Best Counseling Psychology Degree Programs of 2022

Learn more about the top Counseling Psychology programs, what to expect, job prospects, and how to choose the program that’s right for you.

Counseling psychology is the study of the psychological factors that affect the way people interact with others. Counseling psychologists work with individuals, couples, and families to help them resolve their conflicts. Counseling psychologists also work with groups to help them improve their communication and relationships.

Counseling psychology is a growing field, as more and more people are seeking help with their conflicts. Counseling psychologists are in demand in a wide variety of settings, including schools, hospitals, and private practice.

Counseling psychology degrees can prepare students for a variety of careers in counseling psychology, including clinical psychology, counseling, and psychotherapy. Students in counseling psychology degree programs learn about the different theories and techniques of counseling psychology, and how to apply those techniques to resolve conflicts.

How to Choose the Right Counseling Psychology Program

When choosing a counseling psychology program, there are many things to consider. The most important factor is whether the program is accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA). Other important factors include the cost of the program, the length of the program, the location of the program, and the curriculum of the program.

The APA accredits doctoral and internship programs in counseling psychology. To be accredited, a program must meet rigorous standards. For example, the program must have a certain number of faculty members with doctoral degrees in counseling psychology, and the program must offer a certain number of internship opportunities.

The cost of a counseling psychology program varies depending on the school. Some programs are more expensive than others. The length of the program also varies. Some programs can be completed in four years, while others may take longer.

The location of the program is another important factor to consider. Some programs are located in rural areas, while others are located in urban areas. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages. For example, rural programs may be less expensive, but they may not offer as many internship opportunities as urban programs.

The curriculum of the program is also important. Some programs offer a more traditional curriculum, while others offer a more innovative curriculum. Make sure the program you choose offers the courses you need to take to meet your career goals.

Best Bachelor’s in Counseling Psychology Programs

The best programs for Counseling Psychology ranking is based on key statistics and student reviews using data from the U.S. Department of Education. Some of the metrics influencing how the rankings are determined include graduation rate, average salary for graduates, accreditation, retention rate, and cost.

Rank 1
Oregon Institute of Technology
Klamath Falls, OR

The Bachelor of Science in Applied Psychology from Oregon Institute of Technology is a skills-based program that prepares students for a career in psychology. The core curriculum covers topics such as developmental psychology, abnormal psychology, social psychology, cognitive psychology, and counseling psychology. In addition to the core curriculum, students can choose from a variety of electives to tailor their degree to their specific interests. The program culminates in an externship, which gives students the opportunity to gain real-world experience in their chosen field of psychology.

Rank 2
Saint Leo University
Saint Leo, FL

The online clinical psychology degree, Bachelor of Arts track at Saint Leo University prepares students for helping in a variety of settings, such as the community, VA, or marital counseling. The program provides a well-rounded education with flexibility to tailor your course of study to meet your individual needs as a working professional.

Students will learn how to understand the human experience through cognitive psychology, personality theory, the biological bases of behavior, child and adolescent development, race and ethnicity, and qualitative and quantitative research methods. Students will also have the opportunity to take applied courses in forensics, the military, counseling, and industrial and organizational psychology, as well as community service projects and internships.

Rank 3
Arizona State University
Tempe, AZ

The Bachelor of Science in Counseling and Applied Psychological Science degree from Arizona State University is a unique program that focuses on cultural diversity and promoting psychological well-being. The program provides a foundation in counseling theories, addiction, trauma, lifespan development, group counseling, and professional ethics. Students in the program will learn active listening, cultural sensitivity, and group dynamics. The program includes a hands-on internship where students can shadow a licensed therapist and practice counseling theory.

Rank 4
University of Wisconsin-Stout
Menomonie, WI

The University of Wisconsin-Stout’s Bachelor of Science in Psychology is a 100% online program that is designed to be flexible and tailored to individual interests and goals. The program offers courses in applied areas such as Clinical/Counseling Psychology, Forensic Psychology, Health Psychology, Interpersonal Effectiveness, Consumer Psychology, and Industrial/Organizational Psychology. The program is designed to prepare students for graduate school admission.

Rank 5
Florida International University
Miami, FL

The Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Florida International University provides students with a grounding in scientific research and human behavior, along with skills in critical thinking and problem solving techniques. The program reflects current trends in the field of psychology with introduction to five key areas of concentration within psychology: experimental, social, applied, personality/abnormal and developmental.

Rank 6
Johnson & Wales University
Charlotte, NC

The Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Johnson & Wales University is a great choice for students interested in human behavior. The program offers a broad range of courses that prepare students for careers in fields such as human resources, public relations, business, and the helping professions. Students in the program also have the opportunity to pursue a 24-credit Counseling Psychology specialization.

Rank 7
Delaware Valley University
Doylestown, PA

The Bachelor of Arts in Counseling Psychology from Delaware Valley University is a specialized program that provides students with advanced training in counseling psychology. The program is designed to prepare students for careers in the mental health field. The curriculum provides students with a foundation in psychological concepts and theories, as well as practical skills in counseling techniques. The program also emphasizes research methods and statistics.

Rank 8
Regent University
Virginia Beach, VA

The Bachelor of Science in Clinical & Counseling Psychology from Regent University provides students with a foundation in psychological principles and theories, as well as practical skills in research methods, data analysis, and counseling. The program also offers an optional concentration in Clinical and Counseling Psychology, which provides students with additional training in case management, treatment planning, crisis intervention, and psychological assessments.

Rank 9
Morningside University
Sioux City, IA

The Bachelor of Science in Counseling Psychology from Morningside University is designed to prepare students for graduate study and careers in counseling, clinical, or school psychology. The program focuses on promoting personal and interpersonal functioning and provides students with the skills and knowledge necessary to address the emotional, social, work, school, and physical health concerns of individuals at different stages in their lives. Students in the program benefit from small class sizes and close working relationships with faculty mentors, as well as opportunities for independent and collaborative research beginning in their freshman year.

Rank 10
Toccoa Falls College
Toccoa Falls, GA

The Bachelor of Science in Counseling Psychology from Toccoa Falls College provides students with academic preparation in foundational psychological and counseling concepts, intellectual preparation through advanced studies of theory and philosophy of persons and relationships, and professional preparation in counseling laboratory and practicum events. Classes include Christ-Centered Counseling, Crisis & Trauma Counseling, Counseling for Addictions, Developmental Psychology, and Abnormal Psychology.

What to Expect From a Bachelor’s in Counseling Psychology Program

Students in a counseling psychology program can expect to take classes that focus on topics such as human development, psychopathology, research methods, and assessment. Programs typically require between 120 and 130 credits, and full-time students can usually complete the degree in four years.

Most counseling psychology programs also require students to complete an internship, which gives them the opportunity to gain hands-on experience working with clients. Internships can last for one semester or up to a year, depending on the program.

In addition to coursework and internships, counseling psychology programs may also require students to complete a thesis or capstone project. A thesis is an extensive research project that usually culminates in a presentation, while a capstone project is typically a more practical application of the skills learned in the program.

Counseling psychology programs typically emphasize the development of strong communication and interpersonal skills. Students should be prepared to work closely with clients and to develop a deep understanding of their needs. They should also be able to effectively communicate their findings to other members of the counseling team.

Common Counseling Psychology Courses

Students may find that their coursework covers a broad range of topics related to psychology, human development, and counseling. The following list provides examples of classes that might be taken as part of a counseling psychology degree program.

Abnormal Psychology

This course covers the study of psychopathology and its causes. Emphasis is placed on the major categories of mental disorders as defined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), including anxiety disorders, somatoform disorders, dissociative disorders, mood disorders, schizophrenia, and personality disorders. Theories of etiology are also discussed. Upon completion, students should be able to apply the major theoretical perspectives to the major categories of mental disorders and explain the etiology of these disorders from a biopsychosocial perspective.

Theories of Psychotherapy

This course covers the major theories of psychotherapy including their historical development, fundamental assumptions, and key concepts. Emphasis is placed on the major schools of thought including psychoanalysis, behaviorism, cognitive-behavioral, humanistic-existential, and family systems. Upon completion, students should be able to analyze the major theories of psychotherapy and apply them to the understanding and treatment of psychological disorders.

Ethics in Counseling Psychology

This course covers ethical and professional issues in counseling psychology with an emphasis on the American Psychological Association’s (APA) Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct. Topics include an overview of the counseling psychology profession, professional values and ethical principles, the APA’s Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct, legal and professional liability issues, ethical decision-making models, and resolving ethical dilemmas. Upon completion, students should be able to apply the APA’s Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct to counseling psychology practice.

Developmental Psychology

This course covers the major theories, research, and applications of human development from conception to death. Topics include physical, cognitive, social, and emotional development; lifespan changes; and influences of heredity and environment. Upon completion, students should be able to explain how development proceeds throughout the lifespan, identify and describe major theories of development, and apply developmental concepts to personal and social issues.

Research Methods in Psychology

This course covers research methods used in psychology including scientific method, experimental design, data collection, statistical analysis, and interpretation of findings. Emphasis is placed on the application of research methods to psychological problems and the evaluation of psychological research. Upon completion, students should be able to apply the scientific method to psychological problems, design and conduct psychological research, and analyze and interpret research data.

Career Options for Counseling Psychology Graduates

Graduates of counseling psychology programs work in a variety of fields and industries, including mental health, education, and social work. They may also work in fields such as human resources, counseling, and psychology.

School Counselor

School counselors work with students in elementary, middle, and high schools to help them overcome academic, social, and behavioral challenges. Counselors typically work in schools, but they may also work in other settings, such as community centers or private practices. Counselors often have a great deal of autonomy in their work, but they also collaborate with teachers, administrators, parents, and other stakeholders to develop and implement programs and services that support students.

Marriage and Family Therapist

Marriage and family therapists (MFTs) work with individuals, couples, and families to help them improve communication and resolve conflict. They also work with people who are dealing with issues related to divorce, separation, and other relationship challenges. MFTs typically have a private practice, but they may also work in hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare settings.

Mental Health Counselor

Mental health counselors work with patients who are struggling with mental health issues, such as anxiety, depression, and trauma. Counselors may work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, clinics, private practices, and schools. In some cases, they may also provide crisis counseling, such as to people who have been affected by a natural disaster or a mass shooting. Counselors typically provide individual and group therapy, and they may also provide counseling services to families.

Substance Abuse Counselor

Substance abuse counselors work with individuals who are struggling with addiction to help them overcome their substance use disorder. Counselors typically work in outpatient or inpatient treatment facilities, though they may also work in private practices, hospitals, or other healthcare settings. In addition to providing one-on-one counseling, counselors may also lead group therapy sessions, create treatment plans, collaborate with other members of the treatment team, and provide crisis intervention.


Psychotherapists help patients deal with mental and emotional disorders, whether those disorders are the result of a traumatic event, an imbalance of chemicals in the brain, or any other cause. Psychotherapists may work in a variety of settings, including private practices, hospitals, and mental health clinics. They typically provide one-on-one therapy, but may also work with families or groups. Psychotherapists use a variety of techniques to help their patients, including talk therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and exposure therapy.

Insights From a Counseling Psychology Graduate

Emma Santana is a Mental Health Counselor at Mount Sinai Hospital. She has a bachelor’s degree in counseling psychology from Fordham University. Emma has over 7 years of experience in mental health counseling.

ClimbtheLadder: What were the biggest takeaway(s) you got from your Counseling Psychology program that you may not have gotten otherwise?

Emma Santana: The biggest takeaway from my Counseling Psychology program was the importance of self-care. As a counselor, I am constantly giving of myself to my clients and it can be easy to forget to take care of myself. I have learned that if I do not take care of myself, I will not be able to be the best counselor for my clients.

ClimbtheLadder: What type of person is successful and thrives in a Counseling Psychology career?

Emma Santana: I would say that a successful counseling psychologist is someone who is passionate about mental health and helping others. Counseling psychologists need to be able to build rapport with their clients and be able to create a safe and trusting environment. They also need to be good listeners and be able to understand and empathize with their clients.

ClimbtheLadder: What was the most challenging course you took? What advice would you give to students who are about to start this course?

Emma Santana: The most challenging course I took was psychopathology. It was a very dense course that covered a lot of material. My advice for students who are about to start this course is to be very organized and to start studying early. The earlier you start, the better you will do.

In addition, I would recommend finding a study group. It is helpful to have people to discuss the material with.


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