Counseling Degrees and Programs in Massachusetts
In Massachusetts, there are many colleges and universities that offer programs in the five major areas of counseling: mental health counseling, marriage and family therapy, rehabilitation counseling, school counseling, and substance abuse counseling. To begin a counseling career in Massachusetts, you will first need to choose the right college or university because most counseling careers require a degree. The institutions in Massachusetts offer counseling degrees at the undergraduate and graduate levels, but you may find that master’s degrees in counseling are most common, as this type of degree is often required for licensure. In addition, many schools in Massachusetts offer online counseling degrees or hybrid programs that combine online courses with some on-campus requirements. These degrees can provide more flexibility for busy students or students who do not live nearby.
- There are 30 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 Massachusetts.1,2
- Of the counseling schools in Massachusetts, 1 offers an associate degree, 6 offer a bachelor’s degree, 20 offer a certificate, and 21 offer a master’s or advanced degree.1,2
- 19 schools offer a degree in mental health counseling.1,2
- 4 schools offer a degree in marriage and family therapy.1,2
- 4 schools offer a degree in vocational rehabilitation counseling.1,2
- 13 schools offer a degree in school counseling.1,2
- 15 schools offer a degree in substance abuse counseling.1,2
- 1 school ranked in US News & World Report’s Best Student Counseling Programs 2022.3
- 2 schools ranked in US News & World Report’s Best Online M.Ed. Programs for Student Counseling 2022.4
- Across 6 schools, 8 counseling programs are accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).2
- No counseling programs accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE).5
Comparison of Massachusetts Counseling Schools and Programs
We have created the table below to help you compare the public and not-for-profit colleges and universities in Massachusetts that offer counseling programs in these 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. To learn more about the steps required to become a counselor in Massachusetts, visit our license requirements page.
|School Name||CACREP-Accred Program2||MH||MF||VR||SC||SA||Grad Rate1||Net Price1|
|American International College||—||Yes||—||—||Yes||—||42%||$20,958|
|Bay Path University||—||Yes||—||—||—||Yes||51%||$18,664|
|Berkshire Community College||—||—||—||—||—||Yes||17%||$9,857|
|Boston Graduate School of Psychoanalysis Inc||—||Yes||—||—||—||—||N.Av.||N.Av.|
|Bridgewater State University||Yes||Yes||—||—||Yes||—||62%||$12,744|
|Bristol Community College||—||—||—||—||—||Yes||21%||$6,356|
|Fitchburg State University||—||Yes||—||—||Yes||—||57%||$16,862|
|Greenfield Community College||—||—||—||—||—||Yes||26%||$9,435|
|Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary-Hamilton||Yes||Yes||—||—||—||—||N.Av.||N.Av.|
|Holyoke Community College||—||—||—||—||—||Yes||23%||$8,305|
|Massachusetts Bay Community College||—||—||—||—||—||Yes||17%||$6,902|
|Middlesex Community College||—||—||—||—||—||Yes||21%||$5,255|
|Mount Wachusett Community College||—||—||—||—||—||Yes||21%||$8,309|
|North Shore Community College||—||—||—||—||—||Yes||22%||$7,938|
|Northern Essex Community College||—||—||—||—||—||Yes||14%||$7,753|
|Salem State University||—||Yes||—||—||Yes||—||57%||$18,125|
|Springfield College-Regional, Online, and Continuing Education||—||Yes||—||—||—||Yes||N.Av.||N.Av.|
|University of Massachusetts-Boston||Yes||Yes||—||Yes||Yes||—||49%||$17,575|
|William James College||—||Yes||Yes||—||—||—||N.Av.||N.Av.|
Top-Ranked Schools with Counseling Programs in Massachusetts
US News & World Report’s Best Student Counseling Programs 2022
- Boston College (#11 tie)3
US News & World Report’s Best Online M.Ed. Programs for Student Counseling 2022
- University of Massachusetts–Boston (#43 tie)
- Mount Holyoke College (#204 tie)4
Schools in Massachusetts with Counseling Degrees
Traditional Undergraduate Programs
Students who are just beginning their studies in counseling may be interested in the Bachelor of Science (BS) in Counseling offered at Lesley University. The degree is comprised of 120 credits, including 400 hours of supervised internship, and takes four years of full-time study to complete. Students may pursue optional specializations in expressive arts therapy or holistic psychology as well. Graduates of the program may seek employment in entry-level mental health settings or complete further study at the graduate level. Lesley University offers an accelerated dual-degree program that combines the BS in Counseling with a Master of Arts (MA) in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. The MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling is a 60-credit program offered on a full- or part-time basis and meets state educational requirements for licensure as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC). Students may complete this six-year dual degree without specialization, or choose Holistic Studies, Trauma Studies, or School & Community Counseling.
Bay Path University
Although Bay Path University is a women’s-only institution at the undergraduate level, their graduate degrees are open to all students, including online offerings. As part of a dual-degree program, students have the option to complete an on-campus Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Health & Human Services degree with a concentration in Counseling Studies. The 120-credit BA prepares students for graduate study through experiential learning opportunities. During their senior year, students begin graduate coursework that will apply to a Master of Science (MS) in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. All coursework in the 60-credit MS must be completed online. Students in this program can also complete an optional concentration in Advanced Trauma-Informed Counseling; Alcohol and Drug Use Counseling; or School Adjustment Counseling. New students can begin the program in February, June, or October each year and will meet Massachusetts educational requirements to become Licensed Mental Health Counselors (LMHCs) upon graduation. Bay Path University also offers an online graduate certificate in Advanced Trauma-Informed Counseling.
Merrimack College is an Augustinian institution that offers a 3+2 accelerated pathway to become a school counselor. Students enroll in the Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Human Development and Human Services program and work with their advisor to create a path of study that will transition into a Master of Education (M.Ed.) in School Counseling. This program can be completed in five years through a cohort model and includes 600 hours of hands-on learning. Coursework for both degrees includes field experiences and practicum as well as electives in Addictive Behaviors, Diversity in Practice, and more. A Master of Science (MS) in Clinical Mental Health Counseling is also available for 60 credits. The flexible online or on-campus program can be completed in two years of full-time coursework, or over three to four years part-time. The Clinical Mental Health Counseling program meets state requirements for both Massachusetts and New Hampshire licensure and applicants are accepted in fall, spring, or summer terms.
Traditional Graduate Programs
The CACREP-accredited Master of Arts (MA) in Mental Health Counseling and Behavioral Medicine at Boston University (BU) offers a unique curriculum influenced by behavioral medicine and neuroscience. Because the program is housed in BU’s School of Medicine, students are able to complete practicum and internship experiences in a wide range of medical and mental health settings, such as hospitals and outpatient facilities. The degree is comprised of 60 credits and takes two years of full-time study to complete. BU also offers a Master of Education (Ed.M.) in Counseling with specializations in School Counseling; Child & Adolescent Mental Health; and Sport Psychology. This degree takes two years to complete full-time with new students admitted in the fall term. The School Counseling specialization aims to meet state requirements for school counseling licensure in Massachusetts.
Bridgewater State University
Bridgewater State University offers two CACREP-accredited master’s degrees in counseling. The 60-credit Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Counseling boasts small class sizes and collaboration with academic advisors. The program admits new students in the fall and spring terms and requires applicants to attend an admissions interview. Graduates of this degree will meet Massachusetts educational requirements to become Licensed Mental Health Counselors (LMHCs). The 60-credit M.Ed. in School Counseling offers specializations in either preK-8 or grades 5-12. Students study age-appropriate developmental theories and counseling techniques and are eligible for licensure upon completion of the program. A Post-Master’s School Counseling Licensure program is also available to applicants who already have a master’s degree in counseling and would like to provide school counseling services.
Fitchburg State University
Fitchburg State University offers a Master of Science (MS) in Counseling with a concentration in either Clinical Mental Health Counseling or School Counseling. When started in the summer term, students can complete the MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling in approximately two years including the required internship. The program consists of 60 credits and is designed to meet state educational requirements to become a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC). The MS in School Counseling is also comprised of 60 credits and offers specializations in either elementary (preK-8) or secondary (5-12) grades. Graduates will meet Massachusetts licensure requirements for school counseling in their chosen area. The university also offers Certificates of Advanced Study in Clinical Mental Health Counseling or School Counseling that are open to applicants who already have a master’s degree in a related field. Certificate course requirements vary and are determined in collaboration with an academic advisor.
Online and Hybrid Programs
Most programs at Cambridge College use hybrid methods that combine online classes with day, weekend, or evening on-campus options. The 60-credit Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Mental Health Counseling focuses on counseling skills with individuals and groups and is designed for students who would like to become Licensed Mental Health Counselors (LMHCs) in Massachusetts. In the 48-credit M.Ed. in School Counseling degree, students choose to focus on either the preK-8 or 5-12 school settings and, upon graduation, will meet state requirements for licensure. Alternatively, the 66-credit M.Ed. in Mental Health and School Counseling enables graduates to meet the coursework requirements for LMHC and school counseling licensure in Massachusetts. Cambridge College also has an 18-credit post-master’s Rehabilitation Counseling Certificate and an Alcohol and Drug Counseling Certificate open to applicants with or without a bachelor’s degree.
University of Massachusetts Boston
The University of Massachusetts Boston (UMass-Boston) offers several counseling programs across a range of practice areas. The online Master of Science (MS) in Mental Health Counseling is comprised of 60 credits in counseling theories and techniques and meets the state educational requirements for licensure as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC). While most coursework is completed online, students must attend a two-week residency in Boston during the summer. The program has a cohort structure in which students beginning the program together progress through the curriculum together. Other online degrees at UMass-Boston include the 60-credit Master of Education (M.Ed.) in School Counseling, which meets state educational requirements for school counseling licensure; the 60-credit CACREP-accredited MS in Rehabilitation Counseling; and a seven-course Addictions Counselor Education Program Certificate with practicum.
Springfield College offers a 120-credit Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Addiction Studies. This concentration specializes in addiction-focused care and aligns with national and local certification organizations. This program is offered in hybrid or fully online formats for added flexibility. The CACREP-accredited Master of Science (MS) or Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Rehabilitation Counseling offers more advanced study in this area of counseling and can be combined with additional coursework to meet state educational requirements for the Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) license. Springfield College also offers an M.Ed. in School Counseling and an M.Ed. or an MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at the Springfield campus or through a hybrid of weekend and online classes at the Boston campus.
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