North Carolina Master’s in Counseling Programs

Alexander BuCher

Written by Alexander BuCher

Licensed Professional Counselor | Youngstown State University

Updated & Fact Checked: 01/05/24

North Carolina is a state in the southern United States. A diverse state that spreads from the shores of the Outer Banks to the Blue Ridge Mountains. The state is also rapidly growing, with a population increase of 9.5% between the 2010 and 2020 censuses. As a result of high population growth, O*Net Online suggests that North Carolina will see an increase in the need for mental health counselors by 24%. Thankfully, many programs in the state are equipped to fill this need by educating the future counselors of North Carolina.

Master of Counseling Programs in North Carolina

To become licensed as a mental health counselor in North Carolina, the state statute requires that applicants graduate from a master’s program accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) with 60 credit hours or 90 semester hours of coursework. This article will list three categories of programs: online programs, CACREP-accredited programs, and programs that don’t require the GRE for entry.

Online Master of Counseling Programs in North Carolina

There are many benefits to attending an online master of counseling program. Some of those benefits include the flexibility of courses, continued access to course materials, and the ability to take courses at your own pace. Many programs in North Carolina are based online and meet the state’s licensure requirements.

CACREP-Accredited Master of Counseling Programs in North Carolina

Accreditation by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) is becoming an increasingly popular feature of many masters of counseling programs nationwide. Some of the benefits of attending a CACREP-accredited program include meeting the requirements for most states and becoming familiar with other programs that are accredited. It is a requirement in North Carolina that an applicant attend a program that is CACREP-accredited to obtain licensure.

  • Program: Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling
  • Accreditation: CACREP
  • 60 Credit Hours
  • In-person program located in Boone, North Carolina
  • Tuition: $5,740 per academic year (based on 18 credit hours per year) for North Carolina residents
  • Tuition: $16,247 per academic year (based on 18 credit hours per year) for non-residents of North Carolina
  • Program: Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling
  • Accreditation: CACREP
  • 62 Credit Hours
  • In-person program located in Greenville, North Carolina
  • Tuition: $7,658 per academic year (based on 18 credit hours per year) for North Carolina residents
  • Tuition: $20,807 per academic year (based on 18 credit hours per year) for non-residents of North Carolina
  • Program: Master of Arts in Counseling
  • Accreditation: CACREP
  • 61 Credit Hours
  • In-person program located in Hickory or Asheville, North Carolina
  • Tuition: $690 per credit hour, $42,090 for the program
  • Program: Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling
  • Accreditation: CACREP
  • 60 Credit Hours
  • In-person program located in Greensboro, North Carolina
  • Tuition: $4,896 per academic year (based on 18 credit hours per year) for North Carolina residents
  • Tuition: $17,696 per academic year (based on 18 credit hours per year) for non-residents of North Carolina
  • Program: Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling
  • Accreditation: CACREP
  • 60 Credit Hours
  • In-person program located in Durham, North Carolina
  • Tuition: $298.73 per credit hour for residents of North Carolina
  • Tuition: $1,039.07 per credit hour for non-residents of North Carolina
  • Program: Master of Education in Clinical Mental Health Counseling
  • Accreditation: CACREP
  • 60 Credit Hours
  • Online and in-person program located in Raleigh, North Carolina
  • Tuition: $668.95 per credit hour for residents of North Carolina
  • Tuition: $1,778.62 per credit hour for non-residents of North Carolina
  • Program: Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling
  • Accreditation: CACREP
  • 60 Credit Hours
  • In-person program located in Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Tuition: $1,054.07 per credit hour for residents of North Carolina
  • Tuition: $1,863.46 per credit hour for non-residents of North Carolina
  • Program: Master of Science in Counseling
  • Accreditation: CACREP
  • 60 Credit Hours
  • In-person program located in Greensboro, North Carolina
  • Tuition: $8,546 per academic year (based on 18 credit hours per year)
  • Tuition: $22,676 per academic year (based on 18 credit hours per year)
  • Program: Master of Arts in Education in Clinical Mental Health Counseling
  • Accreditation: CACREP
  • 60 Credit Hours
  • Hybrid/In-person program located in Pembroke and Wilmington, North Carolina
  • Tuition: $380.59 per credit hour for residents of North Carolina
  • Tuition: $1,106.09 per credit hour for non-residents of North Carolina
  • Program: Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling
  • Accreditation: CACREP
  • 60 Credit Hours
  • In-person program located in Asheville, North Carolina
  • Tuition: $3,889 per semester (based on a 9 credit hour semester) for residents of North Carolina
  • Tuition: $9,248.50 per semester (based on a 9 credit hour semester) for non-residents of North Carolina

No GRE Required Master of Counseling Programs in North Carolina

The Graduate Records Examination (GRE) is a standardized test used to determine the aptitude of potential college admitants. However, many people get anxious about standardized tests or do not want their college admission based on test scores. Nine programs in North Carolina do not require the GRE for admittance into the counseling program. Some may require the GRE depending on the undergraduate GPA; however, all programs listed below do not require the GRE for admittance, no matter the undergraduate GPA. 

Three programs under the Online Programs category do not require the GRE. Those programs are located at Catawba College, Montreat College, and Wake Forest University. 

Six programs under the CACREP-Accredited Programs category do not require the GRE. Those programs are at Cambell University, East Carolina University, Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary, Lenoir-Rhyne University, North Carolina State University, and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Most Affordable Master of Counseling Program in North Carolina

Choosing an affordable Master in Counseling program is sometimes just as important as finding one that is academically sound. The program under the online programs category that is the most affordable is located at Montreat College. This program costs $595 per credit hour. 

The most affordable program located under the CACREP-Accredited Programs category is at North Carolina A&T State University. The most affordable program in the state is therefore located at North Carolina A&T University.

Accelerated Master of Counseling Programs in North Carolina

Due to the nature of counseling licensure requirements in North Carolina, all programs must be CACREP accredited. With accreditation comes the requirement that the program contain 60 credit hours. To complete 60 credit hours, a program typically has to last between two and three years. However, some programs on this list require more than the required 60 credit hours. All programs on the list above require 60 credit hours to complete, except for those at East Carolina University (62 credit hours), Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary (66 credit hours), and Lenoir-Rhyne University (61 credit hours)

North Carolina Online, No GRE & CAREP Accredited Counseling Masters Programs

SpecialtyUniversity NameDegreeCityStateAccreditationModalityGRE Required?Program Length
School CounselingAppalachian State UniversityM.A.BooneNCCACREPCampusGRE Required2 Years
Clinical Mental Health CounselingAppalachian State UniversityM.A.BooneNCCACREPCampusGRE Required2 Years
Clinical Mental Health CounselingCampbell UniversityM.A.Buies CreekNCCACREPOnline & CampusNo GRE Required3 Years
School CounselingCampbell UniversityM.Ed.Buies CreekNCCACREP
Rehabilitation CounselingEast Carolina University, College of Allied Health SciencesM.S.GreenvilleNCCACREPCampusGRE Required2 Years
Clinical Mental Health CounselingEast Carolina University, College of Allied Health SciencesM.S.GreenvilleNCCACREPCampusGRE Required2 Years
School CounselingEast Carolina University, College of EducationM.S.GreenvilleNCCACREP
Clinical Mental Health CounselingEast Carolina University, College of EducationM.S.GreenvilleNCCACREPCampusGRE Required2 Years
Clinical Mental Health CounselingGardner-Webb UniversityM.A.Boiling SpringsNCCACREP
School CounselingGardner-Webb UniversityM.A.Boiling SpringsNCCACREP
Clinical Mental Health CounselingGordon Conwell Theological Seminary-CharlotteM.A.CharlotteNCCACREP
Clinical Mental Health CounselingLenoir-Rhyne UniversityM.A.HickoryNCCACREP
School CounselingLenoir-Rhyne UniversityM.A.HickoryNCCACREP
Clinical Mental Health CounselingMontreat CollegeM.A.AshevilleNCCACREP
Clinical Mental Health CounselingNorth Carolina A&T State UniversityM.S.GreensboroNCCACREPCampusNo GRE Required2 Years
Clinical Rehabilitation CounselingNorth Carolina A&T State UniversityM.S.GreensboroNCCACREP
School CounselingNorth Carolina A&T State UniversityM.S.GreensboroNCCACREPCampusNo GRE Required2 Years
Career CounselingNorth Carolina Central UniversityM.A.DurhamNCCACREP
School CounselingNorth Carolina Central UniversityM.A.DurhamNCCACREPCampusGRE Required1 Years
Clinical Mental Health CounselingNorth Carolina Central UniversityM.A.DurhamNCCACREP
School CounselingUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, School of EducationM.Ed.Chapel HillNCCACREP
Clinical Mental Health Counseling and Clinical Rehabilitation CounselingUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, School of MedicineM.S.Chapel HillNCCACREP
Addiction CounselingUniversity of North Carolina at CharlotteM.A.CharlotteNCCACREPCampusNo GRE Required2 Years
Clinical Mental Health CounselingUniversity of North Carolina at CharlotteM.A.CharlotteNCCACREPCampusNo GRE Required2 Years
School CounselingUniversity of North Carolina at CharlotteM.A.CharlotteNCCACREPCampusNo GRE Required2 Years
Marriage, Couple and Family CounselingUniversity of North Carolina at GreensboroM.S./Ed.S.GreensboroNCCACREPCampusNo GRE Required2 Years
Clinical Mental Health CounselingUniversity of North Carolina at GreensboroM.S./Ed.S.GreensboroNCCACREPCampusNo GRE Required2 Years
School CounselingUniversity of North Carolina at GreensboroM.S./Ed.S.GreensboroNCCACREPCampusNo GRE Required2 Years
Clinical Mental Health CounselingUniversity of North Carolina at PembrokeM.A.Ed.PembrokeNCCACREPCampusNo GRE Required1 Years
School CounselingUniversity of North Carolina at PembrokeM.A.Ed.PembrokeNCCACREPCampusNo GRE Required2 Years
Clinical Mental Health CounselingWake Forest UniversityM.A.Winston-SalemNCCACREPOnlineNo GRE Required2 Years
School CounselingWake Forest UniversityM.A.Winston-SalemNCCACREPOnlineNo GRE Required2 Years
School CounselingWestern Carolina UniversityM.A.Ed.CullowheeNCCACREPCampusGRE Required2 Years
Clinical Mental Health CounselingWestern Carolina UniversityM.S.CullowheeNCCACREPCampusGRE Required2 Years
Rehabilitation CounselingWinston-Salem State UniversityM.S.Winston-SalemNCCACREPOnlineGRE Required2½ Years
Clinical Mental Health Counseling, School Counseling, Addictions CounselingUniversity of North Carolina at CharlotteM.ACharlotteNCCACREPnot mentionedNo GRE Required60 credits
Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Rehabilitation Counseling,School CounselingNorth Carolina A&T UniversityM.SGreensboroNCCACREPCampusNo GRE Required60 credits
CounselingWestern Carolina UniversityM.A.Ed.AshevilleNC CACREPCampusGRE Required4 Years
Clinical Mental Health CounselingCarolina UniversityM.AWinston-SalemNCCACREPOnline & CampusNo GRE Required2 Years
Counseling ProgramWestern Carolina UniversityM.A.Ed.AshevilleNCCACREPOnline & CampusGRE Required4 Years
Master of Science in Rehabilitation CounselingWinston-Salem State UniversityMSRCWinston-SalemNC CACREPCampus

Required Courses for Licensure in North Carolina

In North Carolina, it is required that all graduate courses be CACREP accredited to obtain state counseling licensure. To meet CACREP standards, a program must contain courses in all eight core curricular areas. Those eight core curricular areas are as follows:

  • Professional Counseling Orientation and Ethical Practice
  • Social and Cultural Diversity
  • Human Growth and Development
  • Career Development
  • Counseling and Helping Relationships
  • Group Counseling and Group Work
  • Assessment and Testing
  • Research and Program Evaluation

Counseling Licensure Requirements in North Carolina

There are three levels of licensure for mental health counselors in North Carolina. The first stage of licensure is the Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor Associate (LCMHCA) license; the second is the Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor (LCMHC) license; and the third is the Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor Supervisor (LCMHCS) license. The North Carolina Board of Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselors sets the state’s licensure requirements. 

Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor Associate (LCMHCA):

According to the Board, anyone applying for an LCMHCA license must graduate from a CACREP-accredited program with 60 credit hours or 90 quarter hours of graduate work. The coursework must also submit documentation of the completed practicum and internship (done in all CACREP-accredited programs). An applicant must also pass the National Counselor Examination (NCE) or the National Clinical Mental Health Counselor Examination (NCMHCE) as well as a jurisprudence examination. This license requires supervision from a licensed supervisor to practice. 

Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor (LCMHC)

To obtain this licensure, applicants for an LCMHC license must meet all criteria for the LCMHCA license as well as complete 3,000 hours of supervised experience under a licensed supervisor approved by the state and 100 hours of supervision. This licensure is independent and does not require a supervisor. 

Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor Supervisor (LCMHCS): 

To obtain this licensure, applicants for an LCMHCS license must meet all criteria for the LCMHC license, have five to eight years of counseling experience, and complete the required supervision training courses. This license gives an applicant the ability to supervise interns as well as those with an LCMHC license.

North Carolina Counseling FAQs (Obtained via Licensed Clinical Counselors of North Carolina)

How many hours of continuing education are required to renew my license? 

40 contact hours are required. Three hours must be completed in the area of ethics.

Can anyone be a clinical supervisor? 

To be a supervisor, one must meet the requirements of supervision licensure as defined by the State Board.

How Much Does a Mental Health Counselor Make in North Carolina?

According to O*Net Online, a mental health counselor is expected to make an average of $49,050 per year. This is almost similar to the national average salary, which is listed at $49,710.

How to Become a School Counselor in North Carolina

According to the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, to become a school counselor, one must graduate from an accredited master’s program with a degree in school counseling. After graduating from an accredited program, one must pass the Professional School Counselor Praxis Exam.

How Much Does a School Counselor Make in North Carolina

According to O*Net Online, the average salary for a school counselor in North Carolina is $50,820. This is significantly less than the national average which is listed at $60,140.

How to Become a Substance Abuse Counselor in North Carolina

According to the North Carolina Addictions Specialist Professional Practice Board, there are three substance abuse counselor licenses. Those three licenses are Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC), Licensed Clinical Addiction Specialist (LCAS), and Certified Clinical Supervisor (CCS). 

Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC):

According to the Board, this license is for those with a high school diploma/GED, associate’s degree, bachelor’s degree, or master’s degree who do not meet the requirements for the Licensed Clinical Addictions Specialist (LCAS) license. Those with this license require constant supervision. Those with this license must first pass the IC&RC examination and complete 300 hours of supervised work with 1 hour of supervision for every 10 hours of work. Upon completion of the internship, those who hope to obtain this licensure must complete 6,000 hours of supervised work, 270 clock hours of education with 190 of those hours specific to substance abuse counseling, and passage of the IC&RC ADC examination. 

Licensed Clinical Addiction Specialist (LCAS):

There are four criteria to obtain this licensure. 

Criteria A requires 4,000 hours (2 years post-Master’s, supervised at a rate of 1:40 hours), 180 hours of SUD-specific education with six hours of special topics in addictions, and passage of the IC&RC AADC Examination. 

Those who fall under Criteria B meet all requirements of the CADC licensure and work experience with that licensure. 

Criteria C includes 2,000 hours of experience (1 year post-Master’s, supervised at a rate of 1:40), completion of all education as part of their degree, and passage of the IC&RC AADC Examination. 

Those who fall under Criteria D meet the requirements for this licensure due to national certification. 

Certified Clinical Supervisor (CCS):

To obtain this licensure, one must meet the “Three E’s” of certification. This includes 4,000 hours (2 years) of supervised clinical supervisory experience verified by a CCS, 15 hours of clinical supervisor-specific education, and a passing score on the IC&RC AADC examination.

How Much Does a Substance Abuse Counselor Make in North Carolina?

According to O*Net Online, the average salary of a substance abuse counselor in North Carolina is $49,050. This is similar to the national average salary for a substance abuse counselor, which is $49,710.

What Other Career Options Are Available to Those with a Degree in Mental Health Counseling?

The skills learned in a Master of Counseling program open the door for many positions outside of the counseling profession. Some of the positions opened up with this degree include human resources, governmental social services, education, and non-profit leadership.