Master's Degrees in College Counseling
With a master's degree in college counseling, you can work in student advising, leadership development, student activities, judicial affairs, and career services. Learn about degree programs and career outlook info.
Am I Eligible For a Master's Degree in College Counseling?
Like most other graduate degrees, you will need a bachelor's degree in order to apply for this master's degree program. A related undergraduate major is often preferred, but not required. Most schools also require a minimum score on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) or the Miller Analogies Test (MAT).
|Prerequisites||A bachelor's degree and acceptable standardized test scores|
|Common Courses||Higher education student development, behavioral science, career development|
|Licenses and Certifications||Licensing and certification may be necessary for some positions and can be obtained through the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC)|
|Online Availability||Online master's degrees in college counseling are rare|
|Job Outlook (2016-2026)||13% growth (for school and career counselors)*|
|Median Salary (2018)||$56,310 (for school and career counselors)*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
What Can I Expect From the Program?
Many programs have a defined course sequence that must be followed. In addition to taking classes, you need to complete a minimum number of hours in the field. Typical fieldwork involves supervised student affairs experience within a college or university. Common course topics include the following:
- Counseling theories and techniques
- Higher education student development
- Cross-cultural counseling
- Behavioral science statistics
- Career development
What About Licensure or Certification?
While school counselors that practice in a K-12 educational environment must be state licensed and certified, college counseling often does not have those requirements. However, many colleges or universities may either require or prefer that their counselors be licensed professional counselors (LPCs) in addition to possessing a master's degree in college counseling.
Graduates who wish to become an LPC may wish to consider pursuing a master's degree that is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs (CACREP). Graduating from a CACREP-accredited program does not automatically grant you licensure or certification, but typically does satisfy the LPC eligibility requirements of most states.
In addition, some graduates opt to become certified by the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC). CACREP program graduates are immediately eligible to obtain NBCC certification upon successful completion of an examination.
Can I Earn This Degree Online?
Online master's degrees in college counseling are rare. Many schools do offer some online classes, but the majority must be completed on-campus. If you wish to pursue an online master's degree in counseling, some schools do offer online programs in community counseling, mental health counseling and school counseling. Bear in mind that with all of these programs, substantial in-person fieldwork experiences will most likely be required.
How Much Will I Earn?
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that counselors working within colleges, universities and professional schools earned a mean annual wage of $49,070 in May 2014 (www.bls.gov); however, salaries vary widely depending on job title, employer, geographic location, experience and educational background.