Master's Degrees in Counseling in Virginia

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Updated January 24, 2023

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

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Master's Degrees in Counseling in Virginia

Earning a Master's Degree in Counseling in Virginia

Ideally, the best counseling degree in Virginia is one that prepares you for a career in this growing, in-demand field. Master's degrees are designed to provide enrollees the skills they need to move forward in their careers. These programs can open doors for employment in a variety of fields.

Those with a master's degree face a significantly lower unemployment rate than their peers with fewer educational credentials: 2.6% unemployment, compared to the 6.2% unemployment rate for people with only a high school diploma.

Counseling Master's Programs for You

Working and Living in Virginia in the Counseling Profession

A counseling degree can provide the skills and knowledge necessary to work in a number of settings, including mental health centers, schools, and private practices. Common courses covered in a counseling degree program include human development, psychopathology, and counseling theories and techniques. A degree in counseling can lead to jobs such as school counselor, mental health counselor, and substance abuse counselor.

Virginia's median annual salary for all occupations is $47,200, or $22.69 an hour. The lowest 10% of earners in the U.S. earn an average $23,190 per year, while the highest 10% of earners make an average salary of around $125,820, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). For counselors in Virginia, the following data is a comparison:

Key

Counselors in Virginia
Counselors Nationally
All Occupations in Virginia
All Occupations Nationally

Salaries for Counselors in Virginia and Nationwide

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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
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MERIC ranks Virginia 15th out of 51 states (including Washington, D.C.) on its cost of living index. This index measures the national average cost of living against specific states. The U.S. average is scored as 100, so all locations are either above average (more expensive) or below average (less expensive). Virginia's cost of living index is 103.2, 3.2% higher than the national average. Listed below are a few comparisons between national average prices and Virginia-specific prices for cost of living factors like groceries, housing, and utilities.

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Source: Missouri Research and Information Center
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Total employment for counselors is projected to grow by 8.9%. The BLS projects total positions will rise from 54,300 in 2020 to 59,200 in 2030. These positions typically require a master's degree. Typical job titles include:

Master's Degrees in Counseling in Virginia

#1 Master’s Degrees in Counseling in Virginia

Liberty University

  • Lynchburg, VA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Located in Lynchburg, Liberty University enrolls master's students in its top-ranked online master's in family and marriage therapy program. The rigorous curriculum prepares enrollees for leadership responsibilities. After completing a master's degree, graduates can pursue career advancement in their current field or a new one.

The curriculum explores research and methodologies in family and marriage therapy. Learners individualize the program to prepare for focused careers. Applicants without a degree in counseling or a related field may need to meet prerequisite requirements.

Online enrollees complete local internships to gain real-world experience. Those who attend on campus can enjoy the common amenities and facilities available at most institutions, such as the library or gym. The program encourages degree-seekers to participate in hands-on experiences and networking events to grow their professional connections.

Liberty University at a Glance:

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

Admission Rate: 51%

Total Online Master's Programs: 67

Program Name: Master's in marriage and family therapy

Graduate Tuition In State: $7,980

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $7,980

Average Tuition
In-state
$14,791
Out-of-state
$14,791
Retention Rate
81%
Admission Rate
50%
Students Enrolled
93,349
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
93% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Financing a Master's Degree in Counseling

Financial aid, including scholarships and fellowships, helps students lower the cost of their degree. Learners may also be eligible for federal and private student loans. Research counseling degree-specific financial aid to learn what options may be available to you.

Checklist for Maximizing Your Financial Aid:

Average Cost of Attending College in Virginia

Depending on the institution, tuition and other costs in Virginia vary. Although public and private institutions have some differences, there are some commonalities as well. The information below will assist you in determining whether attending a public institution is the right choice for you.

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

Key

Virginia
National Average

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Source: National Center for Education Statistics
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How about attending a private school instead of a public one? Private colleges and universities typically charge higher tuition than public schools. Here is a graph that shows the benefits of attending private institutions in Virginia.

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

Key

Virginia
National Average

Chart

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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
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Federal Student Loan Information

Are you considering borrowing student loans to finance your education? When considering a loan, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Take a look at the following data to determine what students typically borrow.

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 primary differences between an online degree and a degree completed on campus are tuition and average class size. Degree programs offered online have numerous advantages, including their flexibility, affordability, and convenience. On-campus degrees are typically more costly on average because of student fees. There are, however, advantages to attending classes in person, including face-to-face interaction with peers and faculty.

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

Private vs. Public

Public and private colleges differ in numerous ways. First, tuition costs vary depending on whether you select a public or private school. The cost of education at a public college can be offset by research grants and scholarships to assist with the cost. For students with high GPAs and standardized test scores, institutions usually offer merit scholarships.

Private schools usually maintain smaller class sizes, allowing students to connect with professors directly. A comparison of the pros and cons of attending a public versus a private institution is offered below.

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 are the wages for counselors in Virginia?

Virginia counselors make a mean annual salary of $43,320.

Are occupations for counseling graduates in high demand?

The total number of counselors is projected to grow 8.9% from 2020 to 2030, signifying continuing demand.

Are online counseling degrees available?

It is possible to obtain an online master's degree in counseling. Many schools offer distance learning options.

For those who wish to complete a master's degree, how long does it take?

It normally takes two years to complete a full-time master's degree. However, the time required to finish a program varies by student.

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