Top Schools for Mental Health Counseling

Mar 25, 2020

Learn about programs in mental health counseling, which can lead to a graduate degree or certificate. See what four universities have to offer in terms of academic awards and reputation, and find other schools in the U.S. that provide training in mental health counseling.

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School Information

Aspiring mental health counselors must earn graduate degrees before they can begin practicing in the field. Excellent master's and doctoral programs are available at highly ranked universities around the country. Graduate programs in mental health counseling teach students how to treat patients with mental and emotional disorders through group, individual, and family sessions. Each of these schools was nationally ranked by U.S. News & World Report and the Princeton Review for 2019.

Boston College in Massachusetts

Boston College is a Catholic Jesuit college that was tied 37th among national universities by U.S. News & World Report for 2019. That same year, the university was designated as a best value school by U.S. News & World Report, and The Princeton Review also categorized it as one of the top schools in the Northeast.

In preparation for state licensure, students can pursue a 60-hour Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology program with a concentration in mental health counseling. Aspiring professionals who intend to pursue a doctoral degree can apply to the 48-hour Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology - Mental Health Counselor program. At Boston College, the doctoral program culminates in a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Counseling Psychology. This course of study is fully accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA). Faculty members in the counseling program specialize in spirituality and mental health, among other areas of research.

University of Wisconsin - Madison

The University of Wisconsin is a public institution that U.S. News & World Report ranked 46th in a tie among national universities and ranked 13th among public schools for 2019. The university was also named as one of the best midwestern colleges by The Princeton Review for the same year.

The university offers a terminal Master of Science in Counseling program with a concentration in community counseling. On the doctoral level, students can enroll in the Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology program, which is APA-accredited. Counseling programs at the University of Wisconsin emphasize multiculturalism and diversity.

George Washington University

In the 2019 rankings, George Washington University tied for 70th on the U.S. News & World Report list of national universities. In the same year, the university also made The Princeton Review's list of the best northeastern colleges.

George Washington University offers a Master of Arts in Educaiton and Human Development with a clinical mental health counseling specialization, which is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). Additional programs can lead to a Ph.D. or a post-master's certificate in counseling. The school's Clinical Mental Health Counseling Services Center provides opportunities for internships.

Clemson University in Clemson, SC

For 2019, Clemson University tied for 70th among national universities by U.S. News & World Report, and it ranked as one of the best Southeastern colleges by The Princeton Review. At Clemson, aspiring counselors can enroll in the Master of Education/Educational Specialist in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program, which is accredited by the CACREP. This program consists of 60 credit hours and can be completed in as few years as two years of full-time study, although part-time study options are available.

Students take mental health counseling classes on topics such as group counseling, crisis counseling, and addictions counseling, and they must also log at least 700 hours of clinical field experience before graduating.

Top Mental Health Counseling Programs

There are many other schools that offer excellent mental health counseling programs and have notable characteristics.

School Name Distinction Location
Johns Hopkins University Students pursuing a master's degree in mental health counseling participate in applied learning experiences within the community Baltimore, MD
Marquette University Program in clinical mental health counseling allows for a specialization in addiction-mental health counseling Milwaukee, WI
Pennsylvania State University Master's degree program in mental health counseling emphasizes community and schoolwork University Park, PA
St. John's University Students in the clinical mental health counseling program complete a minimum of one practicum and two internships Queens, NY
University at Buffalo Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling admits only 10-15 students per year and uses a cohort model Buffalo, NY
Western Michigan University Offers the counseling psychology program at multiple campuses Kalamazoo, MI

For students who want to become mental health counselors, relevant graduate programs are available at top-ranked regional and national universities, including Boston College and Clemson University. These schools have varying considerations, such as programs with unique specialization options or accreditation by psychology associations.

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