Top 25 Most Affordable Master’s Degrees in Counseling in the Midwest
| Staff Writers
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This list of the of the Top 25 Most Affordable Master’s Degrees in Counseling in the Midwest was created considering the following points.
All graduate schools in the Midwest (from the following states: North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana and Ohio) were taken into consideration.
Next, programs had to meet rigorous criteria to become accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP ), and the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE ). Note: Evaluating the accreditation status of any graduation program under consideration is important. In general, accredited programs develop their curriculum and practicum experience with state licensing boards. Programs that do this aim to ensure that their graduates will be able to successfully navigate the state licensing process without needing to take additional coursework following graduation.
Over 100 schools in the Midwest met the above listed criteria.
The average out of state graduate tuition for all masters in counseling degrees in the Midwest ranged from $5,713 to $50,424 per year. The highest tuition on this list of the top 25 schools is $11,886. The average out of state graduate tuition was ranked from high to low and the top 25 most affordable schools offering master’s degrees in counseling in the Midwest are listed here. Data on tuition was collected from the National Center for Education Statistics.
The following accredited degrees are available at the colleges and universities that made the top 25 list.
Counseling (M.A., M.S, M.A.Ed. and M.S.Ed.) -accredited by the CACREP
Clinical and Mental Health Counseling (M.A., M.S. and M.S.Ed.) -accredited by the CACREP
School Counseling (M.A. and M.S.) -accredited by the CACREP
College Student Affairs (M.S.) -accredited by the CACREP
Marriage and Family Therapy (M.A.and M.S.) -accredited by the COAMFTE
Career Counseling (M.A.) -accredited by the COAMFTE
Graduates of these programs will be prepared to pursue licensure as a professional counselor or marriage and family therapist. Graduates will be able to develop careers working with diverse populations of individuals, couples, families, and groups in settings including private practice, community mental health clinics, schools, government agencies, and hospitals.
Read on for our comprehensive list of the most affordable master’s in counseling degrees in the Midwest.
Featured Online Programs
Figuring out where to apply? These top, accredited schools offer a variety of online degrees. Consider one of these accredited programs, and discover their value today.
Top 10 Most Affordable Master’s Degrees in Counseling in the Midwest
Ashland Theological Seminary offers a Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. This 64 credit, CACREP accredited program provides training in clinical mental health counseling while integrating biblical principles. Students will complete the program with the support of their cohort at either the Ashland campus or Columbus center. The practicum and internship experiences are designed to support students in gaining clinical skills with supportive supervision with the opportunity to focus on an area that they wish to build a career around. Graduates have pursued careers in settings in private practice, community mental health clinics, and military and institutional chaplaincies to name a few. Graduates will be prepared to pursue professional licensure as a clinical mental health counselor.
Courses include: fundamentals of biblical interpretation; fundamentals of christian theology; spiritual themes in clinical counseling; introduction to clinical mental health counseling; counseling techniques; counseling theories; human growth and development; social and cultural issues in counseling; lifestyle and career counseling; professional ethics and responsibilities; introduction to research methods and design; assessment; practicum in counseling; internship in counseling; introduction to substance abuse; personality assessment; differential diagnosis; treatment of mood and anxiety disorders; and crisis counseling.
The College of Education at Minnesota State University Mankato offers three different Master of Science Degrees through the CACREP accredited Department of Counseling and Student Personnel. Students can elect to earn a Master of Science Degree in College Student Affairs; Professional School Counseling; or Mental Health Counseling. The degree you choose will depend on your personal career goals. Students will have the opportunity to work one on one with faculty, both in the classroom and in clinical training settings. The department provides rich clinical training through their counseling skills lab. Graduates will be prepared to be leaders in the field of counseling.
Check out Minnesota State University Mankato's Counseling and Student Personnel website for a virtual tour of their Counseling Clinical Laboratory where students work directly with individuals, couples, and families, to receive supervised clinical training.
Average Graduate Tuition: $6,849.00
Application Deadline: July 1st for Fall, November 1st for Spring
Spring Arbor University offers a Master of Arts in Counseling. Students in this program will learn the fundamentals of counseling through a Christian perspective. Students in this program will benefit from the ongoing relationship with, and support of, their peers as this program follows a cohort model. Two CACREP accredited tracks of study are available for this 60-69 credit master of arts in counseling; the clinical mental health counseling track and the school counseling track. Students in both tracks will complete the same core courses with school counseling students taking a couple of additional school counseling focused courses. Courses are offered at the main Spring Arbor campus as well as at multiple extension sites across Michigan. Graduates will be prepared to pursue state licensure as well as national certification.
Courses include: introduction to counseling-the counselor and diversity; legal issues and ethics in counseling; counseling theory in multicultural contexts; counseling techniques in multicultural settings; developmental issues in counseling; clinical psychopathology; career counseling; group process and counseling; crisis intervention; addictions; social and cultural diversity; consulting in the helping professions; advanced clinical psychopathology and abnormal behavior; evaluation of psychopathology; and capstone in christian counseling.
A Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy is available at Mount Mercy University. Students will be trained in systems theory, to understand the individual, couple, and family within the context in which they live and work. This COAMFTE accredited program provides courses and practicum experiences designed to support the student in gaining research based theoretical and technical skills. Mount Mercy University offers benefits such as small class sizes, evening classes, and an on-site marriage and family therapy clinic, allowing students to train at a convenient location.
Courses include: family systems; models of marriage and family therapy; human development and the family; micro counseling; pre-practicum in marriage and family therapy; human sexuality; ethical and professional issues in marriage and family therapy; models of couples therapy; the cross-cultural family; neuroscience for marriage and family therapy; psychopathology and the family; research methods for marriage and family therapy; spirituality and the family; therapeutic techniques with parents and children; and introduction to the theory and practice of medical family therapy.
Wayne State College offers a Master of Science in Education in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. This 60 credit program is accredited by the CACREP. The Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program at Wayne State College strives to educate students in all aspects of counseling including attention to ethical standards, multicultural context, and lifespan development. An emphasis is placed on empowerment, with a focus placed on training practitioners to empower clients to lead the lives they want to live.
Courses include: multicultural counseling; psychopathology and client strengths; professional counselors and ethical standards; advocacy; theories of counseling; career development and life planning; individual and group assessment; developmental counseling over the lifespan; counseling children; consultation; marriage and family counseling; pre-practicum; counseling techniques and strategies; practicum; group counseling; differential diagnosis and treatment planning; and crisis intervention.
Lincoln Christian University offers a CACREP accredited Master of Arts in Counseling. Students will receive training from the perspective of a Biblical worldview in counseling theory and technique, as well as in theology and scripture. Courses are offered in the hybrid format through face to face classes in the evening, online, and in one week intensives. Students are encouraged to build their education around their personal life, career, and faith goals. Graduates will be prepared to work in both faith-based and traditional mental health settings.
Courses include: introduction to God's word; understanding the Stone-Campbell movement and my own heritage; systematic theology; basic counseling techniques; multicultural counseling; and ethical and legal issues for counselors and other christian leaders.
Students can earn a Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Grace College. This CACREP accredited program offers both face-to-face and online tracks of study. Students can choose the format of study that they feel is the best personal fit. The Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program at Grace College integrates a Christian worldview and biblical principles throughout the course curriculum. Graduates will be prepared to work towards licensure and develop careers in counseling in both secular and non-secular settings.
Courses include: orientation to clinical mental health counseling; theological foundations of counseling; foundations of clinical mental health counseling; counseling skills; ethical and legal issues; psychopathology; lifestyle and career counseling; internship in clinical mental health counseling; human growth and development; gender and sexuality; assessment and testing; advanced clinical practices and treatment; group counseling; psychotherapy with children and adolescents; marriage and family counseling; social and cultural issues; and addictions counseling.
Average Graduate Tuition: $7,872.00
Application Deadline: June 1st for Fall, October 1st for Spring, March 1st for Summer
Viterbo University offers a Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling. This 60 credit program is accredited by the CACREP. The program emphasizes a science-practitioner model with a bio-psych-social approach. The Mental Health Counseling program offers three areas of concentration in: wellness and integrative health care; child and adolescent counseling; and substance abuse counseling. Students can choose to enroll in the program on a part or full-time basis and complete the program in two to three years. The program is designed to accommodate the needs of working adults with evening and weekend classes. Recent statistics show a licensure exam pass rate of 97%.
Courses include: the counseling profession and ethics; multicultural perspectives and counseling; human development in social context-lifespan counseling; theories of mental health counseling; career development and counseling; couples and family counseling; trauma and crisis-an integrated approach; models of addiction counseling and co-occurring disorders counseling; foundations of clinical mental health counseling; group counseling; behavior disorders; testing and assessment in counseling; counseling practicum; and counseling internship.
A Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy can be earned at St. Mary's University of Minnesota. This COAMFTE accredited program offers students the opportunity to enter one of two cohorts each year: the fall start cohort is designed for working adults and the program can be completed in three years; and the summer start cohort which is an accelerated program that can be completed in 2.3 years. Students in the program will be trained in systems theory and receive clinical supervision while working with individuals, couples, and families experiencing a range of mental health challenges. Graduates will have the coursework and clinical skills necessary to work towards licensure as a marriage and family therapist.
Courses include: professional issues and orientation to MFT; individual and family lifespan and development; foundations of family therapy; multicultural studies of the family; introduction to trauma and crisis intervention in MFT; psychopathology and treatment planning in developmental systems; therapy with couples and intimate partners; ethical issues and professional practices in MFT; and systemic assessment and treatment of sexual concerns.
Heidelberg University offers a Master of Arts in Counseling. The CACREP accredited program offers two areas of concentration the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Concentration (60 credits) and the School Counseling Concentration (50 credits). Both concentrations lead to professional licensure. The Master of Arts in Counseling program at Heidelberg has received a grant to provided funding to students through paid internships. The program reports a student completion rate of 98%. Graduates will be prepared to pursue licensure as a Licensed Professional Counselor and/or Licensed Professional School Counselor and provide high quality services to culturally diverse populations.
Courses include: human growth and development; techniques in counseling; philosophy and history of counseling; theories of counseling and advanced techniques; group processes in counseling; assessment and appraisal; applied research and quantitative methods; community mental health and agency counseling; professional issues in counseling-legal and ethical; social foundations in cross-cultural counseling; counseling issues in a global society; diagnosis of mental and emotional disorders; marital and family counseling; chemical dependency and substance abuse; organization and administration of school guidance; and counseling children and adolescents.
Average Graduate Tuition: $9,180.00
Application Deadline: July 15th for Fall, December 11th for Spring and May 1st for Summer
The Graduate Counseling Program at Missouri State University offers a CACREP accredited Master of Science in Counseling. This program offers courses designed both for students earning their degree and professionals in the field who may need additional courses to maintain their license. The counseling program faculty shares their expertise with students and the community through courses covering their areas of expertise such as advanced play therapy and rehabilitative counseling. The program also offers unique study abroad opportunities for counseling students who have the opportunity to enhance students understanding and awareness of multicultural diversity.
Courses include: problems in counseling; school counseling foundations and ethics; mental health counseling foundations and ethics; orientation to personal and professional development; human development and personality; child counseling theories and techniques; the helping relationship; diversity and multicultural issues in counseling; substance use and addiction issues in counseling; couple and family counseling; theories and techniques of counseling; group counseling; elementary group counseling through play; research seminar in counseling; crisis counseling and disaster mental health response; mental health counseling practicum; mental health counseling internship; and advanced play therapy.
Average Graduate Tuition: $9,324.00
Application Deadline: October 1st for spring and February 1st for summer/fall,
The School of Education at Drake University offers a Master of Science in Counseling. Three areas of specialization are available: clinical mental health counseling; clinical rehabilitation counseling; and school counseling. Students can select one or more areas of specialization that they would like to pursue. Everyone completes a core set of courses followed by the courses for the chosen specialization or specializations. Students can enter the program in the fall or the spring. Courses are offered in the evening and weekends in order to accommodate the needs of working students. Graduates will be prepared to pursue certification and licensure in their area of specialization.
Courses include: introduction to the counseling profession; counseling research; theoretical foundations of individual and family counseling; career development and occupational information; methods and procedures of counseling; assessment of families and individuals; human development and life issues; psychopathology and psychiatric disorders; group procedures; theoretical foundations of family counseling; and counseling diverse populations.
Average Graduate Tuition: $9,930.00
Application Deadline: September 1st for Spring, February 15th for Fall
A graduate degree in marriage and family therapy, offered with core Quaker values, is available at Friends University. This 60 credit Master of Science in Family Therapy is accredited by the COAMFTE and can be completed in 24 months. Students have the opportunity to complete coursework and engage in rich and meaningful practicum and internship placements in either Wichita or Kansas City. Friends University offers a number of unique electives in the family therapy program including: MFT and business; infidelity; understanding and treating step-families; and emotion focused approaches to therapy.
Courses include: history of MFT and systems theory; professional ethics in marriage and family therapy; developmental influences of emotion, attachment, and trauma; research in marriage and family therapy; intergenerational family theories; relational models of psychopathology and behavioral health; diagnostic assessment of psychopathology; classic theories of therapeutic intervention in MFT; postmodern theories of therapeutic intervention in MFT; sexuality, intimacy, and sex therapy; social and cultural diversity issues in human development; and family development, stress and violence.
Winona State University offers a CACREP accredited counseling program. Concentrations are available in clinical mental health counseling (60 credits), school counseling (49 credits), and professional development (non-clinical/ 34 credits). The Counselor Education Department also offers an Addiction Counseling Certificate. Courses are offered in the evenings and on weekends on both the Rochester and Winona campuses. The program reports that 86% of students in the school/community counseling programs graduate within 2-3 years with 100% of students passing their licensure exams.
Courses include: multiculturalism and diversity; foundations of counseling; development over the lifespan; group theory and practice; tests and measurements; research design; family systems counseling; career development and appraisal; ethical practice and social change; orientation to clinical mental health counseling; theory of practice of sexual, substance abuse, and crisis counseling; orientation to school counseling; school counseling practice; counseling theory and practice; counseling practicum; internship; and capstone project.
Average Graduate Tuition: $10,120.00
Application Deadline: November 15th for Summer start
The Department of Counseling and Human Development at Malone University offers a Master of Arts in Education in Counseling through a Christian framework. Concentrations are available in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (60 credits) and School Counseling (48 credits). Both concentrations in the counseling graduate program are accredited by the CACREP. Students can also earn a dual degree in both Clinical Mental Health Counseling and School Counseling (84 credits). Students focus on and complete one course during each eight week session. The majority of courses are offered on campus along with some online course requirements. Both programs report a high pass rate on the licensure examination from 95%-100%.
Unique feature: A unique feature of this program is the opportunity to earn a dual degree in both Clinical Mental Health Counseling and School Counseling for a total of 84 credits.
Students can earn a Master of Arts in Counseling at Chicago State University. Two CACREP accredited tracks of study are available in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (60 credits) and School Counseling (51 credits). The program is designed to support students who may wish to pursue a doctoral degree in either counselor education or counseling psychology. A unique feature of the graduate counseling program at Chicago State University, for students who are interested, is that a bilingual specialization is available. The bilingual specialization is set up to support students who are interested in providing clinical counseling services to the (frequently under-served) Latino population.
Courses include: principles of clinical mental health counseling; counseling theories and ethics; micro-counseling; advanced lifespan development and counseling applications; principles and techniques of group counseling; multicultural issues in counseling; lifestyle and career development; techniques of assessment and diagnosis; treatment interventions for urban youth and families; family systems counseling; introduction to school counseling; lifestyle and career development; advanced school counseling applications; and advanced psychopathology and treatment planning.
Xavier University offers a CACREP accredited Clinical Mental Health Counseling program and a CACREP accredited School Counseling Program. The graduate counseling programs at Xavier have well established relationships throughout the community that support students in obtaining practicum and internship experiences that match their personal and professional career goals. Courses are offered at times designed to be convenient for working students. Small classes sizes are a priority in order to provide a quality learning experience to all students with classes capped at 23 students. Graduates will be prepared to pursue professional licensure.
Courses include: lifespan development; counseling theories and techniques; group process; career counseling; psychological and achievement testing; introduction to mental health counseling; counseling issues and ethics; family relations; cross cultural counseling; crisis counseling; treating addictions; personality and abnormal behavior; intervention skills for the severely mentally disabled; introduction to school counseling; consultation and supervision; and special education-identification and issues.
Average Graduate Tuition: $10,908.00
Application Deadline: October 1st for Spring, March 1st for Summer & Fall
A Master of Science in Counseling is available at National Louis University. Students can choose between a concentration in School Counseling or Clinical Mental Health Counseling, both of which are accredited by the CACREP. The program follows a cohort model. Students will have the support of peers and faculty while they work their way through the program. The program is designed to be flexible with the understanding that students often have other work and family commitments. Graduates will be prepared to pursue national certification and licensure.
Courses include: fundamentals of counseling; counseling and human development in a multicultural society; clinical techniques of counseling; clinical assessment and diagnosis; introduction to theory and practice of family therapy; theories and techniques of group counseling; introduction to clinical mental health counseling; trauma and crisis intervention theory, response models and techniques; structure and organization of the educational system for school counselors; counseling for career development; and introduction to the theory and practice of counseling children and adolescents.
Valparaiso University offers a CACREP accredited, 60 credit, Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Coursework will prepare graduates to pursue licensure as professional counselor. Additional courses are available for students who plan to work towards a Licensed Clinical Addictions Counselor (LCAC) certificate. The program aims to attract culturally diverse students to serve clients in diverse communities in a variety of settings. The program aims to support students in developing a strong professional identity, a sound understanding of cultural diversity and spirituality, and a strong foundation in clinical theory and skills.
Courses include: introduction to psychopathology; helping relationships-counseling theories; foundations of professional and ethical issues in counseling; community and health counseling; social and cultural basis of behavior; career counseling-appraisal and intervention; group counseling; child and adolescent development; adulthood and aging; family counseling and dynamics; and substance abuse counseling.
Students can earn a number of counseling degrees from St. Cloud State University. Available degrees include the CACREP accredited Master of Science programs in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and School Counseling and the COAMFTE accredited Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy. The programs offer small supportive classes and flexible scheduling. Students at St. Cloud are trained to be multiculturally competent with the ability to work with individuals, couples, families, and students in a wide range of clinical settings.
Courses include: foundations of mental health counseling; prevention, wellness, and crisis intervention in counseling; group counseling theory and practice; counseling theories; counseling procedures; ethics in mental health counseling; multicultural counseling; theories of marriage and family therapy; diagnosis and treatment of childhood disorders; counseling across the lifespan; career development; family systems; family conceptual frameworks; clinical issues in marriage and family therapy; and family, school, and organizational partnerships.
Average Graduate Tuition: $11,201.00
Application Deadline: January 15th for Clinical Mental Health degree; February 1st for Marriage and Family Therapy degree, March 1st for School Counseling degrees
Butler University offers a CACREP accredited Master of Science degree in School Counseling. This 48 credit program can be completed in three years, or there is a fast track option for students who wish to complete the program one semester earlier. This fast track option is available to up to 10 students of each 24 student cohort. Graduates will be prepared for professional careers as school counselors in K-12 settings. Students who are interested may take additional courses to prepare for licensure as a mental health counselor. The program reports that 98% of graduates establish careers in the field of school counseling.
Courses include: professional, legal and ethical issues in counseling; human development over the lifespan; fundamental counseling theory and techniques; valuing diversity and similarity; research for school counselors; administration of counseling and guidance services; assisting grieving children and families; career and life planning; and consultation in counseling.
The Department of Counselor Education at Western Illinois University Quad Cities offers a CACREP accredited Master of Science in Education in Counseling. Students will choose an area of specialization in either School Counseling (56 credits) or Clinical Mental Health Counseling (61 credits). The program values diversity and works to attract a diverse student population. The International Honor Society for counseling students is Chi Sigma Iota (CSI). They strive to support students in excellence in the field of professional counseling.
Unique feature: Graduate students enrolled full time in the Counselor Education Program at Western Illinois University Quad City are eligible to apply for an assistantship position. Assistantships are awarded on a competitive basis and qualify students for a tuition waiver and a stipend while they work for the department.
Students can earn a Master of Arts in the field of counseling at Southeast Missouri State University. A Master of Arts in School Counseling (48 credits), a Master of Arts in Career Counseling (48 credits); and a Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (60 credits) are all available. The Clinical Mental Health Counseling requires a few more credits than the other degrees and also offers suggested electives in treating sex offenders and eating disorders. Graduates will be well prepared to work with the population they have focused on during their graduate career while working towards professional licensure.
Courses include: counseling orientation and ethics; developmental theories; counseling theories; social and cultural aspects of counseling; counseling skills; career development; group counseling; assessment in counseling; advanced career counseling; crisis intervention and consultation; foundations of mental health counseling; mental health systems and prevention; and addictions counseling.
The University of Nebraska at Kearney offers a Master of Science in Education in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. This 60 credit CACREP accredited program is designed to prepare graduates to provide clinical services to diverse populations of individuals, couples, families, and groups. Students in the program will receive supervised clinical training in the on-site clinic. The University of Nebraska at Kearney is able to provide financial assistance to graduate students through scholarships and assistantships. Graduates will be prepared to pursue national certification and professional licensure.
Courses include: research methods in psychology and education; child and adolescent development and interventions; clinical treatment issues in addictions counseling; ethical, legal, and professional counseling; adult development; introduction to counseling and social advocacy; techniques of counseling; multicultural counseling; diagnosis and treatment of mental and emotional disorders; theories of counseling; group counseling; marriage and family counseling; career and lifestyle development; and appraisal and evaluation of individuals and systems.
Average Graduate Tuition: $11,886.00
Application Deadline: June 15th
Credits Required: 60
This concludes our list of the Top 25 most affordable master’s degrees in counseling in the Midwest.
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