Counseling Degree Programs in Minnesota

Updated November 22, 2022

Students considering a master's in counseling in Minnesota can use this page to learn about the current job market, counseling curriculum, and admission requirements. See below for more details. 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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Students considering a counseling career in Minnesota enter a rewarding and growing field. In 2018, Minnesota patients could access over 2,200 licensed professional counselors and licensed professional clinical counselors. Nearly half of these professionals expressed satisfaction with their work, while 49% felt somewhat satisfied.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) data also projects a 25% increase in job outlook across the country from 2019 to 2029. Graduate programs in counseling and counseling psychology in Minnesota typically require 2-3 years of full-time attendance, while part-time students may take 3-4 years to earn their degree. Counseling and counseling psychology graduate programs in Minnesota typically require applicants to hold a bachelor's degree in a relevant field.

Programs often provide multiple concentrations in clinical mental health, marriage and family therapy, and school counseling. Courses may include lifespan human development, group counseling, counseling diverse communities, and psychopathology. This degree also includes multiple field experiences, including internships and practicums.

Top Counseling Degree Programs in Minnesota

#1 Winona State University Winona, MN
#2 Minnesota State University, Mankato Mankato, MN
#3 Minnesota State University Moorhead Moorhead, MN
#4 Crown College Saint Bonifacius, MN
#5 St. Cloud State University Saint Cloud, MN

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. Winona State University

    Winona, MN



    Winona State University offers three on-campus master's in counseling degrees: clinical mental health counseling, school counseling, and a human services professional master's with a focus in a personal area of interest. The human services degree does not lead to licensure, but the counseling programs do.

    Students in both licensure programs must complete a practicum, an internship, and a capstone project. Those on the non-licensure track complete a final evaluation, which may be a thesis, a capstone project, a research presentation, or a minimum score of 65 in six content areas on the Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Exam.

    Courses Include

    Multiculturalism and Diversity | Development Over the Lifespan | Group Theory and Practice | Research Design | Ethical Practice and Social Change

    Unique Features

    Cost: $7,700/year (Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, and South Dakota residents); $11,640/year (out of state)
    Credits Required: 35-60 credits
    Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

  2. Minnesota State University, Mankato

    Mankato, MN



    The public Minnesota State University, Mankato offers a campus-based master of science in counseling and student personnel. Students choose an emphasis in college student affairs, mental health counseling, or professional school counseling K-12.

    The college student affairs track prepares students for a variety of campus-based positions, such as career services, residence life, or academic advising. Mental health counseling prepares students for licensure and careers in a variety of inpatient or outpatient therapeutic settings. Professional school counseling focuses on licensure and careers within the K-12 school setting.

    All students take the same sequence of core courses, followed by emphasis classes. All tracks require one practicum and two internship placements, as well as a capstone project.

    Courses Include

    Crisis Intervention Strategies | Human Development Through the Family Life Cycle | Career Development | Counseling Theories | Counseling Procedures and Skills I and II

    Unique Features

    Cost: $444/credit
    Credits Required: 50-60 credits
    Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

  3. Minnesota State University Moorhead

    Moorhead, MN



    Minnesota State University Moorhead offers a hybrid master of science in counseling with an emphasis in addictions counseling, clinical mental health, or school counseling. All three programs offer the option of preparing for Minnesota licensure. Students from other states should check their state licensure requirements. Course delivery occurs after 4:30 p.m. local time to accommodate working professionals.

    Students in all three programs take the same set of core courses, including one of three approved electives. All students must also pass a comprehensive written exam, an oral exam, a thesis or research project, and a six-credit internship. Students seeking licensure must take additional courses beyond those required for a basic non-licensure master's degree.

    Courses Include

    Counseling Research, Statistical Methods, and Program Evaluation | Theories of Individual and Family Counseling | Social and Cultural Foundations of Counseling | Trauma-Informed and Crisis Management | Introduction to Substance Use Disorders and Addictive Behaviors

    Unique Features

    Cost: $459/credit
    Credits Required: 54-60 credits
    Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

  4. Crown College

    Saint Bonifacius, MN

    A private Christian college in St. Bonifacius, Crown College offers an online master of arts in counseling or an online master of arts in alcohol and drug counseling. The master of arts in counseling requires a four-day on-campus residency each May. Presented from a strong Christian worldview, both programs prepare students for Minnesota licensure. Students from other states should check with their licensing agency for more information.

    Both programs require the same core courses, along with classes in the chosen specialization. All students must also complete two three-credit internship experiences.

    Courses Include

    Orientation to Counseling and Integration of Christian Worldview | Counseling Skills, Methods, and Techniques | Assessment, Testing, and Measurement in Counseling | Alcohol and Drug Case Management | Psychopharmacology for Alcohol and Drug Counseling

    Unique Features

    Cost: $575/credit
    Credits Required: 36-60 credits
    Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

  5. St. Cloud State University

    Saint Cloud, MN



    St. Cloud State University offers four master of science degrees in counseling: clinical mental health counseling, school counseling, rehabilitation counseling, and rehabilitation and addiction counseling. The university offers rehabilitation counseling with a fully online option, while students in the other three programs must attend classes on campus.

    All four programs prepare students for licensure in Minnesota. Those from other states should check their state requirements for details. Regardless of track, all students must complete a practicum and/or internship and either a thesis or a comprehensive exam.

    Courses Include

    Foundations of Mental Health Counseling | Psychodiagnosis and Treatment Planning | Rehabilitation Orientation and Ethics | Practice in Small Group Process | Theories of Marriage and Family Therapy

    Unique Features

    Cost: $431/credit (in state and reciprocity states); $455/credit (Wisconsin residents); $646/credit (MSEP compact states); $654/credit (out of state)
    Credits Required: 48-63 credits
    Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

Applying to a Counseling Degree Program in Minnesota

Colleges and universities develop their own standards for admission. However, common requirements include official transcripts, a statement of career goals, and 2-3 letters of recommendation. While the average grade point average (GPA) requirement is 3.0, competitive programs may look for candidates with a higher GPA. As mentioned earlier, graduate programs in Minnesota often require applicants to hold a bachelor's degree in a relevant field.

Graduate school applicants may need experience in counseling or a related field. Other requirements may include a resume, criminal background check, and an admissions interview. Graduate schools may require Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) test scores; other institutions provide students with the option to submit test scores. Students who do not meet minimum requirements, or students applying to competitive programs, may want to submit test scores.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Minnesota a good state to earn a counseling degree?

Over 80% of licensed counselors in Minnesota report that they plan to continue practicing counseling for at least 10 years. Additionally, BLS data indicates that school counselors currently earn $57,040 annually on average, while clinical, counseling, and school psychologists in Minnesota can earn above the national average.

How can I tell if a counseling program is accredited?

Counseling psychology graduate programs in Minnesota typically list programmatic accreditations on their website. Colleges and universities hold regional or national accreditations, while counseling programs may hold accreditation through the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs.

What are the most common counseling specialties in Minnesota?

According to a report published by the Minnesota Department of Health, over 85% of licensed counselors currently practicing specialize in mental health. Another 15% of professionals specialize in substance abuse and addiction counseling, while 12% work with couples and families to improve relationships. Just 8% of practitioners work as employee assistance program counselors.

What is the National Counselor Examination (NCE)?

Students who earn a master's in counseling in Minnesota must take a national licensing exam before they can begin practicing. The NCE is the most common exam. However, specialty exams include the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination or the Certified Rehabilitation Counselor Exam.

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