Counseling Degrees and Programs in Montana
The state of Montana has several public and not-for-profit colleges and universities offering counseling programs in the five major areas of practice: marriage and family therapy, mental health counseling, rehabilitation counseling, school counseling, and substance abuse counseling. To start a counseling career in Montana, you will need to choose a school that offers a counseling degree in the area you’d like to practice. As nearly all graduate programs require an undergraduate degree, you may be interested in completing an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in counseling first, several of which are offered in Montana. If you have a bachelor’s degree already, you will find there are also graduate degree options in Montana that meet the educational requirements for licensure. Furthermore, many of the counseling programs in Montana are offered with online or hybrid formats at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. These programs enable students to study from home with minimal or no required campus residencies. These online programs may appeal to busy students or working professionals.
- There are 7 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 Montana.1,2
- Of the counseling schools in Montana, 3 offer an associate’s degree, 2 offer a bachelor’s degree, 2 offer a certificate, and 5 offer a master’s or advanced degree.1,2
- 1 school offers a degree in marriage and family therapy.1,2
- 3 schools offer a degree in mental health counseling.1,2
- 1 school offers a degree in vocational rehabilitation counseling.1,2
- 4 schools offer a degree in school counseling.1,2
- 5 schools offer a degree in substance abuse counseling.1,2
- No counseling schools ranked in Kiplinger’s Best College Values 2019.3
- No schools ranked in US News Best Student Counseling Programs 2019.4
- 1 school ranked in US News Best Rehabilitation Counseling Programs 2019.5
- Across 4 schools, 7 counseling programs are accredited by CACREP.2
Comparison of Montana Counseling Schools and Programs
We have compiled the table below to help you compare the public and not-for-profit four-year colleges and universities in Montana that offer counseling programs in the following areas: 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 (*). Use the table to compare Montana schools by the program type, graduation rate, and net price per year. To learn more about the steps to licensure as a counselor in Montana, read our license requirements page.
|MH||MF||VR||SC||SA||Grad Rate1||Net Price1|
|Montana State University||Yes||Yes*||Yes*||—||Yes*||Yes||57%||$15,801|
|Montana State University-Billings||Yes||—||—||Yes*||Yes||Yes||29%||$11,859|
|Montana State University-Northern||—||—||—||—||Yes||—||35%||$10,644|
|Salish Kootenai College||—||—||—||—||—||Yes||54%||$8,208|
|Stone Child College||—||—||—||—||—||Yes||29%||$5,045|
|University of Montana||Yes||Yes*||—||—||Yes*||—||46%||$14,186|
|University of Providence||Yes||Yes*||—||—||—||Yes||46%||$19,435|
Top-Ranked Schools with Counseling Programs in Montana
US News Best Rehabilitation Counseling Programs 2019
- Montana State University (#75 tie)
Schools in Montana with Counseling Degrees
Traditional Undergraduate Programs
Montana State University (MSU)-Billings offers degree programs for students interested in rehabilitation counseling, addictions counseling, or school counseling. At the undergraduate level, a 60-credit Associate of Arts (AA) in Rehabilitation with a concentration in Chemical Dependency is offered. This two-year program introduces students to counseling models and techniques that can be used when working with individuals impacted by chemical dependency and addiction. A four-year Bachelor of Science (BS) in Human Services is also available with several concentrations, including Chemical Addictions and Treatment in Human Services. This program provides greater exposure to the social, ethical, and professional issues related to counseling as well as supervised field experience. Coursework from the AA and BS programs can be applied towards the academic requirements to become a Licensed Addiction Counselor (LAC) in Montana. Students who wish to fulfill the LAC academic requirements may complete the BS in Psychiatric Rehabilitation, which has a greater emphasis on addiction theory and chemical dependency counseling. MSU-Billings also offers a Master of Science (MS) in Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling, which is accredited by CACREP and meets state educational requirements to become a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC). The program has a hybrid format with the majority of required coursework available online; however, students must complete an orientation and two summer classes at the Billings campus. The degree comprises 60 credits, including 15 credits of supervised practicum and internship that can be completed in the student’s home community. Finally, a Master of Education (M.Ed.) in School Counseling is available that prepares graduates to work in K-12 school settings as a school counselor in Montana. This 48-credit degree has a hybrid format that combines online and evening classes with hybrid summer coursework.
Salish Kootenai College offers an Associate of Arts (AA) in Chemical Dependency Counseling with a focus on working with Native American populations in Montana and neighboring states. The program takes two years to complete full-time and consists of 90 quarter credits. Students are introduced to the legal, professional, and social aspects of addiction and chemical dependency as well as traditional Native American practices and methods that promote a holistic view of physical, mental, and spiritual health. Liberal arts coursework is also required and may include English, math, humanities, and biology classes. During the program, students learn treatment models and practical skills related to the profession, such as assessment, treatment planning, mental health counseling, and referrals. The degree is designed to meet the coursework requirements to become a Licensed Addiction Counselor (LAC) in Montana. Students can also continue their studies at the bachelor’s degree level.
Stone Child College is a tribal community college located near Box Elder. At Stone Child College, students interested in addiction counseling can complete an Associate of Arts (AA) in Human Services with a concentration in Addiction Studies. The AA program comprises 70 credits, including the 35-credit general education core and 35 credits in the major area of addictions. The program focuses on the health and well-being needs of Native American populations and includes a senior capstone project that enables students to apply their knowledge to a real-world case study. Students must take courses such as Multi-Cultural Counseling; Addiction Treatment Modalities; and Pharmacology and Physiology of Addiction. Other degree requirements include demonstrating an understanding of key addiction, pharmacology, and psychology theories; delivering a lecture on addiction counseling; creating a professional case file; and using addiction counseling skills appropriately in counseling scenarios. Upon completion of the program, students will meet state coursework requirements to become a Licensed Addiction Counselor (LAC).
Traditional Graduate Programs
Montana State University (MSU) offers programs in four of the main areas of counseling practice. At the graduate level, students can choose from the 60-credit Master of Science (MS) in Mental Health Counseling; the 60-credit MS in Marriage, Couples, and Family Therapy; or the 48-credit Master of Education (M.Ed.) in School Counseling. Each program is accredited by CACREP and takes two years of full-time study to complete including summer courses. Courses are typically offered at the Bozeman campus, although summer courses and some electives are available online. The MS in Mental Health Counseling teaches students to provide professional and evidence-based counseling services to a variety of populations and meets the coursework requirements in Montana to become a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC). In the MS in Marriage, Couples, and Family Therapy program, students complete coursework in counseling children and youth; group counseling; and advanced family therapy. Graduates will meet state educational requirements for the LCPC and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) credentials. The M.Ed. in School Counseling teaches students to provide academic guidance and support to elementary and secondary students. Graduates will meet state coursework requirements to become a school counselor. It is also possible to complete 12 additional credits to meet the LCPC educational requirements with this degree. An online, 12-credit Certificate in Addictions Counseling is offered that can be applied towards state academic requirements for the Licensed Addiction Counselor (LAC) credential. Students may take additional coursework through MSU to meet the LAC educational requirements fully.
Students interested in an on-campus school counseling program can complete the Master of Education (M.Ed.) in School Counseling at Montana State University (MSU)-Northern, located in Havre. This program requires 60 credits, including 15 credits of supervised practicum and internship. Required courses in the program include Counseling Skills and Practice; Crisis Intervention Counseling; and Diagnosis and Treatment in Counseling. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree and; experience working with children is desirable. Teaching experience and certification are not required but the program and licensure requirements for school counseling may differ for applicants who do not already have a teaching certificate. Upon completion of the program, students will meet the academic requirements to become a K-12 school counselor in Montana. Depending on the coursework taken, graduates may also meet state coursework requirements to become a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC).
At the University of Montana, prospective counselors can apply to the CACREP-accredited Master of Arts (MA) in Counseling, which has Clinical Mental Health Counseling and School Counseling tracks. This two-year degree is available at the Missoula campus with some online course offerings. Students in both tracks complete 37 credits of counseling core courses with Clinical Mental Health Counseling students completing 23 additional credits and School Counseling students completing 15 additional credits. The MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling meets state educational requirements for the Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC), while the MA in School Counseling meets state requirements to become a school counselor. Individuals who already have a master’s degree in counseling can apply to the Education Specialist (EdS) in Counselor Education or the CACREP-accredited Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Counselor Education and Supervision. These advanced programs allow students to develop expertise in a particular area of counseling. The PhD also teaches clinical leadership and research skills.
Online and Hybrid Programs
The University of Providence is a Catholic institution that offers online and hybrid counseling degree options. At the undergraduate level, the Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Addictions Counseling is a four-year degree that can be completed fully online with no required on-campus residencies. Students must complete 120 credits, including the 51-credit liberal arts core. The program teaches students about a range of addiction theories, models, and counseling techniques with a focus on chemical dependency. An Addictions Counseling Certificate is also available to applicants who already have a bachelor’s degree. Both programs meet the state educational requirements to become a Licensed Addiction Counselor (LAC). At the graduate level, the school offers a hybrid, CACREP-accredited Master of Science in Counseling (MSC) in Clinical Mental Health Counseling comprising 60 credits. Courses are offered at the Great Falls campus during the fall and spring semesters with summer courses offered online. New students are admitted in August and must attend an orientation either on-campus or online. Graduates will meet the state educational requirements to become a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC). Students in the MSC program can also complete the Addiction Counseling Certificate concurrently to meet the LAC educational requirements.
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