Counseling Degrees and Programs in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania is home to many excellent colleges and universities and many of these institutions offer degree programs in one or more of the five major areas of counseling: marriage and family therapy, mental health counseling, 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’s 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.
- There are 49 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 Pennsylvania.1,2
- Of the counseling schools in Pennsylvania, 1 offers an associate’s degree, 3 offer a bachelor’s degree, 9 offer a certificate, and 43 offer a master’s or advanced degree.1
- 12 schools offer a degree in marriage and family therapy.1,2
- 28 schools offer a degree in mental health counseling.1,2
- 4 schools offer a degree in vocational rehabilitation counseling. 1,2
- 27 schools offer a degree in school counseling.1,2
- 16 schools offer a degree in substance abuse counseling.1,2
- 12 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 12 schools, 44 counseling programs are accredited by CACREP.2
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 (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 also compare schools by type of program offered, 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.
|MH||MF||VR||SC||SA||Grad Rate1||Net Price1|
|Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania||—||—||—||—||Yes||—||60%||$17,137|
|California University of Pennsylvania||Yes||Yes*||—||—||Yes*||Yes||53%||$18,780|
|Clarion University of Pennsylvania||—||Yes||—||—||—||Yes||53%||$19,297|
|Clarks Summit University||—||Yes||—||—||—||Yes||57%||$19,704|
|East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania||—||—||—||—||—||Yes||50%||$15,275|
|Edinboro University of Pennsylvania||Yes||Yes*||—||Yes*||Yes*||—||45%||$15,223|
|Evangelical Theological Seminary||—||—||Yes||—||—||—||N.Av.||N.Av.|
|Gwynedd Mercy University||—||—||—||—||Yes||—||54%||$23,694|
|Holy Family University||—||—||—||—||Yes||—||60%||$15,074|
|Indiana University of Pennsylvania-Main Campus||Yes||Yes*||—||—||Yes*||—||56%||$19,646|
|Kutztown University of Pennsylvania||Yes||Yes*||Yes*||—||Yes*||—||55%||$22,084|
|La Salle University||Yes||Yes*||Yes||—||—||—||67%||$24,473|
|Lancaster Bible College||—||Yes||Yes||—||Yes||—||60%||$21,160|
|Lock Haven University||Yes||Yes*||—||—||—||—||54%||$18,491|
|Millersville University of Pennsylvania||—||—||—||—||Yes||—||60%||$19,481|
|Mount Aloysius College||—||Yes||—||—||—||Yes||45%||$20,914|
|Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus||Yes||Yes*||—||Yes*||Yes*||—||85%||$26,151|
|Pennsylvania State University-Penn State Altoona||—||—||—||—||—||Yes||64%||$21,947|
|Pennsylvania State University-Penn State DuBois||—||—||—||—||—||Yes||53%||$18,610|
|Saint Vincent College||—||—||—||—||Yes||Yes||77%||$21,146|
|Seton Hill University||—||—||Yes||—||—||—||66%||$23,847|
|Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania||Yes||Yes*||Yes||—||Yes*||—||53%||$19,635|
|Thomas Jefferson University||—||—||Yes||—||—||—||64%||$27,846|
|University of Pennsylvania||—||—||—||—||Yes||—||95%||$26,266|
|University of Pittsburgh||Yes||Yes*||—||Yes*||—||—||83%||$24,040|
|University of Scranton||Yes||Yes*||—||Yes*||Yes*||—||82%||$36,725|
|West Chester University of Pennsylvania||Yes||Yes*||—||—||Yes*||—||75%||$19,091|
Top-Ranked Schools with Counseling Programs in Pennsylvania
Kiplinger’s Best College Values 2019
- University of Pennsylvania (#39)
- Lehigh University (#79)
- Bucknell University (#112)
- Villanova University (#151)
- University of Pittsburgh (#185)
- Geneva College (#190)
- Duquesne University (#218)
- Westminster College (#288)
- West Chester University of Pennsylvania (#289)
- Saint Vincent College (#309)
- University of Scranton (#312)
- La Salle University (#334)
US News Best Student Counseling Programs 2019
- Pennsylvania State University-University Park (#7)
US News Best Rehabilitation Counseling Programs 2019
- Pennsylvania State University-University Park (#4 tie)
- University of Pittsburgh (#20 tie)
- University of Scranton (#32 tie)
- Edinboro University of Pennsylvania (#90 tie)
Schools in Pennsylvania with Counseling Degrees
Traditional Undergraduate Programs
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 Addiction and Mental Health Treatment that can be completed fully online or at the Reading, Philadelphia, or Schuylkill 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. Up to 75 credits from previous study, such as an associate’s degree, can be transferred towards the BA program. Individuals who already have a four-year 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 and Philadelphia campuses 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.
At Drexel University, students can complete a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Behavioral Health Counseling. The program is comprised of 180 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. Online post-bachelor’s certificates are available in Substance Use Disorder Treatment and Integrative Addiction Therapies. Drexel University 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 PhD in Couple and Family Therapy focused on research and teaching skills, and a Doctor of Couple and Family Therapy (DCFT) designed for experienced practitioners looking to develop advanced clinical and leadership skills.
Traditional Graduate Programs
California University of Pennsylvania offers a CACREP-accredited Master of Science (MS) in Clinical Mental Health Counseling designed to accommodate the needs of working professionals by offering multiple start dates throughout the year and numerous evening classes. The program meets Pennsylvania educational requirements for licensure as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and can be completed in two years of full-time study or on a part-time basis. Applicants with counseling degrees who are not yet eligible for licensure can complete a customized post-master’s licensure certificate in Counselor Education to meet any remaining educational requirements. The university also offers a CACREP-accredited Master of Education (MEd) in School Counseling. The accelerated program takes approximately two years to complete or longer on a part-time basis. Additional online offerings include certificates in Addictive Disorders and Spiritual, Ethical, and Religious Counseling.
At Pennsylvania State University, students can complete a CACREP-accredited Master of Education (MEd) in Counselor Education with a concentration in Clinical Mental Health Counseling in Schools and Communities; Clinical Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling; Rehabilitation Counseling; or School Counseling. The MEd in Schools and Communities 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. Those interested in working with students from Pre-K-12 should complete the MEd in School Counseling, while those interested in counseling careers with individuals with disabilities should choose the MEd in either Clinical Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling or Rehabilitation Counseling. Penn State also offers a PhD in Counselor Education that develops advanced skills and knowledge in counseling, research, and leadership.
Shippensburg University has several master’s and doctoral degrees in counseling as well as counseling certificates. The 60-credit Master of Science (MS) in Counseling 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 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 Counseling 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 (CSU) offers a range of counseling degrees with a Christian worldview, all available at the Clarks Summit 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. The AA degree prepares students for further study at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Addiction studies can also be completed as a minor in the Bachelor of Science (BS) in Counseling program. This 123-credit degree, four-year undergraduate degree focuses on mental, emotional, physical, and behavioral disorders with additional biblical and psychological studies. An accelerated combined BS and Master of Science (MS) in Counseling program is available and takes five years to complete. The MS degree is comprised of 60 credits and takes two years of full-time study if not completed as part of the accelerated program.
The Master of Arts (MA) in Counseling at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania offers a fully-online specialization in School Counseling that prepares graduates for certification as school counselors in Pennsylvania. Other on-campus specializations in the MA program include Clinical Mental Health and Clinical Rehabilitation and Clinical Mental Health Counseling, which focus on mental health counseling techniques and rehabilitation counseling skills necessary to work with individuals with disabilities. All three programs are accredited by CACREP and include 30 credits of counseling core coursework, such as human development and counseling techniques, and 30 credits in the area of specialization. Students complete 600 hours of internship in a related professional setting as part of the degree requirements.
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 and Family Therapy, 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 (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