Counseling Degrees and Programs in Colorado
To become a professional counselor in Colorado, you will need to complete a counseling degree and earn a professional counseling license. In Colorado, there are many four-year colleges and universities with counseling programs in at least one of the five major counseling areas: mental health counseling, marriage and family therapy, rehabilitation counseling, school counseling, and substance abuse counseling. One of the first steps is choosing a school where you can develop the skills necessary for a successful counseling career. Almost all of the counseling programs in Colorado are offered at the graduate level, which is not surprising given a master’s degree is typically required for licensure. There are also several online and hybrid degree programs in counseling that can make the educational process more convenient and accessible for busy students.
- There are 10 not-for-profit four-year 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 Colorado.1,2
- Of the counseling schools in Colorado, 0 offer an associate degree, 1 offers a bachelor’s degree, 2 offer a certificate, and 9 offer a master’s or advanced degree.1,2
- 8 schools offer a degree in mental health counseling.1,2
- 3 schools offer a degree in marriage and family therapy.1,2
- 1 school offers a degree in vocational rehabilitation counseling.1,2
- 7 schools offer a degree in school counseling.1,2
- 3 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
- No schools ranked in US News & World Report’s Best Online M.Ed. Programs for Student Counseling 2022.4
- Across 9 schools, 18 counseling programs are accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).2
- Across 3 schools, 3 counseling programs are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE).5
Comparison of Colorado Counseling Schools and Programs
We have compiled some useful information in the table below that allows you to compare Colorado’s public and not-for-profit colleges and universities offering counseling programs in these five main areas: mental health counseling (MH), marriage and family therapy (MF), vocational rehabilitation counseling (VR), school counseling (SC), and substance abuse counseling (SA). The table includes whether any of the programs offered are accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). Use the table to compare each school by program types offered, graduation rate, and net price per year. If you want to learn more about the steps to counseling licensure in Colorado, read our license requirements page.
|MH||MF||VR||SC||SA||Grad Rate1||Net Price1||Adams State University||Yes||Yes||—||—||Yes||—||29%||$14,492||Colorado Christian University||Yes||Yes||—||—||—||—||58%||$26,759||Colorado Mesa University||—||—||—||—||—||Yes||38%||$15,324||Colorado State University-Fort Collins||Yes||Yes||—||—||Yes||Yes||69%||$18,320||Denver Seminary||Yes||Yes||—||—||Yes||—||N.Av.||N.Av.||Regis University||Yes||Yes||Yes||—||—||—||62%||$27,735||University of Colorado Colorado Springs||Yes||Yes||—||—||Yes||Yes||44%||$15,547||University of Colorado Denver/Anschutz Medical Campus||Yes||Yes||Yes||—||Yes||—||48%||$14,630||University of Denver||Yes||—||—||—||Yes||—||76%||$39,973||University of Northern Colorado||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||—||52%||$17,128|
Schools in Colorado with Counseling Degrees
Traditional Undergraduate Programs
Individuals looking to begin an addiction counseling career may be interested in Colorado State University’s (CSU) Bachelor of Science (BS) in Psychology with a concentration in Addiction Counseling. This 120-credit degree requires students to complete a general education core before progressing to coursework in addiction counseling in the junior year. Students complete a field placement in a related setting during their senior year. The BS degree satisfies the coursework requirements to become a Certified Addiction Technician (CAT) in Colorado. Students interested in more advanced coursework can apply for the Master of Addiction Counseling (MAC) degree. This two-year, 43-credit program meets Colorado education requirements to become a Licensed Addiction Counselor (LAC). CSU also offers a Master of Arts (MA) in Counseling and Career Development with concentrations in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and School Counseling. Graduates of the MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling meet state educational requirements to become Licensed Professional Counselors (LPCs) and MA in School Counseling graduates are eligible for state licensure as school counselors.
Traditional Graduate Programs
At Denver Seminary, students can complete a 64-credit Master of Arts (MA) in Counseling that combines biblical training with counseling skills. The degree is offered with concentrations in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CACREP-accredited), School Counseling, or both. Students in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling concentration learn to provide counseling services to individuals and groups in mental health, community, and ministry settings. Upon completion of the program, graduates meet Colorado educational requirements to become Licensed Professional Counselors (LPCs). The MA in School Counseling prepares students to work in K-12 school settings and meets state requirements to become a school counselor. Students who opt for the dual concentration program complete 76 credits and meet state coursework requirements for both counseling credentials. New students are admitted to the MA program in the fall and spring.
Regis University is a Catholic institution offering several counseling degrees and certificates. Both the CACREP-accredited Master of Arts (MA) in Counseling and the MA in Marriage and Family Therapy consist of 60 credits and meet the educational requirements in Colorado for licensure in their respective areas. Individuals who already have a counseling graduate degree may be interested in post-graduate certificates in Counseling Children and Adolescents (CCA), Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT), or Depth Psychotherapy (DP), each requiring 18 credits to complete. The CCA program meets educational requirements for the Registered Play Therapy (RPT) certification through the Association of Play Therapy (APT), while the DP program focuses on how human imagination, feeling, intuition, and community dialogue contribute to the psychological well-being of individuals, families, and communities. The MFT certificate helps professional counselors understand how to work with couples and families but does not meet the state requirements for licensure as an MFT.
At the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs (UCCS), students have the option of completing a CACREP-accredited Master of Arts (MA) in Counseling with a concentration in either Clinical Mental Health Counseling or School Counseling. Both concentrations require 60 credits, including a counseling foundations core, specialty counseling courses, and an optional elective. In the MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, students learn about mental health assessment and diagnosis, human development and behavior, and group dynamics. The program is designed to meet the coursework requirements for the Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) credential in Colorado. Students in the MA in School Counseling program will meet state requirements to become an elementary, secondary, or K-12 school counselor and may meet LPC requirements if additional coursework is taken. Students who are interested in addiction counseling can choose to complete an 18-credit Substance Use and Recovery emphasis that meets state educational requirements for the Licensed Addiction Counselor (LAC) credential.
The University of Northern Colorado (UNC) is home to numerous CACREP-accredited counseling degree programs. The Master of Arts (MA) in Clinical Mental Health Counseling introduces students to the professional counseling field through in-depth coursework and clinical training. The degree requires 60 credits and is offered at UNC’s main campus in Greeley, as well as through the Denver and Loveland campuses. Students who complete this program meet state coursework requirements to become Licensed Professional Counselors (LPCs). UNC’s MA in Couples and Family Counseling/Therapy is a 66-credit degree program offered at the Greeley campus and meets Colorado educational requirements for the LPC and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) licenses, depending on the courses taken. A 60-credit MA in Rehabilitation Counseling is also offered in Greeley that teaches students the skills necessary to work with clients with disabilities. Also at the master’s level, a 63-credit MA in School Counseling program that meets state requirements to become a school counselor in K-12 settings is available at the Greeley and Denver campuses. UNC also offers a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Counselor Education and Supervision that enables students to choose an area of emphasis, such as Couples and Families, Play Therapy, or School Counseling.
Online and Hybrid Programs
Adams State University offers three CACREP-accredited online counseling degree options for new or experienced counselors. The Master of Arts (MA) in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and the MA in School Counseling are both comprised of 60 credits and can be completed either online or at the Alamosa campus. Although the content is the same, the online and on-campus programs have different timelines and structures. New students in the online program can begin in the fall, spring, or summer term, while on-campus students must begin in the fall. Students in the online degree program are required to attend two one-week residencies in June at the Alamosa campus to meet with faculty and other students. Graduates of the MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling meet state coursework requirements for the Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) license, while graduates from the MA in School Counseling meet the requirements to become a school counselor. For students who already have a graduate counseling degree, Adams State also offers a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Counselor Education and Supervision. The degree is completed primarily online with four one-week residencies in Alamosa.
At Colorado Christian University (CCU), undergraduate students can complete an online Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Applied Psychology with an emphasis in Clinical Counseling. The BA degree is a 120-credit program, including a general education core, and introduces students to psychological theories of human development and behavioral health. Students in this program may be eligible for CCU’s dual degree option, which combines the BA with a CACREP-accredited Master of Arts (MA) in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. The MA is available either fully online or partially online in a hybrid format with classes offered at the Lakewood and Colorado Springs campuses. The degree curriculum offers two optional program emphases in either Marriage and Family Therapy or Substance Disorders and combines a faith-based framework with the coursework requirements to become a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in Colorado. Students who are not in the dual degree program can complete the MA degree requirements in two and a half years. CCU also offers a 60-credit MA in School Counseling that is available online only and includes three mandatory in-person residencies. Students may be able to complete the MA in School Counseling in as few as 30 months and will be prepared to begin seeking licensure as a school counselor in Colorado.
The University of Colorado-Denver (CU-Denver) offers a hybrid Master of Arts (MA) in Counseling with three CACREP-accredited tracks in Clinical Mental Health; School Counseling; and Couple and Family Counseling/Therapy. Both the Clinical Mental Health and School counseling tracks are comprised of 63 credits, while the Couple and Family Counseling/Therapy track is a 54-credit program that must be completed through a combination of on-campus and online courses. On-campus courses are typically offered in late afternoons, evenings, and weekends to accommodate working professionals. Students in all three tracks are able to meet the coursework requirements to become Licensed Professional Counselors (LPCs) in Colorado depending on the courses taken. Additionally, MA in School Counseling students will meet the requirements to become school counselors, and MA in Couple and Family Counseling/Therapy students will meet Colorado’s coursework requirements for the Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) license.
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