Counseling Degrees and Programs in Washington DC
Washington DC offers individuals interested in counseling careers many degree programs to choose from. There are several colleges and universities there that offer at least one program in a major counseling field, including mental health counseling, rehabilitation counseling, and school counseling. If you plan to become a counseling professional in Washington DC, you will need to choose a school to attend, as most counseling careers require a degree. Most counselors need a master’s degree in counseling with specific coursework and supervised experience in your desired area of practice. All the programs in Washington DC are offered at the graduate level and are designed to meet state licensure requirements. If you want to study at the undergraduate level, you may need to consider online programs or those offered in nearby states, such as Virginia or Maryland. A few counseling programs in Washington DC are offered online or in a hybrid format, which provides students with greater flexibility. As programs are not available in all fields of counseling in Washington DC, some prospective counselors will have to consider either online or on-campus programs offered in other states.
- There are 5 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 Washington DC.1,2
- Of the counseling schools in Washington DC, 0 offer an associate degree, 0 offer a bachelor’s degree, 1 offers a certificate, and 5 offer a master’s or advanced degree.1,2
- 5 schools offer a degree in mental health counseling.1,2
- No schools offer a degree in marriage and family therapy.1,2
- 2 schools offer a degree in vocational rehabilitation counseling.1,2
- 4 schools offer a degree in school counseling.1,2
- No schools offer a degree in substance abuse counseling.1,2
- No schools ranked in US News Best Student Counseling Programs of 2022.3
- No schools ranked in US News Best Online M.Ed. Programs for Student Counseling 2022.4
- Across 4 schools, 8 counseling programs are accredited by CACREP.2
- No counseling programs are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE).5
Comparison of Washington DC Counseling Schools and Programs
The table below allows you to compare the public and not-for-profit colleges and universities in Washington DC that have a counseling program in at least one of the following five primary 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 review which schools offer any programs accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). Use the table to compare schools by the program types offered, the graduation rate, and the net price per year. If you want to learn more about steps to licensure as a counselor in Washington DC, read our license requirements page.
|MH||MF||VR||SC||SA||Grad Rate1||Net Price1|
|Chicago School of Professional Psychology at Washington DC||Yes||Yes||—||—||—||—||N.Av.||N.Av.|
|George Washington University||Yes||Yes||—||Yes||Yes||—||84%||$31,240|
|Trinity Washington University||Yes||Yes||—||—||Yes||—||41%||$12,815|
|University of the District of Columbia||Yes||Yes||—||Yes||Yes||—||25%||$12,354|
Schools in Washington DC with Counseling Degrees
Traditional Graduate Programs
George Washington University (GWU) offers numerous counseling degree programs at the graduate level. The CACREP-accredited Master of Arts (MA) in Counseling is offered with specializations in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, School Counseling, and Rehabilitation Counseling. The 60-credit MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling prepares students to provide mental health support and psychotherapeutic services to a wide range of clients in individual and group settings. The program takes approximately two and a half years to complete through full-time study and meets state educational requirements for the Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) credential. A 12-credit Post-Master’s Certificate in Counseling is available to individuals who have a master’s degree in counseling but require additional coursework to meet LPC licensure requirements. A 30-credit Graduate Certificate in Counseling and Life Transitions is offered to students with a bachelor’s degree who want to gain foundational counseling skills but do not wish to complete the graduate degree. This certificate does not meet state licensure requirements. The 60-credit MA in School Counseling takes two years to complete full-time and meets state requirements to become a K-12 counselor. Students can also customize the program to meet the educational requirements for the LPC credential. In this program, students learn about school counseling theories, age-appropriate intervention strategies, and program evaluation. Students in the 48-credit MA in Rehabilitation Counseling program learn social, cultural, and systemic models of disability in order to provide mental health and rehabilitation support to clients with disabilities. The program is offered as a low-residency on-campus program or online. Students can choose to complete 12 additional credits to meet the educational requirements to become an LPC in Washington DC. GWU also offers a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Counseling accredited by CACREP. Doctoral students take advanced clinical and research coursework and complete a dissertation in an area of specialization in collaboration with an academic supervisor.
The Washington DC campus of the Chicago School of Professional Psychology offers a CACREP-accredited Master of Arts (MA) in Clinical Mental Health Counseling that takes two and a half years to complete through full-time study or five years through part-time study. In this program, students complete 60 credits and learn about the diagnosis and treatment of mental health disorders, psychopathology, and counseling research. Elective courses are also offered in addiction counseling and marriage and family counseling. During the program, students complete 100 hours of supervised practicum and 600 hours of supervised internship, typically in the same setting. Up to an additional 200 hours of supervised work experience can also be completed to meet the licensure requirements in other nearby states. Graduates will be able to seek employment in public agencies, community organizations, treatment centers, or in private practice and will meet the academic requirements to become Licensed Professional Counselors (LPCs) in Washington DC and Virginia, as well as Licensed Professional Counselors (LCPCs) in Maryland.
Trinity Washington University is a Catholic institution and one of only three private institutions of higher education to be classified by the US Department of Education as a Predominantly Black and Hispanic Serving Institution. The CACREP-accredited Master of Arts (MA) in Clinical Mental Health Counseling is a 60-credit program integrating counseling theories and models with research and professional ethics. Courses include Principles and Theories of Counseling; Counseling Children and Adolescents; and Trauma and Crisis Intervention in Counseling. The program meets state coursework requirements to become a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in Washington DC. The CACREP-accredited 60-credit MA in School Counseling is offered with tracks in School Counseling and Counseling Urban Students. The School Counseling track focuses on the skills and knowledge needed to work in elementary and secondary school settings. The Counseling Urban Students track is designed for students who want to work with children and adolescents in a wider range of settings, such as community programs and child welfare services. Both tracks can be designed to meet state requirements to become a school counselor. A post-master’s counselor program is also available to applicants with a master’s degree in school counseling. The non-degree, 12-credit program enables students to complete the coursework necessary to become an LPC in Washington DC. Students in this program are eligible for reduced tuition but must complete the four required courses within 12 months of starting the program.
The University of the District of Columbia (UDC) is a Historically Black Institution with graduate degrees in various areas of counseling. A Master of Science (MS) is offered with specializations in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and School Counseling; a Master of Arts (MA) in Rehabilitation Counseling is also available. Each degree requires 60 credits (or 63 credits if an optional thesis is completed), 100 hours of supervised practicum, and 600 hours of supervised internship. The MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling teaches students psychological, biological, and social models of mental health as well as psychotherapeutic techniques, treatment planning, and assessment tools. This degree meets state academic requirements to become a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in Washington DC. The MS in School Counseling is accredited by CACREP and graduates will meet state requirements to become a school counselor in K-12 settings. Students learn about trends in the school counseling profession, counseling techniques for school-age children, and guidance program development. The CACREP-accredited MA in Rehabilitation Counseling teaches students how to provide mental health and psychosocial support to individuals with a range of disabilities, particularly those from underserved communities. Examples of required courses include Rehabilitation Counseling Theories; Introduction to Rehabilitation Research; and Cultural Diversity Issues and Multicultural Counseling.
Online and Hybrid Programs
Gallaudet University offers post-secondary education for the deaf and hard of hearing. The 61-credit Master of Arts (MA) in Clinical Mental Health Counseling requires three academic years and two summer residencies to complete. The program trains students to provide counseling services to clients who are deaf and hard of hearing in individual, group, and family settings. This unique program is one of few in the world that specializes in the mental health needs of this clientele and provides deaf and hard-of-hearing students with a fully-immersive learning experience designed for their needs. It is a hybrid program where the majority of coursework is completed online with the exception of two weeks on campus required each summer during the first and second years of study. Required courses include Social and Cultural Diversity Foundations and Multicultural Counseling; Principles of Assessment in Counseling; and Family Therapy. Graduates may find employment in setting such as hospitals, community organizations, or rehabilitation clinics.
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. 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 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 (COAMFTE), Directory of COAMFTE Accredited Programs: https://coamfte.org/COAMFTE/Directory_of_Accredited_Programs/MFT_Training_Programs.aspx