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Top Schools for Counseling and Guidance

Find information about the top schools for counseling and guidance, through which students learn how to help children and adults cope with problems and develop life skills. Read about the degree options at three leading institutions, as well as an overview of other schools in the U.S. that offer training for counselors.

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School Information

In most circumstances, counselors need a license before they can provide professional services in community settings or schools. Licensing requirements typically include completion of a master's degree program in counseling, school psychology or a closely related field, which can be found at the three high-ranking national universities highlighted below.

Top U.S. Schools with Counseling and Guidance Programs

1. College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA

The College of William and Mary ranked 33rd on the U.S. News & World Report list of top national universities in 2012, as well as 18th for student counseling and personnel services in 2011. The School of Education at this public research university offers a 3-year master's degree program in school psychology, as well as a 2-year master's program in counseling. The counseling program includes concentrations in community, marriage and school counseling; students also participate in an internship. Graduate students can also pursue a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Counselor Education.

2. Pennsylvania State University in University Park, PA

U.S. News & World Report ranked Pennsylvania State University fourth for rehabilitation counseling programs and fifth for counseling and personnel services in 2011. Through the Department of Educational Psychology, Counseling and Special Education, students can earn a master's degree in elementary or secondary school counseling; master's degree programs in career, mental health or rehabilitation counseling are also available. In addition to completing clinical experiences, students in the rehabilitation counseling program examine concepts in chronic illness, mental health, service delivery and clinical assessment. Penn State also offers master's and Ph.D. programs in counselor education.

3. University of Wisconsin in Madison, WI

U.S News & World Report ranked the University of Wisconsin tenth among the country's public schools and 42nd among national universities in 2012. The University of Wisconsin offers a terminal Master of Science in Counseling program, through which students explore multicultural counseling, consultation and professional behavior. Graduate programs also include a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology, which is accredited by the American Psychological Association. Additionally, the university's School of Education features a counseling psychology training clinic, which supports faculty research and offers psychology and mental health services to clients.

List of Ten Good Counseling and Guidance Programs

School Name Distinction Location
College of William and Mary School counseling program allows students to begin working in schools during their first semester Williamsburg, VA
George Washington University Master's degree in rehabilitation counseling offered entirely online Washington, D.C.
Ohio State University Master's degree program offers tracks in clinical or school counseling Columbus, OH
Pennsylvania State University Students in the rehabilitation counseling program can specialize in addictions or psychiatric rehabilitationUniversity Park, PA
University of FloridaRanked second by U.S. News & World Report for its student counseling and personnel services programs in 2011Gainesville, FL
University of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignStudents in the counseling program must complete a 1-year internship before pursuing a doctoral degreeChampaign, IL
University of IowaRanked second for rehabilitation counseling by U.S. News & World Report in 2011Iowa City, IA
University of Maryland Offers undergraduate, graduate certificate, master's and doctoral programs through its Department of Counseling and Personnel Services College Park, MD
University of North Carolina Division of Rehabilitation Counseling and Psychology offers student research projects, such as the Older Workers with Disabilities Pilot Project Chapel Hill, NC
University of Wisconsin - MadisonRanked first for rehabilitation counseling and sixth for student counseling and personnel services by U.S. News & World Report in 2011Madison, WI
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