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Counseling Degrees and Programs in Florida

In Florida, you will find that many colleges and universities offer counseling degree programs in at least one of the five main areas of counseling specialization: marriage and family therapy, mental health counseling, 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. There are a limited number of associate and bachelor’s degrees in counseling available but most Florida counseling degree programs are offered at the graduate level since that is often 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.

Quick Facts

  • There are 28 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 Florida.1,2
  • Of the counseling schools in Florida, 1 offers an associate’s degree, 1 offers a bachelor’s degree, 6 offer a certificate, and 20 offer a master’s or advanced degree.1
  • 10 schools offer a degree in marriage and family therapy.1,2
  • 21 schools offer a degree in mental health counseling.1,2
  • 4 schools offer a degree in vocational rehabilitation counseling. 1,2
  • 13 schools offer a degree in school counseling.1,2
  • 8 schools offer a degree in substance abuse counseling.1,2
  • 8 schools ranked in Kiplinger’s Top College Values 2019.3
  • 2 schools ranked in US News Best Student Counseling Programs 2019.4
  • 3 schools ranked in US News Best Rehabilitation Counseling Programs 2019.5
  • Across 14 schools, 27 counseling programs are accredited by CACREP.2

Comparison of Florida Counseling Schools and Programs

The table below provides information about the public and not-for-profit four-year colleges and universities in Florida with programs in the five major areas of counseling: mental health counseling (MH), marriage and family therapy (MFT), vocational rehabilitation counseling (VR), school counseling (SC), and substance abuse counseling (SA). The table indicates the schools that offer programs accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP); CACREP-accredited programs are denoted with an asterisk (*). Keep in mind that some schools offer a joint program in clinical mental health counseling and clinical rehabilitation counseling, so check with the school for more information on the programs offered. You can also sort the table by type of program offered, 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.

School NameCACREP-
Accred
Program2
MHMFVRSCSAGrad Rate1Net Price1
Barry UniversityYesYes*Yes*YesYes*36%$19,293
City College-GainesvilleYes38%$21,436
Daytona State CollegeYes37%$6,171
Florida Atlantic UniversityYesYes*Yes*Yes*52%$9,486
Florida Gulf Coast UniversityYesYes*Yes*48%$11,716
Florida International UniversityYesYes*Yes*Yes*58%$9,180
Florida Keys Community CollegeYes30%$13,409
Florida SouthWestern State CollegeYes32%$6,487
Florida State UniversityYesYes*YesYes83%$13,318
Hodges UniversityYesYes*22%$18,686
Jacksonville UniversityYesYes*53%$21,820
Johnson University FloridaYes34%$14,340
Keiser University-Ft LauderdaleYes65%$27,649
Lynn UniversityYesYes*55%$39,401
Miami Dade CollegeYes35%$6,393
Nova Southeastern UniversityYesYesYesYes50%$25,867
Palm Beach Atlantic UniversityYesYesYesYes53%$24,557
Palm Beach State CollegeYes37%$3,064
Rollins CollegeYesYes*74%$32,826
Southeastern UniversityYesYes42%$24,259
St Petersburg CollegeYes32%$3,477
St. Thomas UniversityYesYesYes40%$19,476
Stetson UniversityYesYes*Yes*61%$25,721
University of Central FloridaYesYes*Yes*Yes*73%$13,016
University of FloridaYesYes*Yes*Yes*90%$11,313
University of MiamiYesYes82%$43,305
University of North FloridaYesYes*Yes*59%$10,809
University of South Florida-Main CampusYesYes*Yes*Yes73%$10,460

Top-Ranked Schools with Counseling Programs in Florida

Kiplinger’s Top College Values 2019

  • University of Florida (#25)
  • Florida State University (#42)
  • University of South Florida (#100)
  • University of Miami (#136)
  • University of Central Florida (#188)
  • Rollins College (#200)
  • University of North Florida (#282)
  • Florida International University (#321)

US News Best Student Counseling Programs 2019

  • University of Florida (#3)
  • University of Central Florida (#9)

US News Best Rehabilitation Counseling Programs 2019

  • University of South Florida (#27)
  • Florida Atlantic University (#37)
  • Florida International University (#67)

Schools in Florida with Counseling Degrees

Traditional Undergraduate Programs

City College

The Gainesville campus of City College offers an Associate of Science (AS) in Mental Health Technology that teaches students the skills necessary to conduct screenings and assessments of mental health and addiction issues as well as manage cases. This entry-level degree takes approximately two years to complete full-time although part-time study is possible. The program includes coursework in crisis intervention, psychology, and addiction studies and it also has a mandatory internship in a mental health setting that provides students with real-world experience. Upon completion of the program, a graduate may find employment as a mental health technician, continue their education at the bachelor’s degree level, or complete additional training to become a Certified Addictions Professional (CAP) in Florida.

Traditional Graduate Programs

Barry University

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 (63 credits), Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling (66 credits), and School Counseling (60 credits); a non-accredited MS in Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling (60 credits); and the option to combine multiple 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 specific 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

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 the Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) license 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 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.

Stetson University

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. Individuals who already have a CACREP-accredited degree in counseling and wish to become licensed in an additional area of specialization may apply for the graduate certificate programs, which include all required courses in the additional area. Stetson University also offers a 10-credit graduate certificate in Play Therapy, which can be used towards the requirements for national certification as a Registered Play Therapist.

University of Central Florida

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. All three programs are CACREP-accredited. The Master of Arts (MA) in Counselor Education, Clinical Mental Health Counseling and the MA in Marriage, Couple, and Family Therapy 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. The School Counseling program can be completed as an MA, a Master of Education (M.Ed.), or a Specialist in Education (Ed.S.). The 60-credit MA program is intended for applicants who do not already have a teaching certificate, while the 51-credit M.Ed. degree is appropriate for those who are certified teachers. Individuals who already have a master’s degree in education can apply for the 48-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.

University of Florida

The University of Florida (UF) offers a dual Master of Education (M.Ed.) and Master of Arts (MA) 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. The MA option includes a mandatory thesis and is designed for students who intend to pursue research careers or doctoral study. 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

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 state licensing 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. Students begin in the fall term and typically take two or three courses each semester. Most full-time students graduate within two-and-a-half years, while part-time students can complete the degree in approximately three-and-a-half years. While in the online program, students must participate in synchronous support sessions and attend on-campus residencies to meet program requirements.

Nova Southeastern University

It is possible to earn an online Master of Science (MS) in Counseling at Nova Southeastern University (NSU) with a specialization in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, School Counseling, Substance Abuse Counseling, or Substance Abuse Counseling and Education. The degrees take two years to complete full-time or up to five years on a part-time basis. Although all classes are taken online, students are required to complete in-person practicums and may be required to attend synchronous online classes or a campus residency. 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. NSU offers the on-campus versions of these degree programs at various campus locations in Florida, but students should apply to their preferred format as it is not possible to combine online and on-campus classes to meet degree requirements.

References:
1. National Center for Education Statistics College Navigator: https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
2. Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), Accredited Programs: https://www.cacrep.org/directory/
3. Kiplinger’s Best College Values, 2019: https://www.kiplinger.com/fronts/special-report/college-rankings/index.html
4. US News & World Report Best Student Counseling Programs, 2019: https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-education-schools/student-counseling-rankings
5. US News & World Report Best Rehabilitation Counseling Programs, 2019: https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-health-schools/rehabilitation-counseling-rankings