Counseling Degrees and Programs in Virginia
Virginia offers prospective counseling students a wide range of college and university programs across the major counseling categories: mental health counseling, marriage and family therapy, rehabilitation counseling, school counseling, and substance abuse counseling. To start a counseling career in Virginia, one of your first steps will likely be choosing a school, as almost all professional counseling careers require a degree. Additionally, many schools in Virginia that offer counseling degrees offer them at the master’s and doctoral levels because most types of counseling licensure require a graduate degree. There are also several institutions in Virginia that offer counseling degrees in an online or hybrid format. This type of degree provides students with greater flexibility to study at their own pace and complete coursework from the comfort of their own homes.
- 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 Virginia.1,2
- Of the counseling schools in Virginia, 0 offer an associate degree, 0 offer a bachelor’s degree, 5 offer a certificate, and 18 offer a master’s or advanced degree.1,2
- 16 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
- 16 schools offer a degree in school counseling.1,2
- 7 schools offer a degree in substance abuse counseling.1,2
- 1 school ranked in US News & World Report’s Best Student Counseling Programs 2022.4
- 2 schools ranked in US News & World Report’s Best Online M.Ed. Programs for Student Counseling 2022.4
- Across 13 schools, 35 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 Virginia Counseling Schools and Programs
We have compiled the table below to show you the public and not-for-profit colleges and universities in Virginia that offer counseling programs in the following five 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. More information about the counseling licensure requirements in Virginia can be found on our license requirements page.
|School Name||CACREP-Accred Program2||MH||MF||VR||SC||SA||Grad Rate1||Net Price1|
|College of William & Mary||Yes||Yes||Yes||—||Yes||Yes||91%||$18,399|
|Divine Mercy University||—||Yes||—||—||—||—||N.Av.||N.Av.|
|Eastern Mennonite University||Yes||Yes||—||—||—||—||55%||$23,936|
|George Mason University||—||Yes||—||—||Yes||—||70%||$18,841|
|James Madison University||Yes||Yes||—||—||Yes||—||82%||$18,528|
|Northern Virginia Community College||—||—||—||—||—||Yes||33%||$9,627|
|Old Dominion University||Yes||Yes||—||—||Yes||—||49%||$17,254|
|Patrick & Henry Community College||—||—||—||—||—||Yes||41%||$4,827|
|Southside Virginia Community College||—||—||—||—||—||Yes||42%||$6,713|
|Southwest Virginia Community College||—||—||—||—||—||Yes||35%||$8,669|
|University of Lynchburg||Yes||Yes||—||—||Yes||—||66%||$27,305|
|University of Virginia-Main Campus||Yes||—||—||—||Yes||—||94%||$20,401|
|Virginia Commonwealth University||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||68%||$19,656|
|Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University||Yes||Yes||—||—||Yes||—||87%||$20,109|
|Virginia State University||—||—||—||—||Yes||—||48%||$16,770|
Top-Ranked Schools with Counseling Programs in Virginia
US News & World Report’s Best Student Counseling Programs 2022
- University of Virginia (#16 tie)3
US News & World Report’s Best Online M.Ed. Programs for Student Counseling and Personnel Services 2022
- College of William & Mary (#89 tie)
- Liberty University (#241 tie)4
Schools in Virginia with Counseling Degrees
Traditional Graduate Programs
George Mason University (GMU) offers a Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Counseling rooted in social justice and multicultural values. Students can choose from two CACREP-accredited concentrations, Clinical Mental Health (CMH) Counseling and School Counseling, which share core coursework requirements. In the 60-credit CMH program, students learn to provide a range of counseling services, such as individual, group, and family counseling. This concentration assists students in meeting the coursework requirements to become Licensed Professional Counselors (LPCs) in Virginia. The 60-credit School Counseling track leads to a provisional license for school counseling in the state and enables graduates to work in PreK-12 school settings. A Graduate Certificate in Counseling is also offered to former GSU counseling students seeking LPC or school counseling licensure.
James Madison University (JMU) offers three CACREP-accredited graduate degrees in counseling. The Master of Arts (MA) in Clinical Mental Health Counseling is a 60-credit, three-year program that meets coursework requirements for licensure as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in Virginia. Students complete a set curriculum with only one elective course and either a research project or a thesis. The Master of Education (M.Ed.) in School Counseling is a 60-credit degree that meets state requirements for school counseling licensure. Students learn to provide social, emotional, and academic guidance and support in K-12 settings and gain supervised experience. The hybrid Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Counseling Education and Supervision is a 48-credit program designed for applicants with a master’s degree in counseling and allows students to complete coursework online with three to four-day residencies required twice per semester. Students conduct counseling research and learn about teaching, leadership, and advanced clinical skills. According to JMU, PhD students take an average of three to four years to complete this degree.
At Old Dominion University (ODU), students can complete a Master of Science in Education (M.S.Ed.) in Counseling with CACREP-accredited concentrations in either Clinical Mental Health Counseling or School Counseling. Both concentrations comprise 60 credits, including a core counseling curriculum and a specialization core, and meet Virginia educational requirements for licensure in the respective areas of the profession. Courses in the School Counseling track can be taken on a full or part-time basis and are offered in the late afternoon and evening to accommodate the schedules of working teachers and other professionals. Old Dominion University also has a CACREP-accredited Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Education with a Counseling concentration and an Educational Specialist (Ed.S.) in Counseling, which are available to applicants with a master’s degree in counseling who wish to develop advanced counseling skills and knowledge.
Marymount University is a Catholic institution located in Arlington. The university has a CACREP-accredited Master of Arts (MA) in Counseling with concentrations in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC), Pastoral Clinical Mental Health Counseling (PCMHC), and School Counseling. Both the CMHC and PCMHC concentrations require 60 credits and meet the state coursework requirements to become a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in Virginia, but the PCMHC concentration requires students to complete additional coursework in religion and spirituality. The CMHC program is also offered as a dual degree with an MA in Forensic and Legal Psychology for those interested in counseling careers in criminal justice and legal settings. The School Counseling concentration prepares graduates to provide social and emotional support to students in K-12 settings and meets state requirements for school counseling licensure, though it is not accepting applicants for 2023. Marymount also offers all three concentrations as online programs.
Radford University offers prospective students the opportunity to complete a CACREP-accredited Master of Science (MS) in Counseling and Human Development degree with a concentration in either Clinical Mental Health or School Counseling. The Clinical Mental Health Counseling concentration consists of 60 credits and prepares graduates of the program to provide professional counseling services in a variety of mental health settings, such as state hospitals, private facilities, and private practice. The program meets Virginia educational requirements to earn licensure as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and can be applied toward the educational requirements for various substance abuse counseling credentials in the state. The School Counseling concentration requires 48 credits and meets state requirements to become a school counselor. Students in both programs take a shared counseling core of 30 credits before completing specialization courses, electives, and supervised internships in community settings.
Online and Hybrid Programs
The College of William and Mary offers an online, CACREP-accredited Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Counseling with a School Counseling track and a Clinical Mental Health Counseling track with an optional concentration in Military and Veterans Counseling. Each track includes 60 credits, admits new applicants three times per year, and takes approximately three years to complete. While courses can be completed online, students must complete on-site work experiences, attend supervision meetings, complete group work with other students in the program, and attend two three-day residencies. The School Counseling track is designed to teach students how to provide emotional, developmental, and social support to diverse student populations in elementary, middle, and high school settings, while the Clinical Mental Health Counseling track uses a holistic and multicultural approach to counseling theory and techniques. Both tracks meet state educational requirements for licensure in their respective areas. On-campus versions of these degrees are also available, along with an M.Ed. in Clinical Mental Health and Addiction Counseling and an M.Ed. in Couples, Marriage, and Family Counseling.
Hampton University (HU) is a historically black institution that offers an online Master of Arts (MA) in Counseling with a General Counseling concentration; an online Educational Specialist (Ed.S.) in Counseling; and a hybrid Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Counselor Education and Supervision. The MA degree is a 31-credit program that provides students with the foundational knowledge necessary to become a Qualified Mental Health Provider (QMHP) in Virginia. Students must then transfer to the on-campus MA in Counseling program to complete a CACREP-accredited specialization in Community Mental Health Counseling or School Counseling to be eligible for state counseling licensure. The Ed.S. in Counseling is an advanced study program for graduates of HU’s MA in Counseling program, while the PhD provides the opportunity to develop skills in teaching, research, and mentorship.
Not only does Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) offer the only rehabilitation counseling degree in the state, but the Master of Science (MS) in Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling is accredited by CACREP and can be completed through a combination of online and on-campus classes on a full-time or part-time basis. The degree comprises 60 credits and students choose between two concentrations: Clinical Mental Health Counseling or Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling. It meets the educational requirements to become a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in Virginia and enables students to take the Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) national exam. VCU offers an online Post-Master’s Certificate in Professional Counseling designed for applicants who already have a master’s degree in counseling but need to complete additional coursework for the LPC and various substance abuse counseling credentials in the state. VCU also offers an on-campus, CACREP-accredited Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Counselor Education with concentrations in Couples and Family Counseling and School Counse
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