Counseling Degrees and Programs in South Carolina
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 (such as psychology, social work, sociology, or public health) 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.
- There are 9 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 South Carolina.1,2
- Of the counseling schools in South Carolina, 0 offer an associate degree, 0 offer a bachelor’s degree, 3 offer a certificate, and 9 offer a master’s or advanced degree.1,2
- 6 schools offer a degree in mental health counseling.1,2
- 3 schools offer a degree in marriage and family therapy.1,2
- 2 schools offer a degree in vocational rehabilitation counseling.1,2
- 5 schools offer a degree in school counseling.1,2
- 2 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 7 schools, 14 counseling programs are accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP)2
- Across 1 school, 2 counseling programs are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE).5
Comparison of South Carolina Counseling Schools and Programs
Below you will find a table with data on the public and not-for-profit colleges and universities in South Carolina that offer counseling programs in the following five major areas: mental health counseling (MH), marriage and family therapy (MF), vocational rehabilitation counseling (VR), school counseling (SC), and substance abuse counseling (SA). Using the table, you can see which schools offer any programs in these areas that are accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). The table also contains information about program types 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 Name||CACREP-Accred Program2||MH||MF||VR||SC||SA||Grad Rate1||Net Price1|
|Citadel Military College of South Carolina||Yes||Yes||—||—||Yes||—||73%||$19,473|
|Columbia International University||Yes||Yes||—||—||Yes||Yes||62%||$20,088|
|South Carolina State University||Yes||—||—||Yes||Yes||Yes||30%||$20,901|
|Southern Wesleyan University||—||Yes||—||—||—||—||52%||$19,479|
|University of South Carolina-Columbia||Yes||—||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||78%||$21,898|
|Webster University-South Carolina||Yes||Yes||Yes||—||—||—||N.Av.||N.Av.|
Schools in South Carolina with Counseling Degrees
Traditional Graduate Programs
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 Counselor Education with a specialization in either Elementary or Secondary School Counseling. In both tracks, students complete 60 credits, including 600 hours of supervised internship. The degree satisfies state requirements to become a school counselor. The Citadel also offers a Master of Arts (MA) in Psychology: Clinical Counseling. The MA in Psychology: Clinical Counseling is comprised of 60 credits and prepares graduates for licensure as a Professional Counselor (LPC). Graduates should meet the educational requirements for licensure as Licensed Professional Counselors (LPCs) in South Carolina.
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 School Counseling or Mental Health Counseling.
Converse College offers the only COAMFTE-accredited Master of Marriage and Family Therapy (MMFT) program in South Carolina, which is available at both the Converse campus and the University Center of Greenville. The degree requires students to complete 63 credits, including a 15-month practicum on a full-time basis. As part of their practicum, students must also complete 500 hours of client contact, which includes 50 hours of group supervision, 50 hours of individual supervision, and 250 hours of therapy sessions. 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 (SCSU of SC State) 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 48 to 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 licensed elementary or secondary school counselors in South Carolina. SCSU also offers a Master of Arts (MA) in Rehabilitation Counseling that meets state coursework requirements to become a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC), or National Certified Counselor (NCC). In this program, students must complete 60 credits and take courses in disability studies, counseling, assessment, and case management. The degree also includes 600 hours of supervised field experience. Students who already have a bachelor’s degree in counseling or a related field can earn an online graduate certificate in Addiction and Trauma through SC State Online. The certificate program consists of six courses, including Theories and Models for Addictions and Current Issues and Trends in Addictions and Trauma Counseling.
Webster University offers prospective mental health counselors a CACREP-accredited Master of Arts (MA) in Counseling with an emphasis in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, or Couples, Marriage, Family, and Child Counseling. The university has numerous campuses across the country and, in South Carolina, this degree is available at the Columbia and Myrtle Beach campuses. The Clinical Mental Health Counseling specialization is also offered through Webster’s extended hybrid program, although this program is not CACREP-accredited. In both specialties, 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 consists 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 for the MA program are considered on a rolling basis with new students admitted in the fall and spring terms.
Online and Hybrid Programs
Columbia International University (CIU) is a Christian university offering a faith-based online or on-campus Master of Arts (MA) degree in Clinical 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 60 credits and can complete the degree in three years of full-time studies. CIU also offers an online MA in Addictions Counseling; and an online Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Counselor Education and Supervision. The MA in Addictions Counseling consists of 48 credits and prepares graduates for licensure as an Addictions Counselor in South Carolina. The PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision consists of 57 credits and can be completed in as little as three years. The program is designed to prepare graduates to work either in a clinical setting as a practitioner or in an academic setting as a researcher or educator. In addition, CIU offers an online/on-campus MA in Care and Counseling and an on-campus Postgraduate Certificate in Mission Care and Counseling that do not lead to licensure, as well as an online/on-campus Master of Divinity (M.Div.) in Care and Counseling designed for licensed counselors.
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 on-campus or online. 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 a CACREP-accredited Educational Specialist (EdS) degree in Counselor Education with three tracks: Clinical Mental Health Counseling; Marriage, Couples, and Family Counseling; and School Counseling. Each track requires 60 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 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. The certificate program is designed to exceed CACREP accreditation standards and prepares students for licensure as school counselors in both South Carolina and North Carolina. Note that up to three additional courses may be required to meet these requirements, depending on the courses completed in the student’s master’s program. If necessary, these courses can be completed online. Winthrop University also offers an on-campus CACREP-accredited Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Counseling and Development with specializations in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and School Counseling. Both specializations consist of 60 credits and take two years to complete full-time. 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.
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