Counseling Degree Programs in Oregon

| Staff Writers

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Counseling occupations require varying job responsibilities. Rehabilitation counselors focus on helping their clients maximize their independence. Mental health counselors work with populations affected by mental health challenges. Counseling professionals can also work as educational, vocational, and career counselors to guide professionals and students.

Each counseling candidate must satisfy state-specific licensing requirements, including earning a master’s degree in counseling, obtaining clinical experience hours, and passing a national competency exam. Once they meet the criteria for licensure, candidates can apply with an associated fee.

This page explores different facets of the counseling field, focusing on the career outlook for professionals across specialty areas of counseling within Oregon. Readers can refer to the list below to learn more about Oregon counseling degrees, which covers some of the key program elements to help readers decide which programs most closely align with their goals.

Top 5 Counseling Degree Programs in Oregon

Rank School Location
1 George Fox University Newberg, OR
2 Lewis & Clark College Portland, OR
3 Oregon State University Corvallis, OR
4 Portland State University Portland, OR
5 Southern Oregon University Ashland, OR
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Career Outlook for Counselors in Oregon

Counselors can explore career opportunities in several different disciplines. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects employment for mental health counselors in Oregon to grow by 17.4% from 2016-26. Oregon is the fourth highest paying state for mental health counselors, with professionals in the occupation earning annual mean wages of $60,960.

The management, scientific, and technical consulting services industry offers the highest salary opportunities for mental health counselors.

Oregon employs 1,580 rehabilitation counselors who earn an annual mean wage of $44,600. BLS data indicates a projected job growth rate of 15.4% for rehabilitation counselors in the state. Professionals can also explore the educational, guidance, and career counseling discipline, which received a projected job growth rate of 12.2% from 2016-26 and pays annual mean wages of $63,000.

Counseling Degree Programs in Oregon 2020

  • George Fox University
    Location

    Newberg, OR

    The history of George Fox University reflects the settlement of the lush wine-growing region in Oregon's Chehalem Valley. Founded in 1885 as the Pacific Academy, then reconstituted in Sept. 9, 1891 as Pacific College, then renamed George Fox University in 1949, the school honored a historically significant Quaker leader. Accredited in 1962, the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities endorsed the University's degree programs. Unchanged in some ways since inception, the small scale and intimate style of class instruction remains to this day, with a current 13:1 student to faculty ratio. The University reaches for fundamental educational excellence while blending Christian themes into ethical and responsible scholarship.

    The Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health is a professional degree that establishes graduates as mental health counselors. Approved by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs, Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (CACREP) and the Oregon Board of Licensed Professional Counselors and Therapists, public and private organizations accept the program's graduates in the vital role of restoring mental health and wellness.

    Offered at the Salem and Portland campuses, the 60 credit hour course of study prepares the student to sit for the national licensure exams for Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC). The program is available in 2, 3 or 4-year options for full or part time study. The curriculum satisfies Oregon and similar state education requirements for licensure.

    The M.A. Marriage and Family Counseling degree prepares students to sit for required licenses and the national licensure exam to become a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and the national licensure exam to become a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT). The dual approach recognizes the separate disciplines of individual and marriage counseling.

    The mission of marriage counseling is an intricate one, often called upon in formal proceedings, such as legal or family relations proceedings. The training offered by George Fox University fully addresses the need for comprehensive training and preparation. The programs involve 68 semester hours and include 20 hours of personal intensive counseling and therapy, and 700 hours of total supervised clinical work. Current requirements call for 270 hours of marriage counseling clinical experience.

    The University designed its M.A. School Counseling program for educators who desire graduate study and preparation for the school counseling profession. The requirements differ for those who do not have previous teacher certification; it requires additional core teaching curriculum elements. The program meets the requirements of the Oregon Teacher Standards and Practices Commission (TSPC), and the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) granted accreditation. Involving the role of teacher, educator and counselor, these demanding positions also must relate to parents and guardians, and to the general public. Often called upon to prevent or resolve difficult situations, communications skills, sensitivity, and awareness are vital parts of this important school function. The curriculum provided coursework in the social and educational aspects of school environments, and a hard focus on problem solving skills. School counselors must have a facility with management information systems and data. The role involves advocacy for students, groups, and broad social aspects of student life. The school counselor must be able to assess impacts of systems and procedures on student welfare and recommend improvements in educational environments.

  • Lewis & Clark College
    Location

    Portland, OR

    Set in a scenic area in Portland, on more than 140 wooded acres, Lewis & Clark University reflects its commitment to ecological policies and programs. Its award winning green buildings blend with the lush surroundings and frame a majestic view of Mount Hood. The natural beauty of the setting is an educational benefit, as it contains remarkable ecological systems for study and for sustainable development modeling. The historic area is crowned by preserved structures on the campus. It is a tribute to planning and commitment to honor history and traditions. The faculty of the college has a reputation for excellence in teaching and research.

    Students engage in a rigorous 60 hour, 8-semester program and work in counseling roles and settings such as community mental health clinics, schools, hospitals, the corrections system, community colleges, colleges and universities, residential treatment centers, and private practice. The 60-credit hour Master of Arts degree program is versatile as students can emphasize work areas for children, adolescents, and adults. The flexible array of elective courses offers opportunities for subject matter depth and specialization in areas of interest or career focus.

    Designed for students wishing to engage in innovation, experimental work and research, the University offers The Master of Science option. The M.S. option requires 12 specified hours of research methods and statistics. The program is open to current M.A. students. Preliminary admission is based on academic progress, and final admission requires completion of the MS research and statistics core, an approved thesis proposal, and organization of a faculty-chaired thesis committee.

    The Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs (CACREP) The Commission on Accreditation for Marriage & Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE) The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) The Oregon Board of Licensed Professional Counselors and Therapists (OBLPCT) The Oregon Teacher Standards and Practices Commission (TSPC)

    Contact

    Chair Teresa McDowell
    Counseling Psychology
    Lewis & Clark
    0615 S.W. Palatine Hill Road
    MSC 86
    voice 503-768-6060
    PortlandOR97219
    email cpsy@lclark.edu
    target="_blank">Program Website

  • Oregon State University
    Location

    Corvallis, OR

    From its main campus located in a historic district in Corvallis, Oregon, OSU is a large and remarkable state public university system. It holds Land, Sea, Space, and Sun Grant designations. Established in 1868, it has a long history of research. It is a leader in research, having been included in the Presidential Innovation Initiative to research digital manufacturing, an effort to create manufacturing jobs in the United States. In its locations among green valleys and magnificent mountain peaks, it offers 200 undergraduate and 80 graduate degree programs. It is a leader in green architecture and educational themes in global sustainability. Its programs in Natural Resources Management rank among the best in the world. Recognized by the Carnegie Foundation for Community Involvement, OSU engages local communities throughout Oregon, and its educational approach serves communities around the world.

    The Oregon State University PhD in Counseling Education is a two-year program for persons holding a master's Degree in Education. The Counseling Education program meets or exceeds all criteria or standards of excellence established by the Council on Accreditation for Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). The program meets the standards of the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and follows the guidelines of the Oregon Teacher Standards and Practices Commission (TSPC). The program coursework follows CACREP Doctoral Standards for content and outcomes.

    The University established its Counselor Education doctoral program in 1916; it is among the oldest in the country. Designed for persons seeking to make an impact in the field through research and development, the Ph.D. Counselor Education program emphasizes research. The broad subject areas include crisis counseling, pedagogy, quantitative research, theories, and the principles and practice of counseling. Successful candidates will conceive and carry out and defend a dissertation research effort to make an original contribution to the field of education.

    The M.S. in School Counseling is a Master of Science program with a concentration in school counseling. The OSU program, taught by the well-regarded counseling faculty, exists within OSU's College of Education. It prepares students to enter the school counselor profession. Accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), and Oregon's Teacher Standards and Practices Commission (TSPC), the program provides competitive career advantages than other less, or non-accredited programs, and gives the student a far better chance for acceptance into a doctoral program in counseling.

    Council on Accreditation for Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) The Oregon Teacher Standards and Practices Commission (TSPC)

    Contact

    Dr. Kathy Biles
    Cascades Campus (School Counseling)
    OSU-Cascades
    2600 NW College Way
    Bend, Oregon 97701
    541-322-3111
    kathy.biles@osucascades.edu

    The Master of Science in Counseling offers two areas of concentration, School Counseling and Mental Health Counseling. The Mental health option focuses on services to community groups, such as drug and chemical addictions. The counseling program is accredited by the Council for Accrediting Counseling and Related Educational Programs, (CACREP), the most widely accepted standard in graduate counseling education programs.

    The 2009 CACREP standards amendments made changes. It eliminated Community Counseling as an option and replaced it with Clinical Mental Health Counseling. The University followed with a consequent increase in required credit hours. CACREP accreditation permits initial eligibility for students to sit for qualifying exams required for licensure as an Oregon Licensed Professional Counselor. The Oregon Board of Licensed Professional Counselors and the National Board of Certified Counselors have determined that the program courses meet or exceed the coursework requirements for state licensing and national certification. Clinical settings include group therapy and group based individual therapy such as outpatient counseling for alcohol dependency. Counselors need excellent communications skills and a cultural awareness to work effectively with a wide variety of individual backgrounds.

    Council for Accrediting Counseling and Related Educational Programs, (CACREP) National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) The Oregon Teacher Standards and Practices Commission (TSPC)

    Contact

    Dr. Amy Ford
    Cascades Campus (Clinical Mental Health)
    College of Education
    OSU-Cascades
    2600 NW College Way
    Bend, Oregon 97701
    541-322-3123
    amy.ford@osucascades.edu

  • Portland State University
    Location

    Portland, OR

    Portland State University (PSU), located on a 50-acre campus in downtown Portland, uses its urban base in the Oregon's leading business, finance, government and cultural center to provide hands-on learning experiences and involvement for its 30,000 students. The University offers more than 200 options for undergraduate and graduate degrees. It offers continuing education and certificate programs aimed at expanding knowledge and improving career options. The student body reflects every state in the United States and more than 100 countries. A national leader in sustainability and community involvement, students can use community-based institutions as internships and volunteer work to gain real-world experience with a large variety of subjects, organizations, and issues.

    The licensed professional counselor and marital counselor combination is a difficult course of study. It essentially combines two distinct disciplines into one system. The clinical work required to complete the separate parts is significant. The supervised clinical supervision of marital counseling issues might be done in a couples setting or with partners on an individual basis. The student will perform the tasks in accordance to professional judgment of the best interests of the clients. Similarly, the licensing requirements require separate exams on state and national basis. Accredited coursework qualifies graduates for both The Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) exam and the requirements to become a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT). The career tracks indicated for this degree involve difficult lines of work, full of challenging circumstances, such as family and children issues. The training and coursework are also intense and challenging. The distinguished faculty, small class size, and close clinical supervision make the overall path easier and more manageable for students.

    The Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP)

    Contact
    Susan Halverson-Westerberg, PhD
    Portland State University
    Graduate School of Education- Counselor Education
    PO Box 751
    615 SW Harrison
    Room 504A
    Portland, OR 97207-0751
    Phone: 503-725-8106
    Email: halvers@pdx.edu
    http://www.pdx.edu/coun/marital-couple-and-family-counseling" target="_blank">Program Website

    School Counseling is a specialized concentration of counseling, which does more than set the activity in a school setting. There are distinct challenges and vital roles connected with the educational system and the welfare of students. Part educator and part advocate, school counselors must have comprehensive teaching backgrounds as well as specific training for the dynamics of school systems. An effective school counselor must be an advocate for student education and improvements in conditions and outcomes. The school counselor must work in multicultural environments and have excellent communications abilities. The counselor must work with faculty, students, parents and guardians, and often with government officials. The M.S. option requires a concentration in math-based coursework and scientific methods. One needs statistics, research, and quantitative analysis for the Master of Science option. The purpose of the degree rests in doctoral studies, advanced research, and development.

    The Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP)

    Contact

    Lisa Aasheim, PhD
    Portland State University
    Graduate School of Education- Counselor Education
    PO Box 751
    615 SW Harrison- Room 506Q
    Portland, Oregon 97207-0751
    Phone: 503-725-4253
    Email: aasheim@pdx.edu
    _blank">Program Website

    The 2009 CACREP standards eliminated Community Counseling as an option category. They replaced it with a standard named Clinical Mental Health Counseling. The University followed the recommendation and added necessary coursework, which increased the program requirements. Accreditation makes the degree and underlying coursework widely acceptable and sufficient for qualification to take state and national licensing exams. The program prepares graduates for career roles in the growing and urgent area of mental health treatment and addiction therapies. Years of studies have shown a growing gap between detection and treatment in mental illness and addictions affecting nearly every region and age group. The former M.S. option had an emphasis on quantitative methods and research, which the program has incorporated into the M.H.C. curriculum. Mental Health Counseling involves communications with individuals, groups, therapy settings, and assembling the elements of family and peer support systems.

    The Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP)

    Contact
    Dr. Russell Miars
    Counselor Education- Graduate School of Education
    PO Box 751
    Portland, OR 97207-0751
    Ph: 503-725-4611
    Email: miarsr@pdx.edu

  • Southern Oregon University
    Location

    Ashland, OR

    Located in the scenic rolling hills of Ashland Oregon, Southern Oregon University offers more than 100 academic programs and 36 major fields of study. The Southern Oregon area offers opportunities for exploration and experiences in a unique ecology. An affordable college, it features innovative learning environments, small classes, and close connection to faculty and student collaborations. The theme of affecting the world around the student is a vital part of the SOU experience. The school weaves the idea of connected learning throughout its programs, offering opportunities for community involvement, collaboration, and team-style achievements.

    The Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) accredited the Masters in Mental Health Counseling program. They replaced community counseling with Mental health counseling as of 2009. The program has a comprehensive course list with a focus on counseling and counseling skills. Part of the requirement is supervised clinical practice hours. Students, beginning in the second year, can accept internship assignments in the local community health facilities. Communication skills, social awareness, and cultural sensitivity are essential tools for successful therapy. Research methodology, statistics, and assessment of qualitative data are important course work areas.

    The Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP)

    Contact

    MHC Program
    1250 Siskiyou Blvd.
    Ashland, OR 97520
    (541) 552-6947
    mhc@sou.edu
    index.html" target="_blank" Program Website

    Recent changes in the national health laws have given a higher priority to mental health treatment and therapy, giving it broader insurance and financing coverage. More than ever before, there will be resources dedicated to detection and treatment of mental illness, addictions, and related health conditions. While the changes promise better community health, the challenge is before the nation to find ways to carry out the changes. The region will benefit from the excellent committed staff resources from the accredited counseling degree programs in Oregon.

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