Counseling schools in Michigan offer many benefits, with the state boasting one of the most affordable master’s programs in the Midwest.
Counselors occupy many positions — marriage and family therapists, career counselors, and substance abuse counselors. Regardless of their specific job title, counseling master’s programs in Michigan prepare students in about two years for a growing career field.
Projections Central reports jobs for marriage and family therapists may increase by 15.6% from 2018 to 2028. Nationally, all counseling jobs should grow by 15.7% from 2019 to 2029, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
What you get paid in Michigan depends on the specific field. Rehabilitation counselors earn a mean annual salary of $40,360 and substance abuse counselors make a mean annual wage of $48,580 in the Great Lake State.
Explore this list to find the best counseling programs in Michigan.
Top Counseling Degree Programs in Michigan
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.
Central Michigan University
Mount Pleasant, MI
Established in Mount Pleasant in 1892, CMU now welcomes more than 27,000 graduate and undergrad students each year.
CMU offers a master of arts in counseling with three concentration choices: clinical mental health counseling, school counseling, and addiction counseling. Students may also choose a dual program, earning two of the three options.
Single-concentration programs take 60 credits and 600 internship hours to complete, while the dual program requires two separate internships and 69-75 credits. Students take classes online, at night, or on weekends, so they can work while attending school.
Applicants need a bachelor's degree with a minimum 2.8 GPA, plus two letters of recommendation and a written statement of purpose. The department may request a personal interview. Accepted applicants must agree to undergo at least five hours of personal counseling before graduation.
Central Michigan University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Rochester Hills, MI
The second-biggest university in the Detroit area, founded in Rochester Hills in 1957 as a branch of Michigan State University, the now-independent Oakland University serves roughly 20,000 undergraduate and graduate students per year.
Oakland offers a campus-based master of arts in counseling with specializations in clinical mental health counseling and school counseling. Students in the clinical mental health counseling track may further specialize in an area such as addictions counseling or children and adolescents. The clinical mental health program prepares students for licensure in Michigan. School counseling students may choose whether to take three extra courses to prepare for licensure.
Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree with a GPA of 3.0 or above. Additional application requirements include two written essays, two letters of recommendation, and a personal interview.
Oakland University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Established in Detroit in 1868 as the Detroit College of Medicine, WSU now enrolls more than 27,000 grad students and undergrads annually.
The university offers a master of arts in counseling with tracks in clinical mental health counseling, school counseling, clinical rehabilitation counseling, or art therapy. Students may combine multiple tracks with program advisor permission.
All students take the same foundational courses. These include diversity, multicultural competence, and social justice advocacy for human service professionals; counseling theories, philosophies, and techniques; and professional counseling: orientation. Learners also take courses in their chosen specialization. In addition, all students must complete a practicum and two internships.
Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree with a minimum 2.5 GPA. Those applying for the art therapy track must hold at least 12 undergraduate credits in psychology and 18 undergraduate credits in studio art.
Wayne State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Western Michigan University
Established in 1903 as a teacher-training school in Kalamazoo, WMU welcomes more than 22,000 graduate and undergraduate students every year.
WMU offers on-campus master of arts in counseling degrees in clinical mental health counseling; marriage, couple, and family counseling; rehab counseling; school counseling; and counseling psychology. Rehab counseling students may choose a generalist track or a concentration in blindness and low vision.
All programs prepare students for licensure in their chosen area of interest, and most offer options for additional specializations and/or certifications.
Applicants must submit official transcripts, a professional goals statement, a resume, three letters of recommendation, and a supplemental application for their chosen area of specialization.
Western Michigan University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Berrien Springs, MI
The flagship member of the Seventh Day Adventist university system, founded in Battle Creek in 1874, Andrews moved to its current Berrien Springs location in 1901. The university now serves more than 3,400 undergraduate and graduate students per year.
Andrews offers master of arts degrees in clinical mental health counseling and school counseling. Both campus-based programs approach the field of counseling from a Christian worldview. Students can finish either 60-credit program in two years.
All participants must complete a practicum at the university's community counseling center and a one-year, field-based internship. Both programs encourage student research, starting with a research methodology course in the first year. In addition, all students must pass a two-day comprehensive final exam before graduation.
The program typically only accepts 12-15 new students per year. Admission requirements include a bachelor's degree with a GPA of 2.6 or above, two recommendations, a resume, and a statement of purpose.
Andrews University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Applying to a Counseling Degree Program
Earning a master’s degree prepares students for counseling careers that offer greater independence and responsibility. Individuals need a master’s degree — plus additional credentials — to become licensed clinical professional counselors, school counselors, and mental health counselors.
Counseling schools in Michigan only admit master’s applicants who hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited school. Programs sometimes prefer, if not require, applicants with undergraduate backgrounds in counseling, social work, or psychology. What applicants must submit for admission depends on the school and the degree.
For instance, students applying to a master’s in school counseling program typically need a valid Michigan teaching certificate.
In addition, applicants might need current GRE scores and transcripts showing at least a 2.75 GPA. Standard admission materials also include three recommendation letters, a resume, and a personal essay.
Frequently Asked Questions
What types of classes are required for a master's degree in counseling?
Counseling master’s programs in Michigan on average require 60 credits. Core classes focus on counseling research, counseling theories, crisis intervention, and group processes. Students may specialize in specific areas and take additional classes in case management, school counseling, or substance abuse counseling. All participate in an internship and/or practicum in their last year.
What is accreditation and why is it important?
Reputable counseling schools in Michigan hold accreditation from the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). When a school holds accreditation, that means the curriculum matches CACREP’s standards. Knowing a potential employee graduated from a CACREP-accredited program gives employers a vote of confidence.
What are the top paying counseling careers?
Individuals who pursue counseling do it for the personal satisfaction gained from helping others. That said, certain counseling careers do pay more than others. Those careers include mental health counselors, marriage and family counselors, school counselors, and gerontology counselors. Respectively, these jobs pay around $38,000-$60,000, according to the BLS.
How long does it take to earn a counseling degree?
It takes about two years to graduate from a counseling master’s program in Michigan. Taking the maximum credits per semester may help students graduate faster, especially when schools offer shortened eight-week terms. Attending classes part time might delay graduation.
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