Counseling Degrees and Programs in North Dakota

If you are interested in starting a counseling career in the Midwest, several North Dakota colleges and universities offer programs in the major counseling categories: mental health counseling, rehabilitation counseling, school counseling, and substance abuse counseling. One of the first steps to becoming a licensed counselor will be to choose a school and a program as most counseling careers require a degree. As a master’s degree in counseling is required for nearly all types of licensure, most counseling programs in North Dakota are offered at the graduate level. There are, however, some undergraduate programs that may appeal to students who do not yet have a bachelor’s degree. There are also online and hybrid degree programs offered by North Dakota schools in most of the major counseling areas. Online programs may appeal to busy students or those who do not live near a college or university campus. These programs often have the same curriculum as on-campus degrees and may be taught by the same faculty.

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Quick Facts

  • There are 6 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 North Dakota.1,2
  • Of the counseling schools in North Dakota, 1 offers an associate degree, 3 offer a bachelor’s degree, 1 offers a certificate, and 4 offer a master’s or advanced degree.1,2
  • 4 schools offer a degree in mental health counseling.1,2
  • No schools offer a degree in marriage and family therapy.1,2
  • 1 school offers a degree in vocational rehabilitation counseling.1,2
  • 3 schools offer a degree in school counseling.1,2
  • 5 schools offer a degree in substance abuse counseling.1,2
  • No schools ranked in US News & World Report’s Best Student Counseling Programs 2022.3
  • No schools ranked in US News & World Report’s Best Online M.Ed. Programs for Student Counseling 2022.4
  • Across 2 schools, 5 counseling programs are accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).2
  • There are no programs accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE).5

Comparison of North Dakota Counseling Schools and Programs

Below you will find a table we have compiled that allows you to compare the public and not-for-profit colleges and universities in North Dakota that offer at least one counseling program in the five main areas of practice: 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. You can find more information about how to become a licensed counselor in North Dakota on our license requirements page.

School NameCACREP-Accred Program2MHMFVRSCSAGrad Rate1Net Price1
Minot State UniversityYes46%$12,935
North Dakota State UniversityYesYesYes65%$16,677
Nueta Hidatsa Sahnish CollegeYes11%$4,252
University of JamestownYesYes56%$20,095
University of MaryYesYesYesYes64%$19,474
University of North DakotaYesYesYesYes62%$17,425

Schools in North Dakota with Counseling Degrees

Traditional Undergraduate Programs

Minot State University

At Minot State University (MSU), individuals interested in substance abuse counseling can complete a 120-credit Bachelor of Science (BS) in Addiction Studies. This degree teaches students about a range of addictions, such as chemical dependency, alcohol, and compulsive disorders, as well as how to help clients address, prevent, and recover from addictive behaviors. Students will also learn about the social, cultural, and legal systems that impact addiction in society and the many ways individuals can be impacted by addiction. MSU requires students to complete 38-40 credits of general education, at least 66 credits in Addiction Studies, and the remaining credits are electives. In the senior year of the program, students complete a nine-month supervised work experience in an organization providing related services. Coursework and work experience completed in the BS program can be used towards the requirements for the Licensed Addiction Counselor (LAC) and Licensed Clinical Addiction Counselor (LCAC) credentials in North Dakota. Students majoring in other subjects can complete a 24-credit minor or 18-credit concentration in Addiction Studies, although these alone may not be sufficient to meet state licensing requirements.

Nueta Hidatsa Sahnish College

Nueta Hidatsa Sahnish College (NHSC) is a tribal charter college affiliated with the Tribes of the Fort Berthold Reservation in New Town. The college offers a 65-credit Associate of Arts (AA) in Addiction Studies. This program is influenced by the college values of spirituality, people, and culture, and the curriculum combines modern knowledge of addiction with traditional Native American models of health and well-being. Students are required to take 36 credits of general education in English, humanities, math, and science, as well as 29 credits in the area of concentration. Required addiction studies courses include Alcohol and Drug Helping Skills; Dynamics of Addiction; and Alcohol and Drug Treatment Continuum. Upon completion of the program, graduates will be prepared to work in entry-level addiction treatment settings with Native American populations or continue their studies at the bachelor’s level. Further study leading to a bachelor’s degree is required to meet the state educational requirements to become a Licensed Addiction Counselor (LAC). NHSC offers AA students numerous supports to help them successfully complete the program, such as academic advising assistance, transfer credit for previous college coursework, and financial aid programs, such as grants and scholarships.

Traditional Graduate Programs

North Dakota State University

North Dakota State University (NDSU) offers a Master of Science (MS) and a Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and School Counseling, which are both accredited by CACREP. Each version of the degree requires core counseling coursework (with courses such as Counseling Across the Lifespan; Assessment Techniques; and Professional Orientation and Ethics); advanced coursework in the area of specialization; as well as 100 hours of practicum and 600 hours of internship. The MS degree requires students to complete a master’s research thesis, while the M.Ed. degree requires 300 additional hours of supervised internship. The 60-credit Clinical Mental Health Counseling degree introduces students to the theories and models of mental health assessment, diagnosis, and counseling. It meets North Dakota’s coursework requirements for the Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC) credentials. In the 60-credit School Counseling degree, students learn how to provide age-appropriate counseling in K-12 settings and will meet state requirements to become school counselors upon completion of the program. New students begin the School Counseling program in the summer term, while students can begin the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program in the summer or the fall term. NDSU also offers a CACREP-accredited Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Counselor Education and Supervision. This advanced degree prepares students for leadership, research, and teaching careers in counseling.

University of North Dakota

The University of North Dakota (UND) offers both on-campus and online counseling degree programs. The Master of Arts (MA) in Counseling is available at the Grand Forks campus with tracks in Addiction Counseling; Community Mental Health Counseling; Child Adolescent Counseling; and Rehabilitation Counseling. This 60-credit degree includes a 41-43 credit core counseling curriculum with required courses such as Life-Span Development in Counseling; Diagnostic and Prevention Strategies in Counseling; and Group Theory and Process. Students take the remaining coursework in their area of specialization and must complete either a research thesis or an independent study project. The program takes at least two years to complete full-time and new students are admitted in the fall and summer terms. UND also offers an online MA in Counseling with K-12 School Counseling Emphasis that takes two and a half years to complete. An online Graduate Certificate in K-12 School Counseling is also available with a 23-credit Re-Specialization Track for students who have a master’s degree in counseling or a 48-credit Educator’s Track for students who have a master’s degree in education. Both programs require two four-day on-campus residencies during each summer term. Online coursework is delivered through synchronous methods that require students to attend online classes in real time. Graduates of the K-12 School Counseling Emphasis will meet state requirements to become school counselors or Licensed Professional Counselors (LPCs). Students interested in other MA tracks should confirm whether the track will meet the licensure requirements for their desired area of practice prior to enrollment. Finally, UND also offers a 120-credit, on-campus Bachelor of Science (BS) in Rehabilitation and Human Services with an optional minor in Chemical Dependency. Graduates will be eligible for entry-level careers in rehabilitation counseling and may apply Chemical Dependency coursework toward state requirements for the Licensed Addiction Counselor (LAC) and Licensed Clinical Addiction Counselor (LCAC) credentials.

Online and Hybrid Programs

University of Jamestown

The University of Jamestown offers an online Master of Science (MS) in Clinical Counseling that is designed for working professionals who prefer the flexibility of an online program. The program has a cohort structure in which students progress through the curriculum as a group in a set sequence. Online coursework is offered asynchronously so students can complete assignments when it is most convenient for them. The degree requires 60 credits, including required courses such as Assessment, Diagnosis, and Treatment Planning; Counseling Children and Adolescents; and Crisis Counseling. New students are admitted in the fall and winter terms and the degree takes two years to complete full-time. All coursework is completed online; however, students must attend a one-week residency during the first summer of the program. The program meets state educational requirements to become a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC) in North Dakota. A Bachelor of Arts (BA) and a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Psychology with a concentration in Addiction Counseling are also offered on campus. Students in the BA complete additional coursework in the humanities, while BS students must take additional coursework in math and science. Both degrees require 124 credits and provide the option to complete 960 hours of supervised work experience. Students can apply the coursework and work experience toward the state requirements to become Licensed Addiction Counselors (LACs) and Licensed Clinical Addiction Counselors (LCACs) in North Dakota.

University of Mary

The University of Mary is a Catholic institution located in North Dakota’s state capital of Bismarck. The school offers several degrees and certificates in counseling on campus as well as online. The 60-credit Master of Science (MS) in Counseling is available with specializations in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and School Counseling. The MS degree has a shared counseling core curriculum and can be completed in as little as 20 months of full-time study with most courses completed online. Students must also participate in a weekly on-campus meeting or attend online via video conferencing. Those in the MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling complete additional advanced coursework in clinical mental health diagnosis and treatment and will meet state educational requirements to become Licensed Professional Counselors (LPCs) and Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors (LPCCs). In the MS in School Counseling, students learn how to develop and implement school guidance programs and will meet state requirements in North Dakota to become school counselors. Online certificates are also available in these areas to help individuals meet state licensure requirements or develop competency in a second area of counseling practice. The Certificate in Clinical Mental Health Counseling requires at least 17 credits and the School Counseling Certificate requires 15 credits. An online Bachelor of Science (BS) in Addiction Counseling is also offered with an optional minor in Addiction Prevention. This degree program consists of 124 credits and includes courses such as Addictive Disorders in Society, Dynamics of Addiction, and Pharmacology of Addiction. Graduates of the BS in Addiction Studies meet the academic requirements to become Licensed Addiction Counselors (LACs) and Licensed Clinical Addiction Counselors (LCACs) in North Dakota.

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