Counseling Degrees and Programs in Missouri
In Missouri, there are several colleges and universities that offer degree and certificate programs in the five major counseling categories: mental health counseling, marriage and family therapy, rehabilitation counseling, school counseling, and substance abuse counseling. If you are planning to start a counseling career in Missouri, you will likely first need to choose a school to complete your education, as nearly all counseling careers require a degree. Many of the colleges and universities in Missouri offer counseling degrees at the graduate level because most types of counseling licensure require a master’s degree. There are a few undergraduate options in Missouri, however, that may suit students who are not ready to complete a graduate degree. Online and hybrid counseling programs are also available in Missouri, which may be ideal for students who require greater flexibility.
- There are 20 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 Missouri.1,2
- Of the counseling schools in Missouri, 1 offers an associate degree, 2 offer a bachelor’s degree, 4 offer a certificate, and 19 offer a master’s or advanced degree.1,2
- 16 schools offer a degree in mental health counseling.1,2
- 5 schools offer a degree in marriage and family therapy.1,2
- No schools offer a degree in vocational rehabilitation counseling.1,2
- 13 schools offer a degree in school counseling.1,2
- 3 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
- 1 school ranked in US News & World Report’s Best Online M.Ed. Programs for Student Counseling 2022.4
- Across 10 schools, 16 counseling programs are accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).2
- Across 1 school, 2 counseling programs are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE).5
Comparison of Missouri Counseling Schools and Programs
Below, we have compiled the table so that you can compare the public and not-for-profit colleges and universities in Missouri offering programs in the five primary counseling 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 necessary to become a counselor in Missouri, have a look at our license requirements page.
|School Name||CACREP-Accred Program2||MH||MF||VR||SC||SA||Grad Rate1||Net Price1|
|Central Methodist University-College of Graduate and Extended Studies||Yes||Yes||—||—||—||—||0%||$18,452|
|City Vision University||—||—||—||—||—||Yes||N.Av.||N.Av.|
|Covenant Theological Seminary||Yes||Yes||—||—||—||—||N.Av.||N.Av.|
|Drury University-College of Continuing Professional Studies||—||Yes||—||—||—||Yes||31%||$12,998|
|Missouri Baptist University||Yes||Yes||—||—||Yes||—||41%||$23,356|
|Missouri State University-Springfield||Yes||Yes||—||—||Yes||—||59%||$16,501|
|Missouri Valley College||—||Yes||—||—||—||—||25%||$17,716|
|Northwest Missouri State University||—||—||—||—||Yes||—||52%||$13,754|
|Saint Louis University||—||—||Yes||—||—||—||80%||$30,096|
|Southeast Missouri State University||Yes||Yes||—||—||Yes||—||54%||$13,291|
|Truman State University||—||Yes||—||—||Yes||—||72%||$11,470|
|University of Central Missouri||Yes||Yes||Yes||—||Yes||—||53%||$13,852|
|University of Missouri-Columbia||—||—||—||—||Yes||—||73%||$18,249|
|University of Missouri-Kansas City||—||Yes||Yes||—||Yes||—||57%||$14,368|
|University of Missouri-St Louis||Yes||Yes||Yes||—||Yes||—||58%||$10,525|
|Webster University-St. Louis||Yes||Yes||Yes||—||—||—||57%||$24,884|
Top-Ranked Schools with Counseling Programs in Missouri
US News &World Report’s Best Student Counseling Programs 2022
- University of Missouri (#6 tie)3
US News & World Report’s Best Online M.Ed. Programs for Student Counseling 2022
- University of Missouri (#16 tie)4
Schools in Missouri with Counseling Degrees
Traditional Undergraduate Programs
Webster University offers counseling-related degrees at the undergraduate and graduate levels. The Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Psychology with an emphasis in Mental Health teaches students about the behavioral and social factors related to mental illness and is designed to prepare graduates for a variety of mental health careers, including counseling. This degree is combined with the Master of Arts (MA) in Counseling, known as a 3-2+ program. Students must complete their undergraduate requirements in the first 90 credits in order to finish the 30 graduate hours of elective credits. The final 30+ credits are applied towards the graduate degree. This program is available at the St. Louis campus. Webster University also offers an MA in Counseling with several concentrations. The Clinical Mental Health emphasis is accredited by CACREP and meets Missouri educational requirements to become a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC); the MA in Couples, Marriage, Family, and Child Counseling meets state educational guidelines to become a Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT); and an emphasis in Community Counseling, which is only available at the Geneva, Switzerland campus, so students will be responsible for checking licensure requirements in the state in which they plan to work.
Traditional Graduate Programs
Lincoln University is a historically-black university located in Jefferson City. It offers a Master of Education (M.Ed.) with three different counseling tracks: School Counseling; Community/Agency Counseling; and Addiction Counseling. Students in the M.Ed. programs complete a core curriculum, specialized counseling courses, and complete an internship. The M.Ed. in School Counseling focuses on the counseling and guidance skills needed to work with students from kindergarten through 12th grade and meets state requirements to become a school counselor. The M.Ed. in Community/Agency Counseling focuses on mental health assessment, diagnosis, and counseling techniques and meets Missouri educational requirements for Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) licensure. Graduates of the M.Ed. in Addiction Counseling meet the coursework requirements to become a Certified Alcohol & Drug Counselor (CADC) in Missouri.
Missouri State University (MSU) offers CACREP-accredited Master of Science (MS) degrees in Counseling in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and School Counseling. The degree curriculum is comprised of 60 credits including 47 core courses and 13 specialized counseling credits. Graduates of the MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling meet coursework requirements for the Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) license in Missouri. The MS in School Counseling satisfies state requirements for school counselors; however, students who do not have a teaching degree and are not certified teachers in Missouri must complete additional coursework in Psychology of the Exceptional Child, Teaching Methods, and Classroom Management in addition to the core counseling degree requirements. Students in MSU’s counseling programs have access to academic and experiential opportunities, such as study abroad classes to destinations such as Belgium and Argentina and work experience at the Center City Counseling Clinic.
At Northwest Missouri State University, individuals interested in a career in school counseling can complete a Master of Science in Education (MSEd) in School Counseling. The degree is comprised of 45 credits and takes two years of full-time study to complete. The program has a cohort structure in which students progress through the curriculum with the same group of peers and new students are admitted in the fall term. Students learn how to provide age-appropriate counseling services in elementary or secondary school settings depending on the courses taken. Dual certification in K-12 settings is possible but requires additional coursework. Students who are not certified teachers will need to complete additional coursework to meet state requirements for school counselor licensure; however, the MSEd degree curriculum meets Missouri educational requirements to become a school counselor for students with a teaching degree and teacher certification.
At Southeast Missouri State University (SEMO), prospective counselors can complete CACREP-accredited Master of Arts (MA) degrees in Mental Health Counseling and School Counseling. In the MA in Mental Health Counseling degree, students complete 60 credits including courses such as Social and Cultural Aspects of Counseling and Mental Health Systems and Prevention. The MA in Mental Health Counseling meets state coursework requirements for Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) licensure in Missouri. Students in the MA in School Counseling complete 60 credits, including 150 hours of practicum and 600 hours of a supervised internship; although additional coursework is required for students who are not certified teachers. The program meets state requirements to become a K-12 school counselor.
The University of Central Missouri (UCM) offers CACREP-accredited Master of Science (MS) degrees in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and School Counseling at the Lee’s Summit and Warrensburg campuses. The MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling is a 60-credit degree focused on mental health, wellness, and personal development skills and meets Missouri’s educational requirements to become a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC). The MS in School Counseling offers Elementary School Counseling or Secondary School Counseling tracks comprised of 54 credits. Upon completion of the degree program, graduates will meet state requirements to become school counselors in either elementary or secondary school settings in Missouri. Students may be required to pursue additional coursework if they do not already hold a teaching certificate or undergraduate degree in education. UCM also offers a Professional Leadership Education Specialist (Ed.S.) program in Counseling with Clinical Mental Health Counseling and School Counseling tracks that build on the skills of master’s-level counseling degrees.
Online and Hybrid Programs
City Vision University is a Christian institution that offers a faith-based Bachelor of Arts (BA) as well as an associate degree in Addiction Counseling, both delivered fully online. The BA in Addiction Counseling is a 120-credit degree that takes four years of full-time study to complete. Courses are structured in eight-week blocks with five start dates offered throughout the year. The associate degree is a 60-credit program that can be completed in just two years. Both degrees prepare students to become Certified Addiction Counselors (CACs) in Missouri. The university also offers an online 16-18-credit undergraduate-level Certificate in Addiction Counseling for students who do not want to complete the degree program. Students residing in other states should check to ensure the coursework meets the educational requirements for substance abuse certification in their state.
The University of Missouri (MU or Mizzou) offers a 60-credit fully-online Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Educational, School, and Counseling Psychology with an Emphasis in School Counselor, Elementary and Secondary, Certification. Students take courses in eight-week blocks and the degree takes approximately three years to complete. The degree also requires students to complete 12 credits of supervised counseling practicum in a local setting. Graduates of the M.Ed. degree will meet Missouri requirements to become school counselors in elementary and secondary school settings from kindergarten through 12th grade. Students who are not already certified as teachers are required to take six credits of teacher preparation courses (as part of the 60 total credit hours) to obtain their certification. Mizzou also offers CACREP-accredited M.Ed. degrees in School Counseling and Clinical Mental Health Counseling at the St. Louis campus; and an M.Ed. in School Counseling at the Columbia and Kansas City campuses.
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