Counseling Degrees

Choose a Career in Helping Others

Choosing a career that is in service to others is a noble aspiration. When you pursue a counseling degree, you are dedicating yourself to be a bridge that helps others create lives with enduring transformation. If you are passionate about helping others successfully navigate life’s trials and hardships, GCU offers counseling degree programs to start you on your service journey.


Estimated new job openings for substance abuse, behavioral disorder and mental health counselors from 2022 to 20321


Approximate number of school and career counseling jobs in the U.S. in 20222

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50% of U.S. adults ages 18-24 reported a mental illness in 2023.3

Earn your counseling degree to help make a difference in the lives of others.

Learn Critical Skills That Help Make a Difference

As a counseling major at GCU, you will thoroughly examine evidenced-based theories and practical applications of counseling. Additionally, you will be trained to develop core competencies and skills necessary for counselors, including:

  • Critical thinking
  • Serving diverse populations
  • Assessing mental and emotional status of clients
  • Ethical decision-making
  • Awareness of social and cultural trends
  • Understanding of legal and counseling practice standards

Counseling Programs From an Institutionally Accredited University

Female counselor meeting in-person with client for session

GCU is an institutionally accredited university, offering campus and online counseling degree programs for undergraduate and graduate-level studies. As a student at GCU, you can be sure you’re receiving a quality education led by knowledgeable faculty in their respective fields.

Explore Your Options for Campus, Evening and Online Counseling Degrees

Whether you are a high school student or a working professional, our degrees offer flexible formats designed to help you reach your education and career goals while achieving optimal school-life balance.

If you prefer to earn your degree in person, GCU offers select counseling degrees on campus or through our evening degree program.

GCU’s Commitment to Affordable Education

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While pursuing one of GCU's counseling programs, you can be assured of our commitment to providing high-achieving students with access to an affordable private education. Financing your education is a big investment in your future, so let GCU help you plan for it with these convenient cost-estimating tools and resources:

Discover Available Counseling Degree Programs at GCU

GCU offers degrees in counseling at the bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral levels. If you are looking to build upon your knowledge and skills in a particular area of counseling, see GCU’s available counseling certificate programs.


Bachelor’s Degrees in Counseling

Female and male bachelor's counseling program students smiling on GCU's campus

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Counseling Master’s Degrees

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Doctorate in Counseling Programs

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Counseling Certificate Programs

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Career Pathways for Counseling Degree Graduates

While a bachelor’s in counseling may qualify you to pursue certain professional credentials, many counseling majors choose to build on their foundational skills by pursuing an advanced degree in counseling. Earning a graduate-level degree is required for those interested in clinical counseling or any counseling position that requires licensure or certification.4

GCU’s online counseling degrees at the graduate level allow you to specialize based on your personal and professional interests. Counseling degree emphases are offered in school counseling, substance use and addictive disorders, childhood and adolescence disorders, marriage and family therapy and trauma.

  • Mental health counselors
  • Marriage and family therapists
  • Substance abuse counselors
  • Behavioral disorder counselors
  • Postsecondary psychology or health specialties teachers
  • Educational, guidance or career counselors

FAQs for Counseling Degree Programs

Learn more about GCU's counseling programs with our answers to these common questions.

GCU’s bachelor’s in counseling degree requires 120 credits to completion. On-campus courses are generally 15 weeks long and courses for the online counseling degrees are about seven weeks.

Earning a graduate degree in counseling can provide you with advanced knowledge and skills needed for many roles in this helping profession. If you want to specialize, it is important to know your area of interest so you can choose the best counseling degree for you.

Emphasis programs are available in school counseling, child and adolescence disorders, trauma, marriage and family therapy and addiction disorders. Many careers in counseling require licensure or certification so be sure to do your research to ensure your degree program meets the prerequisites for the exams and credentials.4

Yes, you can get a master’s in counseling degree online at GCU. All our graduate-level counseling degrees are designed for the working professional to pursue education with some flexibility. GCU’s online degrees are taught by knowledgeable faculty and meet the quality standards for higher education.

Although the education required or preferred may vary by position, state or employer, counselors typically need, at minimum, a bachelor’s degree. Mental health counselors typically need a master's degree, and all states require mental health counselors to be licensed.4 For requirements into GCU counseling degree and certificate programs, visit our admissions page.

An online counseling degree from an accredited university will meet the high standards of the accrediting body, speaking to the quality of both the university and its academic programs. GCU has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission since 1968.

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1 COVID-19 has adversely affected the global economy and data from 2020 to 2022 may be atypical compared to prior years. Accordingly, data shown is effective September 2023, which can be found here: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors, retrieved on Feb. 16, 2024.

2 COVID-19 has adversely affected the global economy and data from 2020 to 2022 may be atypical compared to prior years. Accordingly, data shown is effective September 2023, which can be found here: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, School and Career Counselors, retrieved on Feb. 16, 2024.

3 American Psychological Association. (2023, Nov. 1). Stress in America 2023: A Nation Grappling With Psychological Impacts of Collective Trauma. Retrieved on Feb. 16, 2024.

4 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2023, Sept. 6). How to Become a Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, or Mental Health Counselor. Retrieved on Feb. 16, 2024.

Grand Canyon University’s evening and online counseling degrees can offer the flexibility you need, while providing a quality education in the counseling profession.