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Study Counseling Psychology in the USA

ACAlpina ChariNov 27, 2023

Pursue Counselling Psychology Courses in the USAThe US is one of the leading countries in the development and advancement of counseling psychology as a profession and a science. The field emerged in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, influenced by the progressive education movement, vocational guidance, and psychotherapy. The American Psychological Association (APA) established the Division of Counseling Psychology in 1946, and the first doctoral programs in counseling psychology were accredited in 1953. Since then, counseling psychology has grown and diversified, incorporating multicultural and feminist perspectives, evidence-based practices, and interdisciplinary collaborations. Studying counseling psychology in the USA can be a rewarding and fulfilling career choice for those who are interested in human behavior, mental health, and social justice.

The demand for counseling psychologists in the US is expected to increase in the coming years, as more people seek mental health services and as the population becomes more diverse. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of psychologists is projected to grow by 14% from 2020 to 2030, much faster than the average for all occupations. Counseling psychologists can find opportunities in various sectors, such as health care, education, government, and business.  The US also offers some of the best educational programs in counseling psychology in the world. There are many accredited master’s and doctoral programs that provide rigorous training in theory, research, and practice. These schools offer comprehensive curricula, experienced faculty, diverse clinical placements, and strong alumni networks.  

Studying counseling psychology in the US can be a great way to pursue your passion, develop your skills, and make a positive difference in the lives of others. In this article, we will look at some of the best counseling programs in the USA, along with their tuition rates, entry requirements, and more. 

Overview of Counseling Psychology in the USA 

No. of Programs  75+ 
No. of Universities  60+ 
Degrees Awarded  MA, MSc, BA 
Duration of Study  Masters – 2 years 
Tuition Fees (2023/24) 25,000-50,000 USD

Why Study Counseling Psychology in the USA? 

Quality Education and Research Opportunities: The USA is home to many reputable universities and institutions known for their high-quality education and research in psychology. Pursuing counseling psychology in the USA allows students to access cutting-edge research, innovative teaching methods, and experienced faculty.

Diverse Cultural Exposure: The USA is a culturally diverse country, and studying counseling psychology there provides exposure to a wide range of cultural perspectives and experiences. 

Networking Opportunities: Being part of the academic and professional community in the USA allows students to build valuable networks with professors, fellow students, and professionals in the field. Networking can open doors to internships, research collaborations, and job opportunities in the future.

Accreditation and Licensing: Many counseling psychology programs in the USA are accredited by professional organizations, ensuring that the education and training meet high standards. Completing an accredited program is often a requirement for obtaining licensure as a counselor in many states, and the USA has a well-established licensure process for counseling professionals.

Clinical Experience: The USA offers diverse clinical settings and opportunities for practical experience in counseling psychology. This includes internships, practicums, and supervised clinical work that can contribute to the development of practical skills necessary for a successful counseling career. Students can also opt for work while studying in the USA as well. 

Global Recognition: Degrees earned in the USA are widely recognized internationally, which can be advantageous if you plan to work or practice counseling psychology in different parts of the world. The prestige associated with American education can also enhance your professional reputation.

Research Opportunities: If you are interested in contributing to the field through research, studying counseling psychology in the USA provides access to well-funded research programs, state-of-the-art facilities, and collaboration opportunities with leading experts in the field.

Career Opportunities: The demand for mental health professionals, including counseling psychologists, is on the rise in the USA. Graduates of counseling psychology programs often find a variety of career opportunities in private practice, hospitals, schools, community agencies, and other settings. Additionally, the USA offers work-after-study visas to find employment after studies. 

Top Counseling Psychology Programs in the USA 

Northwestern University 

Northwestern University is a private research university founded in 1851 in Evanston, Illinois. It has 12 schools and colleges, offering more than 200 undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs. It has a total enrollment of about 22,000 students, of which about 8,000 are undergraduates. Northwestern is known for its academic excellence, research innovation, and global impact. It ranks among the top 10 national universities in the U.S. News & World Report. Northwestern offers a Master of Arts in Counseling program that prepares students to become licensed professional counselors in various settings. The program is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) and has a focus on social justice and multicultural competence. 

Program Name  Duration of Study  Tuition Fees (2023/24)
MA in Counseling  2 years  43,100 USD 

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Pace University 

Pace University is a private university founded in 1906 in New York City. It has six schools and colleges, offering more than 150 undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs. It has a total enrollment of about 13,000 students, of which about 8,000 are undergraduates. Pace is known for its experiential learning, career preparation, and civic engagement. Pace offers a Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling program that prepares students to become licensed mental health counselors in various settings. The program is accredited by CACREP and has a focus on evidence-based counseling approaches and hands-on skill development. 

Program Name  Duration of Study  Tuition Fees (2023/24)
MSc in Mental Health Counseling  2 years  41,700 USD 

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Kent State University 

Kent State University is a public research university located in Kent, Ohio, with 200+ campus organizations and over 258k alumni worldwide. It offers academic excellence in graduate and undergraduate programs, including 370+ majors and degree programs. One of its notable programs is the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program, which prepares individuals for beginning employment in institutions of higher education and community-based human service agencies. The program is nationally accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of CACREP and has an approved curriculum by the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker, and Marriage & Family Therapist Board. The program requires a minimum of 60 semester hours of successful graduate work in specified courses and provides supervised field experience4. The program also has a rolling admission policy and does not require the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) for admission. 

Program Name  Duration of Study  Tuition Fees (2023/24)
MEd. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling  2 years  21,955 USD 

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Sacred Heart University 

Sacred Heart University is a private, Catholic university in Fairfield, Connecticut, founded in 1963 by Walter W. Curtis, Bishop of the Diocese of Bridgeport. It is the second-largest Catholic university in New England, with over 10,500 students and 281 full-time faculty members. It offers more than 80 degree programs at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels, as well as online and low-residency options.  One of the low residency programs offered by Sacred Heart University is the Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. The program is based on the standards of the CACREP and covers topics such as human development, counseling theory, ethics, multiculturalism, assessment, diagnosis, and treatment. The program consists of 60 credit hours, including two residencies in Connecticut and supervised practice hours through advanced internships. The program can be completed in as few as two years and has a high job outlook, as the mental health counseling field is expected to grow 22% by 2031. 

Program Name  Duration of Study  Tuition Fees (2023/24)
MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling  2 years  48,000 USD 

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Boston University 

Boston University (BU) is a private research university in Boston, Massachusetts, founded in 1839 by a group of Boston Methodists. It is one of the largest and oldest private universities in the United States, with over 36,000 students from more than 130 countries and more than 300 degree programs. BU is a member of the Association of American Universities and the Boston Consortium for Higher Education.  BU offers a Master of Arts (MA) in Mental Health Counseling & Behavioral Medicine, which is a two-year, full-time program accredited by the CACREP. The program prepares graduates for licensure as clinical mental health counselors in Massachusetts and other states. The program is unique in that it is housed in a medical school and emphasizes behavioral medicine and neuroscience in its curriculum. Students receive rigorous training in mental health assessment, diagnosis, and counseling, and have access to a wide range of clinical placements in and around Boston, including hospitals, colleges, trauma centers, prisons, and research teams. The program also has a high completion rate, pass rate on credentialing exams, and employment rate for its graduates. 

Program Name  Duration of Study  Tuition Fees (2023/24)
MA in Mental Health Counseling & Behavioral Medicine 2 years  63,798 USD 

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University of Wisconsin 

The University of Wisconsin is a public university system that consists of 13 campuses across the state of Wisconsin. The flagship campus is the University of Wisconsin–Madison, which is a top-ranked research institution that offers exceptional education opportunities to undergraduates, graduate, and professional students. One of the graduate programs offered by the University of Wisconsin–Madison is the Master of Science in Counseling, which is accredited by the CACREP. This program prepares students to work as professional counselors in various settings, such as community agencies, post-secondary educational institutions, and business and industry. The program emphasizes service delivery, ethical practice, multiculturalism, social justice, and vocational psychology. Students can also choose from different concentrations, such as clinical mental health counseling, school counseling, or rehabilitation counseling. The program fulfills the academic requirements to become a licensed professional counselor in the state of Wisconsin and most other states. The University of Wisconsin and its counseling program are both highly regarded for their quality and excellence.

Program Name  Duration of Study  Tuition Fees (2023/24)
MS in Counseling  2 years  25,578 USD 

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University of South Alabama 

The University of South Alabama (USA) is a public research university in Mobile, Alabama, founded in 1963. It offers more than 125 academic programs across nine colleges and schools. One of its colleges is the College of Education and Professional Studies, which houses the Department of Counseling and Instructional Sciences.  The Department of Counseling and Instructional Sciences offers two master’s degree programs in counseling: School Counseling and Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Both programs are accredited by the CACREP. The School Counseling program prepares students to work as counselors in K-12 settings, while the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program prepares students to work as counselors in various community settings, such as agencies, hospitals, and private practice.  

Program Name  Duration of Study  Tuition Fees (2023/24)
MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling  2 years  28,800 USD 
MEd in School Counseling  2 years  28,800 USD 

Admission Requirements for Counseling Psychology Programs in the USA 

  • A completed bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution is usually required. The degree may need to be in psychology or a closely related field.
  • Many programs have a minimum GPA requirement. This requirement may vary, but competitive programs often look for a strong academic record. 
  • Official transcripts from all previously attended colleges or universities. 
  • Letters of recommendation from professors, employers, or other individuals who can speak to your academic and professional abilities. 
  • A statement of purpose. 
  • A resume or CV outlines your educational and professional experiences, including any relevant research, work, or volunteer experience in psychology or related fields.
  • Some programs may require scores from standardized tests such as the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Miller Analogies Test (MAT). 
  • Demonstrate proficiency in English through standardized tests such as the TOEFL (90) or IELTS (6.5).
  • Some programs may require an interview as part of the admission process.
  • Some programs may value relevant work or volunteer experience in the field of psychology or counseling. This could include experience in research, counseling, or related areas.

Career Opportunities for Counseling Psychology Graduates in the USA 

Counseling psychology graduates in the USA enjoy a diverse array of career opportunities, allowing them to make meaningful contributions in various settings. Counseling psychology is a broad field that encompasses various professions that help people improve their personal and relational well-being. Counseling psychologists can work in different settings, such as schools, hospitals, mental health facilities, organizations, and private practices. Some of the common career paths for counseling psychology graduates are school counselors, clinical social workers, organizational counselors, adult and geriatric counselors, group counselors, sports psychologists, and health psychologists. The versatility of counseling psychology opens doors to roles in forensic psychology, industrial-organizational psychology, and various other fields, reflecting the breadth of opportunities available to those dedicated to promoting mental health and well-being.

The average salary for counseling psychologists in the USA is 123,165 USD per year, with a range from 49,000 USD to 200,000 USD. The salary may vary depending on the location, experience, education, and employer of the counseling psychologist. Some of the highest-paying employers for counseling psychologists are the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Kaiser Permanente, the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Army, and the U.S. Navy. Counseling psychologists can also earn additional cash compensation, such as bonuses, commissions, or tips, which can increase their income. The average additional cash compensation for counseling psychologists in the USA is 5,884 USD, with a range from 1,986 USD to 17,434 USD. 

Conclusion 

In conclusion, studying counseling psychology in the USA can be a life-changing decision for anyone who wants to pursue a career in this field. The USA offers a wide range of high-quality programs that are accredited by the APA and provide rigorous training in evidence-based and culturally-informed practices. Moreover, the demand for counseling psychologists is expected to grow by 19 percent in the next decade, which means that graduates will have high employment opportunities in various settings, such as schools, hospitals, clinics, and organizations. However, choosing to study counseling psychology in the USA also involves some challenges and risks, such as the cost of tuition and living expenses, the visa and immigration process, the cultural adjustment, and the ethical and legal issues that may arise in different contexts. Therefore, it is essential to make a balanced and informed decision with careful consideration of all options, such as the location, reputation, curriculum, faculty, scholarships, admission requirements, and financial aid of different programs, as well as the personal, professional, and academic goals and expectations. We at OneApply have years of experience helping students like you make the correct choice,  leave it to our admission experts to guide you through the entire process hassle-free. Book your free video call appointment now!

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Frequently Asked Questions

The USA offers top-tier counseling psychology programs with renowned faculty, diverse clinical opportunities, and a commitment to cutting-edge research. Graduates benefit from a strong professional network and international recognition. 

Yes, many counseling psychology programs in the USA offer specializations such as clinical mental health counseling, school counseling, or marriage and family therapy. These allow students to tailor their education to specific career goals.  

Yes, licensure is typically required to practice counseling psychology in the USA. Graduates must meet specific state licensing board requirements, which often include supervised clinical experience and passing a licensing exam.

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