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Counseling Degrees and Programs in North Carolina

One of the first steps many aspiring counselors must take is choosing the right program. Numerous colleges and universities in North Carolina offer counseling degrees and certificates that meet the educational requirements for licensure in the major counseling categories: marriage and family therapy, mental health counseling, rehabilitation counseling, school counseling, and substance abuse counseling. Most types of counseling licenses in North Carolina require a graduate degree; therefore, most schools offer master’s degrees in counseling or higher. Some undergraduate degrees are available for individuals who want to train for entry-level careers or are not ready for graduate study. There are also online and hybrid counseling degrees offered in North Carolina, which may appeal to students who require more flexibility.

Quick Facts

  • There are 19 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 North Carolina.1,2
  • Of the counseling schools in North Carolina, 0 schools offer an associate’s degree, 2 offer a bachelor’s degree, 1 offers a certificate, and 19 offer a master’s or advanced degree.1,2
  • 4 schools offer a degree in marriage and family therapy.1,2
  • 16 schools offer a degree in mental health counseling.1,2
  • 4 schools offer a degree in vocational rehabilitation counseling.1,2
  • 15 schools offer a degree in school counseling.1,2
  • 2 schools offer a degree in substance abuse counseling.1,2
  • 6 counseling schools ranked in Kiplinger’s Best College Values 2019 .3
  • 1 school ranked in US News Best Student Counseling Programs 2019.4
  • 4 schools ranked in US News Best Rehabilitation Counseling Programs 2019.5
  • Across 17 schools, 36 counseling programs are accredited by CACREP.2

Comparison of North Carolina Counseling Schools and Programs

We have provided the table below to help you compare the public and not-for-profit four-year colleges and universities in North Carolina that offer counseling programs in the five major counseling 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 (*). 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 compare each school by program type offered, graduation rate, and net price per year. If you want to learn more about counseling licensure in North Carolina, read our license requirements page.

School NameCACREP-
Accred
Program2
MHMFVRSCSAGrad Rate1Net Price1
Appalachian State UniversityYesYes*YesYes*Yes72%$10,491
Campbell UniversityYesYes*Yes*53%$22,458
East Carolina UniversityYesYes*YesYes*Yes*65%$13,746
Gardner-Webb UniversityYesYes*Yes*53%$19,197
Gordon Conwell Theological SeminaryYesYes*N.Av.N.Av.
Lenoir-Rhyne UniversityYesYes*Yes*50%$18,927
Montreat CollegeYesYes*43%$21,454
North Carolina A & T State UniversityYesYes*Yes*Yes*53%$9,378
North Carolina Central UniversityYesYes*Yes*46%$12,470
North Carolina State University at RaleighYesYes*Yes*81%$14,771
Pfeiffer UniversityYes43%$19,554
Salem CollegeYes60%$15,560
University of North Carolina at Chapel HillYesYes*Yes*Yes*89%$11,649
University of North Carolina at CharlotteYesYes*Yes*Yes*59%$14,987
University of North Carolina at GreensboroYesYes*Yes*Yes*53%$10,396
University of North Carolina at PembrokeYesYes*Yes*41%$11,576
Wake Forest UniversityYesYes*Yes*89%$27,354
Western Carolina UniversityYesYes*Yes*62%$15,021
Winston-Salem State UniversityYesYes*48%$11,142

Top-Ranked Schools with Counseling Programs in North Carolina

Kiplinger’s Best College Values 2019

  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (#2)
  • Wake Forest University (#83)
  • Appalachian State University (#106)
  • North Carolina State University (#128)
  • Salem College (#154)
  • Western Carolina University (#265)

US News Best Student Counseling Programs 2019

  • University of North Carolina at Greensboro (#6)

US News Best Rehabilitation Counseling Programs 2019

  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (#9 tie)
  • East Carolina University (#15 tie)
  • Winston-Salem State University (#37 tie)
  • North Carolina A&T State University (#55 tie)

Schools in North Carolina with Counseling Degrees

Traditional Undergraduate Programs

East Carolina University

East Carolina University (ECU) offers a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Rehabilitation Services with an optional minor in Alcohol and Drug Studies that teaches entry-level skills and knowledge of rehabilitation counseling and service delivery. The degree includes 120 credits of coursework in disability, mental health, substance abuse, and allied health subjects, along with a supervised internship. ECU also provides several CACREP-accredited graduate degrees. The Master of Science (MS) in Rehabilitation and Career Counseling and the MS in Clinical Counseling with a specialization in Addictions are both comprised of 62 credits and meet the coursework requirements for Licensed Professional Counselors (LPCs) in North Carolina. Additionally, students in the clinical counseling degree program also meet the educational requirements to become Licensed Clinical Addiction Specialists (LCASs) in the state. The College of Education offers an MS in Counselor Education that can meet state requirements for licensure as an LPC or a School Counselor depending on the courses taken. An MS in Marriage and Family Therapy is offered that is designed to prepare graduates for careers as Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFTs) in North Carolina. The university also offers a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Rehabilitation Counseling and Administration and post-graduate certificates in Military and Trauma Counseling, Rehabilitation Counseling, and Substance Abuse Counseling.

Winston-Salem State University

Students hoping to provide counseling services to clients with disabilities may be interested in the degrees offered at Winston-Salem State University (WSSU). The 120-credit Bachelor of Science (BS) in Rehabilitation Studies degree requires students to complete 54 credits in the major and a related internship. The BS degree introduces students to the main concepts of rehabilitation, disability, and addiction as well as interviewing and case management skills. Undergraduate students can also complete an optional minor in Deaf Studies or Addictions to gain further expertise in these related areas. Students in other WSSU degree programs can also complete a minor in these areas or Rehabilitation Studies. WSSU also offers a CACREP-accredited Master of Science in Rehabilitation Counseling (MSRC) that admits new applicants in the fall, spring, and summer terms. This degree prepares graduates to take the national Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) exam.

Traditional Graduate Programs

Appalachian State University

Appalachian State University (ASU), located in Boone, has numerous graduate degree options for aspiring counselors. The Master of Arts (MA) in Clinical Mental Health Counseling has several concentrations including General Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Addictions Counseling, and Marriage and Family Counseling. This degree is accredited by CACREP and comprises 60 credits. Graduates will meet the educational requirements to become Licensed Professional Counselors (LPCs) in North Carolina. The CACREP-accredited MA in School Counseling prepares graduates to become licensed school counselors in North Carolina and provide emotional and academic support to K-12 students. ASU also offers graduate certificates in Addictions Counseling, Marriage and Family Counseling, and Systemic Multicultural Counseling, which are open to applicants with a graduate counseling degree.

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNC Greensboro) offers four CACREP-accredited graduate degrees in counseling: Master of Science (MS) degrees in Counseling in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, School Counseling, and Couple and Family Counseling and a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Counseling and Counselor Education. Each MS degree requires students to complete 60 credits including counseling core courses, specialized counseling courses, and a 600-hour internship. The degree meets coursework requirements in North Carolina for licensure in each specific area of counseling practice. The PhD degree is a full-time, cohort-style program that takes three years to complete and prepares graduates for leadership careers in counseling practice and teaching.

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Students who hope to work with clients with disabilities may be interested in the CACREP-accredited Master of Science (MS) in Clinical Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-Chapel Hill). The program has specialized tracks in Developmental Disabilities and Psychiatric Disabilities comprised of 68 credits or students can choose to complete both tracks by completing 71 credits. The program admits new students in the fall term and students declare their specialization at the end of their first semester of the program. Full-time students can complete the degree in two years while part-time students may need at least four years due to the timing of supervised placements. An accelerated CACREP-accredited Master of Education (M.Ed.) in School Counseling is also offered, which begins in the summer term and takes 14 months to complete. Both degrees meet educational requirements to become Licensed Professional Counselors (LPCs) in North Carolina and school counseling graduates are also eligible for school counseling licensure in the state.

Online and Hybrid Programs

North Carolina Central University

North Carolina Central University (NCCU) offers two CACREP-accredited online degrees. The Master of Arts (MA) in Mental Health Counseling has a 60-credit curriculum focused on assessment, diagnosis, and counseling skills. The MA degree meets the educational requirements to become a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in North Carolina; three additional courses can be taken to meet the educational requirements for North Carolina’s Licensed Clinical Addiction Specialist (LCAS) license. An MA in School Counseling is also available. It is comprised of 51 credits and meets state coursework requirements to become a school counselor with students from K-12. Both degree programs include synchronous and asynchronous coursework requirements and students must attend three residencies during the program. The orientation residency is completed online while the second and third residencies are held in Durham.

North Carolina State University

For individuals looking for a part-time online degree, North Carolina State University (NCSU) offers a CACREP-accredited Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and a CACREP-accredited M.Ed. in School Counseling that feature a cohort format. These degrees take three years to complete part-time and require students to take two online classes each term; on-campus internship supervision may also be required. On-campus versions of the degrees are available at the Raleigh campus on a full-time or part-time basis and can be completed in as little as two years. New students are admitted to these degree programs during the summer term. Graduates of the M.Ed. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling will be prepared to provide clinical counseling services, such as mental health diagnosis, assessment, and treatment, and will meet state educational requirements to become a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC). Those in the M.Ed. in School Counseling degree will learn how to provide age-appropriate counseling help to students from kindergarten through 12th grade and will meet North Carolina’s educational requirements for school counseling licensure.

Wake Forest University

Wake Forest University (WFU) has a fully-online Master of Arts in Counseling (MAC) with specializations in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and School Counseling. Both versions of the degree are accredited by CACREP and meet North Carolina requirements for licensure in their respective areas. Students complete 60 credits including 30 credits of counseling core courses and 30 credits in the area of specialization. The curriculum also includes mandatory coursework in addiction counseling and ethics as well as an internship and a capstone project. WFU has a humanitarian approach to learning that focuses on teaching students how to use their skills and knowledge to better humanity. Graduates of the MAC in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program have found employment in community, government, and private settings, while MAC in School Counseling graduates can work with students from kindergarten through 12th grade.

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