School Counseling Degrees in Illinois with Program Descriptions

Illinois has 13 schools that offer school counseling degree programs. Learn about the degree programs, tuition info and program options for the ten largest schools to make an informed education decision.

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Essential Information

A good number of schools in Illinois offer programs that enable students to study school counseling. Such programs lead primarily to the award of master's degrees, although at least one doctoral and one licensing endorsement program are also offered. Depending on an applicant's previous education, it can take between 18 months and three years to complete a graduate program in school counseling. Additional requirements that may be required by a school include an internship, thesis, clinical experiences, or final examination.

Career Requirements

School counselors must obtain certification to practice in Illinois. The Illinois State Board of Education requires school counselors to complete a master's degree program that meets state standards and includes 600 hours of internship work and 100 hours of practicum experience.

Below are short overviews of the 10 largest schools in the state with programs that can help students meet the licensure requirements to work as school counselors in Illinois.


Bradley University

Located in Peoria, Bradley University offers school counseling programs that have been accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) and National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).

The Master of Arts (M.A.) in Human Development Counseling - School Counseling program requires the completion of roughly 55 credit hours. Students are expected to complete practicum and internship experiences in addition to coursework focused on human development and counseling. Immediately following graduation, students are eligible to sit for the National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification (NCE).

The post-master's certificate program in school counseling is available to anyone holding a master's degree in a related field outside of school counseling. The curriculum requires 21 credit hours, and students can earn this certificate in one year of study.

  • Programs Offered: Master of Arts (M.A.) in Human Development Counseling - School Counseling,
    Post-Master's Certificate in School Counseling
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $13,370*
  • School Type & Setting: Four-year, private not-for-profit; midsize city

DePaul University

DePaul University in Chicago offers several graduate programs with school counselor training. For instance, the school features M.A. and Master of Education (M.Ed.) programs, each requiring 72 quarter hours. Both programs have been approved by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) and include two internships totaling 600 hours, as well as a 100-hour practicum. The M.Ed. degree program can lead to licensure as a Licensed Professional Counselor, provided that the additional requirements are met. Students in either program can expect to study psychopathology, crisis intervention, special education and classroom management.

A school counselor certificate program is also available. Applicants must possess a master's degree in school counseling or a related field and pass a skills examination. The program requires students complete 52-56 credit hours, and the curriculum includes courses in counseling theories and skills, crisis intervention, classroom management and ethics. Students also get to complete internship experiences before embarking on the practicum coursework.

  • Programs Offered: M.A. in Counseling - School Counseling,
    Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Counseling - School Counseling,
    Post-Master's Certificate in School Counseling
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $5,878*
  • School Type & Setting: Four-year, private not-for-profit; large city

Eastern Illinois University

Located in Charleston, Eastern Illinois University offers a CACREP-approved Master of Science (M.S.) in Counseling with a concentration in school counseling. This 60-credit hour program includes a practicum and two internships. Students can expect to take courses in counseling theory, appraisal, play therapy, human development and school management. Graduates are eligible for school counselor certification in the state of Illinois.

  • Programs Offered: Master of Science (M.S.) in Counseling - School Counseling
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $8,846 in-state; $17,870 out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: Four-year, public; remote town

Governors State University

Students can pursue an M.A. in School Counseling and a post-master's certificate at Governors State University in University Park. The M.A. program is designed to prepare counselors for careers in K-12 schools throughout the state. This program has been accredited by CACREP. Graduates can pursue a School Service Personnel Certificate through the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE).

The curriculum requires 57 total credit hours. Required core courses include ethical standards, life span developmental issues, counseling theories, cultural foundations, family systems and treatment planning. Students must also complete clinical experiences and two internships focused on school counseling. An alternative school certification program is also available, which requires additional courses.

The school counselor certificate program requires a minimum of 24 credit hours and a 600-hour internship. Applicants to the program must possess a master's degree in counseling or psychology and have completed 30 credit hours of prerequisite courses, including the study of counseling theories, group dynamics and life span development issues. Required certificate courses include the study of consultation, parent education and program development. Students must also complete a school counseling practicum.

  • Programs Offered: M.A. in School Counseling,
    School Counselor Certificate
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $5,990 in-state; $10,886 out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: Four-year, public; fringe rural

Lewis University

A master's degree program in school counseling and guidance is offered at Lewis University in Romeoville. This program offers options for students who have been certified or those seeking certification. Certified teacher candidates are required to complete 40 credit hours, while those who are uncertified must complete 46 credit hours. Core courses focus on career development, psychopathology, school counseling methods and advanced developmental psychology. The program also requires the completion of a practicum and internship. Students are also able to complete this curriculum through a cohort program, meaning that a group of students can proceed through the required courses together.

  • Programs Offered: M.A. in School Counseling & Counseling
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $13,680*
  • School Type & Setting: Four-year, private not-for-profit; large suburb

Loyola University Chicago

Loyola University, a large religiously affiliated private school in Chicago, offers a Master of Education in School Counseling and a Type 73 School Counseling Endorsement certification program. The schools' teaching style is modeled after the Jesuit belief that education should help individuals give back to the world, and the school uses a four-tiered approach of service, skills, knowledge and ethics to accomplish this goal.

The school's M.Ed. program qualifies graduates to apply to become Licensed Professional Counselors (LPC) in the state of Illinois. Graduate of the program can also pursue the School Counseling Specialist Endorsement. Undergraduates need to take an statistics course and earn at least a 'B' before applying to this program. Full-time students can finish the M.Ed. program in school counseling in two years, including one summer. The program includes 48-credit hours of coursework and 700 hours of internship experience, along with a four-hour proctored final exam.

The Type 73 School Counseling Specialist Endorsement is earned through a program that is geared toward professionals in the school counseling or psychology fields, as well as students who have already earned a M.Ed. with an emphasis in counseling or school counseling. Potential students must also hold a valid teaching credential upon admission or, alternatively, complete additional courses in education. The curriculum is equivalent to the 48 credits of coursework required for the master's program.

  • Programs Offered: M.Ed. in School Counseling,
    Type 73 School Counseling Endorsement Program
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $17,010*
  • School Type & Setting: Four-year, private not-for-profit; large city

Northeastern Illinois University

Located in Chicago, Northeastern Illinois University offers a master's degree program in school counseling that's approved by CACREP and NCATE. The program is available in full- and part-time formats and requires 48 credit hours. The curriculum includes courses in evaluation techniques, career development, research seminars and various styles of counseling. Electives include family counseling, advanced career counseling, case management and thesis research. Students are also required to complete 700 hours of clinical experiences through a practicum and internship. Graduates of the master's degree program are eligible to pursue Type 73 certification as well as the LPC designation.

  • Programs Offered: M.A. in School Counseling
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $6,119 in-state; $11,069 out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: Four-year, public; large city

Northern Illinois University

Northern Illinois University, a large public university located in DeKalb, offers master's and doctoral degree programs with emphases in school counseling. Both programs are accredited by CACREP.

The master's degree program features an individualized planning approach, which allows students to choose their emphasis of study. This program also meets the standards set by the Illinois State Board of Education and the National Board for Certified Counselors. Students learn about the theories, methods and research skills utilized on a daily basis by counselors in the field. The program consists of 48 credit hours, including an internship and practicum in school counseling as well as a master's thesis project.

Trained professionals looking to advance in the school counseling field may be interested in the doctoral program offered at this school. Applicants must hold a master's degree in counseling or a similar field of study and have counseling experience. The program is comprised of 105 credit hours, which can include 30 credit hours from a master's degree program. The program also requires 1,200 hours of internship experience along with a dissertation.

  • Programs Offered: M.S. in Education - School Counseling,
    Doctor of Education in Counselor Education and Supervision
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $11,614 in-state; $19,669 out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: Four-year, public; small suburb

Roosevelt University

Roosevelt University in Chicago offers a master's degree in counseling with a specialization in school counseling. Students must complete between 39 and 51 credit hours, depending on previous education and experience. Required courses include the study of ethics, statistics, research, counseling theory, lifestyle development and issues in human development. The school counseling specialization requires a seminar and practicum. Those who aren't certified teachers are required to take a couple additional courses. Students can complete additional courses to qualify for the NCE after graduation.

  • Programs Offered: M.A. in Counseling - School Counseling
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $17,800*
  • School Type & Setting: Four-year, private not-for-profit; large city

Western Illinois University

Located in Macomb, Western Illinois University offers a Master of Science in Education with a concentration in school counseling that's approved by CACREP. The school counseling program requires a minimum of 52 credit hours. Students must complete core courses on research methods, various types of counseling and counseling techniques. In addition, all participants must complete a counseling practicum and internship. School counseling electives focus on working with children and adolescents in a school setting.

  • Programs Offered: Master of Science in Education in Counseling with an option in school counseling
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $9,552 in-state; $16,461 out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: Four-year, public; remote town

School Comparison: At a Glance

School Name School Type & Setting School Counseling Degree Programs Graduate Tuition & Fees (2012-2013)
Bradley University Four-year, private not-for-profit; midsize city Master of Arts (M.A.) in Human Development Counseling - School Counseling,
Post-Master's Certificate in School Counseling
$13,370*
DePaul University Four-year, private not-for-profit; large city M.A. in Counseling - School Counseling,
Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Counseling - School Counseling,
Post-Master's Certificate in School Counseling
$5,878*
Eastern Illinois University Four-year, public; remote town Master of Science (M.S.) in Counseling - School Counseling $8,846 in-state; $17,870 out-of-state*
Governors State University Four-year, public; fringe rural M.A. in School Counseling,
School Counselor Certificate
$5,990 in-state; $10,886 out-of-state*
Lewis University Four-year, private not-for-profit; large suburb M.A. in School Counseling & Counseling $13,680*
Loyola University Chicago Four-year, private not-for-profit; large city M.Ed. in School Counseling,
Type 73 School Counseling Endorsement Program
$17,010*
Northeastern Illinois University Four-year, public; large city M.A. in School Counseling $6,119 in-state; $11,069 out-of-state*
Northern Illinois University Four-year, public; small suburb M.S. in Education - School Counseling,
Doctor of Education in Counselor Education and Supervision
$11,614 in-state; $19,669 out-of-state*
Roosevelt University Four-year, private not-for-profit; large city M.A. in Counseling - School Counseling $17,800*
Western Illinois University Four-year, public; remote town Master of Science in Education in Counseling with an option in school counseling $9,552 in-state; $16,461 out-of-state*

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics.

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  • School locations:
    • Philadelphia
    Areas of study you may find at University of Pennsylvania include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: First Professional Certificate, Post Master's Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Education
      • Counseling and Guidance
      • Curriculum and Instruction
      • Educational Administration and Supervision
      • Educational Evaluation and Research
      • ESL Teaching
      • Philosophical Foundations of Education
      • Teacher Education for Specific Levels and Methods
      • Teacher Education for Specific Subject Areas
  • School locations:
    • Nashville
    Areas of study you may find at Vanderbilt University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Education
      • Counseling and Guidance
      • Educational Administration and Supervision
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      • Special Education
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