Top 25 Most Affordable Master's Degrees in Counseling in the South

Updated November 30, 2022

Explore our ranking of the best schools offering Affordable Master's Degrees in Counseling in the South. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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This list of the of the Top 25 Master’s Degrees in Counseling in the South was created considering the following points.

  • All graduate schools in the South (from the following states: Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas, Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia) 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 160 schools in the South met the above listed criteria.
  • The average out of state graduate tuition for all masters in counseling degrees in the South ranged from $1,620 to $50,410 per year. The highest tuition on this list of the top 25 schools is $10,974. 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 South 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.Ed. and M.A.Ed.) -accredited by the CACREP
  • Clinical and Mental Health Counseling (M.A., M.S. M.S.Ed. and M.Ed.) -accredited by the CACREP
  • School Counseling (M.A., M.S., M.A.Ed., M.S.Ed. and M.Ed.) -accredited by the CACREP
  • College Student Affairs (M.A.) -accredited by the CACREP
  • Marriage and Family Therapy (M.A.) -accredited by the COAMFTE
  • Marriage and Family Counseling (M.S.) -accredited by the CACREP
  • Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling (M.S.) -accredited by the CACREP
  • Community Mental Health Counseling (M.A.) -accredited by the CACREP

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 best master’s in counseling programs in the South.

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.

  1. Western Kentucky University

    Bowling Green, KY

    The Department of Counseling and Student Affairs at Western Kentucky University offers CACREP accredited Master of Arts in Education degrees in both Counseling and School Counseling. The Counseling degree offers specializations in Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling and in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. The graduate counseling programs at Western Kentucky University offer an affordable and comprehensive education designed to prepare graduates to pursue professional licensure and be leaders in their chosen area of specialty as a professional school counselor, licensed professional counselor, or licensed marriage and family therapist.

    Courses include: introduction to counseling; classroom guidance; testing and assessment; group counseling; social and cultural diversity; developmental career counseling; human development; counseling theories; techniques of counseling; counseling children and adolescents; play therapy; theories of counseling; professional studies in counseling and marriage and family therapy; mental health diagnosis and treatment; family systems counseling; crisis counseling; and theories of addictions.

    • Average Graduate Tuition: $ 1,620.00
    • Application Deadline: March 15th for fall and October 15th for spring
    • Credits Required: 48 – 60

  2. Fort Valley State University

    Fort Valley, GA

    Fort Valley State University, founded in 1895, offers a Master of Science in Education in School Counselor Education. This 48 credit program emphasizes training school counselors to understand the whole student with attention to, and a comprehensive understanding of, context. Graduates will be prepared to provide services in elementary, middle, and high school settings through coursework, practicum, and internship experiences.

    Courses include: career counseling; counseling theories; comprehensive school counseling; group counseling; counseling interventions and prevention; foundations of professional ethics and school law; evaluation and testing in education; human growth and development; school and family consultation; and counseling diverse populations.

    • Average Graduate Tuition: $ 4,330.00
    • Application Deadline: April 1st
    • Credits Required: 48

  3. Xavier University of Louisiana

    Cincinnati, OH

    The Master of Arts in Counseling at Xavier University of Louisiana is accredited by the CACREP. Students at Xavier University can choose to specialize in Clinical Mental Health Counseling or School Counseling. Students will learn in the classroom and in clinical internship and practicum settings to provide culturally competent services to diverse populations. Graduates will be prepared to advocate for clients and students and collaborate with community members, health care professionals, parents, teachers, and administrators.

    Courses include: counseling theories; counseling techniques; lifestyle and career development; human growth and development; foundations and ethics in counseling; group work in counseling; psychopathology and diagnosis; family and systems counseling; crisis, trauma, grief and loss counseling; behavior disorders of children and adolescents; substance abuse and addictions counseling; spirituality in counseling; introduction to play therapy; school counseling- principles and administration; couples and relationship counseling; and social and cultural diversity in counseling.

    • Average Graduate Tuition: $ 5,100.00
    • Application Deadline: July 1st for fall, November 1st for spring and April 1st for summer
    • Credits Required: 60

  4. Delta State University

    Cleveland, MS

    Delta State University Counselor Education Program offers Master of Education degrees in both Clinical Mental Health Counseling and School Counseling. Both degrees are accredited by the CACREP. Faculty members have a broad range of academic interests and expertise covering counseling issues that they bring to the classroom and supervision. Graduates will be trained as professional counselors ready to pursue careers in community or school settings.

    Courses include: introduction to counseling; counseling theory; assessment techniques in counseling; group counseling; career development and placement; social and cultural foundations; human growth and development; foundations of clinical mental health counseling; counseling skills; methods of counseling research and statistics; crisis intervention techniques; counseling children and adolescents; marriage and family counseling; foundations of school counseling; and classroom management for school counselors.

    • Average Graduate Tuition: $ 6,298.00
    • Application Deadline: April 25th for fall and January 4th for spring
    • Credits Required: 60

  5. Jackson State University

    Jackson, MS

    Two CACREP accredited counseling degrees are available at Jackson State University: the Master of Science in Education in School Counseling; and the Master of Science in Education in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Department faculty are regularly involved in research and support students in collaborating on research, publications, and presentations at national conferences. The program offers a number of unique electives giving students the opportunity to have a particular area of expertise upon graduation.

    Courses include: introduction to professional counseling; lifestyle and career development; principles and techniques of counseling; dynamics of group process; social and cultural foundations of counseling; counseling children; counseling the gifted; grief counseling; counseling adolescent females and women; crisis intervention strategies; group work with adolescents; clinical mental health counseling; theories of the helping relationship; marriage and family counseling; and seminar in legal and ethical issues.

    • Average Graduate Tuition: $ 7,141.00
    • Application Deadline: March 1st for fall, March 15th for summer and October 15 for spring
    • Credits Required: 51 – 60

  6. Gardner-Webb University

    Boiling Springs, NC

    Gardner-Webb University offers students the opportunity to earn a Master of Arts in School Counseling or a Master of Arts in Mental Health Counseling. The School Counseling program provides training to prepare graduates to work in elementary, middle, and high school settings and provide students with social and academic support. The Mental Health Counseling Program prepares graduates to provide counseling services in a range of settings from community mental health clinics to private practice. The counseling programs at Gardner-Webb will prepare students to provide clinical services to diverse populations of students, individuals, couples, and families.

    Courses include: counseling theories and techniques; methods of research and program evaluation; legal, ethical, and professional issues in counseling; multicultural counseling; advanced human growth and development; the counselor as professional practitioner, and consultant; professional development of the mental health counselor; group counseling; career development-theory and practice; crisis intervention counseling; couples and family counseling; and child and adolescent counseling.

    • Average Graduate Tuition: $ 7,722.00
    • Application Deadline: Round 1 October 15th, Round 2 January 15th, Round 3 April 15th
    • Credits Required: 48 – 60

  7. Liberty University

    Lynchburg, VA

    Liberty University offers three CACREP accredited counseling degrees. Students can earn a Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and a Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Counseling in the residential on-campus programs. (A CACREP accredited Master of Education in School Counseling is available online). Liberty University offers counseling courses from a faith-based perspective. Graduates will be prepared, through coursework, internship and practicum experiences, to pursue the licensure (LPC and LMFT) to match their degree.

    Courses include: orientation to counselor professional identity and function; ethical and legal issues in counseling; human growth and development; multicultural counseling; counseling techniques and the helping relationship; integration of spirituality and counseling; theories of counseling; group counseling; assessment techniques in counseling; career development and counseling; psychopathology and counseling; marriage and family counseling; crisis counseling; clinical diagnosis and treatment planning; substance abuse- diagnosis, treatment and prevention; premarital and marital counseling; and human sexuality.

    • Average Graduate Tuition: $ 8,051.00
    • Credits Required: 60

  8. Johnson University

    Knoxville, TN

    A Master of Arts in Counseling with CACREP accredited concentrations in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and School Counseling is available at Johnson University. This graduate degree in counseling is offered in the hybrid format of study. Students will engage in courses on the Tennessee campus about two weekends per term per course. Additional course requirements will be completed online and hands on learning will happen through practicum and internship experiences. This flexible hybrid format gives working students the flexibility to maintain their professional commitments while advancing their career. Faculty are able to connect with and support students throughout the student's time in the program with a 1:10 faculty student ratio.

    Courses include: graduate counseling orientation; research and statistics; integrating theology and therapy; ethics and professional issues in counseling; social and cultural diversity in counseling; human development over the lifespan; human sexuality; theories of counseling and marriage and family therapy; child and adolescent assessment, diagnosis and treatment; group dynamics, theories and techniques; addiction etiology and counseling; crisis intervention and psychological first aid; foundations in school counseling; and contemporary trends in school counseling.

    • Average Graduate Tuition: $ 8,100.00
    • Application Deadline: October 1st for spring and January 15th for summer
    • Credits Required: 49 – 62

  9. Wilmington University

    New Castle, DE

    Wilmington University offers a Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Students will learn to assess, diagnose, and treat a broad spectrum of clinical issues. Graduates will be prepared to support the mental health needs of diverse populations in a variety of settings. Electives for this program will be based on the student's practicum and internship setting and include topics such as: evidence based family treatment; humanistic counseling; and cognitive-behavioral counseling. The program reports that in 2016, their pass rate for the National Counselor Exam was 100%.

    Courses include: theories of counseling; human development; tools, techniques, and strategies of counseling; ethics and practices of clinical mental health counseling; diagnosis and treatment of psychopathology; group counseling; counseling for career development; family counseling; counseling diverse populations; addictions counseling; and psychopharmacology for counselors.

    • Average Graduate Tuition: $ 8,190.00
    • Application Deadline: February 1st
    • Credits Required: 60

  10. Converse College

    Spartanburg, SC

    Converse College offers a COAMFTE accredited Master of Marriage and Family Therapy. Students can elect to complete the program at a full-time or part-time pace within 2-5 years. Courses generally take place during the day, with supervision sometimes offered in the evenings. The Marriage and Family Therapy program at Converse College emphasizes training students to be culturally competent, grounded in systems theory, and have a strong understanding of ethical issues. Graduates will be prepared to pursue licensure as a marriage and family therapist. Students who are interested can complete the optional Play Therapy track leading to potential certification as a play therapist.

    Elective courses include: introduction to dialectical behavioral therapy; family therapy with families of addiction; traumatic stress and the family; a systemic understanding of group dynamics; marital and family therapy supervision; treatment of adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse; creative approaches to family therapy; business strategies for health practitioners; spiritual/ religious issues in psychotherapy; psychopharmacology; gender in family therapy; LGBTQ issues in MFT; play therapy history and theory; play therapy techniques; and play therapy applications for special populations.

    • Average Graduate Tuition: $ 8,400.00
    • Application Deadline: February 1st
    • Credits Required: 63

This concludes our list of the Top 25 Most Affordable Master's degrees in Counseling in the South.

See also:


  • Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP)
  • Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE)
  • National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)

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