Seattle Counseling Psychology Masters Programs

What is a Counseling Psychology Masters Degree?

Counseling psychology programs a top specialty within the field of psychology. Programs focus on topics ranging from family and relationships to addiction issues. A Masters in Counseling Psychology aims to teach students to assess and treat patients in various settings. 

This includes helping patients manage problems at home, work, or in their community. Some programs may also prepare graduates to seek state licensure or professional certification.

Counseling Psychology Graduate Programs

Counseling Psychology Masters vs. Counseling Programs

A Masters in Counseling Psychology and Masters in Counseling share a few key similarities. Both focus on mental health counseling practice to help patients overcome problems. Pursuing a career in both professions may also require licensure, though this varies by state. However, there are some important differences between each type of program.

Counseling Psychology Masters Programs focus on “emotional, social, vocational, educational, health-related, developmental, and organizational concerns of individuals.  These programs abide by standards and guidelines of the American Psychological Association (APA). They may include courses in statistics and research methods such as observation, assessment, psychoanalysis, or psychotherapy. Through conducting experiments they look for patterns of behavior or beliefs that influence the way their patients think, emote and act.

To work as a counseling psychologist, you must meet the following requirements.

  • Hold a Psy.D. or Ph.D. in Psychology
  • Fulfill internship requirements
  • Minimum of 1 to 2 years of supervised professional experience
  • Pass the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology


25% of counseling psychologists have a doctoral degree, 40% have post-doctoral training and 27% have a master’s degree.iii

Counseling Masters Programs could be used as an umbrella term, referring to programs focused on several different types of mental health practice. Examples include Art Therapy, Clinical Social Work, Substance Abuse Counseling, Mental Health, and Marriage and Family Therapy. While still both regulated and human-centric, these programs may not require the same clinical research base that psychology does.

In the field, professionals may be required to hold credentials as Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors (LPCC). This may involve fulfilling the following prerequisites.

  • Earn a masters degree either in psychology, clinical mental health counseling, marriage and family therapy, or a related mental health field
  • Go through post degree supervised work (2,000 to 4,000 hours of post degree supervised internship)
  • Pass a state-recognized exam and complete annual continuing education classes

However, the above examples may vary between states. If you do not wish to practice as a licensed psychologist but you are interested in understanding human thought and behavior, this might be a good option for you.


57% of Substance Abuse Counselors have a master’s degree, 15% have a bachelor’s degree and 15% have a post-master’s certificate. 

Popular Counseling Psychology Graduate Programs

Some Counseling Psychology Programs may enable students to focus their study on specific types of therapy. For example, you might choose to study a specific technique, or focus on the needs of a targeted population.


Degree Awarded

Master of Arts in Forensic Mental Health Counseling


Doctor of Philosophy in Marriage and Family Therapy


Master of Science in Counseling Psychology


Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

M.S./ C.M.H.C.

Master of Science in Professional Counseling


Master of Science in Addiction Counseling


Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling


Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology - Addictions


Master of Science in Rehabilitation Science


Master of Arts in Expressive Art Therapy


Doctor of Philosophy in Art Therapy


Master of Arts in Counseling & Guidance


Master of Science in Art Therapy Counseling


Master of Science in Marital & Family Therapy


Programs may also center on the skills and knowledge required for work in a certain setting. Some types of counseling psychology degree programs you might consider are listed below.

Art Therapy – This person-centered approach focuses on analyzing patients’ expression through their artwork. A masters degree may be necessary to pursue entry-level positions

Career Counseling – This concentration focuses on helping clients search for suitable employment, and guiding them through the application and interview process. In the field, it is typically practiced by licensed professions with a masters degree in counseling.

Counseling & Therapy – This category also includes human-centered fields such as Social Work and Mental Health Counseling

Marriage & Family Counseling – Also known as Marriage and Family Therapy, a concentration in MFT or a masters in MFT focuses on helping people manage and overcome problems within a family or other relationship. Like other concentrations, pursuing entry level employment may require a masters degree.

Rehabilitation Counseling – This area of focus centers on helping people with physical, mental, developmental, or emotional disabilities function autonomously. This type of counseling also typically requires a masters degree for entry-level positions

Substance Abuse Counseling – This concentration focuses on the psychology of alcoholism, drug dependency, eating disorders, or other similar behavioral problems, and how to use that knowledge to help patients heal. Some roles may require a masters degree.

Masters in Counseling Psychology Programs

Masters in Counseling Psychology Programs may award an MA or MS degree upon completion. While both degree types are similar, each one has a slightly different aim. Master of Science programs are often designed for those hoping to work directly with patients as psychologists. They may also act as a bridge to a doctorate program. MA counseling psychology programs tend to be broader in scope, and may be a great fit for those interested in pursuing a counseling license.

Masters degrees in counseling psychology typically require between 48 and 60 credits of coursework and field practice. Courses may cover topics like mental health and behavioral differences, as well as electives in a specialty area like addiction, marriage and family therapy or clinical mental health counseling. Programs may culminate in a practicum, internship or research for a thesis. The final requirements vary by program and your selected track (thesis or non-thesis). Many full time students earn their masters degree in counseling psychology in about 2 years.

Masters Counseling Psychology Application Requirements

Applicants to counseling psychology masters programs may be required to have the following.

  • Bachelors degree in Psychology
  • GRE scores
  • References
  • A resume
  • A statement of purpose essay
  • Proof of behavioral science undergraduate coursework

The prerequisites for each program may vary, so be sure to contact schools directly for more information.

A few example counseling psychology masters programs include: Master of Science in Counseling w/LPCC and PPS Options, MA in Psychology and Counseling, Master of Social Work, MFT Art Therapy and Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health.

Choose a Doctoral Program in Counseling Psychology

PhD Counseling Psychology Programs and PsyD programs may be the two most common types of counseling psychology doctorates offered. Applicants may be required to possess a masters degree in counseling psychology or related field. Additional requirements may include a statement of purpose, GRE scores, scholarly writing sample and a resume.

While PsyD and PhD programs may have a great deal in common--including the fact that they're both terminal degrees--typically, each type is designed to support different goals.

  • Programs offering a PhD in counseling psychology are typically academic and research focused. They may be attractive to graduate students interested in non-clinical roles. As a result, these programs are likely to require students to complete independent research and a dissertation to graduate.
  • PsyD counseling psychology programs focus on clinical practice, and may be designed to support students pursuing licensure as a psychologist. Often practical in nature, these clinical programs may require field work rather than a dissertation.

Due to variations in requirements, a PhD or PsyD counseling psychology program could take anywhere from 4-7 years to complete.

A few doctorate counseling psychology program options include: Doctor of Philosophy in Marriage and Family Therapy-Child and Adolescent Therapy, PsyD Marital and Family Therapy, Doctor of Psychology - Mental Health Administration and PhD Counseling Psychology.

Graduate Certificates in Counseling Psychology

Counseling Psychology Certificate Programs are shorter programs with more concentrated coursework, often focusing on a specific therapy method or topic of interest. Some certificate programs may be designed for students seeking counseling licensure, while others may be ideal for experienced counseling psychologists interested in expanding their practice. Certificate programs may be offered at the masters or post-masters level. Prerequisites to apply may vary.

Explore options such as Post-Master’s Professional Counselor Licensing Credits, Professional Counseling: Advanced Official Certificate and Graduate Certificate in School Psychology.

Professional Insight into Counseling Psychology Graduate Programs 

"Graduating from a counseling program in 2015 was the most beneficial experience I have had professionally and personally. It was not only about the challenges of balancing a full-time job and graduate school, that's to be expected; the experience helped me to explore parts of myself that needed to heal and helped me to acknowledge how much strength I possess when I am determined to accomplish a goal. Graduate school will help a person to propel in their career and enrich the relationships in their life."

- Jameela Jackson, Marriage & Family Therapist,  LAC,  LAMFT

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Accreditation and Licensing for Counseling Psychology Programs

Both counseling psychology and social work are regulated professions. However, as this is typically determined at the state level, the specifics could vary depending where you are. To qualify for licensure, candidates typically need to prove they have graduated from a program accredited by relevant state and regional agencies. Program-specific accreditation may vary by concentration. Resources include the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Top Counseling Psychology Masters Programs in Seattle

Northcentral University


Northcentral University can provide the crucial education piece of your counseling psychology career puzzle by delivering educational opportunities that help you acquire the knowledge, skills, practical application and values integral to this field.

University of Southern California


Admission to the advanced standing program allows students to complete their MSW degree in less time than the traditional MSW program by waiving the first-year foundation course requirements.

Antioch University


Learn from current practitioners who will prepare you to impact people’s lives and provide treatment that makes a difference. Choose to focus on Substance Abuse Counseling or Counseling Military Service Personnel and their families.

Walden University


Walden's online counseling and psychology degree programs can prepare you to pursue a fulfilling career in a variety of settings, including healthcare, community agencies, education, social services, and private practice.

Purdue University


Apply contemporary theories and information technologies to real-world situations, and engage in research in the focal areas of the science of psychology.

Grand Canyon University


Grand Canyon University is a student-focused institution that provides academically challenging education in a Christian community for students from diverse backgrounds who live in a constantly changing environment.

Lasell College


Lasell’s Master of Science in Rehabilitation Science program is designed for educators and registered, certified and/or licensed health and rehabilitation professionals interested in expanded roles in professional practice, administration, researc...

Liberty University Online


Graduates of the program leave prepared to emerge as counselor education leaders in hospitals, government agencies, higher education, nonprofit organizations, rehabilitation centers, and more.

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology


The Chicago School's Counseling Psychology programs equip graduates with the skills necessary to assist clients in identifying emotional issues and behavioral patterns that may obstruct meaningful relationships in their families, communities, at work, or at school.

Wake Forest University


100% Online. Flexible Online Schedule. Learn to work intimately with individuals who struggle with life and mental health issues — ranging from drug and substance abuse to family and marriage issues.

Edinboro University of Pennsylvania


The Masters in Counseling - Art Therapy is a 60 credit graduate degree that is dedicated to achieving excellence in counseling, art therapy education, research, clinical and community service while fostering the highest ethical standards.

Divine Mercy University


Earn an online counseling degree program that embraces the Catholic-Christian vision and educates in the core dispositions established by industry standards.

In Demand Counseling Psychology Programs

School NameProgram NameLocation
Ana Maria CollegeMaster of Arts in Counseling PsychologyPaxton, MA
California State University, Cal PolyArt Therapy and Creativity Development, M.P.S.San Luis Obisbo, CA
Canisius CollegeM.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling or School CounselingBuffalo, NY
Clarion University of PennsylvaniaRehabilitative SciencesOnline
Emporia State UniversityArt Therapy CounselingEmporia, Ks
Loma Linda UniversityMarital and Family TherapyLoma Linda, CA
Notre Dame de Namur UniversityArt TherapyBelmont, CA
Pratt InstituteArt Therapy and Creativity Development, M.P.S.Brooklyn, NY
Regis CollegeMaster of Arts in Counseling PsychologyWeston, MA
William James CollegeClinical MH Counseling, MANewton, MA
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