Counseling Degrees and Programs in Arkansas
To become a professional counselor in Arkansas, you will likely need to complete a counseling degree in your desired area of practice. There are many colleges and universities in this southern state that offer programs in the five major counseling fields: mental health counseling, marriage and family therapy, rehabilitation counseling, school counseling, and substance abuse counseling. Before choosing a school and program, you will likely want to review the options available and the state licensure requirements to build a successful counseling career. Arkansas colleges and universities offer both undergraduate and graduate counseling programs, although master’s degrees in counseling are more common as this level of study is often required for professional counseling licensure. You will also find that many Arkansas schools offer online or hybrid counseling programs that enable you to complete your coursework at home while meeting the same rigorous academic requirements as on-campus programs.
- There are 10 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 Arkansas.1,2
- Of the counseling schools in Arkansas, 0 offer an associate degree, 1 offers a bachelor’s degree, 2 offer a certificate, and 10 offer a master’s or advanced degree.1,2
- 4 schools offer a degree in mental health counseling.1,2
- 2 schools offer a degree in marriage and family therapy.1,2
- 2 schools offer a degree in vocational rehabilitation counseling.1,2
- 9 schools offer a degree in school counseling.1,2
- 4 schools offer a degree in substance abuse counseling.1,2
- No schools ranked in US News & World Report’s Best Student Counseling Programs 2022.3
- 5 schools ranked in US News & World Report’s Best Online M.Ed. Programs for Student Counseling 2022.4
- Across 4 schools, 8 counseling programs are accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).2
- No counseling programs are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE).5
Comparison of Arkansas Counseling Schools and Programs
The table below contains useful information that will allow you to compare the public and not-for-profit colleges and universities in Arkansas offering counseling programs in the following five 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. You can find more information about the steps to counseling licensure in Arkansas by visiting our license requirements page.
|MH||MF||VR||SC||SA||Grad Rate1||Net Price1|
|Arkansas State University||Yes||Yes||—||—||Yes||Yes||54%||$13,560|
|Arkansas Tech University||—||—||—||—||Yes||—||46%||$11,097|
|Henderson State University||Yes||Yes||—||—||Yes||Yes||37%||$16,233|
|John Brown University||—||Yes||Yes||—||Yes||—||70%||$18,298|
|Southern Arkansas University||—||—||—||—||Yes||—||40%||$14,141|
|University of Arkansas||Yes||—||—||Yes||Yes||—||70%||$15,218|
|University of Arkansas at Little Rock||—||—||—||Yes||Yes||—||40%||$11,901|
|University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff||—||—||—||—||—||Yes||41%||$11,053|
|University of Central Arkansas||—||Yes||—||—||Yes||Yes||49%||$14,042|
Top-Ranked Schools with Counseling Programs in Arkansas
US News & World Report’s Best Online M.Ed. Programs for Student Counseling 2022
- Arkansas State University–Jonesboro (#184 tie)
- Southern Arkansas University (#189 tie)
- Arkansas Tech University (#252-329)
- John Brown University (#253-329)
- University of Central Arkansas (#253-329)4
Schools in Arkansas with Counseling Degrees
Traditional Undergraduate Programs
Arkansas Tech University (ATU) offers a 120-credit Bachelor of Science (BS) in Rehabilitation Science that must be completed in combination with a minor in Addictions; Aging; Child Welfare and Social Services; Corrections; Disabilities Studies; or Recreation Services. Students complete a supervised field placement and will be prepared for entry-level rehabilitation counseling jobs or graduate study in professional or rehabilitation counseling. ATU also offers a Master in Education (M.Ed.) in School Counseling and Leadership that is comprised of 45 credits, including 17 credits of core education and counseling courses, 21 credits of school leadership and counseling specialty coursework, and 10 credits of supervised field experience. All students must also complete a thesis or major project to meet the degree requirements. This degree prepares students to become school counselors in Arkansas in K-12 settings. Students also have the option to add an additional 15 hours in community counseling coursework to be eligible for an LPC credential in Arkansas.
The University of Central Arkansas (UCA) offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees in counseling. The Bachelor of Science (BS) in Addiction Studies is available as a 120-credit, four-year undergraduate degree at the Conway campus. Two tracks are offered in Treatment or Prevention, each requiring specific coursework. Students who have already earned an associate degree and are pursuing the Treatment track have the option of completing their bachelor’s degree online. Graduates meet the educational requirements for the Alcohol and Drug Counselor certification offered by the Arkansas Substance Abuse Certification Board. At the graduate level, a Master of Science (MS) in School Counseling is available with tracks for licensed or non-licensed teacher applicants. The degree is only available online and utilizes both synchronous and asynchronous sessions. An on-campus, 60-credit MS in Mental Health Counseling is also available and meets the academic requirements in Arkansas to become a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC).
Traditional Graduate Programs
Henderson State University offers a CACREP-accredited Master of Science (MS) in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and a CACREP-accredited Master of Science in Education (MSEd) in School Counseling. The MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling requires 60 credits and teaches students about human development and psychology, mental health assessment and treatment, and diversity in counseling. Students also complete 100 hours of practicum and 600 hours of internship. Graduates will meet the academic requirements to become Licensed Professional Counselors (LPCs) in Arkansas. The MSEd in School Counseling comprises 60 credits and prepares graduates to work as school counselors in elementary, middle, and secondary school settings. With additional coursework, graduates may meet the academic requirements for the LPC credential as well.
At the main campus in Fayetteville, the University of Arkansas (U of A) offers a Master of Science (MS) in Counseling with three concentrations: Clinical Mental Health Counseling, School Counseling, and Rehabilitation Counseling, all of which are CACREP-accredited. Each program consists of 60 credits, with a shared 36-credit counseling core and 24 credits of additional coursework in the area of specialization. All concentrations meet state requirements to become a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and the MS in School Counseling may meet state requirements to become a school counselor depending on the individual’s prior education and experience. New students are admitted in the fall and spring terms. U of A also offers a CACREP-accredited Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Counselor Education open to students with a master’s degree in counseling.
Online and Hybrid Programs
Arkansas State University (ASU) offers several graduate degrees in counseling, including an online 48-credit Master of Science in Education (MSEd) in School Counseling. The program accepts both licensed and non-licensed teacher applicants and meets state requirements to become a school counselor. On-campus degree offerings include a Specialist in Education (EdS) in Psychology and Counseling with a Clinical and Mental Health Counseling track that can be designed to meet state educational requirements for licensure as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC). ASU also offers a Graduate Certificate in Clinical Mental Health Counseling that is open to students with a graduate degree in a counseling-related field. This program can help counseling professionals develop advanced clinical skills, complete additional coursework to meet the educational requirements for LPC licensure, or complete coursework to be eligible for licensure in a different area of counseling.
Harding University is a Christian university offering online graduate degrees in counseling at the Searcy, North Little Rock, and Northwest Arkansas campuses. The CACREP-accredited Clinical Mental Health Counseling program is offered as a 60-credit Master of Science (MS) and includes courses in counseling theories, group counseling techniques, psychopharmacology, and research methods, as well as many courses that are offered in a hybrid format. The degree meets state coursework requirements for the Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) license. The 60-credit MS in Marriage and Family Therapy/Counseling is a cohort-based program that meets LPC and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) educational requirements in Arkansas. The CACREP-accredited MS in Professional School Counseling is a 60-credit program that meets state requirements to become a school counselor. An Educational Specialist (Ed.S.) in Counseling program is also available to students who have already earned a master’s degree in a counseling-related field and offers four concentrations: Marriage and Family Counseling, Professional Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Professional School Counseling, and Licensure Proficiency.
At Southern Arkansas University (SAU), students can complete a counseling degree online or in combination with classes at the Magnolia campus. The 60-credit Master of Science (MS) in Clinical and Mental Health Counseling takes approximately four years to complete and is designed to meet state requirements for the Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) license. Examples of classes include Counseling in a Diverse Society; Assessment Procedures for Counselors; and Advanced Counseling Skills and Techniques. SAU also offers a 48-credit Master of Education (M.Ed.) in School Counseling that takes approximately three years to complete. Graduates will meet state requirements to become school counselors in Arkansas and provide guidance and counseling services to students in K-12 settings. SAU also offers a one-year, 12-credit Certificate in School Counseling to licensed teachers.
The University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR) offers an online Master of Arts (MA) in Counseling with four concentrations: Counselor Education, Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling, Clinical Mental Health Counseling, and Traditional Rehabilitation Counseling. Both Rehabilitation Counseling tracks, as well as the Clinical Mental Health Counseling track, require 60 credits, while the Counselor Education track comprises 48 credits. All coursework is available online and equips students to meet state academic requirements to become a Licensed Professional Counselors (LPCs). Clinical Mental Health Counselors (CMHCs), Certified Rehabilitation Counselors (CRCs), or Licensed School Counselors.
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