Counseling Degrees and Programs in Tennessee
If you are planning to start a career as a professional counselor in Tennessee, you will find that many colleges and universities offer programs in the major counseling fields: mental health counseling, marriage and family therapy, rehabilitation counseling, school counseling, and substance abuse counseling. The first step in your counseling career will likely be choosing a school to attend, as nearly all counseling careers in Tennessee require a degree. In addition, you will find that nearly all the counseling degrees in Tennessee are offered at the master’s level or above. This is likely because a master’s degree in counseling is required for most types of licensure in the state. At the bachelor’s level, prospective counselors may need to choose a degree in a related field as undergraduate degrees are not available in all the major counseling fields. At the graduate level, there are a small number of online or hybrid counseling degree programs available in the more popular areas of practice, such as clinical mental health and school counseling.
- There are 22 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 Tennessee.1,2
- Of the counseling schools in Tennessee, 1 offers an associate degree, 2 offer a bachelor’s degree, 2 offer a certificate, and 20 offer a master’s or advanced degree.1,2
- 19 schools offer a degree in mental health counseling.1,2
- 4 schools offer a degree in marriage and family therapy.1,2
- 1 school offers a degree in vocational rehabilitation counseling.1,2
- 18 schools offer a degree in school counseling.1,2
- 5 schools offer a degree in substance abuse counseling.1,2
- 1 school ranked in US News & World Report’s Best Student Counseling Programs 2022.3
- 3 schools ranked in US News & World Report’s Best Online M.Ed. Programs for Student Counseling 2022.5
- Across 17 schools, 35 counseling programs are accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).2
- Across 2 schools, 2 counseling programs are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE).5
Comparison of Tennessee Counseling Schools and Programs
Below you will find a table that contains some helpful information if you are considering completing a counseling degree in Tennessee. The table allows you to compare Tennessee’s public and not-for-profit colleges and universities that offer programs in these five areas: mental health counseling (MH), marriage and family therapy (MF), vocational rehabilitation counseling (VR), school counseling (SC), and substance abuse counseling (SA). You can also see if each school offers any programs that are accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). Use the table to compare each school by program types offered, graduation rate, and net price per year. If you’d like more information about counseling licensure in Tennessee, have a look at our license requirements page.
|School Name||CACREP-Accred Program2||MH||MF||VR||SC||SA||Grad Rate1||Net Price1|
|Austin Peay State University||Yes||Yes||—||—||Yes||—||42%||$14,529|
|East Tennessee State University||Yes||Yes||—||—||Yes||Yes||51%||$14,482|
|Lincoln Memorial University||Yes||Yes||—||—||Yes||—||53%||$23,324|
|Middle Tennessee State University||Yes||Yes||—||—||Yes||—||54%||$12,617|
|Mid-South Christian College||—||—||—||—||—||Yes||100%||N.Av.|
|Southern Adventist University||Yes||Yes||—||—||Yes||—||52%||$23,377|
|Southwest Tennessee Community College||—||—||—||—||—||Yes||13%||$6,368|
|Tennessee State University||—||Yes||—||—||Yes||—||30%||$11,880|
|Tennessee Technological University||Yes||Yes||—||—||Yes||—||60%||$15,481|
|Trevecca Nazarene University||Yes||Yes||Yes||—||—||—||49%||$15,795|
|University of Memphis||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||54%||$14,251|
|University of Tennessee-Chattanooga||Yes||Yes||—||—||Yes||—||54%||$13,552|
|University of Tennessee-Knoxville||Yes||Yes||—||—||Yes||—||73%||$21,019|
|University of Tennessee-Martin||—||Yes||—||—||Yes||—||52%||$11,646|
Top-Ranked Schools with Counseling Programs in Tennessee
US News & World Report’s Best Student Counseling Programs 2022
- Vanderbilt University (#15 tie)3
US News & World Report’s Best Online M.Ed. Programs for Student Counseling 2022
- University of Memphis (#109 tie)
- University of Tennessee-Martin (#169 tie)
- Tennessee Technological University (#231 tie)4
Schools in Tennessee with Counseling Degrees
Traditional Undergraduate Programs
Students looking for a counseling degree at the undergraduate level may be interested in the Bachelor of Professional Studies (BPS) at the University of Memphis, which offers concentrations in Alcohol and Drug Abuse Services and Disability and Rehabilitation Services. Both degrees consist of 120 credits and take four years to complete through full-time study. Students complete foundational courses in liberal arts, specialized professional courses in the area of study, an internship, and a senior project. The degree can also be designed to include an optional minor in a complementary field, such as Child Development, Nonprofit Management, or Psychology. The University of Memphis offers two CACREP-accredited Master of Science (MS) in Counseling degree options, Clinical Mental Health Counseling and Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling, as well as a CACREP-accredited Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Counselor Education and Supervision. The MS in Counseling also has three additional concentration options that are not accredited by CACREP: Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling; School Counseling; and Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling.
Traditional Graduate Programs
At Austin Peay State University (APSU), students can complete a CACREP-accredited Master of Science (MS) degree in Counseling with a concentration in Clinical Mental Health Counseling or School Counseling, both of which consist of 60 credits. The MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling includes 100 hours of practicum and 600 hours of internship to help students learn how to provide counseling interventions to a diverse and multicultural range of clients. The curriculum is designed to meet Tennessee educational requirements for licensure as a Licensed Professional Counselor with Mental Health Service Provider designation (LPC-MHSP). Students in the MS in School Counseling program learn educational and child development theories and age-appropriate counseling and guidance skills for PreK-12 settings. This concentration meets state requirements to become a school counselor in Tennessee. APSU also offers a dual-track option that enables a limited number of students to complete the coursework requirements for both the LPC-MHSP and school counseling credentials in a compressed time frame.
East Tennessee State University (ETSU) offers prospective counselors two graduate-level counseling degree options accredited by CACREP. The Master of Arts (MA) in Counseling is a 60-credit degree with concentrations in Clinical Mental Health and School Counseling. The MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling teaches students clinical assessment, developmental psychology, and individual and group intervention skills and can be designed to meet the coursework requirements for state licensure as a Licensed Professional Counselor with Mental Health Services Provider Designation (LPC-MHSP). Additionally, students completing the Clinical Mental Health Counseling track can choose electives centered on couple and family counseling that will put them on the pathway to licensure as Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFTs). The MA in School Counseling meets state educational requirements to become a school counselor and work in PreK-12 school settings. Students in the School Counseling track can take additional coursework to meet the LPC-MHSP coursework requirements as well.
Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) offers a CACREP-accredited Educational Specialist (Ed.S.) in Professional Counseling with concentrations in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and School Counseling. Both degrees consist of 61 credits and meet state educational requirements for licensure in their respective areas of practice. In addition to qualifying graduates for Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) licensure, the Ed.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling teaches students the clinical skills necessary to be eligible for the Licensed Professional Counselor-Mental Health Service Provider (LPC-MSHP) credential. Students in both concentrations must take foundational counseling courses, such as Introduction to Professional Counseling and Legal and Ethical Issues in Counseling, before progressing to more advanced content in the area of counseling expertise. Both programs require students to complete 100 hours of practicum and 600 hours of internship. New students are admitted in the summer, fall, and spring terms.
The University of Tennessee-Chattanooga offers prospective counseling students the opportunity to complete CACREP-accredited Master of Education (M.Ed.) degrees in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and School Counseling. Both degrees require students to complete 60 credits, including 700 hours of supervised work experience, comprehensive exams, and a final case study paper. Individuals in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling track learn about clinical assessment, mental health diagnosis, and multicultural counseling. Upon graduation, students will meet the coursework requirements to become a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in Tennessee. Those in the School Counseling track take foundational counseling courses and courses focused on child development and counseling in school settings. Graduates will be qualified to become school counselors in PreK-12 settings in Tennessee. New students are only admitted into the M.Ed. programs in the fall term.
At the University of Tennessee-Knoxville (UT-Knoxville), students can complete a Master of Science (MS) with a concentration in either Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC) or School Counseling, both of which are accredited by CACREP. New students are admitted in the fall term. In the CMHC track, students complete 60 credits in approximately two and a half years of full-time study with the option to also complete a research thesis. The program has a cohort structure in which students progress through the curriculum together; however, part-time study is possible with prior approval. Graduates will meet the educational requirements for licensure as Licensed Professional Counselors with the Mental Health Service Provider (LPC-MHSP) designation. The School Counseling track requires 60 credits, takes two years to complete, and prepares graduates for licensure as school counselors. Students enrolled in either the CMHC or School Counseling track can apply to the Dual Track Licensure program, which allows students to complete 63 credits and graduate having met academic requirements for the LPC-MHSP and professional school counselor credentials. At UT-Knoxville, it is also possible to complete a CACREP-accredited Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Counselor Education and Supervision and an online Graduate Certiﬁcate in Rehabilitation Counseling for the Deaf.
Online and Hybrid Programs
The University of Tennessee-Martin (UT-Martin) offers an online Master of Science (MS) in Counseling degree with concentrations in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and School Counseling. The Clinical Mental Health degree requires 60 credits and students can begin the program in the fall, spring, or summer term. This degree teaches students the skills needed to work in community settings, such as hospitals and community agencies. Upon completion of the program, students will meet Tennessee educational requirements to become a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) or a Licensed Professional Counselor-Mental Health Service Provider (LPC-MSHP). The School Counseling degree requires 60 credits and offers start dates in the fall or spring term. Graduates are prepared to work in PreK-12 school settings and meet state coursework requirements to become school counselors. Both programs accept students on a full-time or part-time basis and can be completed in as little as two years, with all courses offered completely online. Students who have already completed their master’s degree in either counseling or education are also eligible for the Endorsement Program, a 24-27-credit, license-only option that prepares graduates for licensure as a school counselor in Tennessee.
Students interested in an online school counseling degree can complete the Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Human Development Counseling with a specialization in School Counseling through Vanderbilt University. The degree is comprised of 48 credits and provides a wide breadth of knowledge that is necessary to work with K-12 students. Graduates of this track will meet state requirements to become a school counselor and may take additional coursework to meet the state educational requirements for licensure in Tennessee as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC). The M.Ed. in School Counseling is also available at the Nashville campus along with a Clinical Mental Health Counseling track. Both on-campus degrees consist of 51 credits, with classes offered during the daytime, evenings, and on weekends. Students completing the Clinical Mental Health Counseling specialization will meet Tennessee’s LPC educational requirements. On-campus students can also complete a Dual Licensing Track, which requires 66 credits and prepares graduates for licensure as both an LPC and a Professional School Counselor.
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