educational Psychology assists its parental institutional organization's efforts via a separate set of its own objectives to:
1) Provide students with practical clinical experience under close supervision.
2) Offer a curriculum built on a two-pronged base of an experiential training and developmental model.
3) Prepare graduate-level pupils to interact and effectively engage individuals, families, groups, and organizations.
4) Offer a diversity of instructional delivery options that include campus-based, online, and hybrid formats.
Master of Arts ("M.A.") in Counseling
This 60-credit program prepares students for applied counseling practice. A primary program focus is developing unique educational orientation toward providing professional counseling services within a wide variety of public and private sector agency settings. The program also places heavy emphasis on training professionals with specialized expertise in counseling service provision to ethno cultural and rural clientele. Further special focuses include skills development in inter-agency partnerships structured for at-risk client outreach to provide comprehensive human services that promote scholastic achievement.
The M.Ed. in School Counseling degree program at NAU is a 48-credit course of graduate study designed to train students for positions as professional school counselors. Curricular components include a combination of fieldwork, class work, and hands-on supervised clinical work. Besides the obvious occupational path of a school counselor, graduates qualify for counseling practice in any of the settings listed below:
- Cultural and social foundations
- Research and program evaluation
- Human growth and development
- Lifestyle and career development
- Professional orientation
Completion of the M.Ed. in School Counseling program at NAU satisfies all academic requirements for Arizona Education Department K-12 Guidance Counselor Endorsement and national certification in school counseling by the National Board of Certified Counselors.
NAU's M.A. in Counseling satisfies all educational requisites for LPC licensure by the Arizona Board of Behavioral Health Examiners and national school counselor certification credentialing by the National Board for Certified Counselors. The NAU M.Ed. in School Counseling program currently holds accreditation from the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs ("CACREP").
Eastburn Education Building –
(Bldg #027)Room #110
801 South Knoles Drive
Flagstaff, AZ 86011
University of Phoenix – Phoenix("U of P")
College of Social Sciences, Department of Counseling
"Think on a higher level."
The above sentence appears just before the College of Social Sciences Mission Statement on its website. Those five-words are an apt summary of the overall objectives toward which all its scholastic offerings strive. The first sentence of the second paragraph states that the College exists to challenge students' thinking. It seeks to accomplish this aim via skills and knowledge development in conjunction with mind expansion to facilitate effective professional interactions in a rapidly evolving world.
Clinical Mental Health Counseling
U of P's Master of Science in Counseling ("MSC") with a specialization in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program encompasses foundational concepts of guidance, counseling, evaluation, and assessment while promoting greater student comprehension of the proper usage and application of those principles in a broad array of human services and intervention programmed settings. Specific skills imparted and applied throughout training include effective feedback and communications, critical thought, and crisis resolution.
A beneficial aspect of U of P MSC programs is small class sizes that consist of an average number of nine students. This low ratio is of deliberate design to facilitate meaningful faculty/student interaction. Campus-based study is the only current format of this program. Students have a choice of four different campus locations within the Greater Phoenix area from which to choose, however.
MSC program learning outcomes include:
- Instillation of an unequivocal and all-inclusive professional counselor identity
- Developing multiculturalism and social diversity counseling skills and competence
- Providing foundational theoretical knowledge of human development throughout the entire life span and effective illustration of its correlation to counseling applications within a diversity of settings
- Career and vocational theoretical knowledge and practical career counseling and educational application skills development
- Fostering student exhibition of systematic counseling skills in supervised clinical and simulating performance settings
- Group counseling and dynamics skills diverse clientele groups
- Theoretical knowledge and practical competency in psychometric principles, practices and theory, and assessment skills in all Counseling aspects
- Competent application of fundamental quantitative skills in empirical descriptive and inferential, and mixed-methods counseling approaches pertaining to evaluative studies, research design competency, and relevant research
The MSC in Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program at the Phoenix campus is CACREP-accredited.
Terence Tracey, Faculty Head
1625 West Fountainhead Parkway
Tempe, AZ 85282