Master’s in Mental Health Counseling Programs in Pennsylvania

Alexander BuCher

Written by Alexander BuCher

Licensed Professional Counselor | Youngstown State University

Updated & Fact Checked: 01/30/24

Introduction

Once one of the largest exporters of steel goods and materials, Pennsylvania has grown into a large technological hub and boasts of increasing state-of-the-art medical facilities. Despite this change from steel mills to the technology industry, the collapse of steel mills led to many people leaving the state to look for work. As a result, the state entered an era of economic depression. With this economic depression came drug use in the form of the opiate crisis as well as many people struggling with mental health concerns.

As a result of the economic depression and the opiate epidemic, the state needed to create new resources for mental health and addiction treatment. According to O*Net Online, there is expected to be an increase in the number of mental health counselors in Pennsylvania by 19% by 2030. 

To meet the growing need for counselors in the state, many masters of counseling programs are needed to meet the need for licensure requirements. Luckily, Pennsylvania is well known for its options for higher education and has been since 1740 when Benjamin Franklin helped found the University of Pennsylvania.

Master of Counseling Programs in Pennsylvania

To become licensed as a mental health counselor in Pennsylvania, one must graduate from a graduate program in the field. Those programs must contain at least 60 semester hours of 90 quarter credits for licensure in the state. While it is required that the program must be completed at a regionally accredited university, it is not required that the program be accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).

Online Master of Counseling Programs in Pennsylvania

There are many benefits to attending an online master of counseling program. Some benefits include the flexibility of courses, continued access to course materials, and the ability to take courses at your own pace. Six programs in Pennsylvania are offered online.

  • Program: Master of Arts in Counseling
  • Accreditation: CACREP
  • 60 Credit Hours
  • Online and In-person program located in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania 
  • Tuition: $699 per credit hour
  • Program: Master of Arts in Counseling
  • Accreditation: CACREP
  • 60 Credit Hours (2-4 year program)
  • Online Program
  • $755 per credit hour or $45,300 for the entire program
  • Program: Master of Arts in Clinical Counseling
  • Accreditation: N/A
  • 60 Credit Hours (2-4 year program, 2 years accelerated program)
  • Online and in-person programs located in St. Davids, Pennsylvania
  • Tuition: $801 per credit hour
  • Program: Master of Science in Counseling
  • Accreditation: N/A
  • 60 Credit Hours
  • Online and in-person programs located in Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania 
  • Tuition: $620 per credit hour

CACREP-Accredited Master of Counseling Programs in Pennsylvania

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. 22 programs in Pennsylvania are CACREP-accredited. Three programs are in the Online Programs category at the Commonwealth University of Pennsylvania at Lock Haven, Geneva College, and Messiah University.

  • Program: Master of Arts in Clinical Counseling
  • Accreditation: CACREP
  • 60 Credit Hours (3-4 year program)
  • In-person program located in Reading, Pennsylvania
  • Tuition: $900 per credit hour
  • Program: Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling
  • Accreditation: CACREP
  • 60 Credit Hours
  • In-person program located in Indiana, Pennsylvania
  • Tuition: $516 per credit hour for Pennsylvania residents
  • Tuition: $774 per credit hour for non-residents of Pennsylvania
  • Program: Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling
  • Accreditation: CACREP 
  • 60 Credit Hours
  • In-person program in Kutztown, Pennsylvania
  • Tuition: $621.40 per credit hour for Pennsylvania residents
  • Tuition: $930.10 per credit hour for non-residents of Pennsylvania
  • Program: Master of Education in Clinical Mental Health Counseling
  • Accreditation: CACREP
  • 60 Credit Hours
  • In-person program located in University Park, Pennsylvania 
  • Tuition: $24,956 per academic year (based on 18 credit hours per year) or $1,386 per credit hour for Pennsylvania residents
  • Tuition: $43,266 per academic year (based on 18 credit hours per year) or $2,403 per credit hour
  • Program: Master of Arts in Counseling
  • Accreditation: CACREP
  • 60 Credit Hours
  • In-person program located in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania 
  • Tuition: $710 per credit hour
  • Program: Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling
  • Accreditation: CACREP
  • 60 Credit Hours
  • In-person program located in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania 
  • Tuition: $685 per credit hour for Pennsylvania residents
  • Tuition: $955 per credit hour for non-residents of Pennsylvania
  • Program: Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling
  • Accreditation: CACREP
  • 60 Credit Hours
  • In-person program located in Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania 
  • Tuition: $689.61 per credit hour for Pennsylvania residents
  • Tuition: $998.31 per credit hour for non-residents of Pennsylvania
  • Program: Master of Science in Counseling
  • Accreditation: CACREP
  • 60 Credit Hours
  • In-person program located in Villanova, Pennsylvania
  • Tuition: $890 per credit hour
  • Program: Master of Arts in Counseling
  • Accreditation: CACREP
  • 60 Credit Hours
  • In-person program located in Waynesburg, Pennsylvania
  • Tuition: $715 per credit hour

Pennsylvania Online, No GRE & CAREP Accredited Counseling Masters Programs

SpecialtyUniversity NameDegreeCityStateAccreditationModalityGRE Required?Program Length
Clinical Mental Health CounselingAlvernia UniversityM.A.ReadingPACACREP
Clinical Mental Health CounselingCalifornia University of PennsylvaniaM.S.CaliforniaPACACREPCampusNo GRE Required2 Years
School CounselingCalifornia University of PennsylvaniaM.Ed.CaliforniaPACACREPOnlineNo GRE Required2 Years
Addiction CounselingCarlow UniversityM.S.PittsburghPACACREP
Clinical Mental Health CounselingCarlow UniversityM.S.PittsburghPACACREP
Clinical Mental Health CounselingCommonwealth University of Pennsylvania, Lock Haven CampusM.S.Lock HavenPACACREPOnlineNo GRE Required4 Years
School CounselingDuquesne UniversityM.S.Ed.PittsburghPACACREPCampusNo GRE Required2 Years
Marriage, Couple and Family CounselingDuquesne UniversityM.S.Ed.PittsburghPACACREPCampusNo GRE Required2 Years
Clinical Mental Health CounselingDuquesne UniversityM.S.Ed.PittsburghPACACREPCampusNo GRE Required2 Years
School CounselingEdinboro University of PennsylvaniaM.A.EdinboroPACACREP
Clinical Mental Health Counseling and Clinical Rehabilitation CounselingEdinboro University of PennsylvaniaM.A.EdinboroPACACREP
Clinical Mental Health CounselingEdinboro University of PennsylvaniaM.A.EdinboroPACACREP
Clinical Mental Health CounselingGannon UniversityM.S.EriePACACREPCampusNo GRE Required2 Years, 9 months
Marriage, Couple and Family CounselingGeneva CollegeM.A.Beaver FallsPACACREP
School CounselingGeneva CollegeM.A.Beaver FallsPACACREP
Clinical Mental Health CounselingGeneva CollegeM.A.Beaver FallsPACACREP
Clinical Mental Health CounselingImmaculata UniversityM.A.ImmaculataPACACREP
School CounselingIndiana University of PennsylvaniaM.Ed.IndianaPACACREPCampusNo GRE Required2 Years
Clinical Mental Health CounselingIndiana University of PennsylvaniaM.A.IndianaPACACREPCampusNo GRE Required2 Years
Clinical Mental Health CounselingKutztown UniversityM.A.KutztownPACACREPCampusNo GRE Required2 Years
School CounselingKutztown UniversityM.S.KutztownPACACREPCampusNo GRE Required2 Years
Marriage, Couple and Family CounselingKutztown UniversityM.A.KutztownPACACREPCampusNo GRE Required2 Years
Clinical Mental Health CounselingLa Salle UniversityM.A.PhiladelphiaPACACREPCampusNo GRE Required3 Years
School CounselingMarywood UniversityM.S.ScrantonPACACREPCampusNo GRE Required2 Years
Clinical Mental Health CounselingMarywood UniversityM.A.ScrantonPACACREPCampusNo GRE Required2 Years
Clinical Mental Health CounselingMessiah University (previously Messiah College)M.A.MechanicsburgPACACREPOnlineNo GRE Required2 Years
Marriage, Couple and Family CounselingMessiah University (previously Messiah College)M.A.MechanicsburgPACACREPOnlineNo GRE Required2 Years
School CounselingMessiah University (previously Messiah College)M.A.MechanicsburgPACACREPOnlineNo GRE Required2 Years
Clinical Mental Health CounselingNeumann UniversityM.S.AstonPACACREP
Clinical Mental Health Counseling and Clinical Rehabilitation CounselingPennsylvania State UniversityM.Ed.University ParkPACACREP
Rehabilitation CounselingPennsylvania State UniversityM.Ed.University ParkPACACREPCampusNo GRE Required2 Years
Clinical Mental Health CounselingRosemont CollegeM.A.RosemontPACACREPCampusNo GRE Required2½ Years
School CounselingRosemont CollegeM.A.RosemontPACACREPCampusNo GRE Required2½ Years
Clinical Mental Health CounselingSlippery Rock UniversityM.A.Slippery RockPACACREPCampusNo GRE Required3 Years
Clinical Mental Health CounselingThomas Jefferson UniversityM.S.PhiladelphiaPACACREP
Clinical Mental Health Counseling and Clinical Rehabilitation CounselingUniversity of PittsburghM.S.PittsburghPACACREP
Clinical Mental Health CounselingUniversity of ScrantonM.S.ScrantonPACACREPCampusGRE Required2 Years
Rehabilitation CounselingUniversity of ScrantonM.S.ScrantonPACACREPCampusGRE Required2 Years
School CounselingUniversity of ScrantonM.S.ScrantonPACACREPCampusGRE Required2 Years
School CounselingVillanova UniversityM.S.VillanovaPACACREPCampusNo GRE Required3 Years
Clinical Mental Health CounselingVillanova UniversityM.S.VillanovaPACACREPCampusNo GRE Required2 Years
Addiction CounselingWaynesburg UniversityM.A.WaynesburgPACACREP
Clinical Mental Health CounselingWaynesburg UniversityM.A.WaynesburgPACACREP
School CounselingWest Chester UniversityM.Ed.West ChesterPACACREPCampusNo GRE Required1 Years
Clinical Mental Health CounselingWest Chester UniversityM.S.West ChesterPACACREPCampusNo GRE Required2 Years
Counseling PsychologyDelaware Valley UniversityM.A.DoylestownPACACREPCampusNo GRE Required3 Years
Professional CounselingUniversity of Pennsylvania Graduate School of EducationM.Phil.EdPhiladelphiaPACACREPOnline & CampusNo GRE Required2 Years
Counselor EducationPennsylvania State UniversityM.EdUniversity ParkPACACREPCampusNo GRE Required
Clinical Mental Health CounselingClarion UniversityM.SClarionPACACREPOnlineNo GRE Required60 credit hours.
Master's in Counseling with Concentrations in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, School Counseling, and Art Therapy.PennWest UniversityM.SCaliforniaPACACREPOnlineGRE Required60 graduate credits.
Clinical Mental Health Counseling in Schools and Communities EmphasisThe Pennsylvania State UniversityM.Ed. PACACREPCampusNo GRE Required2 Years
Clinical Mental Health CounselingWest Chester UniversityM.SWest ChesterPA CACREPCampusNo GRE Required2½ years
Mental Health CounselingPhiladelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine M.H.CPhiladelphiaPA CACREPCampusNo GRE Required2 Years
Clinical Counseling Eastern UniversityM.ASt. DavidsPA CACREPOnlineNo GRE Required3 Years
Mental Health CounselingTemple UniversityM.EdPhiladelphiaPA CACREP
Clinical Mental Health CounselingThiel CollegeM.A.GreenvillePA CACREPCampusNo GRE Required2 Years
Counseling (with two concentrations: School Counseling and Clinical Mental Health Counseling)Gwynedd Mercy UniversityM.S. Gwynedd ValleyPA CACREPOnline & Campus3½ years
CounselingShippensburg UniversityM.EdShippensburgPA CACREP60 credit hours
School CounselingMillersville UniversityM.Ed.MillersvillePA CACREPNo GRE Required51-credit
Counseling PsychologyChatham UniversityM.S.PittsburghPA CACREP
Mental Health CounselingLehigh UniversityM.Ed.BethlehemPA CACREPCampusNo GRE Required2 Years

No GRE Required Master of Counseling Programs in Pennsylvania

The Graduate Records Examination (GRE) is a standardized test used to determine the aptitude of potential college admittance. However, many people get anxious about standardized tests or do not want their college admission based on test scores. 25 programs in Pennsylvania do not require the GRE. Five programs under the Online Programs category do not require the GRE and 18 programs under the CACREP-Accreditation Programs category do not require the GRE.

The five programs under the Online Programs category that do not require the GRE are at Commonwealth University of Pennsylvania at Lock Haven, Geneva College, Messiah University, Eastern University, and Clarks Summit University.

The 18 programs under the CACREP-Accredited Programs category that do not require the GRE are at Alvernia University, Carlow University, Duquesne University, Gannon University, Immaculata College, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Kutztown University, LaSalle University, Marywood University, Neumann University, Pennsylvania State University – University Park, Rosemont College, Shippensburg University, Slippery Rock University, Thomas Jefferson University, The University of Scranton, Waynesburg University, and West Chester University.

  • Program: Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling
  • Accreditation: N/A
  • 60 Credit Hours (2-year program)
  • In-person program located in California, Pennsylvania
  • Tuition: $516 per credit hour for Pennsylvania residents
  • Tuition: $774 per credit hour for non-residents of Pennsylvania
  • Program: Master of Education in Counseling
  • Accreditation: N/A
  • 60 Credit Hours (2-year program)
  • In-person program located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
  • Tuition: $610 per credit hour

Most Affordable Master of Counseling Program in Pennsylvania

Choosing an affordable Master in Counseling program is sometimes just as important as finding one that is academically sound. Under the Online Programs category, the most affordable program is at Clarks Summit University for a price of $620 per credit hour. 

The most affordable program located under the CACREP-Accredited Programs category is located at West Chester University for a price of $153.98 per credit hour. 

The most affordable program located under the No GRE Required Programs category is located at PennWest California for a price of $516 per credit hour. 

Therefore, the most affordable master of counseling program in Pennsylvania is located at West Chester University.

Accelerated Master of Counseling Programs in Pennsylvania

Due to the nature of licensure requirements in Pennsylvania, there are not many programs in the state that are labeled as “Accelerated.” However, the program at Eastern University is advertised as Accelerated. This program is online and only takes two years to complete. There are a few other programs on the lists above that are not advertised as accelerated but only take two years to complete. Those programs are at Messiah University, Duquesne University, PennWest California, and Lehigh University.

Required Courses for Licensure in Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania Department of State lists a few course requirements to obtain licensure in the state. Courses in the following areas of study are required:  

  • Human Growth and Development
  • Social and Cultural Foundations
  • Helping Relationships
  • Group Work
  • Career and Lifestyle Development
  • Appraisal
  • Research and Program Evaluation
  • Professional Orientation
  • Clinical Instruction

Counseling Licensure Requirements in Pennsylvania

There is only one stage of mental health counseling license in Pennsylvania. This stage is known as the Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) license. The Pennsylvania Department of State lists a few requirements to obtain licensure as an LPC. Those requirements are listed as: 

  • Obtaining a Master’s or Doctoral Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling
  • Three Hours of Continuing Education in Child Abuse Recognition and Reporting for Initial Licensure 
  • Passage of the National Counselor Examination (NCE) 
  • 3,000 hours of experience as a counselor under supervision for those with a master’s degree or 2,400 hours of experience as a counselor under supervision for those with a doctoral degree. A qualified LPC must give supervision 
  • An initial $100 licensing fee

Before obtaining LPC status, a counselor works unlicensed for two or more years (3,000 hours) under the supervision of an LPC. Once a clinician obtains LPC status, they can practice independently without supervision. To maintain the LPC license, a clinician must complete 30 hours of continuing education each renewal period of two years (three hours in ethics, two hours in Child Abuse Reporter Training, and one hour in suicide prevention).

Pennsylvania Counseling FAQs (Obtained via the Pennsylvania Department of State)

How long is the renewal period for LPCs? 

Each renewal period is two years.

How many continuing education credits are required to renew a counseling license? 

To maintain the LPC license, a clinician must complete 30 hours of continuing education each renewal period of two years (three hours in ethics, two hours in Child Abuse Reporter Training, and one hour in suicide prevention). 

Can I practice without supervision before obtaining an LPC?

No. If you do not have an LPC, you must be supervised by a qualified supervising LPC.

How Much Does a Mental Health Counselor Make in Pennsylvania

According to O*Net Online, the average salary for a mental health counselor in Pennsylvania is $46,630 per year. This is less than the national average of $49,710.

How to Become a School Counselor in Pennsylvania

According to the Pennsylvania School Counselors Association, to become a school counselor in Pennsylvania one must have a master’s degree in school counseling, complete a practicum with 360 hours of direct client experience, an internship with 420 hours of direct client experience, and passage of the Professional School Counseling Praxis.

How Much Does a School Counselor Make in Pennsylvania

According to O*Net Online, the average salary for a school counselor in Pennsylvania is $61,760. This is slightly higher than the national average of $60,140.

How to Become a Substance Abuse Counselor in Pennsylvania

According to the Pennsylvania Certification Board, there is one level of substance abuse counselor in the state. This is the Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC) license. To obtain this license, one must have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. Experience requirements include two years of full-time experience or 4,000 hours of part-time experience with a relevant degree or three years of full-time experience or 6,000 hours of part-time experience without a relevant degree. 200 hours of on-the-job supervision are required along with 300 hours of relevant education of which 100 hours must be directly related to substance abuse. Finally, one must pass the IC&RC Examination for Alcohol and Drug Counselors (ADC Examination).

How Much Does a Substance Abuse Counselor Make in Pennsylvania

According to O*Net Online, the average salary for a substance abuse counselor in Pennsylvania is $46,630. This is less than the national average of $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 positions with this degree include human resources, governmental social services, education, and non-profit leadership.