Written by: Rachel Schneider
Last updated: May 2020
Depending on their specific discipline, the scope of practice and specific job responsibilities for counselors can differ. Professionals help clients or patients living with mental health, homelessness, or addiction challenges. In Missouri, 6,610 professionals work as educational, guidance, and career counselors, while 2,060 work as rehabilitation counselors. Missouri also employs 5,340 substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors.
Counselors focused on educational, guidance, and career disciplines earn an annual median wage of $45,960 in Missouri, while those working as rehabilitation counselors earn $34,190. Substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors took home an annual median wage of $36,700.
Professionals in Missouri can explore ten different licensing opportunities in the counseling discipline. Requirements differ depending on the specific license, but requirements include educational, experience, and exam criteria.
Career Outlook for Counselors in Missouri
The job landscape for counselors varies depending on the specific specialty area. Some of the specific occupations in the counseling field include mental health counselors, genetic counselors, and rehabilitation counselors.
Mental health counselors in Missouri anticipate a projected job growth rate of 22.8% from 2016-26, while genetic counselors received a projected growth rate of 20% in the same period. Missouri also reports a projected job growth rate of 16.3% for rehabilitation counselors in this timeframe.
Mental health counselors can explore the highest paying job opportunities within the management, scientific, and technical consulting services industry. The individual and family services industry offers the highest employment levels for the occupation, while outpatient care centers feature the highest concentration of employment.
The vocational rehabilitation services industry offers the highest concentration of employment and the highest employment levels for rehabilitation counselors. Professionals in the discipline can explore the highest salary opportunities for their occupation in the insurance carriers industry.
Counseling Degree Programs in Missouri
Southeast Missouri State University
Department of Educational Leadership and Counseling
Southeast Missouri State University offers three regional campuses in the areas of Kennett, Malden and Sikeston. The Department of Educational Leadership and Counseling also allows students to attend courses at the Perryville Education Center, Mineral Area College at Park Hills and Southeast at Poplar Bluff campus. All courses are taught by full-time faculty in the department, rather than depending on adjuncts and temporary faculty. In addition, the department only teaches graduate-level courses. The program enjoys partnerships with several local public school districts in order to help facilitate an easier transition from coursework to practicum and internships.
Master of Arts in School Counseling: Majoring in Elementary, Secondary or K-12
The Master of Arts in School Counseling program allows students to focus on either elementary or secondary schools, or students can take courses that prepare them to work at any level from kindergarten through 12th grade. The program requires potential students to already possess a teaching certificate or complete prerequisite courses in the psychology of children with special needs, curriculum for leaders and theories of learning. Graduates of the program will be qualified to offer mental health, career or educational counseling in public, private or charter school settings. In addition, school counselors may also be asked to participate in special education programs and in school-wide crisis counseling.
Master of Arts in Mental Health Counseling
The Master of Arts in Mental Health Counseling program has been designed in order to prepare future counselors for careers in various mental health settings. Students can expect to take courses in subjects that include professional ethics, counseling theories, career development, group counseling, research and cultural diversity. In addition, students are required to take a practicum, an internship and an advanced internship. Mental health counselors are qualified to practice in settings that include hospitals, private clinics, community mental health agencies, substance abuse treatment centers or other mental health organizations. Program graduates will be qualified to work with both children and adults facing a variety of mental health issues, including psychological diagnoses, relationship and marriage issues, life transitions or addictions-related difficulties.
Master of Arts Degree in Career Counseling
Southeast Missouri State University's career counseling program is one of the newest fields of study at the university. The program has received approvals at various university levels but must receive final approval with the coordinating board before the program is fully implemented and admissions to the program can begin. The program requires that students take 18 total credits in the field of social sciences, including a 3 credit course in statistics, prior to beginning the career counseling program. Career counselors often work in adult vocational training centers with adults seeking to gain employment skills or in secondary schools with adolescents preparing to enter college or vocational training.
The Department of Educational Leadership and Counseling at Southeast Missouri State University is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). In addition, the department offers a Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) approved school counseling program.
Dept. of Educational Leadership and Counseling
Southeast Missouri State University
One University Plaza MS 5550
Cape Girardeau, MO 63701-4799
University of Central Missouri
Department of Educational Leadership and Human Development in the College of Education
The Department of Educational Leadership and Human Development at the University of Central Missouri offers programs in child and family development, college student personnel administration, counseling, educational leadership, library science, special education and school administration. There are 27 full-time faculty members that teach at the graduate level. In addition, the department has been nationally recognized by the Educational Leadership Constituent Council (ELCC).
M.S. in Counselor Education with a Focus on Community Counseling
M.S. in Counselor Education with a Focus on Community Counseling helps to prepare students for careers providing both individual and group counseling in community mental health organizations. Graduates can expect to be prepared to work in a variety of settings, including community counseling centers, private clinics, hospitals, employee assistance programs and educational institutions. The program addresses a wide range of mental health issues, including self esteem, coping skills, relationship issues, adaptation to transitions in life, mental health diagnoses and drug, alcohol and substance abuse issues. Currently, 91% of the program's graduates are employed in the field of community counseling.
M.S. in Counselor Education with a Focus on School Counseling
M.S. in Counselor Education with a Focus on School Counseling helps to prepare students for careers as school counselors in elementary, middle or high school settings. School counselors are responsible for assessing and treating personal, social, educational and career needs of all students in the school. School counselors address ways to prevent and work with learning obstacles and disabilities. They also help students develop appropriate social skills, personal health habits and study skills needed to be successful both in the classroom and out of it. In addition, school counselors help students to explore academic and career goals. Currently, 92% of the program's graduates are employed in school counseling settings.
Department of Educational Leadership and Human Development in the College of Education at the University of Central Missouri is fully accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), the National Council of Accreditation of Teacher Education Programs (NCATE) and the Higher Learning Commission, formerly known as the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. In addition, the program is approved by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE).
Educational Leadership and Human Development
University of Central Missouri
Lovinger Building, Room 4101
Warrensburg, MO 64093
University of Missouri–St. Louis
Department of Counseling and Family Therapy in the College of Education
Department of Counseling and Family Therapy in the College of Education at the University of Missouri–St. Louis offers Master of Education in Counseling and Family Therapy in the areas of elementary school counseling, secondary school counseling and community counseling. There are also M.Ed. programs in the fields of community counseling, school counseling and community counseling with an emphasis in career counseling. In addition, a Doctor of Education in Counselor Education and Supervision is offered. The program maintains active memberships in the American Counseling Association, the American Psychological Association, the American School Counselor Association and the Society of Counseling Psychology. All students in the program are expected to become participating members of at least one of these professional organizations as well as attend the conventions and conferences offered by the organizations as part of their professional preparation and training.
M.Ed. in Community Counseling with an Emphasis on Career Counseling
M.Ed. in Community Counseling with an Emphasis on Career Counseling is a specialization in the community counseling degree program that prepares students for a career counselor for adults and secondary school students. Graduates are eligible to be licensed as a professional counselor in the state of Missouri through the Missouri Committee for Professional Counselors and they may also be eligible for board certification through the National Board for Certified Counselors. Graduates will be fully qualified to practice as a community mental health counselor in addition to being qualified to practice as a career or vocational counselor.
Master of Education in Counseling and Family Therapy with an Emphasis on Elementary or Secondary School Counseling
Both of the M.Ed. programs in school counseling are designed to prepare students for careers in public, private or charter school settings. Students can choose to specialize in either elementary or secondary education settings or may seek to become qualified as a school counselor in a K-12 setting. All students must hold current teaching certificates that are valid in the state of Missouri or they must contact their advisor for alternative school counseling certification options. Graduates are eligible to pursue licensure as a professional counselor through the Missouri Committee for Professional Counselors.
Ed.D. and Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision
The Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) and Ph.D. programs in Counselor Education and Supervision at the University of Missouri – St. Louis are designed to train counselor educators, supervisors and administrators in the latest best practices and current knowledge in the field. The program is designed for those already holding, or eligible to hold, licensure as professional counselors. The Ed.D. program focuses on producing scholar-practitioners while the Ph.D. program specializes in producing researcher-practitioners. While the Ed.D. strives to help students hone their counseling skills and have a foundation for research, the Ph.D. program is designed to create students who are experts at research in the field of counseling.
M.Ed. in Community Counseling
Students in the M.Ed. in Community Counseling degree program can specialize in several important areas of counseling, including career counseling, substance abuse addictions counseling, marriage, couple and family counseling, mental health counseling, college co unsealing and rehabilitation counseling. All program graduates are eligible for pursuing licensure through the Missouri Committee for Professional Counselors and board certification through the National Board for Certified Counselors. Those who complete all of the requirements in the marriage, couple and family counseling specialization are also eligible for licensure through the Missouri Committee for Marriage and Family Therapists.
The Department of Counseling & Family Therapy is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) for both masters degrees and doctoral degrees. It is the only school in the state of Missouri that offers a CACREP accredited doctoral-level program and one of only nine programs in the country CACREP accredited for career counseling programs.
University of Missouri – St. Louis
College of Education
1 University Blvd.
201 Education Admin Building
St. Louis, MO 63121-4400
For those with undergraduate degrees in the mental health field, there are several accredited counseling degree programs in Missouri that prepare students for licensure as a professional counselor in the state of Missouri. In addition, several universities offer programs for licensed educators who wish to change careers from teaching to school counseling. Each of these accredited counseling degree programs in Missouri meets CACREP standards and many are also accredited by additional governing boards, ensuring that the programs meet the highest quality standards for counselor preparation.