Counseling Degrees and Programs in Alabama
To start a counseling career in Alabama, you’ll likely need at least a graduate degree in one of the main areas of counseling practice: mental health counseling, rehabilitation counseling, marriage and family therapy, school counseling, and substance abuse counseling. Luckily, Alabama offers prospective counselors numerous college and university degree programs to choose from. Undergraduate programs typically introduce students to foundational counseling theories and may include supervised work experience or a final project. Graduate degrees offer the chance to develop professional counseling skills and fulfill the educational requirements for licensure. More advanced programs, such as Educational Specialist (EdS) degrees, are available to students with counseling experience. There are also numerous online and hybrid counseling programs in Alabama that offer students greater scheduling flexibility and the opportunity to study from home.
- There are 15 not-for-profit colleges and universities that offer a program in marriage and family therapy, mental health counseling, school counseling, substance abuse counseling, and/or vocational rehabilitation counseling in Alabama.1,2
- Of the counseling schools in Alabama, 1 offers an associate degree, 0 offer a bachelor’s degree, 1 offers a certificate, and 14 offer a master’s or advanced degree.1,2
- 4 schools offer a degree in mental health counseling.1,2
- 3 schools offer a degree in marriage and family therapy.1,2
- 2 schools offer a degree in vocational rehabilitation counseling.1,2
- 12 schools offer a degree in school counseling.1,2
- 1 school offers a degree in substance abuse counseling.1,2
- No schools ranked in US News & World Report’s Best Student Counseling Programs 2022.3
- 3 schools ranked in US News & World Report’s Best Online M.Ed. Programs for Student Counseling 2022.4
- Across 10 schools, 23 counseling programs are accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs (CACREP).2
- Across 1 school, 1 counseling program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE).5
Comparison of Alabama Counseling Schools and Programs
Below, we have compiled a table that allows you to compare the public and not-for-profit colleges and universities in Alabama that offer counseling programs in the following areas: mental health counseling (MH), marriage and family therapy (MF), vocational rehabilitation counseling (VR), school counseling (SC), and substance abuse counseling (SA). Use the table to compare each school by program type offered, Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) accreditation status, graduation rate, and net price per year. If you are interested in learning more about counseling licensure Alabama, read our license requirements page.
|MH||MF||VR||SC||SA||Grad Rate1||Net Price1|
|Alabama State University||Yes||—||—||Yes||Yes||—||28%||$12,875|
|Auburn University at Montgomery||Yes||—||—||—||Yes||—||36%||$14,322|
|Gadsden State Community College||—||—||—||—||—||Yes||27%||$4,890|
|Jacksonville State University||Yes||—||—||—||Yes||—||50%||$13,426|
|University of Alabama||Yes||Yes||—||Yes||Yes||—||72%||$21,263|
|University of Alabama at Birmingham||Yes||Yes||—||—||Yes||—||62%||$12,486|
|University of Mobile||—||—||Yes||—||—||—||51%||$21,638|
|University of Montevallo||Yes||—||—||—||Yes||—||52%||$17,207|
|University of North Alabama||Yes||—||—||—||Yes||—||51%||$12,379|
|University of South Alabama||Yes||—||—||—||Yes||—||47%||$14,984|
|University of West Alabama||—||Yes||Yes||—||Yes||—||39%||$15,435|
Top-Ranked Schools with Counseling Programs in Alabama
US News & World Report’s Best Online M.Ed. Programs for Student Counseling 2022
- Auburn University (#10 tie)
- University of Alabama (#20 tie)
- Auburn University-Montgomery (#237 tie)4
Schools in Alabama with Counseling Degrees
Traditional Undergraduate Programs
Students interested in rehabilitation counseling careers can complete an undergraduate or graduate degree at Alabama State University (ASU), a Historically Black institution in Montgomery. The Bachelor of Science in Rehabilitation Services (BSRS) with a Concentration in Addiction Studies is comprised of 120 credits including 26 credits in rehabilitation and addiction studies. The BSRS prepares students to work in entry-level rehabilitation counseling careers with clients with a range of behavioral, cognitive, and developmental disabilities. Students in other undergraduate programs can complete an 18-credit Minor in Rehabilitation Services with a Concentration in Addiction Studies. The CACREP-accredited Master of Science in Rehabilitation Counseling (MRC) requires 60 credits and offers a more in-depth study of disability, case management, and rehabilitation counseling techniques. ASU also offers a Master of Science (MS) in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and a Master of Education (M.Ed.) in School Counseling that are CACREP-accredited and meet state requirements for the Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) license and school counseling credential, respectively. Educational Specialist (EdS) degrees are also offered in both of these areas. The graduate programs are offered in face-to-face, online, and hybrid formats.
Auburn University is home to numerous counseling programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Undergraduate students can complete a 120-credit Bachelor of Science (BS) in Rehabilitation and Disability Studies, which introduces students to the skills needed to counsel clients with disabilities or combine a 15-credit Minor in Counseling with another undergraduate major. At the graduate level, Auburn offers CACREP-accredited online and on-campus programs. The 60-credit Master of Education (M.Ed.) in School Counseling prepares students to work as certified school counselors in Alabama. M.Ed.s are also offered in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling, which are both comprised of 60 to 64 credits. The MS programs require students to complete a research thesis. Graduates in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program will fulfill the state educational requirements for the Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) license. An on-campus CACREP-accredited Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Counselor Education is also available.
Traditional Graduate Programs
Troy University offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in counseling at campuses across Alabama and the surrounding states. The graduate degree options include three CACREP-accredited programs: a 60-credit Master of Science (MS) in Clinical Mental Health Counseling that meets state educational requirements to become a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), a 48-credit Master of Science in Education (MSEd) in School Counseling that meets school counselor requirements, and a 48-credit MS in Rehabilitation Counseling. Two additional 48-hour MS programs are offered in Substance Abuse Counseling and Student Affairs Counseling. Troy also offers Education Specialist (Ed.S.) programs in School Counseling and General Counseling, as well as Certificates in Addictions Counseling, Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Counseling; and Counseling Military Populations that enable students to deepen their professional skills and knowledge. A 120-credit Bachelor of Science (BS) in Rehabilitation Studies and an 18-credit Minor in Rehabilitation Studies are offered at the undergraduate level at the main campus.
The University of Montevallo offers prospective counselors a Master of Education (M.Ed.) with three CACREP-accredited tracks in Clinical Mental Health Counseling; School Counseling; and Couples and Family Counseling. All three tracks include 39 credits of core counseling courses, such as Assessment in Counseling and Advanced Human Growth and Development. The M.Ed. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling requires the completion of an additional 21 specialized credits and prepares students to work as professional counselors in hospitals, mental health facilities, and community agencies. The M.Ed. in School Counseling requires 21 additional credits and prepares students to work in both elementary and secondary school settings. Students in the M.Ed. in Couples and Family Counseling must complete 21 additional credits focused on family system theories and group counseling techniques. Each track meets Alabama educational requirements for the Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) license.
The University of North Alabama is home to two CACREP-accredited graduate counseling degrees. The Master of Arts (MA) in Clinical Mental Health Counseling is a 60-credit degree that prepares students to provide professional counseling services in a variety of mental health settings, such as mental health facilities, social service organizations, and private practice. Upon graduation, students will meet the state coursework requirements to become Licensed Professional Counselors (LPCs) in Alabama. The Master of Arts in Education (MAEd) in School Counseling requires students to complete 48-51 credits, including a practicum and two internships. Graduates of this degree program are eligible to become certified as school counselors in Alabama and work with students at the elementary, middle, and secondary school levels.
Online and Hybrid Programs
Jacksonville State University (JSU) offers two CACREP-accredited Master of Science in Education (MSE) in Counselor Education degrees with a hybrid format. The MSE in Clinical Mental Health Counseling is comprised of 60 credits, while the MSE in School Counseling is a 45-48 credit degree. Both concentrations share a 24-credit counseling core with additional courses in the area of specialization. Graduates of the MSE in Clinical Mental Health Counseling meet Alabama educational requirements for the Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) license. Students in the MSE in School Counseling program will meet all state requirements to become a P-12 school counselor. Individuals who already have a master’s degree in counseling can complete a CACREP-accredited Educational Specialist (EdS) degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling or School Counseling completely online. The EdS programs require 30 semester hours and enable students to meet the educational requirements for an additional area of counseling practice or develop in-depth expertise in one area.
The University of Alabama, often referred to as “Bama,” offers several counseling programs, including online degrees. The Master of Arts (MA) in Rehabilitation Counseling is an online program that combines asynchronous coursework with live classes via videoconference and a supervised field experience. The degree is also offered on-campus along with an MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and an MA in School Counseling. All versions of the MA are accredited by CACREP and require 60 credits. The MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling meets state coursework requirements for the Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) license, while the MA in School Counseling enables graduates to become certified school counselors in Alabama. The university also offers an online Educational Specialist (EdS) in Counselor Education (School Counselor Certification) designed to help professional counselors deepen their knowledge in a particular aspect of counseling. A CACREP-accredited Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Counselor Education is also available to experienced counselors. At the undergraduate level, the University of Alabama offers a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Addiction and Recovery Studies that prepares students for entry-level careers in the addiction field. Coursework from the degree may be used to meet state requirements for the Alcohol and Drug Counselor (ADC) credential. A minoir in Addiction and Recovery Studies is also available.
The University of West Alabama (UWA) offers prospective counselors several online degree options. The Master of Science (MS) in Clinical Mental Health Counseling is a 60-credit program that takes at least two years to complete and meets state requirements for the Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) license. The MS in Family Counseling is a 33-credit program that takes one to two years of full-time study. Several start dates are available throughout the year with courses offered in eight-week blocks. Other online options include a 60-credit Master of Education (M.Ed.) in School Counseling that requires a valid teaching certificate and meets state requirements to become a school counselor; and a 33-credit advanced Educational Specialist (EdS) degree in School Counseling leading to licensure for students who already have a graduate degree in school counseling; an MS in Adult Continuing Education: Counseling and Psychology for licensed counselors; and an MS in Guidance and Counseling, which is a replica of the M.Ed. in School Counseling, but for students not eligible since they do not have a teaching certificate.
1. National Center for Education Statistics College Navigator: https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
2. Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs, Accredited Programs: https://www.cacrep.org/directory/
3. US News & World Report Best Student Counseling Programs, 2022: https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-education-schools/student-counseling-rankings
4. US News & World Report Best Online Master’s in Education Programs Offering Student Counseling and Personnel Services 2022: https://www.usnews.com/education/online-education/education/student-counseling-rankings
5. Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education, Directory of COAMFTE Accredited Programs: https://coamfte.org/COAMFTE/Directory_of_Accredited_Programs/MFT_Training_Programs.aspx