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Counseling Degree Programs in Connecticut

Written by: Staff Writer
Last updated: May 2020

While counseling may seem like a straightforward career path, these professionals can take on several different roles, depending on their specialization. A counselor can work in K-12 schools, college students trying to determine their profession, adults with addictions, or anyone with mental health issues, such as anxiety or depression. They work with schools, universities, hospitals, health clinics, and the government. 

Becoming a counselor, though, takes a considerable amount of work, studying, and dedication. In Connecticut, counselors need to earn state licensure to find employment. The state requires each licensure candidate to earn a master's degree in counseling at an accredited college or university.

All of the Connecticut counseling degrees on our list below hold accreditation. On top of that, a counseling licensure candidate must also participate in 3,000 hours of supervised work experience after graduation. 

Career Outlook for Counselors in Connecticut

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates that about 4,240 educational, guidance, and career counselors work in Connecticut, with the state boasting the second-highest concentration for educational and career counselors. Approximately 4,160 substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors work in Connecticut. 

Counseling professionals can expect to see those numbers grow in the state over the next few years. BLS data for educational, guidance, and career counselor employment indicates a projected 8.2% growth rate from 2016-26. Substance abuse and behavioral disorders received a projected growth rate of nearly 14% in the same period, while the BLS projects employment for mental health counselors to grow by 18.4%. 

BLS data also shows that substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors in Connecticut made an annual mean wage of about $55,530 as of May 2019. Educational, guidance, and career counselors brought home average salaries of about $65,890 in the same period. 

Counseling Degree Programs in Connecticut


Central Connecticut State University

School of Education and Professional Studies, Department of Counseling and Family Therapy

Among others, CCSU is on a mission of educational leadership in the preparation of advanced counselors and counseling specialists by applying learning and evaluative technologies for the purpose of guidance in devising its own and professional practitioners' best practices. A close corollary agenda is being influential in social and educational policy making at local, state, and national levels.

School Counseling – M.S. ("MSSC")

This 48 to 51-credit program is purposed to prepare graduate students for careers as professional counselors in secondary schools. It places heavy emphases on the National Standards for School Counseling of the American School Counseling Association and official best practices for Connecticut counseling education.
Besides theoretical classroom instruction, students must complete a 100-hour practicum in an urban school during their second year. Those without teaching certification must also complete a 900-hour intensive field internship.

Specific learning objectives include:

  • Demonstrated knowledge of professional ethics standards, practical skills, and theoretical concepts relevant to school counseling
  • Exhibit competent school counseling techniques and interventions
  • Demonstrated consultative and collaborative skills among other educational professionals and community organizations
  • Promoting comprehension and appreciation of multiculturalism
  • Demonstrated knowledge of all applicable laws that govern school counselors

Accreditations

Accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Education Programs ("CACREP")

Contact

Cathy Wildman Schlenk
Central Connecticut State University
1615 Stanley Street
New Britain, CT 06050
Phone: (860) 832-2101
Website URL – http://www.ccsu.edu/page.cfm?p=12724


Fairfield University

Graduate School of Education and Allied Professions

The Graduate School of Education and Allies Professions currently has a mission of advancing that of institutional parent Fairfield University via training and educating professional teachers and counselors with a bent to motivate lifelong, large-scale public service. As such, all its program offerings have a common dedicated theme of enabling and empowering the whole person by acknowledging Jesuit principles of diversity appreciation and social responsibility.

As aims toward that overall agenda, FU seeks to convey academic perspectives that prepare mental health professions who:

  • Believe in each human being's intrinsic dignity and value
  • Promote well-being of individuals, families, and communities
  • Have a strong commitment to serving a diverse society
  • Comprehend human behaviors on individual, organizational, and societal levels
  • Scrupulously adhere to only the highest professional standards

Through all the foregoing institutional imperatives, FU anticipates an ultimate effect of educational excellence for the sake of bettering humankind rather than pure knowledge acquisition.

School Counseling – M.A ("MASC")

This 48-credit MASC degree program aims to prepare students for effective functioning as professional counselors in K-12 schools. Beyond basic individual and group counseling, FU aims to impart competence in teacher/parent consultation; classroom guidance; and, peer-facilitated programs.

Clinical Mental Health Counseling – M.A. ("MACMHC")

Formerly named "Community Counseling Master's Degree Program," this 60-credit MACHMC degree program is designed to prepare students for professional counseling practice in a wide variety of human services work settings. Primary examples are mental health agencies and substance abuse, crisis counseling, and career counseling centers.

Both of the above-described counseling degree curricula have specific learning outcomes of:

  • Human growth and development
  • The helping relationship
  • Lifestyle and career development
  • Research and evaluation
  • Social and cultural foundations
  • Group counseling
  • Individual appraisal
  • Professional orientation
  • Clinical skills

These objectives are achieved via a collage of internships, research, clinical practice, and post-graduate employment.

Accreditation

CACREP-accredited

Contact

Dr. Diana Hulse, Professor of Counselor Education
1073 North Benson Road
Fairfield, Connecticut 06824
Phone: (203) 254-4000, ext. 2245
E-mail: dhulse@fairfield.edu
Website URL – http://www.fairfield.edu/gseap/graduateprograms/schoolcounseling/


Southern Connecticut State University

School of Education, Counseling and School Psychology Department

SCSU has a mission to be a professional education provider that develops exemplary professionals with good scholarship grounding and utmost professional integrity who value themselves and others, possess leadership skills that promote systemic educational improvements, and exhibit community responsibility and commitment. All efforts to fulfill this mission are based on a basic conception of individual capability to influence their own and society's futures via committed lifelong learning.

The Counseling and Psychology Department has a mission of preparing front-line mental health professionals who make significant contributions to the emotional, scholastic, physical, and social development of multicultural youths and families. As efforts toward that end, it employs a broad array of empirically-derived educational delivery methods, related research activities, and vibrant clinical and field practice programs.

School Counseling – M.S.

This 52-credit MSSC degree program has heavy focuses on social and cultural foundations, group practice, lifestyle and career development, human growth and development, helping relationships, program evaluation, professional orientation, research, and appraisal. Besides comprehensive exam passage, students must complete a 100-hour school-based practicum and a 600 to 900-hour internship, based on current teaching certification status. The latter is very intensive and involves supervised clinical practice in a school setting that entails performing a broad range of setting-specific counseling duties.

Clinical Mental Health Counseling – M.S. ("MSCMHC")

The 60-credit Licensure Track MSCMHC curriculum is designed to prepare graduates for professional practice in diverse community counseling agencies and college, hospital, and other counseling clinics, in addition to private practice. Over the course of studies, MSCMHC candidates receive theoretical instruction and have a wide variety of internship and practicum opportunities. These range from community counseling facilities; to child guidance centers and domestic violence organizations; to rape crisis, chemical dependency, youth services, college, inpatient, and residential counseling programs. The practicum must be at least 100 hours long and the internship must be at least 600 hours in duration.

The Sixth Year Advanced MSCMHC program is available to licensed counselors with master's degrees in counseling seeking to broaden their professional capabilities. After completing just 36 to 48 credits, these returning scholars are eligible for state licensure. This option is currently not CACREP-accredited.

Accreditation

CACREP-accredited, except Sixth Year Advanced MSCMHC

Contact

Dr. Deborah Newton, Interim Dean
GSEAP
501 Crescent Street
New Haven, CT 06515
Phone: (203) 392-5900
E-mail: newtond2@southernct.edu
Website URL – http://www.southernct.edu/academics/schools/education/departments/counseling/


University of Connecticut

Neag School of Education (NSE), Department of Educational Psychology

Named after wealthy philanthropist and UConn graduate Raymond Naeg, the NSE received the biggest donation ever made to any educational institution in the nation as of 1999. Naturally, the bestowing benefactor of that $21 million blessing was none other than its own nominal ancestor – Mr. Neag himself.

The NSE is currently on concurrent missions of service, inquiry, scholarship, and leadership. Toward fulfilling these goals, it works diligently to develop ethical professionals with tendencies toward leadership and dedication to health, education, and wellness improvements. In doing so, the school aims to trickle down upstarts in overall quality of life improvement of an evolutionary modern society.

Based on overwhelming consensus of many credible external observers, NSE's internal efforts toward academic imminence have not by any means been for naught nor forgotten. Besides occupying first place on Best Public Graduate Education Programs listings for both the East Coast and the Northeast, U.S. News & World Reports ranks NSE among the top 10 percent of 278 public and private schools surveyed. That same reputable organization ranked three of NSE's offerings within the nation's Top 25 Best Graduate Education Programs. In addition, the notable American Academy of Kinesiology and Physical Education ranks it as America's Number One Kinesiology Doctoral Program.

NSE's institutional prestige comes as no surprise, considering institutional parent UConn's ranking within the Top Twenty Public National Universities by U.S. News & World Reports and selection as the 11th member of the ultra-elite Carnegie Corporation of New York Teachers for a New Era Network.

School Counseling – M.A.

Ranked as the Number One program of its kind in the nation by three different sources, this MASC program adheres to a scientist-practitioner educational model based on the assumption that effective school counseling is derived from comprehensive knowledge acquired via scientifically valid inquiry. As such, it places a heavy emphasis on advancing competent practitioners with research skills and dedication who contribute to school psychology knowledge bases.

Learning objectives are ensuring that every student exhibits academic knowledge and competencies that completely qualify him or her for professional practice.
Although UConn offers this MASC only as a Master's/Sixth-Year 66-credit curriculum, graduate scholars earn a master's degree upon completing just 30 credits of coursework. After successfully completing the other 36 credits of coursework, practicum, and internship, the Sixth-Year diploma is awarded. This curricular structure is designed to enable completion of both the master's and sixth-year programs in three years of full-time studies.

Accreditation

CACREP-accredited

Contact

Dr. Melissa Bray, School Psychology Program Chair
Phone: (860) 486-4034
E-mail: melissa.bray@uconn.edu
Website URL – http://epsy.education.uconn.edu/programs/school-psychology/schpsych/philosophy/


University of Saint Joseph

School of Graduate & Professional Studies, Department of Counseling and Marriage & Family Therapy

USJ's School of Graduate and Professional Studies maintains multiple concurrent missions of:

  • Providing relevant, values-based, and intellectually rigorous education to a diverse student body
  • Preparing skilled, knowledgeable professionals who practice with cultural responsiveness to deliver effective services
  • Cultivating a learner-centric environment founded on accountability and integrity
  • Developing graduates who embrace lifelong service, learning, and social equity promotion
  • Preparing students for effective community leadership and professional accomplishment

In furtherance of all the foregoing ambitious academic agendas, SJU strives to infiltrate all instruction within every program offering with ambiances of excellence and "nothing less than the best."

Clinical Mental Health Counseling – M.A. ("MACMHC")

This 60-credit MACMHC program has a commitment of educating counselors who ultimately become leading mental health practitioners across the entire human lifespan. As efforts to ensure this end, it places a heavy emphasis on holistic education that reiterates integrating body and spirit as well as the mind.

DCMFT has a philosophical view of professional counseling interventions with an ideal primary focus of facilitating individual growth to fulfill maximum human potential.
Accordingly, its MACHMC curriculum has a heavy focus on assisting students to assist others by designing effective counseling interventions to address the full spectrum of common personal stressors of contemporary life.

Below is a list of individual MACMHC learning objectives.

Skill Competencies

Encompasses self-help engagement among served clientele and culturally appropriate techniques and competencies essential to appropriate pre-session, in-session, and post-session counseling behaviors

Case Conceptualization

Contemplates skills essential to formulating clear comprehension of the client's personal struggles and framing meaningful counseling plans from a theoretical perspective with contextual sensitivity for the client's personal worldview

Counseling Process

Denotes apt and rapid recognition of any counselor-client interactive aspect(s) that could be construed as direct or indirect influencers of the client, counselor, sessions, and/or overall momentum toward affecting ultimate counseling outcome

Personal Growth

Translates to cognizance of any aspect(s) of a student's character that enhances or detracts from counseling work and required skills to affect active deployment of affirmative measure to resolve personal obstacles effectively

School Counseling – M.A.

This 54 to 57-credit MASC degree program has a commitment to educating school counselors with leadership capacity in serving secondary school students' developmental needs. DCMFT has a philosophical view of school counseling as ideally focused on facilitating K-12 pupils' maximum psycho-social and academic potential. As such, its MASC curriculum has a heavy focus on assisting aspiring school counselors to assist secondary students, educators, and parents throughout the entire continuum of compulsory K-12 attendance.

Consistent with the Catholic founding from which all tenets of institutional parent USJ stem, both the MACMHC and MASC curricula feature solid liberal arts and professional educational foundations designed to facilitate maximum development of students' potentials. Both offerings also have a common commitment of educating counselors who provide effective growth-oriented advocacy, leadership, and interventions while serving individual client needs within diverse practice settings.

Accreditation

CACREP-accredited

Contact

Office of Graduate Admissions and Academic Services
McDonough Hall Room 100
1678 Asylum Avenue
West Hartford, CT 06117
Phone: (860) 231-5261 or (855) 857 -4723
Email: graduate@usj.edu
Website URL: http://www.usj.edu/academics/schools/school-of-graduate-and-professional-studies/counseling-mft/


Western Connecticut State University

School of Professional Studies, Education and Educational Psychology Department

WCSU is on a mission of converting students into highly competent professionals in their respective careers who are highly capable of leadership and culturally competent advocacy. This broad agenda has an underlying ultimate ulterior motivation of providing professional education with strong foundations in liberal arts and community-based clinical learning that instills values of respecting others, open communications, critical inquiry, and creativity.

The School of Professional Studies solicits and insists upon this collective faculty consent to ensure a posture of agile responsiveness for curricular adjustments to ever-evolving educational delivery methodologies.

Clinical Mental Health Counseling – M.S.

This 60-credit MSCMHC curriculum is designed to culminate in state licensure and national certification of aspiring professional counselors. Throughout their academic tenure, those scholars must devise a "Plan of Study" in consultation with an assigned faculty coordinator and typically complete the program in three academic years. That element of compulsory continuing collaboration is an effort to enhance the student's chances of adequate preparation for competent professional counseling within diverse agency, clinical, and community mental health settings.

School Counseling – M.S. ("MSSC")

Like its above-described departmental counterpart, this 48-credit MSSC curriculum is designed to provide candidates with comprehensive knowledge bases and practical skills for deft functioning as professional counselors. The primary distinguishing factor is a focus on K-12 practice instead of broad-based mental health settings. Moreover, like their Clinical Mental Health Counseling colleagues, students in this School Counseling degree program must devise and revise a dynamic "Plan of Study" with a faculty coordinator and usually graduate within three years. When well-earned, long-awaited degree conferral does eventually occur, fresh MSSCs are eligible for state licensure and national certification the instant Commencement exercises end – just like brand-new MSCMHCs.

Accreditation

CACREP-accredited

Contact

Michael Gilles, Clinical Mental Health Counseling Coordinator
Phone: (203) 837-8513
E-mail: gillesm@wcsu.edu
Kathryn Campbell, School Counseling Coordinator
Phone: (203) 837-8574
E-mail: campbellk@wcsu.edu
Website URL – http://www.wcsu.edu/sps/grad.asp