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Online and On-Campus Counseling Degrees and Programs in California

California is home to more than 80 schools that offer programs in the five major counseling disciplines: mental health counseling, marriage and family therapy, rehabilitation counseling, school counseling, and substance abuse counseling. California’s counseling schools offer traditional on-campus programs as well as online and hybrid options. Online counseling degrees use web-based platforms for instruction, while hybrid degrees combine online coursework with on-campus classes. Over 25 schools in California offer hybrid and online counseling degrees, providing an accessible education to those who can’t commit to on-campus programs.

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California Counseling School Facts

  • There are 82 not-for-profit colleges and universities that offer a program in mental health counseling, marriage and family therapy, school counseling, substance abuse counseling, and/or vocational rehabilitation counseling in California.1
  • Of the counseling schools in California, 30 offer an associate degree, 2 offer a bachelor’s degree, 43 offer a certificate, and 41 offer a master’s degree or PhD.1
  • 28 schools in California offer at least one hybrid or online counseling program.
  • 31 schools offer a degree in mental health counseling.1
  • 38 schools offer a degree in marriage and family therapy.1
  • 6 schools offer a degree in vocational rehabilitation counseling. 1
  • 30 schools offer a degree in school counseling.1
  • 44 schools offer a degree in substance abuse counseling.1
  • No schools ranked in US News & World Report’s Best Student Counseling Programs 2022.2
  • 7 schools ranked in US News & World Report’s Best Online M.Ed. Programs for Student Counseling 2022.3
  • Across 30 schools, 58 counseling programs are accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).4
  • Across 6 schools, 12 counseling programs are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE).5
  • Across 1 school, 1 counseling program is accredited by the Masters in Psychology and Counseling Accreditation Council (MPCAC).6

Comparison of California Counseling Schools and Programs

The table below summarizes public and not-for-profit colleges and universities in California with traditional and online counseling programs. The five core counseling careers are abbreviated as mental health counseling (MH), marriage and family therapy (MF), vocational rehabilitation counseling (VR), school counseling (SC), and substance abuse counseling (SA). In California, these correspond to the license types Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC), Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT), School Counselor (SC), and Substance Use Disorder Counselor (SUDC). Rehabilitation counselors are typically licensed as LPCCs. Note that some programs offer degree tracks that can lead to credentialing in more than one specialty. Bold text indicates a program with online or hybrid options.

School NameAccreditation4-6Online/Hybrid Programs?MHMFVRSCSANet Price1
Allan Hancock CollegeYes$6,629
American River CollegeYes$8,101
Azusa Pacific UniversityYesYes$27,112
Cabrillo CollegeYes$18,139
California Baptist UniversityOnlineYesYesYes$23,494
California Lutheran UniversityYesYes$24,065
California State University-BakersfieldYesYesYes$7,368
California State University-Dominguez HillsYesYesYes$4,500
California State University-East BayHybridYesYesYes$12,631
California State University-FresnoCACREPYesYesYesYes$6,336
California State University-FullertonCACREPYesYes$4,939
California State University-Long BeachYesYesYes$9,171
California State University-Los AngelesCACREPYesYesYesYes$2,695
California State University-NorthridgeCOAMFTE-HybridYesYesYes$8,708
California State University-SacramentoCACREPYesYesYes$7,778
California State University-San BernardinoCACREPYesYesYes$3,254
Chapman UniversityCOAMFTEYesYesYes$40,451
City College of San FranciscoOnline/HybridYes$9,261
College of San MateoYes$5,427
College of the DesertYes$14,179
College of the RedwoodsYes$8,618
Concordia University-IrvineCACREPOnlineYesYes$25,640
Consumnes River CollegeYes$7,223
Cuesta CollegeYes$14,586
Cypress CollegeYes$7,951
Diablo Valley CollegeYes$8,878
East Los Angeles CollegeOnline (Cert Only)Yes$12,028
Fresno City CollegeYes$6,391
Fresno Pacific UniversityOnline/HybridYesYes$15,350
Fuller Theological SeminaryHybridYesN.Av.
Glendale Community CollegeYes$7,823
Hartnell CollegeYes$7,721
Hope International UniversityCOAMFTEOnlineYesYes$18,801
Imperial Valley CollegeYes$2,300
La Sierra UniversityYesYesYes$25,230
Lake Tahoe Community CollegeYes$7,867
Loma Linda UniversityCOAMFTEHybridYesYesYesYesN.Av.
Long Beach City CollegeYes$6,550
Los Angeles City CollegeYes$10,898
Los Angeles Pierce CollegeYes$12,995
Los Angeles Southwest CollegeYes$8,651
Loyola Marymount UniversityHybridYesYesYes$40,180
Mendocino CollegeYes$8,465
Merritt CollegeYes$16,194
Modesto Junior CollegeYes$14,421
Mt. San Antonio CollegeYes$5,774
Napa Valley CollegeOnlineYes$18,440
National UniversityCOAMFTEOnlineYesYesYesYes$9,966
Notre Dame de Namur UniversityOnlineYesYesN.Av.
Oxnard CollegeYes$3,441
Pacific Oaks CollegeOnlineYesN.Av.
Palo Alto UniversityCACREPOnlineYesYesN.Av.
Palo Verde CollegeYes$14,270
Palomar CollegeYes$6,659
Rio Hondo CollegeYes$7,873
Saddleback CollegeYes$7,918
Saint Mary’s College of CaliforniaYesYesYes$25,022
San Bernadino Valley CollegeYes$9,621
San Diego City CollegeYes$8,370
San Diego State UniversityCACREP, COAMFTEHybridYesYesYesYesYes$6,867
San Francisco State UniversityCACREPYesYesYesYes$13,761
San Joaquin Delta CollegeYes$17,503
San Jose City CollegeYes$17,618
San Jose State UniversityYesYesYes$14,603
Santa Barbara City CollegeYes$14,000
Santa Rosa Junior CollegeYes$9,220
Saybrook UniversityCACREPHybridYesN.Av.
Sonoma State UniversityMPCACYesYesYes$7,055
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology at AnaheimOnlineYesYesN.Av.
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology at Los AngelesCACREP, COAMFTEOnlineYesYesYes$33,638
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology at San DiegoOnlineYesYesN.Av.
Touro UniversityCOAMFTEOnlineYesYes$18,121
University of La VerneYesYes$22,538
University of Massachusetts GlobalOnlineYesYesYes$26,346
University of RedlandsYesYes$21,578
University of San DiegoCACREP, COAMFTEYesYesYes$34,155
University of Southern CaliforniaOnlineYesYes$26,021
University of the WestYes$13,225
West Los Angeles CollegeYes$10,259
William Jessup UniversityOnlineYesYes$27,823
Woodland Community CollegeYes$7,480
Yuba CollegeOnlineYes$5,503

California Schools With Online Counseling Programs

Schools on the following lists may be online or hybrid. Check with programs for any in-person degree requirements.

Online Mental Health Counseling Degrees

  • California Baptist University
  • Concordia University-Irvine
  • Hope International University
  • Loyola Marymount University
  • National University
  • Notre Dame de Namur University
  • Palo Alto University
  • San Diego State University
  • Saybrook University
  • The Chicago School of Professional Psychology at Anaheim
  • The Chicago School of Professional Psychology at Los Angeles
  • The Chicago School of Professional Psychology at San Diego
  • University of Massachusetts Global
  • William Jessup University

Online Marriage and Family Therapy Degrees

  • California Baptist University
  • California State University-Northridge
  • Fresno Pacific University
  • Fuller Theological Seminary
  • Hope International University
  • Loma Linda University
  • National University
  • Notre Dame de Namur University
  • Pacific Oaks College
  • Palo Alto University
  • Touro University
  • University of Massachusetts Global
  • William Jessup University

Online Rehabilitation Counseling Degrees

  • San Diego State University

Online School Counseling Degrees

Online Substance Abuse Counseling Degrees

  • City College of San Francisco
  • East Los Angeles College
  • Loma Linda University
  • Napa Valley College
  • National University
  • San Diego State University
  • Touro University
  • Yuba College

Top-Ranked Schools With Counseling Programs in California

US News & World Report’s Best Online M.Ed. Programs for Student Counseling 2022

Schools in California With Counseling Degrees

Traditional Undergraduate Programs

California State University-Los Angeles

California State University-Los Angeles (Cal State LA) offers a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Rehabilitation Services that is designed to prepare graduates to work in the field of human services helping people with physical, emotional, and intellectual disabilities, or with economic and social disadvantages. Two options are available, a General Option and an Applied Behavioral Analysis Option. Both programs have 120 credits and take four years of full-time study to complete or two years for transfer students. A minor in Rehabilitation Services, comprised of 23-24 credits, is also offered for psychology, sociology, social work, criminal justice, and other majors. Courses in the BS in Rehabilitation Services program at Cal State LA include Diversity and Awareness of Self and Others for Helping Professionals; Case Management in Rehabilitation Services; Trauma & Crisis Counseling; and Behavior Support, Social Skills, and Classroom Management.

Modesto Junior College

Modesto Junior College (MJC) offers human services programs in Chemical Dependency Counseling as well as Psychosocial Rehabilitation (PSR). The Certificate of Achievement in Chemical Dependency Counseling is accredited by the California Association for Drug and Alcohol Educators (CAADE) and comprises 36 credits. An Associate of Arts (AA) is also offered in Chemical Dependency Counseling, which consists of 23 credits and prepares graduates to take the Addiction Counselor Certification Board of California (ACCBC) exam leading to state certification. The Psychosocial Rehabilitation (PSR) program culminates in a Skills Recognition Award and provides the nine units of college credit necessary to sit for the national test-based certification exam. This prepares graduates to proceed to an AA in Human Services degree if they so choose. All human services programs at MJC prepare graduates for entry-level employment in the field or to pursue more advanced degrees.

Traditional Graduate Programs

California State University-Fresno

The Kremen School of Education and Human Development at California State University-Fresno (or Fresno State) offers a Master of Science (MS) in Clinical Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling; a Master of Science (MS) in Counseling (with specialties in School Counseling and Student Affairs and College Counseling), and a Master of Science (MS) in Marriage, Family, and Child Counseling (MFCC). The Marriage and Family Therapy degree and the Clinical Rehabilitation degree are both CACREP-accredited. The MS in Clinical Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling has two concentration options, Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling and Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Graduates will meet licensure/credentialing requirements for Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors (LPCCs), Certified Rehabilitation Counselors (CRCs), or Pupil Personnel Specialists (PPS) in California. The MS in Marriage, Family, and Child Counseling is also comprised of 60 credits, which can be completed full-time in five semesters. It prepares graduates for licensure as a California Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) and/or Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC).

San Francisco State University

San Francisco State University’s Department of Counseling, housed in its College of Health and Social Sciences, offers several graduate degrees in counseling, including a Master of Science (MS) degree in Counseling with several available concentrations; a Master of Science (MS) in Clinical Mental Health Counseling; and a Master of Science in Counseling with a Concentration in Marriage, Family, and Child Counseling. Prospective Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors (LPCCs) will meet the educational requirements through the MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, while prospective Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists will meet licensure requirements with the MS in Marriage, Family, and Child Counseling, and prospective school counselors can receive their credential through the MS in Counseling with a Concentration in School Counseling and Pupil Personnel Services Credential. All programs in the department are CACREP-accredited and can be completed in two- or three-year sequences.

Online and Hybrid Programs

Loma Linda University

Loma Linda University offers a variety of online and dual degree programs with a Christian worldview. Among their programs are a two-year Master of Science (MS) in Marital and Family Therapy; a two-year MS in Counseling with specializations in Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC); a three-year Doctor of Marital and Family Therapy (DMFT); a three- to four-year PhD in Systems, Families, and Couples; and certificates in Drug and Alcohol Counseling and School Counseling. A dual degree with an MS in Counseling and an MS in Marital and Family Therapy with a School Counseling Certificate, which can be completed in just three years of full-time study, is also offered for those applicants who want to maximize their licensing and career potential. The DMFT and PhD in Systems, Families, and Couples are the only Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE)-accredited doctoral programs of their kind in the state. Students are placed across the Loma Linda University healthcare system and in the local community for internships. No GRE scores or prerequisites are required for entry into the programs.

Saybrook University

Saybrook University offers a hybrid Master of Arts (MA) in Counseling, Clinical Mental Health Counseling Specialization or an online Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Counselor Education and Supervision. The 60-credit MA in Counseling prepares graduates for licensure as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC) in California and faculty will work with students who are pursuing licensure in other states to ensure they take the appropriate coursework. 700 hours of field experience is spread over three semesters. A regionally-accredited bachelor’s degree is required for admission. The 54-unit PhD program prepares graduates to work as faculty in counselor education programs or as supervisors to clinical mental health counselors. A master’s degree in counseling from a CACREP-accredited program is preferred for admission as well as a current LPCP or LPC license.

University of Massachusetts Global

The University of Massachusetts Global, formally Brandman University, offers a Master of Arts (MA) in Counseling and Pupil Personnel Services Credential (PPSC) in School Counseling, as well as a Master of Arts (MA) degree in Marriage & Family Therapy and Professional Clinical Counseling. Both programs are offered completely online. The MA in Counseling and PPSC in School Counseling are designed to prepare graduates to become school counselors, while the MA in Marriage and Family Therapy meets the education requirements for California Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFTs) and Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors (LPCCs).

References:
1. National Center for Education Statistics College Navigator: https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
2. US News & World Report Best Student Counseling Programs 2022: https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-education-schools/student-counseling-rankings
3. 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
4. Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs, Accredited Programs: https://www.cacrep.org/directory/
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
6. Masters in Psychology and Counseling Accreditation Council Accredited Programs: https://mpcacaccreditation.org/accredited-programs/