Best Counseling Schools in California
As the need for mental health professionals rise, counseling degrees and programs remain a popular pathway for Californians looking for rewarding and stable careers. From undergraduate to graduate and beyond, California is an excellent place to find an outstanding counseling degree program. Read on to find out more about the educational options available for those interested in a counseling career.
How to Find a Counseling Program in California
Several California colleges and universities offer counseling programs. There are many things that go into finding a good counseling program. The following are some things to look for when you consider counseling programs in California.
Counseling Degree Pathways in California
California counseling programs offer a variety of pathways for students who want to practice in the state. Common options include associate’s degree, bachelor’s degree, and master’s degree in counseling areas. Students can also earn a doctorate.
The Modesto College Chemical Dependency Counseling program is an accredited program. Students gain the skills and values to work in a chemical dependency treatment setting and to start the certification process. Students earn an Associate in Arts in Chemical Dependency Counseling.
Sacramento State University offers a Counselor Education Program. There are several options for students to choose from, including the MS in Counseling (Career Counseling) option, or the MS in Counseling (Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling) option. Students complete 60 total units of study. They complete a 100-hour clinical practicum and 600 hours of field experience.
California State University Los Angeles (Cal State LA) offers a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Clinical Counseling. Golden Gate University offers a Graduate Certificate in Counseling Skills. Students complete their coursework on campus, online, or in a hybrid format.
Saybrook University students enrolled in the Online Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision develop their professional identity as counselors. They gain advanced knowledge and skills in clinical supervision, teaching, research, advocacy, and leadership.
Choose a Counseling Specialty
Students should make sure that the school that they plan to attend offers the option that they want to pursue as a profession. Choosing a different school is sometimes required to complete the desired program.
Substance abuse counselors work at inpatient and outpatient substance abuse treatment facilities, community agencies, correctional settings, hospitals, and in other settings.
California State University Los Angeles (Cal State LA) offers options for students wishing to complete a Master of Science in Counseling. Choose the School-Based Family Counseling option, which includes the “Advanced Authorization credential in School Counseling and the Pupil Personnel Services and Child Welfare and Attendance: School Psychology."
The university also has an option in Rehabilitation Counseling, an option in Applied Behavioral Analysis, and an option in School Psychology.
Completing an accredited program helps to ensure that students obtain a career position in their preferred specialty. The consequences of choosing an unaccredited program can include being ineligible for licensure, being rejected from job applications, and being denied entrance to professional organizations. Students are encouraged to select counseling degree programs accredited by CACREP and/or the American Psychological Association (APA).
Online vs. Traditional Counseling Programs in California
Online counseling programs offer students the opportunity to complete degree requirements without attending classes on campus. Students have the responsibility to complete all course requirements, including if the program requires some in-person attendance.
One example is the online Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) program at Pepperdine University.
Becoming Licensed as a Counselor in California
The Board of Behavioral Sciences is a California state regulatory agency. It is responsible for the licensure, examination, and enforcement of professional standards for Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists, and Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors.
The California Department of Health Care Services recognizes three organizations to “register and certify alcohol and other drug counselors.” The agencies include the California Association for Alcohol and Drug Educators, the California Association of DUI Treatment Programs, and the California Consortium of Addiction Programs and Professionals.
List of Counseling Degree Programs in California
Are you searching for a counseling degree program in California? Browse our comprehensive list of schools offering counseling programs, both online and on-campus, and follow the links to learn more about what each program has to offer.
Azusa Pacific University
Azusa, CA 91702-7000
California State University-Chico
Chico, CA 95929-0150
El Cajon, CA
Southern California Seminary
El Cajon, CA 92019-1108
California State University-Fresno
- Master of Science in Marriage, Family, and Child Counseling Campus
- Master of Science Clinical Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling - Clinical Mental Health Counseling Option Campus
- Master of Science Clinical Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling - Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling Option Campus
- Master in School Counseling Campus
- Master of Science in Counseling-Student Affairs & College Counseling Option Campus
Fresno, CA 93740
Fresno Pacific University
Fresno, CA 93702-4709
California State University-Fullerton
Fullerton, CA 92831-3599
Glendale Community College
- Addiction Studies Counseling Campus
Glendale, CA 91208-2894
Imperial Valley College
Imperial, CA 92251-0158
Irvine, CA 92612-3203
La Verne, CA
University of La Verne
La Verne, CA 91750-4401
Loma Linda, CA
Loma Linda University
- Marital and Family Therapy MS Online
- Counseling MS Campus
- Child Life Specialist (MS) Campus
- Counseling (MS) with Marital and Family Therapy (MS) with Drug and Alcohol Counseling Online
- Drug and Alcohol Counseling Campus
- School Counseling Online
- Play Therapy Online
Loma Linda, CA 92350
Long Beach, CA
California State University-Long Beach
Long Beach, CA 90840-0115
Los Angeles, CA
California State University-Los Angeles
Los Angeles, CA 90032-8506
Los Angeles City College
Los Angeles, CA 90029
Los Angeles Southwest College
Los Angeles, CA 90047-4899
University of California-Los Angeles
- MS in Genetic Counseling Campus
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1405
Monterey Park, CA
East Los Angeles College
- Addiction Counselor Campus
Monterey Park, CA 91754-6099
California State University-Northridge
Northridge, CA 91330
Holy Names University
Oakland, CA 94619-1699
Orange, CA 92866
Palm Desert, CA
College of the Desert
- Alcohol and Drug Studies AS Campus
Palm Desert, CA 92260
Fuller Theological Seminary
Pasadena, CA 91182
Cerro Coso Community College
- Addiction Counseling Studies Online
Ridgecrest, CA 93555-9571
La Sierra University
- M.A. in Counseling (General) Campus
Riverside, CA 92505-8247
California State University-Sacramento
Sacramento, CA 95819-2694
San Diego, CA
Alliant International University-San Diego
San Diego, CA 92131
San Francisco, CA
City College of San Francisco
San Francisco, CA 94112-1898
Golden Gate University
San Francisco, CA 94105-2968
San Rafael, CA
Dominican University of California
San Rafael, CA 94901-2298
South Lake Tahoe, CA
Lake Tahoe Community College
South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150
Thousand Oaks, CA
California Lutheran University
Thousand Oaks, CA 91360-2787
California State University-Stanislaus
Turlock, CA 95382-0299
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