Counseling Degree Programs in Pennsylvana

Updated June 22, 2023

Discover more about earning a counseling degree in Pennsylvania. This guide provides information on accredited counseling programs in the state and how to kick start your counseling career. 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.

Are you ready to discover your college program?

Pennsylvania offers some of the highest employment levels in the country for counselors. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors make up the majority of counselors in the state, and educational, guidance, and career counselors report the highest average salary ($63,680) in the field. Earning a counseling degree in Pennsylvania offers a pathway to a lucrative career in a growing field. Projection data indicates that employment for counselors in Pennsylvania may grow at a higher rate than the national average for all areas of practice, making now a great time to earn your degree and begin your career. Pennsylvania's licensing board requires a graduate degree in counseling to obtain licensure as a professional counselor. A Pennsylvania counseling degree from an accredited program prepares students to meet all requirements set by the state board and sit for the necessary licensing exams.

Top 10 Counseling Degree Programs in Pennsylvana

California University of Pennsylvania California, PA
Duquesne University Pittsburgh, PA
Edinboro University of Pennsylvania Edinboro, PA
Gannon University Erie, PA
Geneva College Beaver Falls, PA
Indiana University of Pennsylvania Indiana, PA
Marywood University Scranton, PA
Messiah College Mechanicsburg, PA
Neumann University Aston Township, PA
Pennsylvania State University University Park, PA

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.

Career Outlook for Counselors in Pennsylvania

Counselors often pursue careers in specialized areas to provide services to specific client populations. They find work in rehabilitation and substance abuse clinics, outpatient care centers, within offices of other health practitioners, or hospitals. Some common specialty areas for counselors include substance abuse, behavioral disorders, mental health, and marriage and family therapy. In Pennsylvania, counselors can earn two different types of licensure: professional counselor and marriage and family therapist. These licenses cover all the types of counseling practice in the state, excluding those provided by licensed social workers. The average annual wage for counselors in Pennsylvania ranges from $40,680 for rehabilitation counselors, up to $63,680 for educational, guidance, and career counselors. BLS data indicates a projected 14.5% growth rate for substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counseling from 2016-26. Projection data also shows employment for marriage and family therapists in Pennsylvania expanding by 14.7% in the same time frame, indicating significant growth for careers in this industry.

Counseling Degree Programs in Pennsylvania

  • California University of Pennsylvania

    California, PA

    Standing proudly as a member of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education to serve the academic needs of over 8,600 students, California University of Pennsylvania is a comprehensive four-year public liberal arts institution based on a 294-acre rural campus within just 35 miles of Pittsburgh. Consistently named one of the "Best in the Northeast" by the prestigious Princeton Review, Cal U is currently ranked as the 135th best college and 44th top public school in the nation by the U.S. News and World Report. The Department of Counselor Education is dedicated to delivering unparalleled opportunities for academic, social, and professional growth to produce qualified master's-level counselors.

    Ideal for graduate students who are seeking to provide quality mental health services to individuals, families, couples, and groups in a wide range of clinical settings, the Master of Science (M.S.) in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program aims to prepare practitioners for working alongside other interdisciplinary healthcare professionals to serve the diverse needs of clients across the wellness spectrum. With a firm emphasis on the latest research-based practices needed for competent diagnosis, evaluation, treatment, referral, consultation, management, and prevention of mental/emotional disorders, the 60-credit program is designed to fulfill all of the standards needed to prepare graduates to become a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) within Pennsylvania.

    With easy start options available for graduate students seeking to begin classes in the fall, spring, or summer terms, the Master of Education (M.Ed.) in School Counseling program is structured to prepare compassionate professionals who are able to effectively assist K-12 students in achieving their highest academic, career, and personal development to lead productive lives as responsible citizens. Known for being one of the best programs of its kind in the nation due to its dual accreditation by the CACREP and NCATE, the 60-credit curriculum ensures that graduates will possess the appropriate knowledge, skills, values, and ethics needed to function professionally in schools and/or other educational settings.

  • Duquesne University

    Pittsburgh, PA

    Renowned for its distinctive view of the city skyline of downtown Pittsburgh on its beautiful 50-acre urban campus, Duquesne University builds on a 135-year tradition to be one of the nation's elite independent Catholic liberal arts institutions with over 10,040 students. Named as the 16th best small university in the percentage of teacher-scholars providing excellent classroom experiences, Duquesne is currently ranked as the 121st best college, 45th top value school, and 24th best university for veterans in the nation by the U.S. News and World Report. Within the country's 126th best education school, the Department of Counseling, Psychology, and Special Education is committed to producing counselors and teachers who can rise to the top of their profession with the best practices for the 21st century.

    For full or part-time matriculated graduate students, the Master of Science/Education (M.S./M.Ed.) in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program is available to deliver the training that is needed for becoming a mental health professional in community clinics, mental health centers, career counseling facilities, substance abuse rehabilitation centers, family-based therapy clinics, outpatient hospital services, and prisons. With a total of 60 credits needed for fulfilling degree requirements, the curriculum provides rigorous coursework in the classroom alongside comprehensive supervised fieldwork to prepare graduates with the practical skills for becoming licensed as professional counselors for human/social services.

    With advanced coursework in human development, psychopathology, assessment, family systems, systemic theory, diagnosis, clinical practice, ethics, intervention methodologies, and research, the Master of Science/ Education (M.S./M.Ed.) in Marriage and Family Counseling program offers an accredited 60-credit pathway towards becoming a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in Pennsylvania. Built on a practitioner approach to prepare students for working competently in counseling services with couples and families, the program graduates qualified professionals for serving in community mental health centers, counseling clinics, family-based therapy facilities, substance abuse treatment clinics, and outpatient centers.

    Whether graduates are aspiring to serve as student guidance counselors at public schools and private/charter schools or alternative schools and university admissions offices, the Master of Science/Education (M.S./M.Ed.) in School Counseling program aims to prepare qualified individuals with the in-depth knowledge needed to become mental health experts within the educational environment. In order to complete the program as well as fulfill the degree requirements needed for licensure within Pennsylvania, students must complete a total of 60 graduate credits, participate in a minimum of 700 clock hours of supervised field experience, and pass one of the national examinations.


    Founded with a rigorous curriculum that has been granted full accreditation through the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), the Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision is available for master's-level counselors who are seeking to further their professional responsibilities in research, evaluation, supervision, teaching, and clinical counseling practice. Since all classes in the 60-credit program over the course of two and a half years are offered during evening hours and on Saturdays, students have the unique opportunity to pursue this doctoral degree full-time while still maintaining full-time employment.

  • Edinboro University of Pennsylvania

    Edinboro, PA

    Headquartered on a 585-acre rural campus in the open fields and woods of the small town of Edinboro with a community of over 7,300 students, Edinboro University of Pennsylvania is a comprehensive public institution that offers degree programs at the associate's, bachelor's, and master's degree levels in over 100 areas of study. According to the U.S. News and World Report, Edinboro is currently ranked as the 126th best college and 40th top public school in the North. Also acclaimed for having the 72nd best online graduate education programs, the School of Graduate Studies and Research is devoted to academic excellence in preparing students to be highly qualified professionals for leading today's dynamic pluralistic society.

    Ideal for graduate students with a bachelor's degree who wish to provide the critical support needed for high school seniors to prepare for beginning their post-secondary education endeavors within high schools, universities, and professional schools, the Master of Arts (M.A.) in College Counseling program is focused on the counseling practices relevant to guiding students in choosing colleges that match their professional goals, providing assistance with the complex college admissions process, and supporting students in making the biggest transition of their lives. Within the 42-credit program, students will receive a blend of classroom and hands-on practical learning experiences to develop the genuineness, empathy, professionalism, compassion, warmth, and interpersonal skills that are needed for success in college counseling.

    Designed to enhance the social, cultural, professional, ethical, intellectual, and emotional development of graduate students seeking to become Licensed Professional Counselors (LPCs) within Pennsylvania, the Master of Arts (M.A.) in Community Counseling program places a special emphasis on a multicultural perspective so that graduates will be able to function competently in today's diverse global society with vulnerable populations. Consisting of at least 42 credits for completion, the intensive curriculum includes advanced specialized counseling coursework, candidacy, comprehensive examinations, a culminating Master's thesis project, and a supervised field internship for a minimum of 600 clock hours of on-site experience in a human/social services agency.

    Available for graduate students who have completed at least two years of successful full-time teaching and/or counseling in school environments, the Master of Arts (M.A.) in School Counseling program is designed to prepare educators with the latest up-to-date counseling theories and practices to effectively under the needs of children in PreK-12 settings. Since the program aims to ensure all graduates can apply counseling techniques, practices, skill sets, and evaluation tools in schools to assist classroom teachers as well as parents, the program requires the completion of at least 42 credits with a 600-hour internship.

    Intended to prepare motivated individuals with the professional competencies needed to successfully begin an entry-level career in student affairs on college and university campuses, the Master of Arts (M.A.) in Student Affairs program features a 42-credit curriculum with varied advanced coursework, a 600-hour internship experience, comprehensive examinations, and a culminating Master's thesis project. For students aiming to start a professional career in the financial aid, admissions, career advising, or resident life offices of higher education, this program covers all of the current issues and practices related to student affairs.

  • Gannon University

    Erie, PA

    Situated in the northwestern corner of the state on a 37-acre urban campus in downtown Erie with a beautiful view of the famous Presque Isle Bay, Gannon University is a comprehensive four-year private Catholic Diocesan institution rooted in a strong liberal arts tradition. With a total student enrollment of over 4,200 students, Gannon has evolved to become the 54th best college, 11th top value school, and 17th best university for veterans in the North according to the U.S. News and World Report. The School of Humanities and Social Sciences is particularly interested in delivering a well-rounded liberal arts education that fosters the development of reasoning, communication, critical thinking, and decision-making skills across fields.

    Ideal for graduate students who are seeking the training needed for pursuing licensure as a Professional Counselor (LPC) in Pennsylvania and National Counselor Certification (NCC), the Master of Science (M.S.) in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program is designed to deliver a mixture of accredited learning experiences that will build the knowledge base and skill sets needed for gaining employment in professional counseling settings. Whether students are aiming for leadership in community mental health centers and residential treatment facilities or universities and social service agencies, the 60-credit program will provide an excellent generalist practitioner foundation over the course of approximately three years.

  • Geneva College

    Beaver Falls, PA

    As a comprehensive four-year private liberal arts institution that was founded by the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America to deliver a Christ-centered higher education, Geneva College is located on a 55-acre suburban campus in the residential small town of Beaver Falls within just 35 minutes of Pittsburgh. According to the U.S. News and World Report, Geneva College has an outstanding reputation for being the 17th best college and 8th top value school in the North for 2014. The Department of Psychology, Counseling, and Human Services is dedicated to delivering a theoretical and practical foundation for students who have received the calling for helping others in a wide array of human services.

    Boasting an impressively high pass rate of 99% for those students who wish to take the National Counselor Examination on the first sitting, the Master of Arts (M.A.) in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program is accredited through the CACREP in accordance with the highest standards to prepare graduates for fulfilling in-demand positions in various mental health service agencies. Offered solely on-campus for completion in 20 months full-time, the 60-credit program is focused on providing professional counselors with a multitude of intervention strategies for facilitating optimal mental health, personal growth, and well-being among clients with moderate to severe mental or psychological illnesses.

    Available on a full-time or part-time basis for graduate students at the main campus in Beaver Falls, as well as the satellite location in Cranberry, the Master of Arts (M.A.) in Marital, Couple, and Family Counseling program is structured to provide accredited training to qualified graduate students who wish to become Licensed Professional Counselors (LPCs) in Pennsylvania. In order to ensure that all students have the knowledge needed to examine the physical, social, emotional, psychological, and spiritual factors in solving problems within family systems, the program focuses on integrating the latest counseling theories with the Christian faith.

    As an intensive 51-credit graduate degree program that involves coursework in statistics, testing, group appraisal, program evaluation, human growth, counseling theory, career counseling, professional ethics, curriculum development, and inclusion, the Master of Arts (M.A.) in School Counseling program follows the state licensure standards for obtaining certification in both elementary and secondary school counseling for PreK-12 settings. Along with the advanced coursework, students in this track will be expected to complete a 10-hour group laboratory experience, intense supervised clinical practicum, and a culminating 600-hour internship in an approved public/private school environment.

  • Indiana University of Pennsylvania

    Indiana, PA

    Since being founded in 1875 as the largest university in the Pennsylvania System of Higher Education, Indiana University of Pennsylvania has evolved into a comprehensive doctoral degree-granting public institution with more than 15,000 students northeast of downtown Pittsburgh. Frequently receiving national accolades, IUP is currently ranked as the 177th best college, 98th top public school, and 46th best university for military veterans in the nation by the U.S. News and World Report. Within the College of Education and Educational Technology, the Department of Counseling is accredited through the CACREP for training counselors who are actively engaged in promoting their professional competence and personal growth.

    Designed to provide the opportunity to learn all of the latest up-to-date counseling approaches for reaching out to those in need while also working towards state and/or national licensure as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), the Master of Arts (M.A.) in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program is focused on preparing qualified graduate students for working in diverse community-based mental health centers with clients suffering from various mental illnesses. Within the 60-credit program offered both full and part-time, it is required that all students successfully complete a 600-clock hourunder the supervision of a licensed professional to further enhance hands-on practical counseling skills in the field.

    Ideal for graduate students with a bachelor's degree who are seeking to obtain counseling competencies as well as educational expertise in order to make a profound impact on the lives of children and adolescents in K-12 settings, the Master of Education (M.Ed.) in School Counseling program is founded in a developmental approach to prepare graduates for gaining certification in both elementary and secondary school counseling. In order to ensure that all graduates are equipped with the decision-making, interpersonal, communication, analytical, educational planning, and professional development skills needed for success, the program requires the completion of 60 credit hours and a 600-hour supervised field experience.

  • Marywood University

    Scranton, PA

    First established in 1915 by the Congregation of the Sisters Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary with a firm tradition in Roman Catholic values, Marywood University is a comprehensive independent four-year institution based on a 140-acre suburban campus in the city of Scranton. With over 2,500 students and 27,000 living alumni, Marywood University is currently recognized for being the 48th best college in the entire North by the respected U.S. News and World Report. The Psychology and Counseling Department offers multiple concentration areas so that students have the opportunity to develop evaluation and intervention strategies that assist clients in their chosen field in attaining enhanced well-being.

    Intended to prepare graduate students for entering the counseling profession for careers in mental health, child welfare, marriage/family counseling, addictions treatment, college counseling, and pastoral counseling, the Master of Arts (M.A.) in Mental Health Counseling program can be completed within three years full-time or four years part-time with a minimum number of 900 clock hours spent in the field. As part of the 60-credit program, students can expect to take courses in group processes, chemical dependence, research theory, applied counseling practice, human development, ethics, psychological assessment, career development, multiculturalism, child and adolescent psychopathology, marital therapy, and mental health counseling techniques.

    With the goal of fostering the development of the professional competencies in individual one-on-one and group counseling for established standards-based educational interventions to support students' diverse learning needs, the Master of Science (M.S.) in Counselor Education (School Counseling) program is focused on meeting the certification requirements created by the Pennsylvania Department of Education for Educational Specialist I. Upon successful completion of the 60-credit program and 600 hours of supervised internship experience in a school setting, graduates will also have the credentials needed to pursue K-12 certification to work in both elementary and high school environments.

  • Messiah College

    Mechanicsburg, PA

    Based on a 471-acre suburban campus with a close-knit community of over 2,800 students in the quaint village of Grantham, Messiah College is a comprehensive four-year private Christian liberal arts institution that embraces the Pietist, Wesleyan, and Anabaptist values. According to the U.S. News and World Report, Messiah College is currently ranked as the 5th best college and 7th top value school in the North. Nationally accredited through the CACREP, the Department of Counseling is home to an experienced faculty that reflects its reputation for academic excellence in preparing professional counselors for Christ-focused practice.

    Boasting small class sizes that guarantee each student is given the individualized attention and significant interaction with professors that is needed to garner personal/professional growth, the Master of Arts (M.A.) in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program is structured on a cohort-based developmental model in which students begin as novices and advance into professional counselors through the curriculum. After completing this 60-credit program within two years full-time or three to four years part-time, graduates will have obtained the CACREP-accredited degree requirements needed for professional licensure in Pennsylvania and beyond.

    Based on the high competency standards created through the Council of Accreditation for Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) for excellence, the Master of Arts (M.A.) in Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling program has the specific mission of preparing qualified counselors for addressing common marital and family system problems, including jealousy, mental illness, rebellion, substance dependency, infidelity, divorce, and more. After successful completion of the required 30 core credits and 30 track credits, graduates are well-prepared for taking the licensure examination needed to become a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) in most states.

    As an intensive 51-credit program offered specifically to qualified graduate students who have a sincere desire to provide counseling services within elementary and secondary school settings, the Master of Arts (M.A.) in School Counseling track is designed to prepare graduates for taking the PAPA and Praxis II examinations to become a certified school counselor in Pennsylvania. Upon graduation, school counselors will have the ability to become self-reflective leaders in various educational settings to address today's serious issues of racism, sexism, discrimination, bullying, oppression, disability, and privilege in our multicultural society from a Christian perspective.

  • Neumann University

    Aston Township, PA

    Located on a 50-acre suburban campus in the heart of the Delaware Valley within 10 miles of Wilmington and a half hour drive from downtown Philadelphia, Neumann University is an independent co-educational Catholic institution founded by the Sisters of St. Francis in the Franciscan tradition of social responsibility. With its commitment to academic excellence and real-world career preparation spiking a boom in popularity over the last decade, Neumann is now home to over 2,950 students. In particular, the Division of Graduate Studies is focused on delivering high-quality advanced programs that instill the spirit of intellectual discovery in the minds of the area's future leaders.

    With a long-lasting tradition of integrating the principles of psychology and spirituality to prepare students to meet the diverse mental and spiritual needs of today's complex pluralistic society, the Master of Science (M.S.) in Pastoral Counseling program is available for graduate students of all faiths or spiritual practices within an intellectually challenging and nurturing learning environment. After completing the 48-credit program focused on transforming clients in the mental health field, graduates will have the experiences needed to apply for becoming a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in the tri-state area to practice in hospitals, parishes, private practices, community-based clinics, behavioral agencies, corrections, vocation centers, religious institutions, and substance abuse facilities.

  • Pennsylvania State University

    University Park, PA

    Based on a vast 8,556-acre urban campus in the so-called "Happy Valley" of University Park with 24 satellite locations scattered across the commonwealth, Pennsylvania State University is the state's major flagship public land-grant research institution that enrolls more than 95,000 students statewide. Consistently ranked as one of the world's best universities by Times magazine, Penn State is currently named the 37th best college, 8th top public school, and 1st best university for veterans in the entire nation by the U.S. News and World Report. Within the 33rd best education school, the Department of Counselor Education is also acclaimed for having the 11th best school/student counseling program in the United States.

    With a unique emphasis on preparing motivated graduate students for assuming the role of professional counselor to deliver competent career counseling services to children, adolescents, and/or adults for career development, the Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Career Counseling program is focused on fostering the counseling and assessment skills that are necessary for providing appropriate interventions to individuals building a life-career plan. As a 60-credit program that requires the completion of at least two years of full-time graduate studies, the emphasis is designed to offer students the chance to specialize in career counseling for K-12 schools, universities, community settings, or private practices.

    As one of the few CACREP-accredited programs focused on mental health that prepares professionals to work in and with schools as well as in other community-based settings, the Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program follows a holistic approach to addressing mental health issues of children, adolescents, families, and adults. In order to ensure that all students have expertise in early intervention, group counseling, crisis intervention, prevention, consultation, social network, community systems, collaborative practice, and social change for licensure, the curriculum requires the completion of at least 60 credits, including practicum at the on-campus CEDAR Clinic and a supervised internship.

    Featuring an integration of appropriate classroom learning experiences with three full semesters of supervised field practicum in an approved elementary or secondary school setting to encourage the transition of theory into effective practice skills, the Master of Education (M.Ed.) in School Counseling program prepares professional counselors who meet the competencies needed to effectively function as school guidance counselors in Pennsylvania. Regardless of whether students choose to specialize in elementary school or secondary school settings, the 60-credit program will place a special emphasis on multicultural counseling techniques for practicing in today's diverse PreK-12 educational settings.

    Consistently ranked within the top ten in the nation for faculty scholarly productivity by the well-regarded Chronicle of Higher Education, the Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision program aims to foster the expansion of knowledge in the counseling field by preparing graduates to participate in cutting-edge research that will generate new scientific findings for the helping profession. Whether students are interested in becoming an educator at the university level, researcher for a private firm, or a leader in professional clinical service, the program will require the completion of four academic years with a minimum of 96 credits beyond the bachelor's degree.

Recommended Reading

Helping you prepare and gain the most out of your educational experience.

Are you ready to do impactful work in your community?

Choose what you’d like to specialize in, and discover which schools offer a counseling degree that can help you make a difference.