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Counseling Degrees and Programs in South Carolina

The state of South Carolina is home to several colleges and universities that offer counseling programs in five major practice areas: marriage and family therapy, mental health counseling, rehabilitation counseling, school counseling, and substance abuse counseling. If you are interested in becoming a professional counselor in South Carolina, you will likely need to complete a degree as most counseling licenses in the state require graduate education. In fact, all of the counseling degrees in South Carolina are offered at the graduate level, so undergraduate students may need to choose a program in a related field or consider online programs or those offered in nearby states. There are several online counseling programs in South Carolina that enable students to complete coursework online or in a hybrid format in combination with on-campus residencies or meetings.

Quick Facts

  • There are 8 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 South Carolina.1,2
  • Of the counseling schools in South Carolina, 0 offer an associate’s degree, 0 offer a bachelor’s degree, 4 offer a certificate, and 8 offer a master’s or advanced degree.1,2
  • 3 schools offer a degree in marriage and family therapy.1,2
  • 5 schools offer a degree in mental health counseling.1,2
  • 2 schools offer a degree in vocational rehabilitation counseling.1,2
  • 5 schools offer a degree in school counseling.1,2
  • 1 school offers 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
  • 2 schools ranked in US News Best Rehabilitation Counseling Programs 2019.5
  • Across 7 schools, 13 counseling programs are accredited by CACREP.2

Comparison of South Carolina Counseling Schools and Programs

Below you will find a table with data on the public and not-for-profit four-year colleges and universities in South Carolina that offer counseling programs in the following five major 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 (*). You can also use the table to compare schools by program type offered, graduation rate, and net price per year. You can find more information about the licensure processes to become a counselor in South Carolina on our license requirements page.

School NameCACREP-
Accred
Program2
MHMFVRSCSAGrad Rate1Net Price1
Citadel Military College of South CarolinaYesYes*72%$16,396
Clemson UniversityYesYes*Yes*83%$19,508
Columbia International UniversityYesYes*Yes64%$18,136
Converse CollegeYes56%$19,058
South Carolina State UniversityYesYes*Yes*34%$20,878
University of South Carolina-ColumbiaYesYesYes*Yes*Yes*Yes77%$20,181
Webster University-South CarolinaYesYes*59%$22,727
Winthrop UniversityYesYes*Yes*56%$17,903

Top-Ranked Schools with Counseling Programs in South Carolina

Kiplinger’s Best College Values 2019

  • University of South Carolina (#197)
  • Clemson University (#217)

US News Best Rehabilitation Counseling Programs 2019

  • University of South Carolina (#47 tie)
  • South Carolina State University (#80 tie)

Schools in South Carolina with Counseling Degrees

Traditional Graduate Programs

Citadel Military College of South Carolina

While the Citadel Military College of South Carolina only offers undergraduate degrees to military cadets, the Citadel Graduate College offers evening programs to the general public. Students can complete a CACREP-accredited Master of Education (M.Ed.) in School Counseling with a specialization in either Elementary or Secondary School Counseling. In both tracks, students complete 51 credits, including 600 hours of supervised internship. The degree satisfies state requirements to become a school counselor and graduates can also meet the educational requirements for the Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) license by taking two additional courses. A Certificate in School Counseling is available to students who already have a master’s degree in education or counseling and wish to obtain South Carolina’s school counseling credential.

Clemson University

Clemson University offers CACREP-accredited Master of Education (M.Ed.) degrees in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and School Counseling. In these 60-credit M.Ed. programs, students complete 700 hours of supervised work experience in practicum and internships, including at least 240 hours of direct service delivery with clients. Upon completion of the M.Ed. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program, graduates will meet state educational requirements for the Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) license, while graduates of the M.Ed. in School Counseling degree will be eligible to become school counselors in P-12 settings in South Carolina. Clemson University also offers an Educational Specialist (EdS) degree designed to enable individuals who already have a master’s degree in counseling to gain an additional area of counseling specialization or advanced skills in their area of practice.

Columbia International University

Columbia International University International (CIU) is a Christian university offering a faith-based Master of Arts (MA) degree in Counseling. The degree is accredited by CACREP and meets South Carolina coursework requirements to become a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC). Students in the program must take 66 credits and can complete the degree in three years of full-time study. CIU also offers a postgraduate Certificate in Marriage and Family Counseling comprised of 24-27 credits that meets state requirements for the Licensed Marriage and Family Therapy Intern (LMFT/I) license. The certificate includes 600 hours of supervised internship including at least 300 hours of direct client contact. Applicants must have a master’s degree in counseling and attend an online interview to be eligible for the certificate program.

Converse College

Converse College offers a Master of Marriage and Family Therapy (MMFT) with an optional play therapy track at the Converse campus or the University Center of Greenville. The degree requires students to complete 63 credits, including a 15-month practicum, and can be studied on a full- or part-time basis. The full-time program takes two years to complete, while part-time students must meet all degree requirements within five years. Students take courses in family systems, child development, and psychopharmacology to gain an in-depth understanding of family, couple, and marriage systems. The college partners with the EMERGE Family Therapy and Teaching Clinic to provide students with numerous opportunities to apply classroom learning and interact directly with clients.

South Carolina State University

South Carolina State University (SCSU) is a historically black university that offers two CACREP-accredited graduate degrees in counseling. The Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Counselor Education consists of 51 credits, including counseling core courses and electives in either elementary or secondary school counseling depending on the track chosen. Students learn about age-appropriate counseling theories and techniques, as well as group dynamics and multiculturalism. Graduates meet the requirements to become either elementary or secondary school counselors in South Carolina. SCSU also offers a Master of Science (MS) in Rehabilitation Counseling that meets state coursework requirements to become a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC). In this program, students must complete 48 credits and take courses in disability studies, counseling, assessment, and case management. The degree also includes 600 hours of supervised field experience.

Webster University

Webster University offers prospective mental health counselors a CACREP-accredited Master of Arts (MA) in Counseling with a specialization in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. The university has numerous campuses across the country and, in South Carolina, this degree is available at the Charleston, Columbia, and Myrtle Beach campuses. In this program, students learn about counseling theories and models, professional ethics, and mental health assessment and diagnosis techniques so they can provide professional counseling services to diverse and multicultural clients. The degree is comprised of 60 credits, including core counseling courses, subject area courses, and electives. Students complete 600 hours of supervised work experience in practicums and internships. Applications are considered for the MA program on a rolling basis with new students admitted in the fall and spring terms.

Online and Hybrid Programs

University of South Carolina

The University of South Carolina (UofSC) offers a 60-credit, CACREP-accredited Master of Arts (MA) in Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling and an 18-credit Certificate of Graduate Study (CGS) in Psychiatric Rehabilitation that can be completed partially online with an in-person orientation and periodic on-campus meetings. The MA program provides students with an in-depth understanding of disabilities and counseling techniques, while the certificate is designed to introduce students to the rehabilitation counseling field. Other on-campus offerings include an Educational Specialist (EdS) degree in Counselor Education with three tracks: Clinical Mental Health Counseling; Marriage, Couples, and Family Counseling (CACREP-accredited); and School Counseling (CACREP-accredited). Each track requires 66 credits, including core counseling courses, clinical preparation, research, and specialized counseling coursework. The EdS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling meets South Carolina educational requirements to become a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC); the EdS in Marriage, Couples, and Family Counseling meets state educational requirements to become a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT); and the EdS in School Counseling fulfills state requirements to become a school counselor in elementary and secondary settings in South Carolina. Additionally, an 18-credit Graduate Certificate in Drug and Addiction Studies is available that brings together theories and knowledge of addiction from multiple disciplines to help counseling-related professionals develop clinical competencies in this area.

Winthrop University

Winthrop University offers a Post-Graduate Certificate in School Counseling that is available to individuals who have a master’s degree in counseling and wish to become school counselors. The certificate requires 12 credits in school counseling including an internship and all coursework requirements can be met online. While the online certificate is designed to meet South Carolina requirements to become a school counselor, students may be required to take additional courses at the Rock Hill campus depending on the coursework taken during their master’s degree. Winthrop University also offers an on-campus CACREP-accredited Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Counseling and Development with either a specialization in Clinical Mental Health Counseling or School Counseling. Both M.Ed. specializations are comprised of 60 credits. The M.Ed. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling meets state educational requirements for the Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) license, while the M.Ed. in School Counseling prepares students to become school counselors in P-12 settings.

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