Houston Counseling Psychology Graduate Degrees | Psychology Graduate Schools

As a human-centered specialty within the field of psychology, students may find more options for Counseling Psychology Graduate Degrees on-campus programs on campus than in other formats. Choosing a graduate school for counseling psychology means learning in a real classroom, being able to participate and interact with fellow classmates and professors. Counseling psychologists may diagnose and treat mental disorders; learning disabilities; and behavioral, cognitive and emotional problems in a variety of settings including college and university counseling centers, hospitals, independent practices, healthcare settings and organizational counseling groups. If you are someone who thrives in a social learning atmosphere, looking into accredited counseling psychology graduate schools is worth considering.

Counseling Psychology Graduate Degrees: Basics

Counseling Psychology Graduate Degrees are offered as graduate certificates, masters and doctorate degrees in both PsyD programs and PhD in Counseling Psychology. Counseling Psychology is considered a specialty field within psychology but there are also other disciplines that relate to it depending on whether you aspire to practice as a licensed psychologist, counselor or therapist. For instance, some of the programs you can select from include:

  • Art Therapy
  • Career Counseling
  • Counseling Therapy
  • Marriage and Family Counseling
  • Rehabilitation Counseling
  • Substance Abuse Counseling

FACT The field of counseling psychology is characterized by long roots in vocational psychology, prevention, primary interventions, advocacy, and an emphasis on individual differences [i].

Why Choose an Accredited Graduate School for Counseling Psychology?

Keep in mind that the American Psychological Association only accredits doctoral programs in clinical, counseling and school psychology; internships, postdoctoral residency programs and combination programs[ii]. Accreditation is important since Psychology is a heavily regulated field; most states require those practicing psychology or using the title ‘psychologist’ to be licensed which means taking the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology.[iii] According to the APA, “If you wish to pursue licensure, it is important to know that some states require that students have a degree from an APA-accredited program”[iv] 

Potential Perks to Earning Your Counseling Psychology Degree On-campus

While it is a personal choice whether to earn your Counseling Psychology Graduate Degree On-campus as opposed to online, there are a few potential benefits to in-person learning. Here are a few points to consider:

Presence: For sure some learning is textbook-oriented but what about the education one receives via demonstration or from the dialogue and participation between students and their professors? This invaluable social component may help, especially in person-centered fields where students are in grad school to fine tune their communication and interpersonal skills as much as study theory. In fact, even online programs are likely to have campus requirements for these reasons.

Convenience: You might actually find that some graduate schools for counseling psychology cater to busy working professionals by offering classes during the evenings or on weekends.

Access: Being on campus you gain access to all the onsite facilities such as libraries, laboratories, student services and whatever cafeteria you might need to get your java as you burn the midnight oil studying hard.

Participation: There may be activities, lectures or faculty related meetings that you can participate in to give you the chance to network.

Which Counseling Psychology Graduate On-Campus Program is Right for you?

While there is some overlap between counseling, therapy and counseling psychology, each of these 3 different paths has different educational requirements. For instance, some of the program listings you might find could include: Psy.D. Marital and Family Therapy, Master of Arts in Counseling: Specialization in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Art Therapy Counseling, or Masters in Counseling Psychology.

You need to ask yourself whether you are looking for a Counseling Psychology Graduate Degree that prepares you to seek entry-level employment upon graduation or whether you aspire to research, teach or ultimately use the title “Counseling Psychologist” on your business card. Ultimately, graduate school is the time to leverage your strengths as well as research a topic that you are passionate about. There 3 main directions you might take for your Counseling Psychology Graduate Degree could be considered as:

Counselor (e.g. Rehabilitation counselor or mental health counselor)

Therapist (e.g. Marriage and Family Therapist)

Counseling Psychologist

FACT: Sample titles for counseling psychologists include Applied Behavior Science Specialists (ABSS), Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and Psychotherapist.[v]

The Counselor

Essentially, as in the case with Mental Health Counselors, the typical entry level education required is a Master’s Degree and a license to practice. Licensure is going to mean about 2,000 to 4,000 hours of post-degree supervised clinical practice experience, and then to pass a state exam. The master’s degree is typically in psychology, clinical mental health counseling, marriage and family therapy, or a related mental health field.[vi]

The MFT

Therapist roles, such as the Marriage and Family Therapist have the same education requirements as Licensed Counselors. Those who aspire to research or work in higher education would need a doctoral degree, but a masters in Marriage and Family Therapy degree is considered entry-level work credentials (plus licensing etc.). The masters programs are usually 2-years.

The Counseling Psychologist

Counseling psychologists need a doctoral degree – either the PsyD or the PhD. A counseling psychologist generally spends at least four years earning the degree. The PhD is the more traditional degree; it places more emphasis on research and takes a little longer to complete. The PsyD degree is practice-oriented, but includes far more training in assessments than an LMFT program. In terms of academic requirements, they are generally higher for psychology.

Find Your Graduate School for Counseling Psychology

Once you have chosen what you want to study (program, degree level), you can initiate a search on GradSchools.com. Find Psychology schools and campus-based Counseling Psychology Graduate Degrees and Programs by location. Simply use the city, state or country tabs to browse listings and choose one that aligns with your goals. Often there is a live link so you can visit the schools’ websites, and the convenient ‘request info’ tab allows you to get the details that will help you take that next step and pin down the right graduate school for your graduate degree!


[i] apa.org/ed/graduate/specialize/counseling.aspx |[ii] apa.org/search.aspx?query=counseling%20psychology |[iii] bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/psychologists.htm#tab-4 |[iv] apa.org/ed/accreditation/about/program-choice.aspx |[v] onetonline.org/link/summary/19-3031.03 |[vi] bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/mental-health-counselors-and-marriage-and-family-therapists.htm 

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