Of all college and university majors, Psychology is the most popular and career opportunities are abundant, according to the American Psychological Association. Additionally, the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects careers for mental health counselors with a bachelor’s degree to grow 23 percent through 2024 which is much faster than the national average.
If you have a passion for helping people and have good listening skills, excellent communication abilities, along with strong people skills, you have the basic qualities needed to be a Mental Health or Rehabilitation Counselor. The Center for Disease Control reported that, in 2019, 19.2% of Americans had received some form of mental health counseling. An undergraduate degree in psychology with a specialization in counseling will prepare you for entry-level careers working with licensed social workers or psychologists in substance abuse, mental health, and behavioral disorders.
Some counseling programs are offered through universities’ schools or colleges/departments of Psychology, Education, Social Work, etc. These programs will typically offer both school counseling and mental health counseling concentrations. Counseling skills are increasingly needed in school systems that go beyond academics. We’ve included some school counseling programs in this ranking which offer mental health counseling coursework as part of the curriculum. All the programs in this listing are regionally accredited.
Be sure, as you begin planning your college career, that you complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)® Schools use this form in determining scholarships and other financial assistance.
Our Method: Ranking the 25 Best Counseling Bachelor’s Programs
To rank the 25 Best Counseling Bachelor’s Programs, Best Health Degrees editors researched accredited, trusted programs of all kinds. From our initial pool, we ranked programs according to price, accreditation, reputation, and salary potential, using data from IPEDS and Niche, U.S. News and World Report, and other higher education rating publications.
1. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Here’s a Bachelor’s of Arts in Education (B.A. Ed.) which takes an interdisciplinary approach and is a pre-professional degree from one of the country’s highly ranked schools.
You’ll have the option to choose from two concentrations. The Child and Family Health concentration is ideal if your goal is to earn a graduate degree in occupational therapy, medicine, public health, etc. You’ll take core classes in Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS). Courses in your concentration Autism in Our Communities: An Interdisciplinary Perspective, Child and Family Health, Health and Human Rights, Health and Society, Psychopathology, Biopsychology, and others. This curriculum includes an internship, which will provide you with real-world experience in Chapel Hill area hospitals, outpatient clinics, and nonprofit agencies.
Along with undergraduate admission to UNC-CH you’ll need to make separate application to the HDFS program, beginning with the ConnectCarolina, in order to declare that major. Requirements for HDFS admission include a 2.5 GPA, resume, and personal essay. If you have transfer credits from other schools, you’ll want to see which credits will apply.
Estimated Tuition Cost: $8,980-$36,159/per academic year
Fast Facts: U.S. News and World Report names UNC-CH #10 in Best Value Schools and #5 in Top Public Schools in its 2022 rankings
2. Oregon Institute of Technology
Available at OIT’s campuses in Klamath Falls, Portland-Metro, or online, you can earn a B.S. in Applied Psychology which will prepare you for a range of opportunities in counseling, behavior analysis, as well as graduate school.
The B.S. degree requires 180 credit hours for completion, including general education coursework and Applied Psychology core curriculum. The core curriculum for this degree is developed to meet the standards of the American Psychological Association (APA). Among the classes in the curriculum are studies in Biopsychology, Behavior Modification, Basic Counseling Techniques, Abnormal Psychology, Special Projects, and others. You’ll also have the opportunity to participate in externships or internships, in applied educational experience such as Youth Mentorship and/or Special Projects/Training course, which will provide you real-world experiences with local agencies.
First year applicants will complete the online admission application. You’ll need a high school diploma or GED, self-report your grades (transcripts will be requested if needed), and have a minimum of a 2.5 GPA. Standardized test scores are not required. Transfer students will need to have 36 quarter hours or 24 semester hours to qualify as a transfer.
Estimated Tuition Cost: $11,269-$31,379/per academic year
Fast Facts: Forbes named OIT one of its Top Colleges in 2021as well as an America’s Best Value Colleges 2019
3. LeTourneau University
LeTourneau University is a Christian based school and provides a faith based curriculum which includes General Education and Theology and Vocation studies as well as Counseling Psychology courses. The major requires studies such as Introduction to Psychology, Social Psychology, Behavioral Psychology, Human Growth and Development, Tests and Measurements, Learning and Cognition, Statistics and Research Methods, etc. The curriculum is designed to prepare you to pursue an advanced degree and continue your interests in counseling, clinical psychology, mission work, and more.
Undergraduate admission requires you to complete a free application and submit official academic transcripts demonstrating a 3.0 high school GPA, and submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)®. If admitted, you’ll be asked to pay a $100 tuition deposit. Transfer students are also accepted. ACT/SAT/CLT test scores are optional.
Estimated Tuition Cost: $32,490/per credit hour
Fast Facts: LeTourneau University ranks #23 in U.S. News and World Report’s Best Value Schools as well as #30 Regional Universities West
4. Eastern Kentucky University
You have multiple concentration options with this 120-credit hours B.S. in Psychology degree from Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) accredited, EKU. The degree is offered on-campus or online.
With specialty areas in Child & Family Psychology, Developmental Disabilities/Autism Spectrum Disorders, Substance Abuse, Brain & Cognitive Sciences, Psychology of the Workplace, Psychiatric Rehabilitation, Forensic Psychology or General Psychology, this program will prepare you for entry-level positions or graduate school. You’ll take 33 credit hours of psychology core coursework in: Cognition/Learning, Biological Basis of Behavior, Developmental, Social/Personality, and a Capstone Project. Concentration courses require 12-15 credit hours of classes and 32-39 hours of free electives.
Admission application to EKU is free and you’ll submit your high school (or GED) transcripts and need a 2.5 GPA for standard admission. If your GPA is between 2.0-2.49, you may qualify for admission through EKU’s Success First program. ACT/SAT test scores are not required. Be sure to submit your FAFSA®.
Estimated Tuition Cost: $9,876-$19,948/per academic year
Fast Fact: U.S. News and World Report names EKU #25 in Top Public Schools and #40 in Best Value Schools categories
5. Alaska Pacific University
Here’s a B.A. in Counseling Psychology from an Anchorage, Alaska university that may be perfect if your goal is to work in areas such as behavioral health or addictions counseling and treatment.
Course offerings are robust and range from Introduction to Psychology to Field Experience. You’ll take classes in Counseling Skills, Family Systems, Psychology of Sustainability, Statistics for the Behavioral Sciences, Psychology of Women, Group Practice, Personality: Theories and Perspectives, Behavioral Health Interventions, Diagnosis and Treatment Plans, Abnormal Psychology, and more. Classes are offered in a range of delivery and formats from on-campus, online, day and evenings. You can attend full or part-time. A total of 128 credit hours are required for graduation. APU accepts up to 32 credit hours of work or life experience can be applied toward the total hours required.
APU admission is simple and straightforward. You’ll complete an application (requiring $25 processing fee), high school transcripts, GED scores, or other schools you’ve attended and have a 2.5 GPA or greater. You’ll be contacted by an admission counselor once your application is complete.
Estimated Tuition Cost: $20,760/per academic year
Fast Fact: APU is a private school, affiliated with the Methodist church
6. Maryville College
Established in 1819, Maryville College is a private school affiliated with the Presbyterian Church, located in the Tennessee foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and awards a B.A. in Psychology with a Counseling concentration.
The catalog shows the curriculum (p. 181), is designed to prepare you for entry-level positions or graduate school and a career in clinical psychology, counseling, social work, etc. Classes include Introductory Psychology, Theories of Personality, Group Facilitation, Abnormal Psychology, Cognitive Psychology, Research Design, Introduction to Counseling Practice, Experimental Psychology, Theories and Techniques in Counseling, among others. You’ll also complete an Internship through Maryville College Works and a year-long Senior Study.
Completion of an admission application and submission of your official academic transcript (for all schools attended) are required. ACT/SAT test scores are needed as well. Maryville College takes a holistic approach to admission acceptance.
Estimated Tuition Cost: $36,292/per academic year
Fast Facts: U.S. News and World Report rates Maryville College #students 5 in its Best Value Schools and Washington Monthly considers MC one of its “Best Bang for the Buck Colleges-South”
7. Washington Adventist University
If your goal is becoming a clinical counselor, you may want to explore the B.S. in Counseling Psychology through the department of Professional Studies at this Tacoma Park, Maryland university.
This program’s core curriculum includes classes in Introduction to Psychology, Adolescent Psychology, Social Psychology, Dynamics of Individual Counseling, Dynamics of Group Counseling, Social Psychology, Developmental Psychology, Stress Management, etc. A practicum is a key part of this program, under the guidance of a qualified supervisor. Coursework is designed for the working professional who wants to earn an undergraduate degree.
Documents that are required for admission to WAU include an application, ACT/SAT scores, and academic transcripts.
Estimated Tuition Cost: $25,200/per academic year
Fast Facts: WAU is a private university and hold accreditation from The Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
8. Oklahoma Baptist University
This private, Christian university, located in Shawnee, Oklahoma, awards a B.A. in Psychology with a Pre-Counseling concentration that requires 128 total credit hours for graduation.
The curriculum for this baccalaureate is designed to position you for entry-level employment or a foundation for a post-graduate degree in the field. Core coursework in the concentration includes studies in: Introduction to Psychology, Statistics for the Behavioral and Social Sciences, Basic Counseling Skills, Abnormal Psychology, Theories of Personality, Psychotherapy and Family Therapy Theories, etc. You’ll also be able to choose elective courses from such topics as Biological Psychology, Psychological Testing, Cognitive Psychology, and others.
Admission to OBU is simple, requesting an application, SAT or ACT scores, academic transcripts from all schools attended, and letters of recommendation may be requested. OBU offers academic credit for life/work experiences through the CLEP (College Level Examination Program) and you may take a comprehensive exam for any OBU course through the school’s Advanced Standing and Performance Examinations.
Estimated Tuition Cost: $31,352/per academic year
Fast Facts: OBU is considered to be #10 in U.S. News and World Report’s Best Value Schools and one of Niche’s Best Christian Colleges in America
9. Morningside College
Morningside College is a small and private college in Sioux City, Iowa and supports a B.A. in Counseling Psychology exploring the history and theory of the science.
The curriculum for this degree is comprehensive, including research as well as practical experience through MC’s Counseling Lab. Didactic studies involve classes in Abnormal Psychology, Psychological Testing, Group Counseling, General Psychology, Research Methods in Psychology, History and Systems of Psychology, as well as a Capstone Project. The Counseling Lab experience allows you the opportunity to develop and practice listening and counseling abilities/skills in psychology and psychotherapy. You may also participate in an Internship in the Sioux City area for academic credit.
You can apply to Morningside University using the Common Application within five minutes. You’ll be asked to provide academic transcripts and ACT/SAT test scores are accepted but not required for consideration.
Estimated Tuition Cost: $33,760/per academic year
Fast Facts: The Princeton Review includes Morningside University in its Best Midwestern “2022 Best Colleges: Region by Region” and one of Niche’s Best Christian Colleges in America
10. Averett University
This private, Baptist school was established in 1859 in Danville, Virginia and awards a B.S. in Psychology with a Clinical and Counseling Specialty.
The program is divided into four segments: introductory, core, senior year experience, and concentration. Among the core courses, you’ll take Principles of Professional Conduct in Psychology, Research Design, Statistics for the Social Sciences, etc. Among your Clinical and Counseling concentration, you’ll cover Psychological Measurements, Abnormal Psychology, Personality, and Helping Relations. There’s an integrative senior experience, including the history of psychology as well as a senior seminar that reviews your learning experience and explores professional development.
Estimated Tuition Cost: $36,670/per academic year
Fast Facts: U.S. News and World Report rates Averett University #12 in its Best Value Schools and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCC)
11. Cornerstone University
This Michigan university describes itself as, “…a Christ-centered university with a passion for global influence through the transforming power of the gospel.” The school offers a B.A. in Psychology with a Counseling Concentration.
The degree requires 120 credit hours for completion and the Christian-oriented curriculum includes an internship along with didactic studies. In the counseling concentration, you’ll study Introduction to Relationships, Abnormal Psychology, Theories of Counseling, Capstone Seminar, Marriage & Family Counseling, Theories of Personality, Physiological Psychology, History & Systems of Psychology, and more. You’ll complete an original research project/paper and an APA research paper. Internships can be completed in several nonprofit agencies in the area such as Bethany Christian Services, West Michigan Refugee Education Center, Alpha Women’s Center, and others.
For admission, you’ll need to complete an application and provide official high school or college transcripts. ACT/SAT test scores are optional. Cornerstone University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Estimated Tuition Cost: $26,250/per academic year
Fast Facts: U.S. News and World Report ranks this university #40 as a Best Value School and one of Niche’s Best Christian Colleges in America
12. Clarks Summit University
Located in Clarks Summit, Michigan, this university has a Counseling B.S.C degree which will train you to identify and treat emotional, mental, and physical disorders.
You’ll study general education classes (English, history, math, etc.), Biblical studies. as well as psychology courses. Among the psychology classes are: Abnormal Psychology, Tests and Measurements, Historical and Contemporary Theories in Counseling, Ethics and Professionalism , Marriage and Family Dynamics, Physiological Psychology, and more. During your senior year, you’ll be able to take classes in Crisis Counseling, Ethics and Professionalism, Marriage and Family Dynamics, as well as complete a Senior Portfolio. The program offers the chance for you to observe live counseling sessions through the school’s counseling center and to discuss the sessions with the professionals offering counseling.
You’ll complete an admission application (with a $40 fee) and have an interview with an admission counselor.
Estimated Tuition Cost: $26,082/per academic year
Fast Facts: Clarks Summit University has been accredited by Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) since 1984
13. Kansas Wesleyan University
You can earn a B.A. in Psychological Services with a Counseling concentration from KWU’s Department of Behavioral Science and Human Services (BSHS).
There are options in counseling that cover various human services areas. The discipline requires core studies in General Psychology, Methods of Research, Psychological Research Design, and Statistical Analysis. Mental Health classes are included in Developmental Psychology, Introduction to Human Services, Abnormal Psychology, Theories of Counseling, etc. Specific coursework counseling offered provides you counseling skills classes in counseling principles, ethics, group counseling, and case management skills. Depending on your goals, concentrations in the counseling field are available in addiction counseling and health and wellness. Real-world experience in counseling is provided through an internship. (Courses in the Addiction Counseling specialty can lead to licensure).
If you’re interested, you can begin the admission process by completing an application (with a $20 fee) and providing all academic transcripts and completion of a FAFSA®. You’ll need a 2.75 GPA but no ACT/SAT scores are currently unnecessary.
Estimated Tuition Cost: $30,570/per academic year
Fast Facts: KWU is ranked #41 in Regional Colleges Midwest by U.S. News and World Report
14. Emmanuel College (Boston)
Here’s a Boston, Massachusetts school awarding a B.A. in Psychology with a concentration in Counseling & Health Psychology. Emmanuel College was founded in 1919 as a Catholic liberal arts and sciences college.
With this degree, you’ll study mental health symptoms and categories and learn treatment modalities for both children and adults. Core coursework will cover General Psychology, Methods and Statistics, Cognition, and Physiological Bases of Behavior. You’ll then begin your speciality studies in either Psychopathology of children or adults. Health Psychology, Counseling Theories and Techniques, land a Senior Capstone. An applied or research internship is part of the curriculum and you’ll have a wide choice of electives. Some of the electives cover Philosophy of Psychiatry, Child Psychology, Theories of Personality, Adolescent Development, and others.
To apply for admission to Emmanuel College, you’ll start by completing the Common Application. In addition, admission requires academic transcripts, letters of recommendation, a personal essay, with an interview being recommended. ACT/SAT scores are optional.
Estimated Tuition Cost: $42,516/per academic year
Fast Facts: Niche includes this college in its Best Value Colleges in America and Money ranked it #594 in its Best Colleges 2020
15. Emmanuel College (Georgia)
It may be confusing, but the Evangelical, Pentecostal Emmanuel College located in Franklin Springs, Georgia is not affiliated with the Massachusetts Emmanuel College ranked above. You can earn a BS or BA in Psychology through the college’s Social Sciences Department.
The 123- hour curriculum requires general education studies (communication, humanities, Christian ministries, etc.), electives, and major coursework. Some of that coursework involves studies in General Psychology, Research Design, Spiritual Formation, Social Psychology, Basic Counseling Skills, and others. A Senior Research project is also part of the program. (Emmanuel College also offers a 3-2 accelerated program in partnership with Richmont Graduate University, designed for students who intend to pursue licensure as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) or a marriage and family therapist (LMFT). You can earn both your undergraduate and graduate degree within five years through this option.)
Estimated Tuition Cost: $21,220/per academic year
Fast Facts: Emmanuel College ranks #40 in the Regional Colleges South category of U.S. News and World Report and Niche named it one of its Most Conservative Colleges in America
16. Life Pacific University
Established in San Dimas, California in 1923, this Christian-based school has a B.A. in Human Development and Psychology and features a counseling concentration.
This curriculum blends general education classes with a minor in Biblical Studies. Core classes for the Human Development and Psychology major offers studies in Introduction to Psychology, Human Sexuality, Research Methods, Introduction to Sociology, Counseling, Ethics in the Helping Professions, and others. Classes in your chosen concentration offer you studies in Advanced Counseling, Crisis Intervention, Addictions, and Theories of Personalities. You’ll also have the opportunity to participate in a Human Development & Psychology Internship. This program can lead you to careers as a Substance Abuse Counselor, ABA Therapist, Marriage & Family Therapist, and more (some careers may require a post-graduate degree.)
To be admitted to Life Pacific University requires an application, along with a $50 fee and photo, academic transcripts are required as well as a 2.5 GPA. You’ll also asked for character references and a personal essay.
Estimated Tuition Cost: $17,434/per academic year
Fast Facts: Life Pacific University is ranked #11in the Best Value Schools by U.S. News and World Report
17. Kentucky Christian University
This Grayson, Kentucky school awards a B.S. in Counseling Psychology, through its School of Social Work and Behavioral Health, which may be ideal if you’re looking to become a clinical psychologist, go into medicine, and/or continue your education to the masters or doctoral level.
As a Christian university, the course curriculum (p. 85 of the KCU catalog) includes bible courses along with general education (English, history, math, science, etc.) and psychology courses. The counseling psychology coursework is theoretical and practical in design and includes research with a foundation of biblical/theological education. The degree requires 120 credit hours. Among the counseling psychology classes you’ll take are Techniques of Counseling, Group Counseling, Addictions Counseling, Marriage & Family Therapy, Social Sciences Research Methods, Introduction to Statistics along with others. You’ll complete a practicum in a human services agency.
For admission as a first time student, you’ll need to have a high school diploma with a 2.0 GPA (or GED score of 2250), provide academic transcripts, provide ACT/SAT test scores, and submit a Personal Reflection Form. You may also be asked for additional information. An application is provided online.
Estimated Tuition Cost: $21,200/per academic year
Fast Facts: Kentucky Christian University was founded in 1919 and is affiliated with the Christian Church/Church of Christ
18. Delaware Valley University
Known as DelVal by the students, Delaware Valley University in Doylestown, Pennsylvania offers a B.A. in Psychology with a dedicated counseling focus.
This four-year program includes general education classes in math, introductory classes in sociology and philosophy, humanities, English and others. The psychology major curriculum offers studies in History and Systems in Psychology, Introduction to Counseling Theories, Introduction to Counseling Techniques, Substance Use and Abuse, Couples and Family Counseling, and Developmental Disabilities, and more. You’ll be able to participate in mock counseling through the department’s counseling psychology laboratory (and receive faculty feedback as you practice your skills), conduct your own research and present at psychology conferences, as well as other interactivity beyond the classroom.
You can apply using the university’s application or the Common Application. As a first year student, expect to provide your academic transcripts, letters of recommendation, an admission essay, and other documents as requested.
Estimated Tuition Cost: $40,620/per credit hour
Fast Facts: The Princeton Review named Delaware Valley University as one of its 2021 “Best in the Northeast” and was founded in 1896
19. Mid-Atlantic Christian University
If you’re wanting an undergraduate degree in Counseling and Psychology rooted in Christian foundations, you should review the program at Mid-Atlantic Christian University in Elizabeth City, North Carolina.
Accredited by The Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, this program is designed to give you a broad perspective in ethics, communication, as well as professional development in psychology. Among the courses in the curriculum are Counseling Theories, Ethics, Professional Orientation, and Legal Issues, Human Sexuality, Marriage and Family Counseling, as well as Introduction to Counseling and more. Before you complete the degree, you’ll participate in a Counseling Internship: Orientation, Experience, and Evaluation, in an agency, hospital, nursing home, etc., under the tutelage of a trained preceptor.
Along with the $30 application, admission documentation includes requests for academic transcripts are needed. If your transcript shows a GPA of 2.5 or higher, you won’t need to submit ACT/SAT test scores (a GPA lower than 2.5 will require test scores.)
Estimated Tuition Cost: $16,490/per academic year
Fast Facts: MACU holds accreditation from the Association for Biblical Higher Education since 1979 and the university was founded in 1948
20. Oak Hills Christian University
You can gain an in-depth understanding of human behavior from a Christian perspective with the B.S. in Applied Psychology from this Minnesota school.
As part of this 120-credit hour degree, you’ll complete core courses in General Education, Biblical Studies, and Christian Ministry. For the Applied Psychology portion, you’ll enroll in classes such as Introduction to Counseling, Adolescent Psychology, Group Process, Psychological Measurement and Testing, Professional Ethics, etc. Other coursework you’ll complete include Marriage and Family Counseling, Foundations of Addiction, as well as Adolescent Psychology. Completing the curriculum will have you doing a Psychology Internship and an Integration of Psychology and Theology Capstone Project.
Estimated Tuition Cost: $17,334/per academic year
Fast Facts: Oak Hills Christian College is accredited by The Association for Biblical Higher Education is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA)
21. Curry College
You can earn a baccalaureate degree in Psychology with a Counseling concentration from this New England college. As a minor, you can choose Substance Abuse Counseling.
As a psychology major, you’ll take required classes in Introduction to Psychology, Orientation to the Psychology, Research Methods in Psychology, Statistics, and a Senior Seminar. For counseling classes, you’ll take Behavior Disorders in Children, Counseling Theories, and Abnormal Psychology. For a Substance Abuse Counseling specialty, core coursework is needed in Substance Use Counseling:
Theory and Practice, Counseling Theory, Health Psychology, Drugs and Behavior, and an Internship in Substance Abuse Counseling. You’ll also be able to choose from electives as Crisis Intervention, Foundations of Community Health, and Working with Groups and Communities.
The Curry College website says, “We treat the admission process like a conversation, not a contest.” To begin that conversation, you’ll need to provide academic transcripts, a college essay, and a letter of recommendation from a high school teacher or counselor. Of course an application (Curry College or Common Application) is necessary. Curry College has a $50 application fee.
Estimated Tuition Cost: $42,425/per academic year
Fast Facts: Niche rates Curry College in its Best Value Colleges in Massachusetts and Money includes the college in its Best Colleges 2020
22. Johnson and Wales University
- Located in Provincetown, Rhode Island, JWU has an undergraduate degree in Psychology that is a traditional four-year program or there’s two accelerated options you’ll want to explore. This is a great program to explore if your goal is graduate school and you can earn your B.S. and M.S. in less time than the two degrees typically take.
The B.S. curriculum for the degree, with a counseling concentration, requires university general education classes and core courses in Introductory Psychology, Introduction to Neuropsychology and Psychopharmacology, Abnormal Psychology, and others. Classes offered in the counseling speciality are Counseling Theories and Techniques, Introduction to Crisis Intervention, Principles of Group Counseling, an Internship, Introduction to Case Management, etc. If you qualify, you can enroll in the 3+2 Psychology and Addiction Counseling or the 3+2 Psychology and Clinical Mental Health Counseling degrees.
To begin the admission process, start with the free JWU application. You’ll be asked to provide academic transcripts for all schools attended and ACT/SAT test scores are optional but recommended by JWU.
Estimated Tuition Cost: $34,736/per academic year
Fast Facts: JWU is rated in U.S. News & World Report’s Best Colleges Rankings 2021, Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education Rankings 2021 and Money’s Best Colleges 2020
23. Paine College
Paine College, in Augusta, Georgia is a private, Historically Black College, which opened in 1883. This college awards a B.A. in Psychology with a counseling emphasis. The counseling concentration is a preparatory degree for careers in clinical psychology, psychology research, mental health counseling, and more.
This 124-credit hour degree requires general education studies along with your major and concentration (page 96 of the Paine College 2020-21 catalog). Among the core psychology courses you’ll take are Experimental Psychology, History & Systems of Psychology, Tests & Measurements, Developmental Psychology, Exceptional Children, Research Project, etc. For your counseling concentration, you’ll study Social Psychology, Substance Abuse, Introduction to Counseling, Crisis Intervention, Marriage and Family, and Theories of Personality.
In order to be considered for admission, you’ll need a 2.0 GPA, and complete a non-refundable $25 application. You’ll need to submit academic transcripts for all schools you’ve attended as well as any other additional documents that may be required by the Admission Office. ACT/SAT test scores are waived for Fall 2021 admission.
Estimated Tuition Cost: $14,595/per academic year
Fast Facts: U.S. News and World Report rates Paine College at #71-93 in its 2021 Regional Colleges and #59-#78 in its Historically Black Colleges and Universities rankings
24. Lesley University
This B.S. in Counseling from Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts is designed to prepare you for a variety of careers in psychology or to pursue graduate work. Depending on your eligibility you can also enroll in the Dual Counseling Degree accelerated program and earn your undergraduate and graduate degrees.
The BS degree requires 120 credit hours and includes general education studies. Among the psychology coursework available are classes in Theories of Personality, Understanding Psychological Diagnoses, Lifespan Development, Contemporary Issues in Counseling & Human Services, Research Methods in the Social Sciences, and others. You’ll also be able to choose from a variety of electives in such topics as Trauma and Crisis, Family Interventions, Understanding Addictions, etc. An Internship is required working under supervision in local community agencies.
For admission consideration, you’ll begin with a Common Application or the Lesley University Application and you’ll need to have a minimum 3.1 GPA demonstrated on your high school academic transcript, a letter of recommendation from a teacher, and the ACT/SAT scores are not required.
Estimated Tuition Cost: $29,550/per academic year
Fast Facts: LU ranks #249 in U.S. News and World Report’s National Universities and recognized in
The Princeton Review’s “2022 Best Colleges: Region by Region”
25. Georgian Court University
Georgian Court University in Lakewood, New Jersey, awards a B.A. in Psychology with a focus, among others, on addiction counseling.
The overall curriculum requires Foundations of Psychology, Psychopathology, Cognitive Psychology, Research Methods & Statistics for the Behavior Sciences, Adult Development, Experimental Psychology, and a special Internship in Addiction Counseling. You’ll also be able to take speciality courses in Basic Counseling, Theories of Personality, Foundations of Addictions Treatment, Supervised Research in Psychology, and more. The curriculum is designed to help students enter graduate school for either a master’s or doctoral degrees.
The Common Application is used by Georgian Court University for admission consideration. First year students will need to provide two letters of recommendation, official high school transcripts, and an essay. There’s no application fee and ACT/SAT test scores are not required. Simply by applying, you’ll be considered for any and all scholarships for which you qualify.
Estimated Tuition Cost: $33,640/per academic year
Fast Facts: GCU is one of Niche’s Best Value Colleges in America and ranked #109 in Regional Universities North by U.S. News and World Report
Why Should I Get a Degree in Counseling?
If you have a sincere desire to help people, a degree in psychology with an emphasis in counseling is an excellent starting point to your professional life. You’ll want to explore earning a Mental health counselors with a bachelor’s degree.
As stated above, psychology is one of the most popular of college and university majors. The statistics of the number of Americans seeking, and receiving, some form of psychological counseling are fairly stunning. In 2019, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports nearly 20% of Americans received counseling, with women seeking counseling more frequently than men. This demonstrates a great need for professional, licensed counselors.
Opportunities to work with licensed psychologists and psychotherapists for bachelor’s prepared counseling students, exist in facilities ranging from substance abuse and rehabilitation centers to inpatient and outpatient facilities. Salaries, according to the BLS, for counselors with a bachelor’s degree can range from $40,560-$54,070. Online salary services like PayScale.com and Indeed.com indicate the BLS nationwide estimates to be in line with the salaries the companies surveyed.
A BS or BA in Psychology with a counseling concentration is the foundation you’ll need if you intend to go on to a master’s or doctorate program; or perhaps, if you want to go into psychiatry.
Is Accreditation Important for a Counseling Degree?
Accreditation is important in any post-secondary academic program. Having accreditation is an indication that the program follows certain guidelines and qualify standards as set by non-profit organizations approved by the U.S. Department of Education.
Schools can be accredited regionally, through agencies such as the Higher Learning Commission, Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC), and others. You may find that certain Christian colleges will hold faith-based accreditation through the Department of Education, such as the Association for Biblical Higher Education (ABHE).
If you plan to continue your education or pursue certification, you’ll want an accredited psychology program. While bachelor degrees in psychology aren’t specifically accredited by The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) or American Psychological Association (APA), you should at, minimum, choose a program with Department of Education approved regional accreditation.
How Do I Become a Counselor?
Most states require that psychology counselors hold a bachelor’s degree. Some states may require you be certified as well.
Your road to becoming a counselor will begin with a general education curriculum (humanities, English, social and behavioral sciences, etc.). Once you satisfy your schools foundational classes, you’ll typically move into studies in your psychology major. In this major, you’ll take classes in introductory studies in psychology, statistics, research methods, various psychology subsets such as behavioral, forensic, abnormal, adolescent, and more. A counseling concentration should include classes in basic counseling methods and skills, techniques for counseling groups, individuals, or families, etc.
Ideally, your program will require an internship or practicum experience. These experiences are conducted under direct supervision of a licensed counselor or faculty member and will provide you with invaluable, real-life experience in the counseling field. You may find that some online programs have virtual counseling labs, where you can observe anonymous counseling sessions and have the ability to discuss it with the faculty member afterwards.
Be sure you verify with your state board to determine what is needed to qualify as a counselor in the state where you live or will be living.