Counseling Degrees and Programs in Florida
In Florida, many colleges and universities offer counseling degree programs in at least one of the five main areas of counseling specialization: mental health counseling, marriage and family therapy, rehabilitation counseling, school counseling, and substance abuse counseling. To become a counselor in Florida in any of these areas, you will need to complete a degree at a school offering a program in your preferred area of specialization that also meets state counseling licensure requirements. Florida has a limited number of associate and bachelor’s degrees in counseling as most counseling degree programs in the state are offered at the graduate level since that is usually the minimum degree requirement for licensure. Online and hybrid counseling degree programs are also available in Florida and can help make counseling education more accessible to working professionals or those who cannot attend classes in person.
- There are 25 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 Florida.1,2
- Of the counseling schools in Florida, 2 offer an associate degree, 0 offer a bachelor’s degree, 3 offer a certificate, and 21 offer a master’s or advanced degree.1
- 20 schools offer a degree in mental health counseling.1,2
- 10 schools offer a degree in marriage and family therapy.1,2
- 3 schools offer a degree in vocational rehabilitation counseling. 1,2
- 11 schools offer a degree in school counseling.1,2
- 8 schools offer a degree in substance abuse counseling.1,2
- 2 schools ranked in US News & World Report’s Best Student Counseling Programs 2022.3
- 1 school ranked in US News & World Report’s Best Online M.Ed. Programs for Student Counseling 2022.4
- Across 16 schools, 29 counseling programs are accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).2
- Across 2 schools, 3 counseling programs are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE).5
Comparison of Florida Counseling Schools and Programs
The table below provides information about the public and not-for-profit colleges and universities in Florida with programs in the five major areas of counseling: 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. To learn more about the licensing process to become a counselor in Florida, visit our license requirements page.
|MH||MF||VR||SC||SA||Grad Rate1||Net Price1|
|Florida Atlantic University||Yes||Yes||—||Yes||Yes||—||55%||$8,771|
|Florida Gulf Coast University||Yes||Yes||Yes||—||Yes||—||56%||$9,840|
|Florida International University||Yes||Yes||—||Yes||Yes||—||67%||$9,398|
|Florida SouthWestern State College||—||—||—||—||—||Yes||40%||$8,254|
|Florida State University||Yes||Yes||Yes||—||Yes||—||83%||$12,684|
|Miami Dade College||—||—||—||—||—||Yes||35%||$4,211|
|National Louis University Tampa||Yes||Yes||—||—||—||—||N.Av.||N.Av.|
|Nova Southeastern University||Yes||Yes||Yes||—||Yes||Yes||61%||$26,530|
|Palm Beach Atlantic University||—||Yes||Yes||—||—||Yes||61%||$27,881|
|Palm Beach State College||—||—||—||—||—||Yes||42%||$9,277|
|South Florida Bible College and Theological Seminary||—||Yes||—||—||—||—||N.Av.||N.Av.|
|St. Petersburg College||—||—||—||—||—||Yes||36%||$2,477|
|University of Central Florida||Yes||Yes||Yes||—||Yes||—||75%||$11,575|
|University of Florida||Yes||Yes||Yes||—||Yes||—||91%||$9,809|
|University of Miami||—||Yes||Yes||—||—||—||84%||$34,492|
|University of North Florida||Yes||Yes||—||—||Yes||—||67%||$7,746|
|University of South Florida||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||75%||$11,419|
Top-Ranked Schools with Counseling Programs in Florida
US News & World Report’s Best Student Counseling Programs 2022
- University of Florida (#6 tie)3
US News Best and Word Report’s Online M.Ed. Programs for Student Counseling 2022
- University of Florida (#1 tie)
- Florida State University (#25 tie)4
Schools in Florida with Counseling Degrees
Traditional Undergraduate Programs
Palm Beach State College (PBSC) offers an Associate of Science (AS) in Human Services-Addiction Studies at the Lake Worth Campus. This 60-credit program can be completed in two years of full-time study, and students are required to take courses such as Counseling the Chemically Dependent Person; Assessment and Treatment Planning in Addictions; and Group Counseling in Substance Abuse. Graduates have the option of transferring into PBSC’s Bachelor of Science (BS) program in Human Services or seeking employment as chemical dependency practitioners, substance abuse counselors, or addiction specialists. PBSC also offers an Addiction Studies College Credit Certificate (CCC) that is designed for those who already have a degree or for practitioners in the field seeking to obtain the Florida Certification Board’s addiction certification.
Traditional Graduate Programs
Barry University (BU) provides aspiring counselors with several degree options to choose from. The school offers a CACREP-accredited Master of Science (MS) in Counseling degree with specializations in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (60 credits), Marital, Couple, and Family Counseling (66 credits), and School Counseling (60 credits); and the option to combine specializations for those seeking licensure in multiple counseling areas. Each degree program includes core courses, electives, a practicum, and an internship, and meets the educational requirements for the corresponding area of counseling licensure in Florida. BU has designed the program with working professionals in mind as courses are only offered in the evenings and students can apply to begin the program in the fall, spring, or summer terms.
Florida Atlantic University (FAU), located in Boca Raton, offers prospective counselors numerous CACREP-accredited Master of Education (M.Ed.) degree programs to choose from. The M.Ed. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling is a 60-credit program with 1,000 hours of clinical internship and practicum that meets the educational requirements for Licensed Mental Health Counselors (LMHCs) in Florida. This degree can also be combined with the Specialist in Education (Ed.S.) program, in which students complete 12 additional credits in a related field or area of counseling, such as school counseling or social work. The M.Ed. in Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling prepares students to work with individuals with a range of disabilities to improve daily functioning. The program takes approximately two and a half to three years to complete and new students are admitted in the fall and spring terms. FAU also offers a 60-credit M.Ed. in School Counseling with additional coursework requirements for students who are not certified teachers. Applicants who already have a master’s degree can apply for the Ed.S. in School Counseling and will complete an individualized plan of study to meet state requirements. FAU also offers a CACREP-accredited PhD in Counseling for applicants who already hold a 60-credit master’s degree in counseling or are currently Licensed Professional Counselors (LPCs) and want to pursue a career in research.
Stetson University, located in DeLand, offers 60-credit Master of Science (MS) degrees in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling, both of which are accredited by CACREP. These degrees include nine credits of practicum and internship, fulfilling the educational requirements for licensure as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) or Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) in Florida. Students typically complete the degree on a part-time basis by taking two courses each term. At this rate, the degree takes three-and-a-half years to complete with new students admitted in the fall semester. Stetson also offers a 66- to 75-credit MS in Counselor Education with Advanced Studies with specializations in either Clinical Mental Health Counseling or Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling. This degree program includes advanced studies through courses such as Understanding Religious and Spiritual Themes in Counseling; Play Therapy Theories and Practices; and Utilizing Expressive Arts in Counseling. Graduates of this program are eligible to become Registered Mental Health Counselor Interns or Registered Marriage & Family Therapist Interns, depending on their specialization.
At the University of Central Florida (UCF), students can earn a degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, School Counseling, or Marriage, Couple, and Family Therapy (MCFT). All three programs are CACREP-accredited. The Master of Arts (MA) in Counselor Education, Clinical Mental Health Counseling, and the MA in MCFT are comprised of 63 credits including 12 credits of internship and practicum. These degrees are designed to teach students the main theories and interventions needed to work as professional counselors in their respective areas of expertise. UCF’s School Counseling program can be completed as an MA, a Master of Education (M.Ed.), or an Education Specialist (Ed.S.). The 60-credit MA program is intended for applicants who do not already have a teaching certificate, while the 60-credit M.Ed. degree is appropriate for those who are certified teachers. Students who are certified teachers and already have a master’s degree in education can apply for the 39-credit Ed.S. program. New students can begin any of the programs in the fall term with an additional start date in the spring term for Clinical Mental Health Counseling students.
The University of Florida (UF) offers a dual Master of Education (M.Ed.) and Education Specialist (Ed.S.) program that consists of at least 72 credits and takes approximately two and a half to three years of full-time study to complete. The UF program has three areas of concentration, which are all accredited by CACREP: Mental Health Counseling, School Counseling, and Marriage and Family Counseling. The M.Ed. degree teaches students the skills and counseling techniques needed to work with diverse clients in professional counseling settings, such as hospitals, community organizations, and private practice. Students who are interested in research and want to prepare for a doctoral degree may elect to complete a master’s thesis and receive a Master of Arts in Education (MAE) rather than an M.Ed. All degree options meet the educational requirements for licensure as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC), Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT), or school counselor in Florida, depending on the area of specialization.
Online and Hybrid Programs
Hodges University offers a CACREP-accredited Master of Science (MS) in Clinical Mental Health Counseling in both online and hybrid formats that meets Florida’s educational requirements for the Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) license. The program has three components including the content component, which includes all courses required for licensure, the internship component, which includes 15 credits of internship and practicum, and the elective component, which gives students the opportunity to take classes in additional areas of interest. Admission is open during the fall, spring, and summer semesters and students are expected to take nine credits per semester, which can allow them to finish the program in seven semesters. While in the online program, students must participate in synchronous support sessions and attend on-campus residencies totaling 51 credits to meet program requirements.
Students can earn an online Master of Science (MS) in Counseling at Nova Southeastern University (NSU) with a specialization in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (60 credit hours), School Counseling (48 credit hours), Substance Abuse Counseling (48 credit hours), or Substance Abuse Counseling and Education (60 credit hours). The degrees take two years to complete full-time or up to five years on a part-time basis. With the exception of the Clinical Mental Health Counseling specialization, which is offered in an online, hybrid, or face-to-face format, all classes are taken online. Students in the online mental health and school counseling tracks are required to complete at least one three-day Residential Institute and three synchronous online class meetings each term. Depending on the area of specialization, this degree meets the educational requirements for licensure in Florida as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) or school counselor and may meet requirements for substance abuse counseling certification. It is also possible to complete the degree with a dual concentration in two counseling areas.
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