Counseling Degree Programs in Texas

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Texas needs counselors more than ever during times of global pandemic, unemployment, and social unrest. Licensed counselors help clients navigate mental illness, addiction, relationship issues, loss of income, and many other challenges.

Texas counselors can expect to earn a mean annual salary of $45,300-$60,470, depending on specialty area and education level. The state ranks second for counselor employment.

The Texas State Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors requires a master’s or doctoral degree from an accredited college or university counseling program that includes 300 practicum hours. Each aspiring professional must pass the national counselor and state jurisprudence exams, along with a 3,000-hour postgraduate internship.

Our listing of schools offering counseling degrees in Texas all maintain accreditation by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs to ensure compliance with high academic standards.

Top 10 Counseling Degree Programs in Texas

Rank School Location
1 Sam Houston State University Huntsville, TX
2 St. Mary's University San Antonio, TX
3 Stephen F. Austin State University Nacogdoches, TX
4 Texas A&M University – Commerce Commerce, TX
5 Texas A&M – Corpus Christi Corpus Christi, TX
6 Texas State University San Marcos, TX
7 Texas Tech University Lubbock, TX
8 Texas Woman's University Denton, TX
9 University of Houston – Victoria Victoria, TX
10 University of Mary Hardin-Baylor Belton, TX
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Career Outlook for Counselors in Texas

Counselors can work in many different specializations, including mental health, substance abuse, school and vocational, and rehabilitation. Top industries include individual and family services, schools, and local and state governments.

Mental health and substance abuse counselors work with individuals, groups, and families. Vocational counselors advise on workplace issues and job losses, and rehabilitation counselors help people with disabilities live independently. School counselors assist K-12 students and their families.

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates projected job growth rates of 24% for mental health and 27% for substance abuse counselors, along with 21% for school, vocational, rehabilitation, and all other counselors from 2016-26. Mean annual salaries reached $45,300 for rehabilitation, $49,330 for mental health and substance abuse, and $60,470 for school and vocational counselors in the state. In the Killeen-Temple areas of Texas, rehabilitation counselors’ salaries rank among the top 10 cities nationwide at $59,440.

Counseling Degree Programs in Texas 2020

  • Sam Houston State University
    Location

    Huntsville, TX

    St. Mary’s University was founded in 1852 as St. Mary’s Institute by the Brothers of the Society of Mary. Known as Marianists, the founders brought Catholic education to San Antionio. The school began over a livery stable with twelve boys enrolled. Within a year, there were more than 100 boys enrolled at the school, requiring a new building to be built on Water Street. By 1890, enrollment had grown to the point that the downtown building was no longer suitable, and the West End Town Company agreed to sell 75 acres of land for $1 on the condition that a college be built there within one year. In 1894, St. Louis College opened, only accessible by horse and buggy. The location was often called the Woodlawn Campus. Eventually, all classes were moved from the downtown location to the Woodlawn Campus and renamed St. Mary’s College in 1923. In 1927, the college gained university status.

    The mission of the Department of Counseling and Human Services is to provide graduates with the knowledge and skills to obtain positions as professional counselors. Students are taught to integrate Marianist values with the needs of the community in order to promote justice, peace and human dignity necessary in a global society.

    Graduates of the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program, which replaced the Community Counseling and Mental Health Counseling program in 2009, are prepared for positions in institutions and agencies providing services to those suffering from issues related to:

    • Alcohol and drug addiction
    • Socioeconomic status
    • Unemployment
    • Aging
    • Gender
    • Culture
    • Race
    • Ethnicity
    • Chronic Illness
    • Developing transitions
    • Interpersonal, family or community violence

    Through knowledge of etiology, diagnosis and treatment, graduates provide assistance to individuals, families and communities in order to address issues that commonly face people. The program is 60 credit hours, which includes a 700 clock hour clinical practicum. Graduates meet the academic requirements for licensure in Texas.

    Students who complete the Doctor of Philosophy in Counselor Education and Supervision degree program at St. Mary’s are prepared for positions as advanced educators, clinicians and researchers who are able to integrate the Marianist values promoting justice, peace and human dignity into their work with those in need. There are three levels to the program:

    • Praxis
    • Theory
    • Philosophical Foundation

    It is structured for full-time study and takes approximately three years to complete, with the third year consisting of a residency.

    For both the Master’s and Doctorate level degrees at St. Mary’s, students must provide GRE or GMAT score as well as two official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended. For those who already have a graduate degree, test score requirements are waived. Students will also need to provide two professional recommendations as part of the application process.

    Accreditation

    • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
    • Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs
  • St. Mary's University
    Location

    San Antonio, TX

    St. Mary’s University was founded in 1852 as St. Mary’s Institute by the Brothers of the Society of Mary. Known as Marianists, the founders brought Catholic education to San Antionio. The school began over a livery stable with twelve boys enrolled. Within a year, there were more than 100 boys enrolled at the school, requiring a new building to be built on Water Street. By 1890, enrollment had grown to the point that the downtown building was no longer suitable, and the West End Town Company agreed to sell 75 acres of land for $1 on the condition that a college be built there within one year. In 1894, St. Louis College opened, only accessible by horse and buggy. The location was often called the Woodlawn Campus. Eventually, all classes were moved from the downtown location to the Woodlawn Campus and renamed St. Mary’s College in 1923. In 1927, the college gained university status.

    The mission of the Department of Counseling and Human Services is to provide graduates with the knowledge and skills to obtain positions as professional counselors. Students are taught to integrate Marianist values with the needs of the community in order to promote justice, peace and human dignity necessary in a global society.

    Graduates of the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program, which replaced the Community Counseling and Mental Health Counseling program in 2009, are prepared for positions in institutions and agencies providing services to those suffering from issues related to:

    • Alcohol and drug addiction
    • Socioeconomic status
    • Unemployment
    • Aging
    • Gender
    • Culture
    • Race
    • Ethnicity
    • Chronic Illness
    • Developing transitions
    • Interpersonal, family or community violence

    Through knowledge of etiology, diagnosis and treatment, graduates provide assistance to individuals, families and communities in order to address issues that commonly face people. The program is 60 credit hours, which includes a 700 clock hour clinical practicum. Graduates meet the academic requirements for licensure in Texas.

    Students who complete the Doctor of Philosophy in Counselor Education and Supervision degree program at St. Mary’s are prepared for positions as advanced educators, clinicians and researchers who are able to integrate the Marianist values promoting justice, peace and human dignity into their work with those in need. There are three levels to the program:

    • Praxis
    • Theory
    • Philosophical Foundation

    It is structured for full-time study and takes approximately three years to complete, with the third year consisting of a residency.

    For both the Master’s and Doctorate level degrees at St. Mary’s, students must provide GRE or GMAT score as well as two official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended. For those who already have a graduate degree, test score requirements are waived. Students will also need to provide two professional recommendations as part of the application process.

  • Stephen F. Austin State University
    Location

    Nacogdoches, TX

    Moses Austin was granted permission by Spain to settle 300 families in Texas, but he died while recruiting settlers in Louisiana. His son, Stephen, took over the project. A series of Mexican leaders rejected the land grant, but the younger Austin persevered, governing every aspect of the original 300 families’ settlement in southeast Texas, and by 1832 had settled another 900 families in the area. Austin was imprisoned in Mexico for his support of Texas statehood, but helped gain that independence from Mexico when he returned in 1835. Today, the school that bears his name has approximately 13,000 students enrolled in 83 undergraduate majors and 120 areas of study.

    The Department of Human Services focuses on educating students who wish to enhance a specific population’s ability to live life more completely and successfully. The faculty and staff are researcher-practitioners with an invested future in the students they teach. Their goal is to provide the knowledge and skills students will need as they go about helping others help themselves more efficiently.

    The Clinical Mental Health Counseling program is a 60-hour program that prepares students for licensure as a Licensed Professional Counselor in Texas. Those who complete the program have the knowledge and skills to work in hospitals, state agencies, private practices and non-profit organizations. Students must have completed an undergraduate Abnormal Psychology and General Psychology before admission to the program, or within the first two semesters of admission. In addition, as part of their curriculum, students must take:

    • Clinical Mental Health Counseling
    • Legal and Ethical Issues in Counseling
    • Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counseling Seminar

    The School Counseling program at Stephen F. Austin State University prepares students for positions in Texas public schools as a Certified School Counselor or in any other profession that requires a Licensed Professional Counselor. Applicants must be a certified teacher with a minimum of two years classroom experience and must hold teaching credentials before admittance. In addition to core classes, students must take The School Counselor and School Counseling Programs.

    Accreditation

    • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
    • Council for Accreditation of Counseling Related Programs
    • National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education
  • Texas A&M University – Commerce
    Location

    Commerce, TX

    Texas A&M University at Commerce has been educating students since 1889 after being founded by William Leonidas Mayo to provide “ceaseless industry, fearless investigation, unfettered thought, and unselfish service to others.” The school began as the East Texas Normal School, dedicated to educating teachers, in Cooper. The campus was destroyed by fire in 1894 at which time the university moved to Commerce. In 1917, the State of Texas purchased the campus and it was renamed East Texas State Teachers College. In order to better demonstrate the courses of study at the school, the name was changed to East Texas State College in 1957, gaining university status in 1962. In 1996, the school became Texas A&M – Commerce when it joined the Texas A&M system.

    The College of Education and Human Services at Texas A&M – Commerce educates teachers, administrators and human service professionals in order to improve the quality of life in Texas and beyond. The university has graduated more high school principals, superintendents and school counselors than any other college or university in the state. The college partners with local school districts so that students obtain on-the-job training, while social work and counseling students are provided internships and practicums to apply the classroom theory they learn.

    The Master of Science in Counseling with a Clinical Mental Health and School Counseling concentration emphasizes school counseling for those who are seeking school counselor certifications and clinical mental health counseling for students who plan to seek positions as a Licensed Professional Counselor. Students may be certified in both by completing PSY 503 along with a marriage and family course. Both courses are a 60 hour program and include a common core along with courses that are specific to each emphasis.

    The Master of Education in Counseling is a 36-hour program designed for those who desire positions in college and university student affairs offices, but desire a background in counseling. Graduates of the program often seek positions in:

    • Student Activities
    • Career Services
    • Academic Advising
    • Greek Affairs
    • Recruiting and Admissions
    • Residence Life
    • Student Affairs Offices

    For all Master’s degree concentrations, students must provide three professional references and a personal statement addressing a specific departmental question. Students must also provide GRE scores and a General Exam is required.

    The Ph.D. program in Counselor Education prepares students to be practitioners, counselor educators and leaders in the counseling profession. Objectives for the program include:

    • Acquisition of a broad knowledge base beyond what is required to enter the counseling profession
    • Completion of successful internships related to their professional goals
    • Refined research skills beyond that related to counseling resulting in discoveries that are significant in the counseling profession
    • Comparison and contrasting of theories based on goals, roles and techniques for change with an emphasis on supervisory techniques.

    Accreditation

    • Council for Accreditation of Counseling Related Programs
  • Texas A&M – Corpus Christi
    Location

    Corpus Christi, TX

    Texas A&M in Corpus Christi began in 1947 as the University of Corpus Christi, which was affiliated with the Baptist General Convention of Texas. In 1970, Hurricane Celia caused significant damage to the campus, located on Ward Island. In 1971, the Texas legislature gave approval for a state-supported higher education institution in Corpus Christi, and the college opened its doors in 1973 as Texas A&I University at Corpus Christi. In 1977, the college changed its name to Corpus Christi State University, and in 1989, joined the Texas A&M University System. Today, there are approximately 10,000 students enrolled at the university.

    The College of Education at Texas A&M – Corpus Christi prepares students to become leaders that represent a diverse background and varied experiences in order to serve the educational needs of the community. Students spend a significant amount of their experience observing and working with experienced teachers and counselors. Students are assigned one-on-one with an experienced master teacher in the field-based program, allowing them to move from observation through cooperative teaching to full responsibility for a classroom.

    Students who enroll in the Master of Science in Counseling program may choose to enter the addictions track. This track is designed to prepare students for positions assisting those who are suffering from addiction, such as drugs or alcohol. Students receive training in collaboration and consultation strategies that enable them to work with families, agencies, parents and other personnel to create effective treatment plans for those who are suffering from addiction. Courses specific to the concentration include:

    • Addictions Counseling
    • Theories and Techniques in Substance Abuse Counseling
    • Advanced Strategies in Process Addictions and Substance Abuse Counseling
    • Counseling for Holistic Wellness

    Students must complete a practicum and internships in order to complete the degree.

    Students who complete the Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling provides the knowledge and skills for graduates to work with individuals, families, groups and the community in order to identify and develop effective treatments for those with mental health challenges. Students are qualified for licensure as a Professional Licensure. Courses specific to the concentration include:

    • Addictions Counseling
    • Introduction to Clinical Mental Health Counseling
    • Introduction to Marriage, Couple, & Family Counseling
    • Clinical Mental Health Counseling Strategies
    • Strategies in Family Counseling or Counseling Couples

    Students must also complete a practicum and internships to complete the degree requirements.

    Students who enter the Master of Science in Counseling program at Texas A&M – Corpus Christi can choose to concentrate their studies in Marriage, Couple and Family Counseling. Objectives of the program include:

    • Ability to demonstrate a professional counselor identity
    • An understanding of the basic components of counseling
    • Adherence to professional ethical standards
    • Knowledge of the importance of the practice of advocacy
    • Understanding of effective counseling and clinical skills while dealing with diverse populations

    Courses specific to this concentration include:

    • Introduction to Marriage, Couple and Family Counseling
    • Strategies in Family Counseling
    • Counseling Couples
    • Family Counseling with Children and Adolescents

    Students must also complete a practicum and internships in order to complete the program. Upon completion, students are eligible for Licensure as a Marriage and Family Therapist.

    Students who enter the Master of Science in Counseling program at the university can concentrate their studies in School Counseling. This program prepares students for positions working with students and parents in a school setting. Students learn objective through examinations, class rubrics, individual development plans and annual reviews. All students must pass a comprehensive written examination. Courses specific to this concentration include:

    • Responsive Services in Schools
    • Developmental School Counseling
    • Consultation in School Settings
    • Family Counseling with Children and Adolescents
    • All students must also successfully complete a practicum and internships in order to obtain the degree.

    The Counselor Education Doctoral Program meets the current needs in counseling and counselor education with a mission to prepare counselor educators and community leaders for careers regionally, nationally and internationally. Counselor education professors are in high demand, and the program meets that need by creating graduates with research, teaching and supervision skills. The Department of Counseling and Educational Psychology at Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi was recognized by the Association for Counselor Education and Supervision as an Outstanding Counselor Education Program with the awarding of the Robert Frank Outstanding Counselor Education Program Award.

    Accreditation

    • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
    • Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs
  • Texas State University
    Location

    San Marcos, TX

    In 1899, Texas State University began as the Southwest Texas State Normal School, opening its doors officially in 1903. As the scope of the institution grew over the years, the state changed its name to Southwest Texas State Normal College and to Southwest Texas Teachers College. In 2003, the school became Texas State University. Today, more than 35,000 students choose Texas State for their 96 bachelor’s, 86 masters and 12 doctoral degree programs.

    The mission of the College of Education is to enhance human potential for everyone through community engagement, exceptional teaching and relevant scholarship. The college prepares students for careers in the mental health profession as well as in the educational field.

    The Master of Arts in Professional Counseling can be earned with a focus in Community Counseling. Although a thesis is optional for the degree, but encouraged. The program places a strong emphasis on experiential learning that is integrated with research-based knowledge. An internship is required as part of the capstone experience. It is a 61-hour program and mets the requirements for Licensed Professional Counselor in Texas. Students may also specialize their focus toward children or adults.

    Students may choose to focus their Master of Arts in Professional Counseling in Marital, Couple and Family Counseling. This focus provides students with the knowledge and skills to become family counselors in a variety of settings. A thesis is not required, but are encouraged. An internship is also required as part of the degree. It is a 61-hour program and meets the requirement for both Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Licensed Professional Counselor in Texas.

    Graduates with a Master of Arts in Professional Counseling with a focus in school counseling are qualified to become counselors in a school setting. Students may choose not to do a thesis, but it is encouraged as part of the learning process. Students must complete an internship in order to obtain the degree. It is a 55-hour program and it meets all academic requirements for school counseling certification in Texas. Students may choose to focus their concentration on either elementary or secondary school counseling. The program also collaborates with schools in the area to provide on-the-job experience.

    Accreditation

    • Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs
  • Texas Tech University
    Location

    Lubbock, TX

    Standing proudly on a vast 1,839-acre urban campus as the leading employer for the surrounding town of Lubbock in the medical center for western Texas and eastern New Mexico, Texas Tech University is a major public residential research institution with a large community of more than 26,500 students. As the first institution in Texas to earn the classification for community engagement by the prestigious Carnegie Foundation, Texas Tech is ranked as the 161st best college and 88th top public school. Within the 116th best education school, the Department of Educational Psychology and Leadership offers the 166th best online graduate education programs in the entire nation.

    As a 60-credit professional degree option for qualified graduate students who have already achieved a bachelor’s degree in a related human service area, the M.Ed. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling is designed to provide an extensive preparation for individuals who are seeking to work in diverse mental health settings. Along with advanced courses covering topics in group counseling, counseling techniques, dysfunctional behavior, family counseling, addictions, diversity, crisis intervention, and human development, students will be required to complete an internship experience in any approved clinical setting and pass the Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Evaluation (CPCE).

    Founded with a focus on family dynamics for application in elementary and school settings, the M.Ed. in School Counseling program is structured to prepare graduates for working with K-12 students to reach their fullest potential. In addition to the required 48 credits, the program consists of 100 practicum hours in preparation for a 600-hour approved internship that provides the opportunity for students to participate in both individual and group counseling in a local Lubbock area clinical setting. While the program does fulfill the academic requirements for initial licensure in Texas, graduates will be required to complete an additional 3,000 clock hours of supervised experience.

    With national accreditation through the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), the Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision program features a strong emphasis on the advanced studies of counseling techniques, practices, theories, research, and advocacy. As a professional program that requires between 93 and 99 semester hours beyond the bachelor’s degree, the curriculum has been structured to provide the experiences that are needed to develop solid counselor educators, supervisors, researchers, practitioners, and leaders. Graduates of the program may go on to find high-level leadership positions in a wide variety of educational and clinical mental health settings.

    Accreditations

    • Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP)
    • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS)
  • Texas Woman's University
    Location

    Denton, TX

    As the country’s largest university primarily for women with a total headcount of more than 15,000 students, Texas Woman’s University is a comprehensive public co-educational institution based on a 270-acre urban campus in Denton with satellite locations spread across the metropolitan areas of Dallas and Houston. With a reputation for graduating more new healthcare professionals than any other college in Texas, the Department of Counseling and Development is highly effective at preparing professional counselors for working in schools, universities, community agencies, mental health centers, and private businesses.

    Boasting small class sizes that enable students to enjoy more individualized one-on-one attention from full-time experienced family members, the M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program is designed to lead graduate students through an exciting professional development training that prepares them for pursuing the role of Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in clinical settings statewide. Within the 60-credit program, students will learn all of the latest innovative and creative counseling strategies that can be helpful for working with clients across the age spectrum. Furthermore, students will gain hands-on experience at the college’s on-site community-based clinic to provide discounted counseling services to Denton's citizens.

    Strongly based on incorporating the current break-through counseling techniques of music therapy and play therapy for helping students in elementary and/or secondary schools to overcome their physical, emotional, mental, social, or intellectual learning challenges, the M.S. in School Counseling prepares graduates to receive certification as a Professional School Counselor (K-12) within Texas. Within the 60-credit program, students will enjoy evening and weekend classes that are more flexible for working professionals and other non-traditional returning students. For completion, students must successfully complete an internship in counseling within an approved school setting for 600 hours.

    Accreditations

    • Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP)
    • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS)
  • University of Houston – Victoria
    Location

    Victoria, TX

    Based on a main urban campus in the regional hub of Victoria within just 30 miles from the shore of the Gulf of Mexico with satellite teaching sites available in Fort Bend, Harris, and Montgomery counties, the University of Houston – Victoria is a comprehensive four-year public institution that offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 4,800 students annually. Since its beginnings in 1973, the School of Education and Human Development has had a rich tradition for preparing students for becoming the next generation of educational and human service leaders.

    Consistently recognized for providing the highest caliber of counselor education in the profession for the local and surrounding communities of Texas, the M.Ed. in Community Counseling program is designed to provide graduate students with the knowledge, skills, abilities, techniques, and experiences needed to excel as professional counselors in community-based agency settings or any other mental health centers. After students successfully complete the required 12 credits of core, 33 credits of major coursework, and three credits from electives, graduates have demonstrated the competency in counseling that is needed to satisfy the requirements for licensure in Texas.

    Ideal for qualified graduate students who have career interests in counseling that will lead to employment in public or private K-12 schools, community colleges, and universities, the M.Ed. in School Counseling program aims to develop the most essential knowledge base that is needed to achieve school counselor certification in concert with earning the advanced degree. In order to ensure that all graduates have the broad understanding of human lifespan development that is needed to provide high-quality guidance programs that meet the needs of all students in elementary and secondary school settings, the curriculum includes the completion of at least 48 semester credits with a culminating 600-hour supervised internship.

    Accreditations

    • Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP)
    • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS)
  • University of Mary Hardin-Baylor
    Location

    Belton, TX

    Since its inception in 1845 by the Baptist General Convention of Texas, the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor has evolved into one of the state’s oldest and most reputable private institutions with a Christ-centered learning community of more than 3,200 students. Strategically located on a scenic 200-acre urban campus in the heart of Belton between the cities of Dallas and San Antonio, UMHB is ranked as the 54th best college in the West by the U.S. News and World Report. The Graduate School is particularly committed to offering small classes on evenings and/or weekends to accommodate working professionals throughout Central Texas in becoming leading experts in their fields.

    Within the mission of preparing graduate students with the learning experiences that are needed to excel in today’s job market as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and National Certified Counselor (NCC), the M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling is fully accredited through the CACREP to provide the instruction for producing graduates who are able to work collaboratively with solid counseling strategies. Available for students of diverse educational backgrounds and cultural experiences, the program seeks to develop master’s level clinicians who are involved in all aspects of the mental health and/or education fields. In order to obtain the degree, students must complete a minimum of 60 credit hours with a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 or higher.

    Accreditations

    • Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP)
    • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS)

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