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Counseling Degrees and Programs in Wisconsin

If you are interested in starting your counseling career in the Midwest, Wisconsin is home to numerous colleges and universities with counseling degree programs. One of the first decisions you will need to make is where to attend school and which area of counseling you’d like to study. The five major counseling fields are marriage and family therapy, mental health counseling, rehabilitation counseling, school counseling, and substance abuse counseling. Nearly all careers in these areas of counseling require a degree, and, furthermore, most require a graduate degree for licensure. In Wisconsin, you will find a variety of undergraduate and graduate degree options to choose from. You will also find some online and hybrid degree options designed to give working professionals and busy students greater flexibility in their learning experience.

Quick Facts

  • There are 16 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 Wisconsin.1,2
  • Of the counseling schools in Wisconsin, 0 offer an associate’s degree, 3 offer a bachelor’s degree, 1 offers a certificate, and 16 offer a master’s or advanced degree.1,2
  • 3 schools offer a degree in marriage and family therapy.1,2
  • 7 schools offer a degree in mental health counseling.1,2
  • 3 schools offer a degree in vocational rehabilitation counseling.1,2
  • 12 schools offer a degree in school counseling.1,2
  • 3 schools offer a degree in substance abuse counseling.1,2
  • 2 counseling schools ranked in Kiplinger’s Best College Values 2019.3
  • 1 school ranked in US News Best Student Counseling Programs 2019.4
  • 2 schools ranked in US News Best Rehabilitation Counseling Programs 2019.5
  • Across 8 schools, 12 counseling programs are accredited by CACREP.2

Comparison of Wisconsin Counseling Schools and Programs

In the table below, we have compiled information about the public and not-for-profit four-year colleges and universities in Wisconsin that offer counseling programs in 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 (*). You can also compare each school by program type offered, graduation rate, and net price per year. If you are interested in learning more about the counseling licensure process in Wisconsin, read our license requirements page.

School NameCACREP-
Accred
Program2
MHMFVRSCSAGrad Rate1Net Price1
Carthage CollegeYes64%$27,156
Concordia University-WisconsinYes59%$24,803
Edgewood CollegeYes63%$26,398
Lakeland UniversityYesYes48%$20,668
Madison Area Technical CollegeYes23%$9,679
Marquette UniversityYesYes*Yes*85%$33,081
Mount Mary UniversityYesYes*YesYes51%$17,511
University of Wisconsin-MadisonYesYes*87%$14,169
University of Wisconsin-MilwaukeeYes44%$14,555
University of Wisconsin-OshkoshYesYes*Yes*53%$12,819
University of Wisconsin-PlattevilleYes54%$14,158
University of Wisconsin-River FallsYesYes*57%$15,326
University of Wisconsin-StoutYesYes*YesYes*Yes58%$14,866
University of Wisconsin-SuperiorYes36%$12,869
University of Wisconsin-WhitewaterYesYes*YesYes*Yes58%$12,094
Viterbo UniversityYesYes*Yes62%$20,721

Top-Ranked Schools with Counseling Programs in Wisconsin

Kiplinger’s Best College Values 2019

  • University of Wisconsin-Madison (#134)
  • Marquette University (#274)

US News Best Student Counseling Programs 2019

  • University of Wisconsin-Madison (#3 tie)

US News Best Rehabilitation Counseling Programs 2019

  • University of Wisconsin-Madison (#1 tie)
  • University of Wisconsin-Stout (#4 tie)

Schools in Wisconsin with Counseling Degrees

Traditional Undergraduate Programs

University of Wisconsin-Madison

The University of Wisconsin-Madison offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in rehabilitation counseling. The Bachelor of Science (BS) in Rehabilitation Psychology is a four-year degree that teaches students about different types of physical, mental, intellectual, and developmental disabilities and how to provide rehabilitation counseling services in community settings. The degree is comprised of 120 credits including six credits of supervised internship. The Master of Science (MS) in Rehabilitation Counseling is accredited by CACREP and meets state educational requirements to become a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in Wisconsin. The university also offers a CACREP-accredited Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Counselor Education and Supervision focused on rehabilitation counseling research, leadership, and teaching.

Viterbo University

At Viterbo University, undergraduate students can complete a minor in Substance Abuse Counseling as part of a bachelor’s degree program. The minor teaches students about the personal and social impacts of alcohol and drug abuse and meets Wisconsin’s educational requirements to become a Substance Abuse Counselor (SAC). Undergraduate students who are interested in mental health counseling careers can apply for the university’s 4+2 degree program that provides psychology or social work undergraduate students with provisional acceptance to the university’s CACREP-accredited Master of Science (MS) in Mental Health Counseling. The MS program meets state coursework requirements for the Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) license. It is designed for working professionals and offers classes on Thursday afternoons and ­evenings, Friday nights, and Saturdays.

Traditional Graduate Programs

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

At the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UW-Milwaukee), prospective school counselors who already have a master’s degree can complete a Graduate Certificate in School Counseling. The certificate enables graduates to be eligible for Wisconsin school counseling credentials and work with students from K-12. The certificate consists of 36 credits, although some classes may be waived for students who have completed comparable coursework at the graduate level. All certificate requirements must be completed within three to four years depending on the number of required courses. UW-Milwaukee also offers an 18-credit undergraduate minor in Counseling that introduces students to the mental health counseling field. The minor can be combined with numerous degree majors including related fields such as psychology or social work.

University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh

The University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh (UWO) offers a CACREP-accredited Master of Science in Education (MSEd) with Clinical Mental Health Counseling and School Counseling tracks. The MSEd in Clinical Mental Health Counseling requires students to complete 60 credits and takes approximately three years to complete. Students take classes in counseling techniques, group counseling, and trauma and crisis. Upon completion of the degree, graduates will meet Wisconsin educational requirements to become a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC). The MSEd in School Counseling is a 48-credit program focused on counseling theories and skills relevant to child and youth populations. The program meets state requirements to become a school counselor. New students are admitted to the MSEd program in the summer term.

University of Wisconsin-River Falls

For prospective school counselors, the University of Wisconsin-River Falls (UWRF) offers a CACREP-accredited Master of Science in Education (MSEd) in Counseling that prepares graduates to become school counselors in Wisconsin. The degree requires 48 credits including internships at the elementary, middle, and secondary school levels. Courses are offered in the evenings during the fall and spring terms and during the day during the summer term at the River Falls campus and the UWRF Hudson Center. New students are admitted in the fall and spring terms. The degree takes approximately two years to complete through full-time study, although part-time study is permitted and students can take up to seven years to complete the degree requirements.

University of Wisconsin-Whitewater

The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater (UWW) offers a Master of Science (MS) degree with tracks in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and School Counseling. In the MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, students complete 60 credits and can specialize in an additional area of emphasis, such as Alcohol and Other Drug Counseling or Marriage/Partnership and Family Counseling. This track meets Wisconsin coursework requirements for the Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) license and can meet the coursework requirements for the Substance Abuse Counselor (SAC) credential or the Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) license depending on the elective courses taken. The MS in School Counseling is comprised of 60 credits and meets Wisconsin requirements to become a school counselor. Both MS tracks are accredited by CACREP and take three years to complete through full-time study, including coursework during the summer terms. Courses are typically offered in the afternoons and evenings to accommodate the needs of working professionals. Students can also participate in study abroad experiences in Scotland or Guatemala to learn more about counseling in cross-cultural settings.

Online and Hybrid Programs

Concordia University Wisconsin

Concordia University Wisconsin offers a Master of Science in Education (MSEd) that is available in an online format or in a face-to-face cohort style with tracks in Professional Counseling and School Counseling. The MSEd in Professional Counseling is a 60-credit degree that meets Wisconsin educational requirements for the Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) license. Depending on the coursework taken, students in the MSEd program may also meet the educational requirements to become a Substance Abuse Counselor (SAC) in Wisconsin. Students in the MSEd in School Counseling degree take 45-48 credits and are eligible to become school counselors in Wisconsin upon graduation. Online students are able to complete most coursework through distance methods, although group counseling courses may require a face-to-face component.

University of Wisconsin-Stout

The University of Wisconsin-Stout (UW-Stout) offers online study options for CACREP-accredited Master of Science (MS) in Rehabilitation Counseling degree. Students have the option to attend classes on-campus or attend the same classes virtually through the online portal. The program teaches students how to provide counseling services to clients with a diverse range of disabilities and needs and meets state educational requirements for the Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) license. UW-Stout also offers numerous on-campus counseling degrees, including a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Rehabilitation Services; a CACREP-accredited Master of Science (MS) in Clinical Mental Health Counseling; an MS in Marriage and Family Therapy; and an MS in School Counseling.

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