Counseling Degrees and Programs in Rhode Island

Although it is the smallest state by size in the country, Rhode Island is home to several colleges and universities with counseling programs in the following major practice areas: mental health counseling, rehabilitation counseling, school counseling, and substance abuse counseling. Most counseling careers in Rhode Island require a degree and most licensed counseling careers require a graduate degree. One of the first decisions you will make to become a counselor is choosing the right school and program for your needs. Both undergraduate and graduate counseling programs are available. The undergraduate programs in Rhode Island typically focus on the field of addiction counseling as this area of practice does not necessarily require a graduate degree in this state. Graduate degrees offering more advanced study and clinical experience are available in several counseling areas. As there are limited online or hybrid counseling program options available in Rhode Island, students who prefer the flexibility of online learning may need to check out programs offered in other states.

Table of Contents

Quick Facts

  • There are 5 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 Rhode Island.1,2
  • Of the counseling schools in Rhode Island, 1 offers an associate degree, 1 offers 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
  • 0 schools offer a degree in marriage and family therapy.1,2
  • 1 school offers a degree in vocational rehabilitation counseling.1,2
  • 1 school offers a degree in school counseling.1,2
  • 4 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, 2 counseling programs are accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).2
  • Across 1 school, 1 counseling program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE).5

Comparison of Rhode Island Counseling Schools and Programs

In the table below, you will find information about Rhode Island’s public and not-for-profit colleges and universities offering counseling programs in the following five primary areas: 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 want more details about becoming a licensed counselor in Rhode Island, read our license requirements page.

School NameCACREP-Accred Program2MHMFVRSCSAGrad Rate1Net Price1
Community College of Rhode IslandYesYes26%$5,980
Johnson & Wales University-ProvidenceYesYes63%$30,715
Providence CollegeYes89%$39,566
Rhode Island CollegeYesYesYes46%$8,710
Salve Regina UniversityYesYesYesYes73%$36,708

Schools in Rhode Island with Counseling Degrees

Traditional Undergraduate Programs

Rhode Island College

Rhode Island College (RIC) offers a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Behavioral Health Studies comprising 120 credits with required coursework in psychology, writing, and math. Students also complete 68 credits in the major area, including courses such as Drugs and Chemical Dependency; Theories of Psychological Intervention; and Physiological Psychology. The program is designed to prepare students for careers in chemical dependency counseling or to pursue advanced counseling degrees. Coursework in the BS program may be applied toward state educational requirements for the Provisional Alcohol and Drug Counselor (PADC) and Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC) credentials. RIC also offers two counseling programs at the graduate/postgraduate level. The 60-credit Master of Science (MS) in Clinical Mental Health Counseling is accredited by CACREP and meets state coursework requirements for the Clinical Mental Health Counselor (CMHC) credential. The program focuses on clinical counseling skills and the integration of research into evidence-based practice. Individuals who have a master’s degree in counseling but require additional coursework to meet state licensure requirements can apply to the Certificate in Graduate Studies (CGS) in Advanced Counseling program, which can be customized to their needs.

Traditional Graduate Programs

Johnson & Wales University-Providence

At the Providence campus of Johnson & Wales University (JWU), students can complete a Master of Science (MS) in Clinical Mental Health Counseling or an MS in Addiction Counseling. These programs are offered in a cohort format that begins in the fall and spring of each year with courses offered in the afternoons and evenings. Full-time students will complete the program in 18 months, while part-time students may take three years due to course scheduling. The 60-credit degrees share a counseling core curriculum; however, students in the Addiction Counseling program must take specific elective courses. Both degrees fulfill the state academic requirements to become a Clinical Mental Health Counselor (CMHC) and addictions counseling coursework can be applied towards the educational requirements for the Provisional Alcohol and Drug Counselor (PADC); Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC); and Certified Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CAADC) credentials. Undergraduate students enrolled in the Bachelor of Science (BS) in Psychology at JWU can apply to the Accelerated BS Psychology/MS Addiction Counseling program or the Accelerated BS Psychology/MS Clinical Mental Health Counseling program that enables high-achieving students to complete both the BS in Psychology and an MS degree in only five years. Students applying to one of the accelerated programs must meet the minimum grade point average (GPA) requirement in all prerequisite courses in psychology, statistics, and research methods to be eligible.

Providence College

Providence College is a Catholic institution offering a 42-credit Master of Education (M.Ed.) in School Counseling. The curriculum focuses on preparing students to work in elementary and secondary school settings by teaching theories and models relevant to counseling children and adolescents. Students also learn how to develop, implement, and review guidance programs in local schools. During the program, students will complete 300 hours of supervised internship in school settings. Scholarships and paid graduate assistantships that enable students to work with faculty members on counseling research projects may be available for qualifying students to assist with program costs. Upon completion of the program, students will have a professional portfolio that demonstrates the skills and knowledge acquired during the program. The program offers full and part-time study options with new students admitted in the fall, spring, and summer terms. Full-time students can complete the degree in two years, while part-time students typically take three years but have up to five years to complete all degree requirements. Graduates of the M.Ed. in School Counseling program will meet the licensing requirements to become PK-12 school counselors in Rhode Island.

Salve Regina University

Salve Regina University offers both graduate degrees and certificates in counseling. In the area of mental health counseling, a 48-credit Master of Arts (MA) in Holistic Counseling, a 60-credit MA in Holistic Clinical Mental Health Counseling, and a 60-credit MA in Clinical Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling are offered. The MA in Holistic Counseling and Holistic Clinical Mental Health Counseling degrees are offered part-time with evening classes. The 60-credit degree takes three years to complete while the 48-credit degree takes two to three years to complete. Students in both programs learn about mental health, psychology, and counseling theories with a focus on holistic and spiritual well-being. The MA in Clinical Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling takes two and a half years to complete and is offered in an online, synchronous format. Those in the 60-credit programs meet state requirements to become Clinical Mental Health Counselors (CMHCs) and graduates of the MA in Clinical Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling program are also eligible to become Certified Rehabilitation Counselors (CRCs). A CACREP-accredited, 48-credit MA in Rehabilitation Counseling is offered online that focuses on the mental health counseling needs of clients with disabilities. Several 12-credit certificates are also offered. Both the Certificate in Advanced Graduate Studies (CAGS) in Clinical Mental Health with Holistic Counseling Concentration and the CAGS in Mental Health with Rehabilitation Counseling Concentration enable students with a counseling graduate degree to meet CMHC educational requirements. The Certificate of Graduate Study (CGS) in Substance Use Disorders Foundations in Holistic Studies can be applied toward the coursework requirements for the Provisional Alcohol and Drug Counselor (PADC) and Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC) credentials. Finally, the CAGS in Substance Use Disorder Treatment can be applied toward state coursework requirements for the PADC, CADC, and Certified Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CAADC) credentials.

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