Master’s in Counseling Degrees in Illinois - Explore 52 Online and On-Campus Program Options

Master's in Counseling Degrees in Illinois

There are a number of Illinois schools that offer master’s in counseling degrees, with concentrations in clinical mental health counseling, school counseling, marriage and family therapy, college counseling, rehabilitation counseling, community counseling and more. 

These degrees are offered in different cities throughout Illinois, including more than a dozen Master of Counseling programs in Chicago alone.

To practice counseling in Illinois, you will need to complete a counseling-related master’s or doctoral degree program from an accredited university, among other requirements. Licensed Professional Counselors (LPCs) in the state work in a range of settings to support people of varying ages and backgrounds through challenging situations. 

In Illinois, you can also find Licensed Clinical Professional Counselors (LCPCs). In addition to postgraduate education, these professionals are required to pass the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Exam (NCMHCE) and complete two years of supervised clinical work, allowing them to practice independently and potentially pursue supervisory and leadership roles.

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Compare 28 Mental Health Counseling Degree Programs in Illinois

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Compare 28 Mental Health Counseling Degree Programs in Illinois
University Name Location Type of Degree GRE Requirement Accreditation Time to Complete Program Characteristics
Adler University Chicago, IL Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling None CACREP 2 years Online & On-Campus
Bradley University Peoria, IL Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling None CACREP 2 years Online & On-Campus
Chicago School of Professional Psychology Chicago, IL Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling; Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology None CACREP ~ 2 years Online & On-Campus
Chicago State University Chicago, IL Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling None CACREP 2 years On-Campus Only
Concordia University Chicago Chicago, IL Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling None CACREP 2 years On-Campus Only
DePaul University Chicago, IL Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling None CACREP 3 years On-Campus Only
Eastern Illinois University Charleston, IL Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling None CACREP 2 years On-Campus Only
Governors State University University Park, IL Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling None CACREP 3 years On-Campus Only
Illinois Institute of Technology Chicago, IL Master of Science in Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling None CACREP 2 years On-Campus Only
Lewis University Romeoville, IL Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling None N/A 2 years On-Campus Only
Lincoln Christian University Lincoln, IL Master of Arts in Counseling None CACREP 2 years On-Campus Only
Moody Bible Institute Chicago, IL Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling; Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology None N/A 2 years On-Campus Only
National Louis University Chicago, IL; Lisle, IL; Skokie, IL; Wheeling, IL Master of Science in Counseling: Clinical Mental Health Concentration None CACREP 2 years On-Campus Only
Northeastern Illinois University Chicago, IL Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling None CACREP 2 years On-Campus Only
Northern Illinois University DeKalb, IL Master of Science in Education in Clinical Mental Health Counseling None CACREP 2 years On-Campus Only
Northwestern University Evanston, IL; Chicago, IL Master of Arts in Counseling None CACREP 2 years Online & On-Campus
Quincy University Quincy, IL Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling None CACREP 3 years On-Campus Only
Roosevelt University Chicago, IL; Peoria, IL; Schaumburg, IL; Waukegan, IL Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling; Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology (Counseling Practice) None CACREP 2 years On-Campus Only
Southern Illinois University Carbondale, IL Master of Science in Education in Clinical Mental Health Counseling None CACREP 2 years On-Campus Only
Trinity International University Deerfield, IL Master of Arts in Mental Health Counseling None CACREP 2-3 years On-Campus Only
University of Illinois Springfield Springfield, IL Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling None CACREP 2 years On-Campus Only
Western Illinois University Macomb, IL Master of Science in Education in Clinical Mental Health Counseling None CACREP 3 years On-Campus Only
Wheaton College Wheaton, IL Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling None CACREP 2 years On-Campus Only

Compare 20 School Counseling Degree Programs in Illinois

Compare 20 School Counseling Degree Programs in Illinois
University Name Location Type of Degree GRE Requirement Accreditation Time to Complete Program Characteristics
Bradley University Peoria, IL Master of Arts in Professional School Counseling None CACREP 2 years Online & On-Campus
Chicago State University Chicago, IL Master of Arts in School Counseling None CACREP 2 years On-Campus Only
Concordia University Chicago Chicago, IL Master of Arts in School Counseling None CACREP 2 years On-Campus Only
DePaul University Chicago, IL Master of Arts in College Student Development; Master of Education in College Student Development; Master of Arts in School Counseling; Master of Education in School Counseling None CACREP 3 years On-Campus Only
Eastern Illinois University Charleston, IL Master of Science in School Counseling None CACREP 2 years On-Campus Only
Governors State University University Park, IL Master of Arts in School Counseling None CACREP 3 years On-Campus Only
Lewis University Romeoville, IL Master of Arts in School Counseling None N/A 2 years On-Campus Only
Loyola University Chicago, IL Master of Education in School Counseling None N/A 2 years On-Campus Only
National Louis University Chicago, IL; Lisle, IL; Skokie, IL; Wheeling, IL Master of Science in Counseling: School Concentration None CACREP 2 years On-Campus Only
Northeastern Illinois University Chicago, IL Master of Arts in School Counseling None CACREP 2 years On-Campus Only
Northern Illinois University DeKalb, IL Master of Science in Education in School Counseling None CACREP 2 years On-Campus Only
Quincy University Quincy, IL Master of Science in Education in School Counseling; Master of Science in Counseling and College Student Personnel None CACREP 3 years On-Campus Only
Roosevelt University Chicago, IL; Peoria, IL; Schaumburg, IL; Waukegan, IL Master of Arts in College Counseling and Student Affairs; Master of Arts in School Counseling None CACREP 2 years On-Campus Only
University of Illinois Springfield Springfield, IL Master of Arts in School Counseling None CACREP 2 years On-Campus Only
Western Illinois University Macomb, IL Master of Science in Education in School Counseling None CACREP 3 years On-Campus Only

Compare 3 Rehabilitation Counseling Degree Programs in Illinois

Compare 3 Rehabilitation Counseling Degree Programs in Illinois
University Name Location Type of Degree GRE Requirement Accreditation Time to Complete Program Characteristics
Adler University Chicago, IL Master of Arts in Rehabilitation Counseling None CACREP 2 years On-Campus Only
Northeastern Illinois University Chicago, IL Master of Arts in Rehabilitation Counseling None CACREP 2 years On-Campus Only
Southern Illinois University Carbondale, IL Master of Science in Education in Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling None CACREP 2 years On-Campus Only

Insights into Counseling Degrees in Illinois

Here are additional details about the counseling programs included in the tables above:

Adler University

Program Overview:

Program Requirements (for both degree options):

  • 62 credits
  • Social Justice Practicum (200-hour internship)

Admission Requirements (for both degree options):

  • Bachelor’s degree from accredited institution
  • Minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0
  • Completed online application with fee
  • Statement of Intent 
  • Resume 
  • Official transcripts from undergraduate schools
  • Two letters of recommendation

Bradley University

Program Overview:

Program Requirements (for both degree options):

  • 60 credits
  • One practicum
  • Two internships
  • 2 one-week long campus-based residencies

Admission Requirements:

  • Online application with $40 fee
  • 3.0 undergraduate GPA
  • GRE/MAT required if undergraduate GPA is lower than 3.0
  • Two admission essays
  • Official transcripts
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Resume
  • Online interview
  • Scores from Test of Academic Proficiency or equivalent (for Illinois residents applying to Professional School Counseling program)  
  • Teaching license (for applicants to Professional School Counseling program)

Chicago School of Professional Psychology

Program Overview:

Program Requirements:

  • 60 credits
  • 100-hour practicum
  • 600-hour internship

Admission Requirements:

  • Application with $50 fee
  • Bachelor’s degree from regionally accredited institution
  • Official transcripts
  • Two-page essay
  • Three letters of recommendation 

Chicago School of Professional Psychology

Program Overview:

Program Requirements:

  • 60 credits
  • 700 hours of experience

Admission Requirements:

  • Application with $50 fee
  • Bachelor’s degree from regionally accredited institution
  • A grade of ‘C’ or higher in previous coursework in Psychology and Research Methods
  • Official transcripts
  • Essay
  • Resume
  • Three letters of recommendation 

Chicago State University

Program Overview:

Program Requirements:

  • 60 credits
  • 100-hour practicum (for both programs)
  • 600-hour internship (for School Counseling candidates)
  • 900-hour internship (for Clinical Mental Health Counseling candidates)
  • Comprehensive examinations
  • ‘B’ grade in all clinical courses
  • Complete degree program within six years

Admission Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Official transcripts
  • Completion of six hours of prerequisite courses, which must include a developmental psychology course and Psychological Statistics. Applicants must have earned a grade of ‘C’ or higher in at least one course and a ‘B’ or higher in the remaining course
  • Minimum GPA of 2.75 for the last 60 semester hours of coursework
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Essay
  • Department interview
  • Valid Illinois Professional Educator License or completion of Educational Fundamentals in School Counseling program (for applicants to the School Counseling program)

Concordia University Chicago

Program Overview:

Program Requirements (for both degree options):

  • 48-60 credits
  • 3-credit hour practicum
  • 6-credit hour internship
  • Capstone experience/Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Examination (CPCE)

Admission Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Application
  • Official transcripts
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • 12 undergraduate credit hours in a counseling-related area, with a grade of C or above
  • Test of Academic Proficiency (TAP) for School Counselor program

DePaul University

Program Overview:

Program Requirements:

  • 90 quarter hours
  • Grade ‘B-‘ or higher in social and cultural foundations courses, counseling courses and elective courses
  • Grade ‘B’ or higher in practicum and internship
  • 12 quarter hours of professional practice
  • Capstone or master’s thesis

Admission Requirements:

  • Application with $40 fee
  • Official transcripts
  • Resume
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Personal statement

DePaul University

Program Overview:

Program Requirements:

  • 60 quarter hours
  • Grade ‘B-‘ or higher in social and cultural studies courses and counseling courses 
  • Grade ‘B’ or higher in practicum and internship
  • 12 hours of professional practice
  • Capstone or master’s thesis

Admission Requirements:

  • Application with $40 fee
  • Official transcripts
  • Resume
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Personal statement

DePaul University

Program Overview:

Program Requirements:

  • 60-64 quarter hours
  • Grade ‘B-‘ or higher in social and cultural studies courses and counseling courses 
  • Grade ‘B’ or higher in practicum and internship
  • 12 hours of professional practice
  • Capstone or master’s thesis
  • Licensure tests

Admission Requirements:

  • Application with $40 fee
  • Official transcripts
  • Resume
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Personal statement

Eastern Illinois University

Program Overview:

Program Requirements (for both degree options):

  • 60 credits
  • Supervised clinical experience
  • Practicum
  • Comprehensive examination or thesis
  • A minimum of 32 semester hours of study for non-thesis candidates, while a minimum of 30 semester hours of study for all thesis options.
  • A minimum of 21 semester hours of the 32-hour non-thesis option is required in residence, while a minimum of 19 semester hours of the 30-hour thesis option is required in residence.

Admission Requirements:

  • Application
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • interview

Governors State University

Program Overview:

Program Requirements:

  • 60 credits
  • 100-hour practicum 
  • 600-hour internship

Admission Requirements:

  • GSU graduate application
  • Counseling application
  • Statement of Character Form (included in the application)
  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Minimum of 2.75 undergraduate GPA or 3.0 GPA for last 60 hours of undergraduate coursework
  • Official transcripts
  • GRE may be required 
  • Three letters of recommendation

Illinois Institute of Technology

Program Overview:

Program Requirements:

  • 60 credits
  • Community-based clinical experience
  • Research project

Admission Requirements:

  • Bachelor's degree with minimum of 18 credit hours in psychology or related field
  • 3.0 undergraduate GPA
  • Three letters of recommendation (two academic, one employer)
  • Professional statement
  • Official transcripts

Lewis University

Program Overview:

Program Requirements:

  • 40-63 credits
  • Comprehensive examination
  • 3.0 GPA
  • Practicum
  • Internship

Admission Requirements:

  • Application with fee
  • Completed at least 15 hours of psychology, including a course in statistics or research methods as part of bachelor’s degree (for Clinical Mental Health Counseling program applicants)
  • 3.0 undergraduate GPA
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Professional statement
  • Official transcripts
  • Passing scores on Test of Academic Proficiency (TAP), ACT, or SAT (for School Counseling program applicants)

Lincoln Christian University

Program Overview:

Program Requirements:

  • 60credits
  • 3.0 GPA
  • Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Examination (CPCE)
  • Internship

Admission Requirements:

  • Bachelor's degree from accredited school
  • Minimum 2.5 undergraduate GPA
  • Application 
  • Official transcripts
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Personal goal statement
  • Faculty interview

Loyola University

Program Overview:

Program Requirements:

  • 48 semester hours
  • 700-hour practicum/internship
  • Four faculty labs dedicated to social justice-focused research
  • Comprehensive examination

Admission Requirements:

  • Online application
  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Official transcripts
  • 3.0 undergraduate GPA
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Personal statement
  • Resume

Moody Bible Institute

Program Overview:

Program Requirements:

  • 60 credits
  • Practicum
  • Internship

Admission Requirements:

  • Online application with fee
  • Bachelor’s degree earned or in progress
  • Doctrinal qualifications
  • Autobiographical essays
  • Official transcripts
  • Group interview

National Louis University

Program Overview:

Program Requirements:

  • 60-67 credits
  • B grade or higher
  • 100-hour practicum
  • 600-hour internship

Admission Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree 
  • Application with fee
  • Official transcripts
  • 3.0 GPA
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Counseling essay
  • Written statement
  • Resume

Northeastern Illinois University

Program Overview:

Program Requirements:

  • 48-60 credits
  • 700 hours of field experience 
  • Departmental Proficiency Examination (DPE)

Admission Requirements:

  • Graduate programs application with $30 fee
  • Counselor Education application
  • Official transcripts
  • 2.7 undergraduate GPA
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Resume
  • Two-page essay
  • Attendance at the Pre-Admission Workshop (PAW)
  • Copy of Professional Educator License (only for School Counseling Program applicants)

Northern Illinois University

Program Overview:

Program Requirements:

  • 60 credits
  • 100-hour practicum
  • 600-hour internship

Admission Requirements:

  • Application
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Ms.Ed. applicant essay
  • Resume

Northwestern University

Program Overview:

Program Requirements:

  • 24-27 courses
  • 100-hour practicum
  • 600-hour internship

Admission Requirements:

  • Online graduate school application with $95 fee
  • Master of Arts in Counseling application
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Official transcripts
  • Resume or CV
  • Recent 3 x 5 photo
  • Statement of purpose 

Quincy University

Program Overview:

Program Requirements:

  • 48-60 credits
  • 100-hour practicum
  • 600-hour internship

Admission Requirements:

  • Completed or to-be completed bachelor’s degree
  • 3.0 undergraduate GPA
  • Application
  • Official transcripts
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Three writing prompts (500 words)
  • Resume
  • Results from Miller Analogies Test (MAT) or Graduate Record Exam (GRE)

Roosevelt University

Program Overview:

Program Requirements:

  • 60-61 credits
  • 3.0 GPA
  • Practicum & internship (for Clinical Mental Health Counseling students)
  • 750-hour supervised clinical Internship (for Clinical Psychology program)

Admission Requirements:

  • Online application with $40 fee
  • Official transcripts 
  • Letter of Intent 
  • Clinical Psychology program applicants must have completed prerequisite courses (psychology, abnormal psychology and research methods) with 3.0 GPA
  • 120 undergraduate credit hours (required for applicants to Clinical Mental Health Counseling)

Roosevelt University

Program Overview:

Program Requirements:

  • 51-61 credit hours
  • 3.0 GPA
  • Practicum
  • Internship
  • Counseling Preparation Comprehensive Exam (CPCE) (for students in College Counseling and Student Affairs track)

Admission Requirements:

  • 120 undergraduate credit hours
  • Online application with $40 fee
  • Official transcripts 
  • Personal statement
  • 3.0 undergraduate GPA
  • Passing score on SAT or ACT
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Interview

Southern Illinois University

Program Overview:

Program Requirements:

  • 60 credits
  • Practicum
  • Internship
  • Maintain a ‘B’ in all graduate coursework

Admission Requirements:

  • 2.7 undergraduate GPA
  • Graduate School application with $65 fee
  • Department application
  • Official transcripts
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Resume or CV
  • Essay on career goals (3-5 pages, double-spaced)

Trinity International University

Program Overview:

Program Requirements:

  • 64 credits
  • 2.5 GPA
  • Practicum
  • Internship
  • Major comprehensive exam
  • Completion of capstone (which is an internship or thesis)
  • Completion of Biblical and Theological Studies course sequences

Admission Requirements:

  • Undergraduate degree with 9 hours of psychology coursework
  • 3.0 undergraduate GPA
  • Scores from Graduate Record Exam (GRE) or Miller Analogies Test (MAT)
  • Faculty interview

University of Illinois Springfield

Program Overview:

Program Requirements:

  • 61 credits
  • 3.0 GPA
  • Practicum
  • Internship
  • Comprehensive examination

Admission Requirements:

  • Three recommendation forms
  • Supervised written essay
  • Group interview
  • 3.0 undergraduate GPA

Western Illinois University

Program Overview:

Program Requirements:

  • 60 credits
  • C grade or lower limited to 6 semester hours
  • Practicum
  • Internship
  • Comprehensive examination

Admission Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 OR 3.25 or higher GPA for the last two years of undergraduate work
  • Three references
  • Official transcripts
  • Screening interview
  • Essay
  • Official scores on a Basic Skills Test (for school counseling applicants)

Wheaton College

Program Overview:

Program Requirements:

  • 60 credits
  • 2.8 GPA
  • Practicum
  • Internship
  • Comprehensive exit examination

Admission Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree from regionally accredited institution
  • 3.0 undergraduate GPA
  • Official transcripts
  • Online application form (contains three essays)
  • Four recommendations
  • Chronological resume
  • Faculty interview

Education and Other Requirements for Counseling Licensure in Illinois

If you want to become a counselor in Illinois, you may choose to become either a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) or a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC). 

Both licenses require a master’s degree or higher in counseling from an accredited college or university. The counseling degree program must include at least 48 semester hours, or two academic years, with at least one course in each of these crucial areas:

  • Human Growth & Development
  • Counseling Theory
  • Counseling Techniques
  • Group Dynamics, Processing, and Counseling
  • Appraisal of Individuals
  • Research and Evaluation
  • Professional, Legal, and Ethical Responsibilities relating to Professional Counseling, including Illinois Law
  • Social and Cultural foundations
  • Lifestyle and Career Development
  • Practicum/Internship
  • Psychopathology and Maladaptive Behavior
  • Substance Abuse
  • Family Dynamics

Your internship must include a one-year residency of 24 semester hours. For aspiring LCPCs, you’ll also need to complete two years of supervised clinical experience post-degree.

According to the Illinois General Assembly, for both licenses, you must pass either the National Counselors Examination (NCE) or the Certified Rehabilitation Counselor Examination (CRC)—depending on your career path. 

Finally, you will need to pay an application fee of $150 for either an LPC or an LCPC, followed by $60 every other year to renew your license.  LPCs and LCPCs may join the Illinois Counseling Association, a long-standing membership-based organization. 

Salary and Career Outlook for Counselors in Illinois

How much you may earn as a counselor in Illinois often depends on a variety of factors, namely specialization. 

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, (BLS), education, guidance, and career counselors (which includes school counselors) in Illinois make an average salary of $56,650 per year. 

Marriage and family therapists make $69,900 on average; rehabilitation counselors earned a salary of $42,130 in 2019; and substance abuse, behavioral disorder and mental health counselors took home annual earnings of $47,320 in 2019. All other types of counselors make about $41,430 on average. 

In the U.S. in general, jobs for substance abuse, behavioral disorder and mental health counselors are expected to grow by 25% from 2019 to 2029, according to the BLS. Jobs for marriage and family therapists are expected to rise by 22% during the same time period. By contrast, employment of rehabilitation counselors is projected to increase by 10%, still higher than the national average. Employment of school and career counselors is expected to increase 8% by 2029.

FAQs

So, what can you do with a counseling degree in Illinois? And what does the pay and job market look like? We’ve put together some common questions and answers for Illinois residents considering a career in the field.

What degree do I need to become a marriage and family therapist in Illinois?

To become a marriage and family therapist in Illinois, you will need a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy, psychology or a related field. You will also need to complete an internship and post-degree supervised clinical experience, and pass the National Counselors Examination (NCE) for licensure and certification (NCE).

How much do mental health therapists make in Illinois?

In Illinois, mental health therapists make about $47,320 annually, or $22.75 per hour, according to the BLS. In Chicago, mental health therapists make an average of $48,280. But those numbers are just averages. Mental health therapists may make more, and some might make much less.

What jobs can I get with a master’s degree in counseling in Illinois?

A master’s degree in counseling may help prepare you for a job as a school or career counselor, a marriage and family therapist, a mental health counselor, a substance abuse counselor, or a rehabilitation counselor. 

How much money can a counselor make in private practice in Illinois?

In private practice, the amount of money a counselor can make will likely depend on how many clients they take on and what area they specialize in. According to the BLS, in general, counselors may make anywhere from $20,000 to $75,000+. The average annual salary in Illinois for a counselor is between $40,000 and $70,000.

Is mental health counseling a good career in Illinois?

Only you can determine whether a career in mental health counseling is a good fit for you. If you enjoy providing emotional and psychological support to others, then you may find this career path to be a rewarding one. Of course, there are other factors to consider as you make a decision. Earning potential and job outlook are just two of them. Between 2020 and 2029, mental health counseling jobs are expected to grow by 25%, which is much faster than the average rate for all occupations.

What is the job outlook for school counselors in Illinois?

In the U.S., school counselor jobs are expected to grow 8% between 2019 and 2029. That number may rise as more students attend school, current school counselors retire and more colleges and universities open career centers. 

How much does a school counselor make with a master’s degree in Illinois?

In Illinois, school counselors make an average of $56,650 per year, or $27.24 per hour. In Chicago, they make an average of $58,860 per year, or $28.30 per hour. But there’s a wide range of salaries for school counselors. Across the U.S., that number ranges from around $34,000 to more than $96,000. 

Last updated: December 2020

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