Counseling Degrees and Programs in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania is home to many institutions that offer degree programs in one or more of the five major areas of counseling: mental health counseling, marriage and family therapy, rehabilitation counseling, school counseling, and substance abuse counseling. Most counseling careers require a degree and many require a master’s degree in the specific area of counseling you’d like to practice. Therefore, if you are an aspiring counselor interested in working in Pennsylvania, choosing the right school and program will be an important first step in your journey to licensure. You will find that most counseling programs in Pennsylvania are offered at the graduate level with a small number available as associate and bachelor’s degrees. You will also find many online or hybrid counseling degrees available in Pennsylvania that cater to busy students, working professionals, or others who want to attend a program with greater flexibility.

Table of Contents

Quick Facts

  • There are 51 not-for-profit colleges and universities that offer a program in mental health counseling, marriage and family therapy, vocational rehabilitation counseling, school counseling, and/or substance abuse counseling in Pennsylvania.1,2
  • Of the counseling schools in Pennsylvania, 3 offer an associate degree, 19 offer a bachelor’s degree, 33 offer a certificate, and 40 offer a master’s or advanced degree.1
  • 38 schools offer a degree in mental health counseling.1,2
  • 11 schools offer a degree in marriage and family therapy.1,2
  • 2 schools offer a degree in vocational rehabilitation counseling. 1,2
  • 26 schools offer a degree in school counseling.1,2
  • 28 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
  • 3 schools ranked in US News & World Report’s Best Online M.Ed. Programs for Student Counseling 2022.4
  • Across 24 schools, 46 counseling programs are accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).2
  • Across 3 schools, 3 counseling programs are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE).5

Comparison of Pennsylvania Counseling Schools and Programs

We have provided the table below that enables you to compare the public and not-for-profit four-year colleges and universities in Pennsylvania that offer counseling programs 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. If you are interested in learning more about counseling licensure processes in Pennsylvania, read our licensure requirements page.

School NameCACREP-Accred Program2MHMFVRSCSAGrad Rate1Net Price1
Alvernia UniversityYesYesYes65%$24,917
Cairn University-LanghorneYes61%$26,380
Carlow UniversityYesYesYes52%$18,638
Clarks Summit UniversityYes55%$17,216
Commonwealth University of Pennsylvania-Lock HavenYesYesYesN.Av.N.Av.
Community College of Allegheny CountyYes17%$8,297
Community College of PhiladelphiaYes18%$12,612
Drexel UniversityYesYesYes78%$26,076
Duquesne UniversityYesYesYesYes78%$34,505
East Stroudsburg University of PennsylvaniaYes49%$16,674
Eastern UniversityYesYesYes60%$24,199
Gannon UniversityYesYes64%$22,258
Geneva CollegeYesYesYesYes71%$19,895
Gwynedd Mercy UniversityYesYes55%$25,843
Holy Family UniversityYesYes56%$11,935
Immaculata UniversityYesYesYesYes69%$28,510
Indiana University of Pennsylvania-Main CampusYesYesYes56%$21,153
Kutztown University of PennsylvaniaYesYesYesYesYes54%$22,418
La Salle UniversityYesYesYes58%$24,130
Lancaster Bible CollegeYesYesYesYes62%$22,700
Lebanon Valley CollegeYesYes68%$26,944
Lehigh UniversityYesYes87%$31,539
Marywood UniversityYesYesYes70%$22,687
Messiah UniversityYesYesYesYes77%$23,895
Millersville University of PennsylvaniaYes57%$17,995
Misericordia UniversityYes71%$23,822
Montgomery County Community CollegeYes21%$7,093
Mount Aloysius CollegeYesYes53%$21,793
Neumann UniversityYesYes49%$28,325
Pennsylvania Highlands Community CollegeYes38%$7,236
Pennsylvania State University-Main CampusYesYesYesYesYes72%$24,012
Pennsylvania State University-Penn State AbingtonYesN.Av.N.Av.
Pennsylvania State University-Penn State DuBoisYesN.Av.N.Av.
Pennsylvania Western University-PennWest CaliforniaYesYesYesN.Av.N.Av.
Philadelphia College of Osteopathic MedicineYesYesYesN.Av.N.Av.
Reading Area Community CollegeYes24%$8,920
Rosemont CollegeYesYesYesYes50%$25,644
Saint Vincent CollegeYes73%$23,361
Seton Hill UniversityYesYes67%$22,424
Shippensburg University of PennsylvaniaYesYesYesYes58%$21,077
Slippery Rock University of PennsylvaniaYesYesYesYes68%$12,364
Thiel CollegeYes47%$22,883
Thomas Jefferson UniversityYesYesYesYes71%$24,227
University of PennsylvaniaYesYes96%$14,578
University of PittsburghYesYes84%$22,996
University of ScrantonYesYesYesYes79%$35,913
Villanova UniversityYesYesYesYes91%$33,123
Waynesburg UniversityYesYesYes67%$22,070
West Chester University of PennsylvaniaYesYesYes73%$14,133
Westminster CollegeYesYes73%$20,258
Widener UniversityYesYesYes68%$25,343

Top-Ranked Schools with Counseling Programs in Pennsylvania

US News & World Report’s Best Student Counseling Programs 2022

  • Pennsylvania State University-University Park (#4 tie)3

US News & World Report’s Best Online M.Ed. Programs for Student Counseling 2022

  • Pennsylvania State University-World Campus (#16)
  • Drexel University (#43 tie)
  • Eastern University (#253-329)4

Schools in Pennsylvania with Counseling Degrees

Traditional Undergraduate Programs

Alvernia University

For those interested in the Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC) certification in Pennsylvania, Alvernia University offers a 123-credit Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Addictions and Mental Health Treatment that can be completed fully-online or at the Reading, Philadelphia, or Pottsville campuses. Students learn about mental health and behavioral disorders, counseling techniques, and the prevention and treatment of substance abuse disorders. The degree also includes 400 hours of on-site practicum in a related setting. Individuals who already have a college degree can complete the certificate program in Addiction and Mental Health Treatment, which includes the necessary coursework for the CADC certification. Alvernia University also offers a CACREP-accredited Master of Arts in Clinical Counseling (MACC) at the Reading campus that takes three years of full-time study to complete, although part-time study is permitted. The MACC program meets the educational requirements to become a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in Pennsylvania.

Drexel University

At Drexel University, students can complete a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Behavioral Health Counseling. The program is comprised of 181 quarter credits (equivalent to 120 semester credits), including the core curriculum, electives, and behavioral health credits, and takes four years to complete. This degree program prepares students for entry-level careers in mental health and addiction settings. As part of the program, students can choose to complete a six-month co-op to gain real-world experience. A 24-credit undergraduate minor and an online Master of Science (MS) in Addictions Counseling are available as well. Drexel also offers numerous degrees for aspiring Marriage and Family Therapists (MFTs). The 90-credit Master of Family Therapy (MFT) meets the educational requirements for licensure in Pennsylvania and includes two practicum experiences. Two doctoral degrees are also offered: a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Couple and Family Therapy, focused on research and teaching skills, and an online Doctor of Couple and Family Therapy (DCFT), designed for experienced practitioners looking to develop advanced clinical and leadership skills. Finally, several creative arts therapy degrees are available including MA degrees in Art Therapy and Counseling, Dance/Movement Therapy and Counseling, and Music Therapy and Counseling.

Traditional Graduate Programs

Carlow University

Carlow University is a Catholic school based in Pittsburgh that offers CACREP-accredited Master of Science (MS) in Professional Counseling degrees in Addictions Counseling and Clinical Mental Health Counseling, the latter of which offers clinical concentrations like child and adolescent, trauma-informed, or forensic counseling. Both 60-credit programs meet Pennsylvania educational requirements for licensure as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and offers students the opportunity to complete a graduate assistantship. Students in the Addictions Counseling program will also be eligible for Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CAADC) certification. Undergraduate students interested in counseling can apply for the accelerated MS in either Addictions Counseling or Clinical Mental Health Counseling during their sophomore year and begin coursework during their junior and senior years. A 12-credit, online Post-Master’s certificate in Alcohol and Drug Counseling is available as well as an 18-credit minor in Counseling, open to Carlow students in non-psychology majors. A Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Psychology Counseling familiarizes students with pre-professional level counselor training with a more scientific approach. This degree can be completed in three years including summer terms, or fast-tracked into an accelerated master’s degree in counseling.

Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus

At Pennsylvania State University, students can complete a CACREP-accredited Master of Education (MEd) in Counselor Education with concentrations in Career Counseling; Elementary and Secondary School Counseling; Clinical Mental Health Counseling in Schools and Communities; Clinical Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling; or Rehabilitation Counseling. The MEd in Clinical Mental Health Counseling is designed to prepare graduates for mental health counseling careers with children, families, groups, and individuals and licensure as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in Pennsylvania; it does not meet Pennsylvania licensure requirements for school counseling. A minor in Addictions and Recovery is offered for students wishing to work with those struggling with substance use disorder. For students completing their major in Behavioral Science, this minor provides a pathway toward certification as a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC) in Pennsylvania. Penn State also offers a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) program in Counselor Education preparing graduates to work in professional leadership roles and as advanced practitioners.

Shippensburg University

Shippensburg University has several master’s and doctoral degrees in counseling as well as counseling certificates. The Master of Science (MS) in Counseling offers three areas of emphasis: Clinical Mental Health Counseling, College Counseling, and College Student Personnel. The Clinical Mental Health emphasis is 60 credit hours and is designed to prepare students for mental health counseling careers and teaches students diagnostic, assessment, and treatment skills for mental health disorders. The degree includes the required coursework for licensure as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in Pennsylvania. The other two specialties are 48 credit hours. The 60-credit Master of Education (MEd) in Counseling prepares graduates for school counseling work with students in pre-K through twelfth grade and meets state coursework requirements for school counseling certification. A part-time Doctor of Education (EdD) in Counselor Education and Supervision is open to licensed counselors or those eligible for licensure who want to develop advanced skills in counseling, clinical supervision, and teaching. Certificates in Couples and Family Counseling, Drug and Alcohol Studies, and Clinical Mental Health Counseling are available to applicants with counseling degrees who wish to gain competency in an additional area of practice.

Online and Hybrid Programs

Clarks Summit University

Clarks Summit University (CSU) offers a range of counseling degrees with a Christian worldview, all available on-campus or online. The Associate of Arts (AA) in Addictions Counseling is a 61-credit degree in which students take classes in biblical and addictions studies to develop a spiritually-based understanding of addiction and substance abuse. Addictions Counseling can also be completed as a minor in the Bachelor of Science in Counseling (BSC) program, a 123-credit, four-year undergraduate degree that focuses on mental, emotional, physical, and behavioral disorders with additional biblical and psychological studies. An accelerated combined BSC and Master of Science in Counseling (MSC) program is available and takes five years to complete. The MSC degree is comprised of 60 credits and takes two years of full-time study if not completed as part of the accelerated program. Coming soon to CSU is a BS in Addictions Counseling and an associate degree in Counseling Ministries. An online Master of Arts (MA) with a Counseling concentration is available as well.

Eastern University

A Master of Arts (Ma) in Clinical Counseling is offered at Eastern University, either online or on-campus in the evening. Students can choose from three tracks: General, Trauma Studies, or Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Certification. Only the General and ABA tracks are offered online. This program can be completed in three years of full-time coursework or four years of part-time coursework. The included coursework meets the educational requirements for Licensed Professional Counselors (LPC) in Pennsylvania. A 48-credit Master of Education (M.Ed.) degree in School Counseling is also available either online or through a blended online/on-campus format. This program caters to master’s-level students who are interested in obtaining their School Counseling Certification and meets the educational requirements for the Licensed Behavior Specialist (LBS) and LPC credentials. A hybrid Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies (CAGS) in School Counseling is also available to those students who already have a graduate-level degree in a related field. Two doctoral programs are also available at Eastern in the area of Marriage and Family Therapy. The first is a 60-credit Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Marriage and Family Therapy, designed for prospective scholars/practitioners and the second is a 48-credit Doctor of Arts (DA) in Marriage and Family Therapy, designed for those interested in practicing with a theological outlook.

Messiah University

At Messiah University in Mechanicsburg, students can choose from several CACREP-accredited online counseling degrees with a Christian worldview. The Master of Arts (MA) in Counseling has concentrations in Clinical Mental Health Counseling; Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling; and School Counseling. Students must declare their preferred area of concentration after completing a maximum of nine credits. If taken on an accelerated full-time basis, the program can be completed within two years. Students can also choose to complete the program at a more relaxed pace following three- or four-year degree plans, but all degree requirements must be completed within six years. While all coursework is completed online, students must attend week-long, on-campus residencies in January and July. An online Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study in Counseling is also available to individuals who already have a graduate degree in counseling. Additionally, a 21-credit minor in Pre-Counseling and Therapy is offered that exposes undergraduate students to counseling fundamentals in mental health, marriage and family therapy, and psychology.

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