logo

Counseling Degrees and Programs in Washington DC

Despite its compact size, the nation’s capital offers individuals interested in counseling careers many degree programs to choose from. There are many colleges and universities in Washington DC 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. Furthermore, a master’s degree in counseling with specific coursework and supervised experience in your desired area of practice is often required. All of the counseling 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, you will have to consider either online or on-campus programs offered in other states.

Quick Facts

  • 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’s degree, 0 offer a bachelor’s degree, 1 offers a certificate, and 5 offer a master’s or advanced degree.1,2
  • No 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
  • 3 schools offer a degree in school counseling.1,2
  • No schools offer a degree in substance abuse counseling.1,2
  • 1 counseling school ranked in Kiplinger’s Best College Values 2019.3
  • No schools ranked in US News Best Student Counseling Programs 2019.4
  • 1 school ranked in US News Best Rehabilitation Counseling Programs 2019.5
  • Across 5 schools, 10 counseling programs are accredited by CACREP.2

Comparison of Washington DC Counseling Schools and Programs

The table below allows you to compare not-for-profit four-year 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 (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 (*). Use the table to compare schools by program type offered, graduation rate, and 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.

School NameCACREP-
Accred
Program2
MHMFVRSCSAGrad Rate1Net Price1
Gallaudet UniversityYesYes*Yes*47%$14,718
George Washington UniversityYesYes*Yes*Yes*82%$39,600
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology at Washington DCYesYes*N.Av.N.Av.
Trinity Washington UniversityYesYes*Yes*28%$16,786
University of the District of ColumbiaYesYesYes*Yes24%$17,350

Top-Ranked Schools with Counseling Programs in Washington DC

Kiplinger’s Best College Values 2019

  • George Washington University (#167)

US News Best Rehabilitation Counseling Programs 2019

  • George Washington University (#3)

Schools in Washington DC with Counseling Degrees

Traditional Graduate Programs

George Washington University

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. Additionally, 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 60 credits in total 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 Chicago School of Professional Psychology Washington DC

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 a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in Washington DC, as well as some surrounding states.

Trinity Washington University

Trinity Washington University is a Catholic institution offering CACREP-accredited graduate degrees in counseling. The 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 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 gain the skills necessary 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.

University of the District of Columbia

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

Gallaudet University offers post-secondary education for the deaf and hard of hearing. The CACREP-accredited, 69-credit Master of Arts (MA) in Clinical Mental Health Counseling 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. The program is offered in a hybrid format. The first academic year, including the summer term, is spent at the Gallaudet campus with courses taught using face-to-face methods, while in the second academic year students engage in a 200-hour supervised practicum and a 600-hour supervised internship and take courses online. During the supervised work experience, students can choose to specialize in either clinical or community counseling. Required courses include Counseling for Wellness and Human Development; Culture, Identity and the American Deaf Community; and Family Therapy. The program meets state educational requirements to become a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and graduates may find employment in hospitals, community organizations, or rehabilitation clinics, among other 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