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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 that offer more advanced study and clinical experience are available in several different counseling areas. There are no fully-online or hybrid counseling programs available in Rhode Island. Students who prefer the flexibility of online learning may need to review programs offered in other states.

Quick Facts

  • There are 4 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 Rhode Island.1,2
  • Of the counseling schools in Rhode Island, 0 offer an associate’s degree, 1 offers a bachelor’s degree, 1 offers a certificate, and 4 offer a master’s or advanced degree.1,2
  • No schools offer a degree in marriage and family therapy.1,2
  • 3 schools offer a degree in mental health counseling.1,2
  • 1 school offers a degree in vocational rehabilitation counseling.1,2
  • 1 school offers a degree in school counseling.1,2
  • 3 schools offer a degree in substance abuse counseling.1,2
  • 2 counseling schools ranked in Kiplinger’s Best College Values 2019.3
  • No schools ranked in US News Best Student Counseling Programs 2019.4
  • 1 school ranked in US News Best Rehabilitation Counseling Programs 2019.5
  • Across 2 schools, 2 counseling programs are accredited by CACREP.2

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 four-year colleges and universities offering counseling programs in the following five primary 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 (*). Use the table to compare each school by program type offered, 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
Program2
MHMFVRSCSAGrad Rate1Net Price1
Johnson & Wales University-ProvidenceYesYes67%$28,089
Providence CollegeYes86%$37,842
Rhode Island CollegeYesYes*Yes50%$9,273
Salve Regina UniversityYesYesYes*Yes72%$33,291

Top-Ranked Schools with Counseling Programs in Rhode Island

Kiplinger’s Best College Values 2019

  • Providence College (#196)
  • Salve Regina University (#380)

US News Best Rehabilitation Counseling Programs 2019

  • Salve Regina University (#67 tie)

Schools in Rhode Island with Counseling Degrees

Traditional Undergraduate Programs

Rhode Island College

Rhode Island College (RIC) offers a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Psychology with a concentration in Chemical Dependency/Addiction Studies. The degree comprises 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 the addiction counseling and chemical dependency fields. Coursework in the BS program may be applied towards 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 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 June 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 3+2 program that enables high-achieving students to complete both the BS in Psychology and an MS degree in only five years. Students applying to the 3+2 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 a PK-12 school counselor 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 and a 60-credit MA in Holistic Clinical Mental Health Counseling are offered. These degrees are offered part-time with evening classes. The 60-credit degree takes five years to complete while the 48-credit degree takes 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. Those in the 60-credit program will meet state requirements to become a Clinical Mental Health Counselor (CMHC). A CACREP-accredited, 48-credit MA in Rehabilitation Counseling is offered that focuses on the mental health counseling needs of clients with disabilities. Several 12-credit certificates are also offered. The Certificate in Advanced Graduate Studies (CAGS) in Holistic Counseling or Rehabilitation Counseling enables students with a counseling graduate degree to meet CMHC educational requirements. The Certificate of Graduate Study (CGS) in Substance Abuse Foundations in Holistic Studies can be applied towards the coursework requirements for the Provisional Alcohol and Drug Counselor (PADC) and Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC) credentials. Finally, the CAGS in Substance Abuse and Treatment and the CAGS in Rehabilitation Counseling and Substance Abuse Counseling can be applied towards state coursework requirements for the PADC, CADC, and Certified Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CAADC) credentials.

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