A master’s degree in counseling psychology is a great route towards higher education that also leads you to a career in helping others. Working in the mental health field can be a challenging but rewarding career. If you are empathetic and want to go into a diverse field, this degree may be for you. There are many universities in California offering a counseling psychology master’s
degree. This article will review these schools so you can make the choice that mostly closely aligns with your goals.
To make the most of your education, you will want to attend a masters in counseling psychology program that has been approved by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences. This approval means that the institution provides an education that will prepare you to take the licensing exam to become a Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT) or a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC). Earning the license qualifies you to assess for, diagnose, and treat mental health conditions and work with a wide variety of populations experiencing these struggles and others.
As an LPCC or MFT, you will have a number of options for where you can work. This may include environments such as mental health clinics, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, schools, government agencies, nonprofits, and many more. You may also have the option to open a private practice. The income may vary depending on the type of organization. However, O*Net Online reports that the median income for Marriage and Family Therapists/Licensed Profession Clinical Counselors in California is about $56,570 annually, with a projected job growth of 11%, which is faster than average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the skills that a person should have the following traits for this career: compassion, listening skills, interpersonal skills, organizational skills, and speaking skills. While a MFT or LPCC does do a lot of listening, they also may do tasks that involve collaborating with other agencies, communicating with insurance providers, writing notes, and more.
If this sounds like a career you are interested in, schools in California offering a masters in Counseling Psychology are listed below.
The MS in Counseling Psychology at MSMU, located in Los Angeles, CA, offers three specializations from which to choose:
- General Counseling Psychology. This specialization is 36 units and is usually completed in two years.
- Marriage and Family Therapy. This specialization is 60 units and is usually completed in three years.
- Marriage and Family thereapy with an ¡Enlaces! Certificate. This certificate prepares students to work with Spanish-speaking clients in the future by teaching
classes bilingually in English and Spanish. This specialization is about 60 units and usually takes about two years to complete.
Along with the unit requirements outlined above, each specialization will complete an internship in the field, at about 15-20 hours per week. Additionally, while going through the program, student’s will receive plenty of attention from instructors, as MSMU’s counseling psychology programs have small class sizes of about 15.
The MA in Counseling Psychology at SCU, located in Santa Clara, CA, is a 90 unit program that takes about three years to complete. Classes take place both online and in person, and students can choose to attend full-time or part-time. The program prepares students to earn their license as a Licensed Professional Counselor or a Marriage and Family Therapist. There are five emphasis areas between which students can choose: LGBTQ Counseling, Correctional Psychology, Latino Counseling, Health Psychology or Child and Adomescent Mental Health. Students can also elect to not choose a minor. The program is accredited by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences.
USF’s MA in Counseling Psychcology offers two concentrations: Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) and School Counseling with a PPS (Pupil Personnel Services) Credential. There is also an option for students to earn their license as a Professional Clinical Counselor (PCC). Students will complete 49-60 units in the program depending on their concentration, and students in the School Counseling program can dual-enroll in Professional Clinical Counseling. The School Counseling program is accredited by the California Commission on Teaching Credentialing. The PCC and MFT programs are accredited by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences.
The MS in Counseling Psychology at CSUB, located in Bakersfield, CA is accredited by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences and prepares students to take the licensing exam to become a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor or a Marriage and Family Therapist. The program is 60 units and takes about three years to complete. Students will receive instructions in the classroom and with live clients. Students may also complete this requirement through their full-time employment if it meets the qualifications.
Simson University’s MA in Counseling Psychology is 68 units and can be completed in two years. Classes are two nights a week for seven weeks at a time. In the second year of the program, students will take part in clinical training, where they are supervised by a licensed professional. Students will also take part in a capstone project related to scholarly research, analysis, and writing. Simpson University is a Christian university and students will learn how to provide evidence-based services through a recovery-model approach.
The MS in Clinical/Counseling Psycology at CSUB guides students through developing skills for a career in counseling, including methodology research and real-world training and experience. The program admits 10-15 students, so enrollees will have plenty of opportunities for networking with peers and interacting with their professors. The program is 63-61 units total, and prepares students to become a California Marriage and Family Therapist. Students may complete their required internship several ways, primarily through an internship with a local agency or employment.
GGU’s MA in Counseling Psychology meets the California Board of Behavioral Sciences requirements and the licensing requirements for Professional Clinical Counselors. The program is offered in a hybrid format and requires the completion of 60 units. Students will also need to complete 300 clinical hours where they will apply what they have learned in the classroom to real-world experiences. In order to be admitted, students should have a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution. Other admission requirements are outlined on the university website.
The Masters in Counseling Psychology at CSULB, formerly the Marriage and Family Therapy program, requires students to complete 65 units. This can be completed over one of the three track options: two-year, 2.5-year, and the three-year track. Courses are held in the late afternoon and evenings to accommodate working professionals. Students will also complete 500 hours of a field practicum that takes place under the supervision of an approved, licensed professional in the counseling field.
The MA in Counseling Psychology at NU offers two specialization options: Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) or Combined MFT/Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor
(LPCC). Both of these programs prepare students to become marriage and family therapists in California by taking the licensing exam. The MFT/LPCC helps students meet the requirements for both licenses, which requires additional practicum hours. To graduate from this program students must complete 90 quarter-units. Up to 13.5 units of graduate credit can be applied to the degree if they qualify. The program can be completed in as little as 22-23 months.
The MS in Counseling Psychology at CBU, located in Riverside, CA, is a faith-based program founded 38 years ago. This program is 62-86 units at $800 per unit, and takes about two years to complete. By enrolling, students become prepared to take the licensing exam for a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor or Marriage and Family Therapist by meeting the educational requirements established by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences. Students will take courses in subjects such as diversity, human development, human sexuality, research methodology, and more. There is also a practice requirement that takes place both online and at a local agency.
The MS in Counseling Psychology at Dominican prepares students to become a Marriage and Family Therapist or a Professional Clinical Counselor by teaching students the ethics and best practices needed to help a diverse population. The curriculum is designed for working students, as classes take place in late afternoon and evening, as well as on the weekend. Students are required to complete 43-60 units to graduate, which can be completed over the course of 30-36 months.
The MA in Counseling Psychology at The Chicago School trains students to provide diagnostic and therapeutic services on a clinical level with a variety of populations. Students will participate in courses that cover a number of topics such as addiction treatment, psychotherapy, family therapy, ethics, and diversity. There are six concentrations offered in this program, including:
- Treatment of Addiction Disorders
- Latino/a Mental Health
- Trauma and Crisis Intervention
- Health Psychology
- Marital and Family Therapy
- Child and Adolescent Treatment
Students are also required to complete a 700-hour, nine-month internship placement, where at least 280 of the hours involve direct service with clients. Students can choose to complete this program in two years of full-time enrollment, or four years of part-time enrollment. The program is accredited by the Masters in Psychology and Counseling Accreditation Council (MPCAC).
The MA in Counseling Psychology at CIIS offers two formats in which students can enroll. One is a three year, full-time format that takes place during the weekday. The other is a three year, full-time format that takes place during the weekend for five weekends per semester. The program prepares students to become either a Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT) or a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC). The MFT version of the program is 60 units, and the LPCC version is 69 units. The program has been approved by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences.
The Masters in Counseling Psychology program at Pacifica Graduate Institute is a 93-quarter unit program that meets the requirements of the California Board of Behavioral Sciences to prepare students for licensure as a Licensed Professiona Clinical Counselor or Marriage and Family Therapist. Courses in this program occur in three-day sessions once per month during the spring, winter, and fall semesters, as well as a seven-day summer session. Students will also complete a 300-hour practicum minimum. This requires at least 280 hours of direct service. Additionally, students com complete 50 hours of psychotherapyand pass comprehensive oral and written exams that take place towards the end of the program.
The MA in Counseling Psychology at WI meets the requirements of the California Board of Behavioral Sciences to prepare someone to become licensed at an LPCC or MFT in the state. The program is usually completed in two or three years depending on if a student is enrolled part-time or full-time. A total of 60 units are required to complete the program, which includes courses on topics such as family therapy, ethics, trauma counseling, theory and technique, community mental health, and more. Students will also complete a practicum under the supervision of a licensed clinician, which usually takes place in the second year of the program.
The MA in Counseling Psychology at John F. Kennedy University is offered in-person and in a hybrid format, with part-time and accelerated options available. There are also options for morning, evening, and weekend classes. The program requires the completion of 90 units which can be completed in about two and a half years. The accelerated program allows students to graduate in just two years, and courses take place at a time that may be ideal for students who work full-time. In the second year, students will complete a field practicum. The MA in Counseling Psychology degree earned through this program meets the California Board of Behavioral Sciences requirements to prepare students for MFT and LPCC licensure.
The MA in Counseling Psychology at Meridan University prepares students to become licensed as a Marriage and Family Therapist or a Professional Clinical Counselor by meeting the requirements of the CA Board of Behavioral Sciences. The program requires the completion of 103 credits and can be completed in 24-36 months. The program takes place in a hybrid and online format. Students are also required to complete a fieldwork practicum of 340 hours.