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Education Requirements

Obtaining professional counselor licensure requires a master’s degree in counseling or a related field, which includes an internship and practicum, and pre-requisite coursework of between 48-60 credits. All states require that counseling graduate programs be accredited, either by a counseling-specific accrediting organization or by a regional graduate education accrediting body. 


The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) is an independent agency, recognized by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), which accredits master’s degree programs in mental health counseling and other counseling specialties. Many states require that licensure applicants’ counseling graduate degrees include a curriculum based on the CACREP model, even if full accreditation by CACREP is not required. CACREP- accredited counseling programs require coursework in eight core areas and a supervised practicum and internship.  

States requiring a CACREP-accredited master’s degree include Florida (beginning July 1, 2025), Kentucky, North Carolina, and Ohio.

Masters in Psychology and Counseling Accreditation Council (MPCAC), a CHEA-recognized accrediting organization, accredits counseling and psychology master’s degree programs, located in regionally accredited colleges and universities in the United States, that educate students in the science-based practice of counseling and psychological services. 

Regional Accrediting Organizations

Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE): Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands

New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC): Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont

Higher Learning Commission: Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming

Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU): Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington

Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS): Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia

Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC): American Samoa, California, Guam, Hawaii, Trust Territory of the Pacific