Counseling Degrees & Licenses in New York

Counseling is proven to be a viable long-term career choice. Not only do counselors and therapists enjoy the benefits of helping people work through emotional, family, school, or substance abuse issues, but they also enjoy a stable career.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics provides data for long-term career outlooks, and counseling careers are growing faster than most. The base employment for marriage and family therapists was 65,300 in May 2021. Those careers are expected to grow by 9,100 nationally between 2021 and 2031. The BLS also predicts job openings for substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors will grow 22 percent nationally from 2021 to 2031. This growth rate is considered to be much faster than the average projected growth for all occupations during the same period (5 percent). And within that growth rate is also higher-than-average growth for specialized mental health careers.

For example, the BLS career outlook for rehabilitation counselors, who help people with physical, mental, developmental, or emotional disabilities, is an 11 percent rate of growth (2021-2031). School and career counselor jobs are expected to increase by 10 percent.

In New York State, in particular, mental issues are common and widespread. According to the New York State Department of Health, more than one in five New Yorkers have symptoms of a mental disorder each year. Furthermore, one in 10 adults and children experience mental health challenges serious enough to affect their ability to continue their daily work, family, and school life. They go on to say that half of all lifetime cases of mental illness begin by age 14, while three-quarters begin by age 24.

In New York and across the country, there are barriers to effective mental health care, not the least of which is the lack of access to quality, affordable mental health providers. According to the New York State Department of Labor, in 2022, there were 1,050 licenses issued for the occupation of licensed mental health counselors, and in 2023, there were 10,764 registered licenses for this occupation. The field is clearly growing—and there is clearly a need to support that growth.

In 2017, New York passed a law requiring each mental health counselor, marriage and family therapist, creative arts therapist, and psychoanalyst (licensed by the New York State Education Department) to complete 36 hours of continuing education from a department-approved provider during each three-year registration period.

Other than those mental health counselors who were already practicing when the new law came into effect, each licensed mental health counselor in New York has a master’s degree (or higher) in counseling, has completed a supervised internship, has passed a state-approved exam, and has completed at least 3,000 hours of post-degree supervised clinical experience.

Read on for schools in New York that offer counseling degrees, salaries, and a breakdown of various counseling licenses in the state.

Featured Counseling Programs
Methodist University BS - Psychology: Counseling/Clinical PsychologyProgram Website
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New York University Online MA - School CounselingProgram Website
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Southern New Hampshire University Online BA in Psychology - AddictionsProgram Website
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Grand Canyon University MS - Clinical Mental Health CounselingProgram Website
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Accredited Counseling Degree Programs in New York

New York University – Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development (Online, On-campus)

Commonly referred to as Steinhardt, this school was founded in 1890 as the School of Pedagogy to focus on teaching and learning methods. It has both a traditional, in-person master of arts in counseling program as well as an online one. Additionally, Steinhardt offers a master of arts in counseling post-master’s certificate dual degree that provides a specialty in working with the LGBT population.

The online master’s degree in counseling for mental health and wellness can be completed in as few as 21 months and offers full- and part-time options. There is also an immersion experience at Steinhardt’s New York City campus. Online courses are live and interactive, and students can find an NYU-facilitated practicum and internship in their own community.

Made up of 60 credits, the online program includes courses such as foundations of counseling for mental health and wellness; professional orientation and ethical issues in counseling for mental health and wellness; abnormal psychology; cross-cultural counseling; dynamics of vocational development; program development and evaluation; and interpretation and use of testing in counseling adults.

  • Location: New York City, New York
  • Accreditation: Master’s in Psychology and Counseling Accreditation Council (MPCAC)
  • Expected Time to Completion: Master of arts dual degree in counseling for mental health and wellness and LGBT (66 credits); online and on-campus master of arts in counseling for mental health and wellness (60 credits each); full- and part-time options available for both
  • Estimated Tuition: $2,101 per credit

Fordham University

Fordham University, a private Jesuit university in the Bronx neighborhood of New York City, offers several degree programs related to counseling and mental health. They offer a master of arts in pastoral mental health counseling, which prepares people to work as a pastoral minister or chaplain, or in other faith-based situations. They also offer a master of science in education, with a specialty in mental health counseling. The master of science in education with the specialty of school counseling prepares graduates for work in K-12 school settings; that program meets at the Lincoln Center campus.

The 60-credit MSE program in mental health counseling includes a 600-hour, on-site, supervised internship. Courses include group counseling; counseling theory & practice; career counseling; ethics and professional issues in counseling; multicultural counseling; research methods in counseling; and counseling program development and evaluation.

Fordham University has a main campus and two other campuses: Lincoln Center and Westchester. Some classes are offered at different campuses.

  • Location: Bronx, New York City, New York
  • Accreditation: Master’s in Psychology and Counseling Accreditation Council (MPCAC)
  • Expected Time to Completion: Mental health counseling and school counseling (60 credits); full- and part-time options available for both
  • Estimated Tuition: $1,560 per credit

Manhattan College

Manhattan College’s programs are set in the Bronx (near Manhattan) and not far from some of the top mental health hospitals, clinics, and agencies in the nation. The master of science in mental health counseling program provides an overview of a variety of counseling settings. In addition, students can add nine elective credits to the program for alcohol and substance abuse education and training, to help clients recover from addiction. There is also a master of arts in school counseling as well as a master of science in marriage and family therapy programs.

Class sizes are no more than 20. The Counseling and Therapy Department offers degrees and certificates in marriage and family therapy, mental health counseling, and school counseling. They also offer an advanced certificate in either school counseling or mental health counseling.

The mental health certificate is ideal for students seeking counselor licensure in New York State who have already earned a master’s degree in a related field. The school counseling certificate is for students who have earned a master’s degree in counseling, making them eligible for provisional certification in New York State. Manhattan College is an independent Catholic institution.

  • Location: Bronx, New York City, New York
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • Expected Time to Completion: School counseling, mental health counseling, and marriage and family therapy programs (60 credits); advanced certificate in school counseling (21 credits); advanced certificate in mental health counseling (27 credits); alcohol and substance abuse counseling specialty (nine credits)
  • Estimated Tuition: $1,070 per credit, plus fees

Mercy College – School of Social and Behavioral Sciences (Online, On-campus)

Mercy College’s master of science in counseling is a versatile degree that prepares students to follow several career paths in the counseling field. Students can complete the 60-credit school counselor program. Graduate students who complete the 60-credit mental health counseling program are eligible to sit for the professional licensing examination. There is also a 51-credit marriage and family therapy program.

The counseling master of science is available at both the Dobbs Ferry (main campus) and Bronx campuses, as well as online. The school counseling program includes courses such as assessment in counseling; introduction to school counseling; and counseling and ethics. The mental health counseling program includes courses in trauma and crisis; diagnosis and treatment; psychopathology; and aspects of alcoholism & substance abuse. Courses in the marriage and family therapy program include couples therapy; domestic violence; sex therapy; family law; and contemporary family therapy.

Mercy is an accredited, private, nonsectarian, coeducational college with nearly 70,000 alumni.

  • Location: Dobbs Ferry (main campus, 66 acres); Manhattan; Bronx; and online
  • Accreditation: Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP)
  • Expected Time to Completion: Three to four years (five years is the maximum allowed, except for time spent in the armed forces). All counseling programs have full- or part-time options
  • Estimated Tuition: $1,005 per credit, plus fees

New York Institute of Technology – College of Arts and Sciences and School of Health Professions

NYIT’s degree programs include a master of science in school counseling along with a bilingual advanced bilingual school counseling certification students can add to a master’s degree. The bilingual certificate can be completed simultaneously with the school counseling degree.

The extension includes a minimum of six additional credits along with a bilingual practicum. NYSED certification will require documented proficiency in the target language by independently passing the New York State Bilingual Assessment. While there is no online option here, this program’s flexible class schedules are offered in a blended format on weeknights and weekends only, with no weekly face-to-face classes.

The program’s 60-credit curriculum includes courses such as introduction to school counseling; foundations of counseling; career counseling and lifestyles development; group counseling, leadership, and facilitation skills; school violence prevention and student behavior management; and multicultural issues in counseling.

The School of Health Professions offers a master of science in occupational therapy, which prepares students to work with people with physical limitations, mental health dysfunction, developmental or learning disabilities, and aging, among other situations. The curriculum for this 78 to 80-credit program explores topics such as childhood development; adult development and geriatrics; upper extremities and hand therapy; kinesiology; and physical conditions in adults.

  • Location: School counseling (New York, NY; Long Island, NY); occupational therapy (Long Island, NY)
  • Accreditation: Occupational therapy program (Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association); school counseling program (Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP)
  • Expected Time to Completion: Two years full-time or three years part-time
  • Estimated Tuition: School counseling ($1,155 per credit, plus fees); occupational therapy ($1,540 per credit, plus fees)

The City College of New York – Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership

The City College of New York’s master of arts program in mental health counseling admits only classes starting in the fall. There is no GRE requirement for this program; however, an undergraduate major in psychology is preferred for admission. The school will also consider applicants who have completed various psychology courses. Applicants should also have had some type of hands-on experience, for instance, through volunteering.

Classes are commonly scheduled on Tuesday and Thursday, in the late afternoon and evenings starting at 5:00 p.m. There is one morning course, typically on Tuesdays. The school is well-located for those who want city life, in the heart of New York City.

Made up of 60 credits, the program includes courses such as developmental psychology; psychopathology; theories and techniques of counseling; professional orientation and ethics; foundations on mental health counseling and consultation; trauma and resilience; multicultural issues in counseling; counseling adolescents; and lifestyle and career development.

  • Location: New York City, New York
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • Expected Time to Completion: 60 credits, two years
  • Estimated Tuition: $855 per credit, full-time or part-time, plus fees

Hofstra University

Hofstra University, located on Long Island, is a private university known for a series of prominent presidential conferences and for hosting several United States presidential debates. The school offers a variety of master’s-level graduate counseling programs through the psychology department:

  • Counseling and mental health counseling – master of arts (60 credits)
  • Creative arts therapy counseling – master of arts (60 credits)
  • Industrial/organizational psychology – master of arts (44 credits)
  • Marriage and family therapy – master of arts (54 credits)
  • Rehabilitation counseling – master of science in education (60 credits)
  • Rehabilitation counseling in mental health – master of science in education (60 credits)
  • School and community psychology – doctor of psychology (96 credits)

To be considered for graduate programs in counseling or mental health counseling at Hofstra, applicants must have completed an undergraduate degree from an accredited institution. Admitting faculty prefer majors in psychology, the behavioral sciences, and/or human services, with some personal experience in counseling as an additional prerequisite.

The professional diploma in counseling and the advanced certificate in mental health counseling is designed for professionals who are already practicing in the field of counseling and already have a master’s.

The advanced certificate in substance abuse counseling is something that can be completed at the same time as the graduate program, or as a stand-alone program, either as a post-baccalaureate or post-master’s.

  • Location: Hempstead, New York
  • Accreditation: Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP); American Psychological Association (APA)
  • Expected Time to Completion: Creative arts therapy counseling (two to three years, full-time or part-time); organizational psychology (two years); marriage and family therapy (three years, full-time or part-time); doctorate in school psychology (five years, full time)
  • Estimated Tuition: $1,570 per credit

St. John Fisher University

At St. John Fisher University, candidates have two options: a 60-credit master of science program in mental health counseling and an 18-credit certificate of advanced study in the same discipline. The certificate is ideal for those who already have a master’s degree in counseling or a related discipline but wish to build upon their educational foundation in the field.

The mission of these programs is to deliver personalized instruction to students regarding essential counseling skills and knowledge while facilitating the enhancement and development of personal characteristics and qualities necessary for becoming outstanding professional mental health counselors.

The curriculum includes courses such as mental health counseling as a profession; counseling theories and strategies; social and cultural diversity; assessment in counseling; psychopathology and differential diagnosis; treatment planning and intervention; group theory and process; and family and partner counseling.

Graduates will be prepared for work in a variety of settings, such as community agencies, hospitals, clinics, managed behavioral healthcare organizations, residential treatment and rehabilitation settings, outpatient mental health programs, substance abuse treatment programs, and more.

  • Location: Rochester, NY
  • Accreditation: Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP)
  • Expected Time to Completion: MS (two to 3.5 years); certificate (within a year)
  • Estimated Tuition: $1,094 per credit

How Much Do Counselors Make in New York?

These numbers represent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics from May 2022—the latest data available as of July 2023.

Marriage and Family Therapist Salaries

United StatesNew York
Number employed62,0801,260
Average annual salary (mean)$63,300$61,570
10th percentile$36,840$29,450
25th percentile$44,730$42,120
50th percentile (median)$56,570$53,760
75th percentile$75,220$65,410
90th percentile$98,700$102,100

Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselor Salaries

United StatesNew York
Number employed344,97022,810
Average annual salary (mean)$56,230$60,320
10th percentile$34,580$34,750
25th percentile$39,810$45,660
50th percentile (median)$49,710$54,290
75th percentile$64,400$67,610
90th percentile$82,710$83,800

Educational, Guidance, and Career Counselor and Advisor Salaries

United StatesNew York
Number employed308,00022,890
Average annual salary (mean)$64,200$71,160
10th percentile$38,280$37,430
25th percentile$47,380$48,830
50th percentile (median)$60,140$63,100
75th percentile$76,590$82,850
90th percentile$98,530$124,540

Rehabilitation Counselor Salaries

United StatesNew York
Number employed82,4202,250
Average annual salary (mean)$46,020$51,960
10th percentile$29,120$32,880
25th percentile$33,790$37,570
50th percentile (median)$39,990$47,440
75th percentile$53,470$65,330
90th percentile$71,270$76,960

Mental Health Counseling (LMHC) Licenses in New York: Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC)

Licensing AuthorityEligibility & DetailsRenewal Requirements
State Board For Mental Health Practitioners Office of the Professions

Mental health counselors in New York earn a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) license.

Candidates who meet all the LMHC requirements (except the supervised work experience) may apply for a Limited Permit, which is valid for two years and allows the holder to work under supervision.

Candidates for LMHC licensure must:

  • Submit an application
  • Pay the $371 licensure and application fee ($70 for the Limited Permit)
  • Complete a minimum 60 semester-credit master’s or doctoral degree in counseling from a CACREP accredited institution (or the equivalent); the program must include a supervised internship
  • Complete a New York State-approved course on identifying and reporting child abuse
  • Pass the NCMHCE; it must be completed without an English as a second language accommodation
  • Complete 3,000 hours of supervised work experience, of which 1,500 must be direct client contact

New York requires LMHCs to renew their licenses every three years.

To renew, counselors are required to submit an application, a $241 fee, and 36 hours of continuing education units.

School Counseling Licenses in New York

Licensing AuthorityEligibility & DetailsRenewal Requirements
New York State Education Department Office of Teaching Initiatives

New York State Education Department Office of Teaching Initiatives issues both initial and professional school counselor licenses.

Initial license applicants must meet one of the following pathways:

  • Hold a bachelor’s degree and complete 30 semester hours of graduate coursework related to school counseling or complete a registered school counselor program and have an institutional recommendation for licensure, complete a 600-hour college supervised internship as a school counselor in a K-12 school setting and 100 practicum OR
  • Complete of a NYS Registered Program – School Counselor program, have an Institutional Recommendation – School Counselor, and pass theContent Specialty Test (CST)- School Counselor OR
  • Have a master’s degree or higher as well as a valid, comparable certificate in another state and three years or full time work experience OR
  • Have a master’s degree or higher as well as a valid, comparable certificate in another state and completion of a comparable approved school counselor education program from another state

All applicants must also:

  • Pass a fingerprint clearance
  • Complete workshops in child abuse identification, school violence intervention and prevention, and the Dignity for All Students Act

School counselors can apply for a professional license once they have completed a master’s degree, have three full years of paid work experience, and have completed a NYS registered school counselor program

Initial school counselor licenses issued in New York are valid for five years.

To renew, school counselors must complete workshops in child abuse identification, school violence intervention and prevention, and the Dignity for All Students Act. Counselors must also pass a new background check.

Professional license holders are not required to renew their license or complete continuing education. However, they must register with the Education Department Office.

Substance Abuse Counseling Licenses in New York

Licensing AuthorityEligibility & DetailsRenewal Requirements

Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS)

The Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) in New York certifies Credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselors (CASAC).

CASAC certification candidates must:

  • Must be 18 years old
  • Graduate from high school or have GED
  • Pass the ADC IC&RC exam
  • Be proficient in English
  • Sign the Canon of Ethical Principles, Misconduct, and Other Prohibited Acts
  • Pay $100 application fee and $245 testing fee
  • Complete a three-hour Supporting Recovery with Medications for Addiction Treatment (MAT) training
  • Have three references submit the Evaluation of Competency and Ethical Conduct forms
  • Complete 350 hours of training and education in substance a abuse
  • Pass a criminal background check
  • Complete three years and 6,000 hours of full-time supervised work experience in an approved setting; an associate degree in an approved field waives 1,000 hours, a bachelor’s waives 2,000 hours, and a master’s waives 4,000 hours

OASAS issues a CASAC Trainee certification to individuals who meet all of the CASAC requirements except the work experience or who have 4,000 hours of work experience and 85 hours of training and education.

Applicants can be eligible for a CASAC 2 certification if they have an associate’s degree in an approved human services field.

CASAC Advanced Counselor certification can be earned by meeting the CASAC requirements, having a bachelor’s degree, and completing the 30-hour Clinical Supervision Foundations I and II training.

CASAC Master Level certification can be obtained by holding a CASAC credential for three years, having a master’s in an approved human services field, and completing the 30-hour Clinical Supervision Foundations I and II training

OASAS requires CASACs to renew their credentials every three years.

Counselors must submit a completed application along with the $150 renewal fee as well as submit proof of 60 hours of continuing education, of which 40 must be in substance abuse and six must be in ethics

Rehabilitation Counseling Licenses in New York

Licensing AuthorityEligibility & DetailsRenewal Requirements

State Board For Mental Health Practitioners Office of the Professions

Rehabilitation counselors in New York must earn a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) license.

Candidates who meet all the LMHC requirements (except the supervised work experience) may apply for a Limited Permit, which is valid for two years and allows the holder to work under supervision.

Candidates for LMHC licensure must:

  • Submit an application
  • Pay the $371 licensure and application fee ($70 for the Limited Permit)
  • Complete a minimum 60 semester credit master’s or doctoral degree in counseling from a CACREP accredited institution (or the equivalent); the program must include a supervised internship
  • Complete a New York State approved course on identifying and reporting child abuse
  • Pass the NCMHCE; it must be completed without an English as a second language accommodation
  • Complete 3,000 hours of supervised work experience, of which 1,500 must be direct client contact

New York requires LMHCs to renew their licenses every three years.

To renew, counselors are required to submit an application, a $241 fee, and 36 hours of continuing education units.

Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) Licenses in New York

Licensing AuthorityEligibility & DetailsRenewal Requirements
New York State Department of Education Office of the Professions

The New York State Department of Education Office of the Professions issues Licensed Behavior Analyst (LBA) and Certified Behavior Analyst Assistant (CBAA) credentials.

Requirements to earn a CBAA credential are:

  • Submit a completed application
  • Hold a bachelor’s degree or higher from a board-approved program
  • Pay $225 fee for the application and initial license
  • Complete one year and at least 1,000 hours of supervised work experience, of which 100 hours must be completed as a practicum of internship while earning a degree
  • Pass the NYCBAA certification examination and the NY Autism examination
  • Complete board-approved child abuse training
  • Be at least 21 years old

Requirements to earn an LBA license are:

  • Submit a completed application
  • Hold a master’s degree or higher from a board-approved licensure-qualifying program
  • Pay $300 fee for the application and initial license
  • Complete one year and at least 1,500 hours of supervised work experience, of which 150 hours must be completed as a practicum of internship while earning a degree
  • Pass the NYCBAA certification examination and the NY Autism examination
  • Complete board-approved child abuse training
  • Be at least 21 years old

LBA licenses in New York are valid for life, although license holders are required to re-register every three years as well as update the state on any changes such as address or name changes.

Marriage and Family Therapy Licenses in New York

Licensing AuthorityEligibility & DetailsRenewal Requirements
State Board For Mental Health Practitioners Office of the Professions

The New York State Board For Mental Health Practitioners Office of the Professions issues Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) licenses. Candidates who meet all the LMFT requirements except the supervised work experience may apply for a Limited Permit, which is valid for two years and allows the holder to work under supervision.

LMFT candidates must:

  • Pay the $371 licensure and application fee ($70 for the Limited Permit)
  • Complete master’s or doctoral degree in marriage and family therapy from a COAMFTE or substantially equivalent accredited institution, with a supervised internship
  • Complete an application
  • Complete a New York State approved course on identifying and reporting child abuse
  • Pass the AMFTRB exam without an English as a second language accommodation
  • Complete 1,500 hours of supervised work experience in direct client contact

New York requires LMFTs to renew their licenses every three years.

To renew, counselors are required to submit an application, a $241 fee, and 36 hours of continuing education units.

Child (Pediatric) Behavioral Therapy Licenses in New York

Licensing AuthorityEligibility & DetailsRenewal Requirements

State Board For Mental Health Practitioners Office of the Professions

Child therapists in New York must earn a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) license.

Candidates who meet all the LMHC requirements (except the supervised work experience) may apply for a Limited Permit, which is valid for two years and allows the holder to work under supervision.

Candidates for LMHC licensure must:

  • Submit an application
  • Pay the $371 licensure and application fee ($70 for the Limited Permit)
  • Complete a minimum 60-semester-credit master’s or doctoral degree in counseling from a CACREP accredited institution (or the equivalent); the program must include a supervised internship
  • Complete a New York State approved course on identifying and reporting child abuse
  • Pass the NCMHCE; it must be completed without an English as a second language accommodation
  • Complete 3,000 hours of supervised work experience, of which 1,500 must be direct client contact

New York requires LMHCs to renew their licenses every three years.

To renew, counselors are required to submit an application, a $241 fee, and 36 hours of continuing education units.

Vanessa Salvia

Vanessa Salvia

Writer

Vanessa Salvia is an Oregon-based freelance writer and editor with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry. As fun as rigorous studies in math and science were, Vanessa took an independent path and developed a prolific career covering lifestyle and healthcare topics for magazines and newspapers, important industries such as concrete construction and building waterproofing, and even hard science. You can get in touch at Sage Media and Marketing.