Master's Degrees in Counseling in Illinois

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Updated January 24, 2023

Looking for the best Master's Degree in Counseling in Illinois? You should consider these top-tier graduate programs and jobs in the counseling field.

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Master's Degrees in Counseling in Illinois

Earning a Master's Degree in Counseling in Illinois

The best degrees in Illinois for counseling can lead to improved career prospects and job satisfaction. Master's graduates are well-prepared to pursue a variety of careers. Master's degree-holders can also apply to doctoral programs.

Master's degree-holders earn approximately $1,574 per week, which translates to about $6,296 per month and $81,848 annually. With a master's degree, unemployment is at 2.6% versus 6.2% for those with a high school diploma.

Counseling Master's Programs for You

Working and Living in Illinois in the Counseling Profession

A counseling degree can provide individuals with the tools necessary to help others through difficult times in their lives. Common courses in a counseling program focus on topics such as human development, psychopathology, and treatment methods. Upon completing a counseling degree, graduates may find employment in a variety of settings, such as hospitals, schools, or private practices.

Illinois' median annual salary for all occupations is $46,630, or $22.42 an hour. The number includes a total of 5,618,830 employees in Illinois. On average, the lowest 10% of earners receive $24,470 annually, while the highest 10% earn $103,490. The following is a comparison of the wages for counselors in Illinois.

Key

Counselors in Illinois
Counselors Nationally
All Occupations in Illinois
All Occupations Nationally

Salaries for Counselors in Illinois and Nationwide

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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
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As stated by MERIC, Illinois ranks number 13 out of 51 states (including Washington, D.C.). There is a cost of living index that measures the average cost of living in specific states of the U.S. According to the U.S. average, all locations are either above (more expensive) or below (less expensive) that average. In comparison with the national average, Illinois' cost of living index is 91.4, which is -8.6% lower. Prospective students interested in relocating to Illinois can use the cost of living comparison to find the right fit for them.

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Source: Missouri Research and Information Center
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Jobs for counselors are projected to grow 8.9% in the next decade. There is a projected change from 54,300 counselors in 2020 to 59,200 in 2030 for the BLS. You need a master's degree to qualify for these positions.

Master's Degrees in Counseling in Illinois

#1 Master’s Degrees in Counseling in Illinois

Adler University

  • Chicago, IL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The master's in clinical mental health counseling at Adler University, located in Chicago, uses a flexible distance learning format. The program strengthens specialized skills, preparing graduates for leadership roles with a higher earning potential. A master's degree also helps candidates pursue new careers.

The curriculum emphasizes the best practices in mental health counseling. Learners focus their training by choosing electives based on their interests and career goals. The program recommends a background in counseling or a related field when applying.

Online enrollees gain hands-on experience during professional internships in their local area. Those who attend on campus can enjoy the common amenities and facilities available at most institutions, such as the library or gym. Degree-seekers also build professional connections through virtual networking events and other activities.

Adler University at a Glance:

Type of School: Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above

Admission Rate: Data not available

Total Online Master's Programs: 9

Program Name: Master's in clinical mental health counseling

Graduate Tuition In State: $35,888

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $35,888

Average Tuition
In-state
Not provided
Out-of-state
Not provided
Retention Rate
Not provided
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
1,726
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
31% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#2 Master’s Degrees in Counseling in Illinois

Chicago State University

  • Chicago, IL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Graduate students interested in a master's in counseling can earn their degree from Chicago State University, located in Chicago. The program encourages career training throughout its curriculum, preparing learners for leadership positions. A master's degree can also lead graduates to new career paths.

The curriculum examines theoretical and practical perspectives on counseling. Learners individualize the program to prepare for focused careers. Applicants who majored in counseling or a related field typically meet the admission requirements.

Online enrollees complete internship requirements at approved sites in their own community. Many institutions provide libraries and fitness centers for use by students living on campus. Internships and other networking events help degree-seekers expand their professional network.

Chicago State University at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, 4-year or above

Admission Rate: 63%

Total Online Master's Programs: 3

Program Name: Master's in counseling

Graduate Tuition In State: $5,850

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $11,340

Average Tuition
In-state
$7,488
Out-of-state
$7,488
Retention Rate
54%
Admission Rate
46%
Students Enrolled
2,644
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
46% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#3 Master’s Degrees in Counseling in Illinois

Eastern Illinois University

  • Charleston, IL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Located in Charleston, Eastern Illinois University offers an online master of science in counseling. The program encourages career training throughout its curriculum, preparing graduates for leadership positions. A master's degree can also lead graduates to new careers.

The master's curriculum explores advanced methodologies and research in counseling. Learners choose electives and concentrations to prepare for focused career paths. Applicants without a background in counseling may need to complete prerequisite courses before enrolling in the master's program.

Online enrollees participate in internship programs at approved locations in their local area. Common facilities and services offered at most universities, like the library or gymnasium, are accessible to students living on campus. The program encourages degree-seekers to expand their professional connections through internships and networking events.

Eastern Illinois University at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, 4-year or above

Admission Rate: 53%

Total Online Master's Programs: 15

Program Name: Master of science in counseling

Graduate Tuition In State: $7,356

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $17,654

Average Tuition
In-state
$9,036
Out-of-state
$11,231
Retention Rate
74%
Admission Rate
56%
Students Enrolled
8,626
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
63% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#4 Master’s Degrees in Counseling in Illinois

Illinois State University

  • Normal, IL
  • 4 years
  • Campus

The online master's in clinical counseling psychology at Illinois State University, located in Normal, prioritizes flexibility. The program uses a rigorous curriculum to prepare students for advanced roles in the field. Earning a master's degree can also help graduates pursue new career opportunities.

The curriculum incorporates theoretical and applied approaches to clinical counseling psychology. Learners often choose a specialized concentration, which can help them stand out in a competitive job market. Applicants with a background in counseling typically meet the admission requirements.

Online enrollees can often complete professional internships at approved locations in their own community. Those who attend on campus can enjoy the common amenities and facilities available at most institutions, such as the library or gym. Internships and other networking events help graduate students expand their professional network.

Illinois State University at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, 4-year or above

Admission Rate: 82%

Total Online Master's Programs: 5

Program Name: Master's in clinical counseling psychology

Graduate Tuition In State: $7,956

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $9,233

Average Tuition
In-state
$10,741
Out-of-state
$19,904
Retention Rate
84%
Admission Rate
81%
Students Enrolled
20,720
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
96% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#5 Master’s Degrees in Counseling in Illinois

McKendree University

  • Lebanon, IL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Degree-seekers interested in a master of arts in clinical mental health counseling can earn their degree from McKendree University, located in Lebanon. The program strengthens industry-specific skills, preparing enrollees for leadership responsibilities. A master's degree also helps graduates pursue new careers.

The curriculum blends theory and practice to provide an advanced understanding of clinical mental health counseling. Learners prepare for the job market by choosing a specialty through electives. Applicants without a counseling background may need to complete prerequisites.

Online enrollees coordinate with the program to complete internships at approved sites in their local area. Students who attend on campus can access the library and gym, as well as other amenities and facilities available at most institutions. The program encourages graduate students to attend networking events to expand their professional connections.

McKendree University at a Glance:

Type of School: Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above

Admission Rate: 63%

Total Online Master's Programs: 6

Program Name: Master of arts in clinical mental health counseling

Graduate Tuition In State: $9,522

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $9,522

Average Tuition
In-state
$31,100
Out-of-state
$31,100
Retention Rate
76%
Admission Rate
70%
Students Enrolled
2,200
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
28% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

Financing a Master's Degree in Counseling

There's a big need for financial aid to help pay for college. A scholarship, grant, fellowship, or work-study program is often a form of financial aid. The federal government may be able to assist some students in obtaining student loans. You should research the colleges you are interested in to find out if they offer scholarships or grants.

Checklist for Maximizing Your Financial Aid

Average Cost of Attending College in Illinois

In Illinois, the cost of attending college varies by institution. Are there any differences between the private and public sectors? Find out whether attending a public institution is right for you by reviewing the information below.

Public 4-Year School Tuition Rates: Illinois vs. National Average

Key

Illinois
National Average

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The chart has 1 Y axis displaying annual salaries in USD.
Source: National Center for Education Statistics
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Have you ever considered attending a private university? As a general rule, private schools charge more. Below you will find information regarding attending private colleges in Illinois.

Private 4-Year School Tuition Rates: Illinois vs. National Average

Key

Illinois
National Average

Chart

Bar chart with 5 bars.
The chart has 1 X axis displaying salary types.
The chart has 1 Y axis displaying annual salaries in USD.
Source: National Center for Education Statistics
End of interactive chart.

Federal Student Loan Information

Have you ever considered taking out student loans to pay for your education? You should keep a few things in mind before taking out a loan.

Find out what students typically borrow by reviewing the data below.

Undergraduate Federal Loans
Demographic Percent who borrowed Amount borrowed
Total 66.6% $27,400
Female 69.6% $28,100
Male 62.5% $26,500
White, not Hispanic or Latino 66.1% $26,700
Black, not Hispanic or Latino 85.7% $34,800
Hispanic or Latino/a, of any race 67.7% $25,700
Asian, not Hispanic or Latino 43% $22,700
Other or Two or more races, not Hispanic or Latino 70.4% $28,300
Source: NCES

Online vs. On-Campus

Pros and Cons: Online Degrees

Pros

  • Cheaper tuition
  • Flexible, asynchronous classwork
  • No on-campus fees for parking, tech, etc.

Cons

  • Less structure
  • Minimal peer-to-peer interaction
  • Less facetime with professor
  • No access to on-campus amenities

Pros and Cons: On-Campus Degrees

Pros

  • Gym, library, etc. access
  • Smaller class options
  • Face time with peers and professors

Cons

  • More expensive
  • Transportation or housing costs
  • Rigid scheduling
The main differences between online and on-campus programs include the class size and cost. There are numerous advantages to studying online, including flexibility, affordability, and convenience. On-campus programs tend to cost more, as student fees are optional for distance learners. Attending classes has its advantages as well.

Top Counseling Degree Options Available by State
State Degree Level
California Bachelors, Masters, phD
Florida Bachelors, Masters, phD
Georgia Bachelors, Masters, phD
Illinois Bachelors, phD
New York Bachelors, Masters, phD
North Carolina Bachelors, Masters, phD
Pennsylvania Bachelors, Masters, phD
Texas Bachelors, Masters, phD
Virginia Bachelors, Masters, phD
Washington Bachelors, Masters, phD

Private vs. Public

Private colleges and public colleges differ in many ways, which is to be noted. Generally, private colleges charge more than public colleges. A public institution's costs are determined by the government and are therefore covered by grants and scholarships sponsored by the state. As a result, private schools often offer merit scholarships to students with high academic performance.

The lower student-to-teacher ratio at private colleges allows students to receive more personal interaction with faculty. Listed below are some benefits and drawbacks of attending a private institution versus a public one.

Pros and Cons

Private

  • Unique program offerings
  • Cultural or religious options
  • Local prestige
  • Higher costs
  • Less regulatory oversight

Public

  • Government-issued tuition costs
  • Government funding, benefits, and regulation
  • Oftentimes large classrooms

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the salary for counselors in Illinois?

It has been reported that the mean annual salary for counselors in Illinois is $52,170.

Are counseling majors in a high-demand field?

The total number of counselors is projected to change by 8.9% from 2020 to 2030.

How can I study for a master's in counseling online?

A master's degree in counseling is possible to obtain online. There is no doubt that most schools in today's environment offer a certain amount of online instruction.

How long does it take to complete a master's degree?

Typically, a master's degree takes two years to complete for a full-time student. The completion time for part-time students will be longer.

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