Master of Counseling With No GRE Requirements

One of the most common testing requirements for students entering into master's-level programs is the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). This test is taken after your undergraduate degree is completed and can contribute to your acceptance into select colleges across the U.S.

Many students working toward enrollment into Master of Counseling programs
, however, may be on the hunt for programs that offer fast enrollment without the need for additional testing.

To ease entry requirements, in-person and online master’s in counseling programs with no GRE requirements can be found at multiple universities across the U.S. These universities offer mental health counseling coursework that will guide students to complete their master's programs to become mental health counselors.

Even without the GRE requirement, these higher education programs show students the methodology to assist patients with various human development steps to address mental illness. Students can achieve the same level of learning with an online master's degree as they could achieve with traditional on-campus education.

Numerous programs — particularly online counseling programs — are either providing GRE waivers or entirely removing the GRE requirement for all students applying for their Master of Counseling program to make the admissions process straightforward and easier.

Consider an online counseling program: Syracuse University’s CSWE-accredited online Master of Social Work program is preparing the next generation of social work leaders. Learn more.
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No GRE requirements allow some M.S. or M.A. in Counseling programs to base admissions requirements on your undergraduate degree, work experience within the counseling area, and recommendations, among other potential admissions requirements.

Students who are considering enrollment into Master of Counseling programs may be required to complete several different steps during the application and acceptance periods. Completing online courses for an undergraduate degree is one of the major components to getting accepted into these programs.

If you seek quick entry into these degree programs, added steps and testing requirements may not be pleasant news for you at this stage of your journey. Different schools have varying requirements for acceptance into their programs, with some requiring additional testing prior to your approval.

Suppose you are looking for online Master of Counseling programs without a GRE requirement currently available in the U.S. In that case, you should take the time to review the accreditation status of each option available. The CACREP is the leading accreditation agency for counseling degree programs leading to licensure and should be listed on the degree page of accredited programs.

Consider a Featured Online Counseling Program


☰ For detailed degree information, view the guides to:
Online CACREP Accredited programs | Online MPCAC Accredited programs

Consider a Featured Online Counseling Program

In the past, applicants seeking a graduate degree for career counseling must endure a lengthy and challenging application process for a graduate program with an accredited institution.

However, as more counseling master's programs look to increase affordability and accessibility, many graduate schools offer counseling programs that don’t require the GRE for their counseling degree.

Instead of relying on the strict GRE scores, many online programs open the door to career counselors by focusing the admission process on a candidate's undergraduate grade-point average (GPA), letters of recommendation, and personal goals for career development.

If you are looking to pursue a professional counseling career and have a strong undergraduate GPA, you should consider an online school counseling program with no GRE-required standard to meet.

GRE waivers are usually only allowed for applicants who show a strong undergraduate GPA, have a certificate in a related educational program, or already have their master's degree.

The Master of Counseling Degree

The Master of Counseling is a popular degree program that helps learners prepare for careers helping people in need. The curriculum for this degree program includes courses that can educate enrollees on the history of psychology and counseling, explore the fundamental topics of normal and abnormal mental health, and teach techniques for therapeutic intervention for clients in different age groups.

Typical Length

This program can take around two years to complete for most students, with the additional time needed after graduation for supervised clinical experience. Different colleges may have in-person experience requirements within their course list to help prepare students for their clinical experience, while other programs may be entirely online.

Typically, the GRE requirements (or lack thereof) do not affect the length of a graduate counseling degree.

Specialization Tracks

If you choose to enroll in the Master of Counseling program, you may have the option to pursue studies in different specializations. One of the most popular specialized paths for counseling learners is the clinical mental health discipline, leading to many different careers in the mental health field.

Alternative specialized paths include career counseling, marriage and family counseling, and school counseling. Adding specializations to your degree program can change your curriculum to include additional components for later success.

If you have already worked in a particular area of counseling, you might qualify for a specialization track that waives the GRE based on your work experience. Be sure to speak with the admissions representative for the programs you are considering.

Choosing a specialization at the onset of your program can help you create the perfect degree program from the very beginning. Students who have already completed a Master of Counseling program can add to the quality of their education by enrolling in post-master's certificate programs down the road.

What Is the GRE and Why Is It Sometimes Required?

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is a skill and knowledge test for graduates of undergraduate degree programs. Some colleges require those incoming students to complete this assessment before being approved into their graduate-level degree programs, making it an additional step on students’ educational path.

This exam tests students in areas including analytical writing, quantitative analysis, and verbal skills. After completing the exam, students are assigned a score based on their cumulative progress in each section.

Different colleges have different expectations for scores required for admissions. Colleges that have a higher admissions rate may utilize these test scores to determine which applicants are accepted into their programs.

With this added barrier to entry for some colleges, students may seek out counseling programs that don’t require the GRE for admissions. Multiple schools throughout the U.S. do not require the GRE for entry, many of which offer online flexible course options.

Admissions Requirements for No GRE Programs

Some universities can use the GRE as a method for further screening applicants for their programs. In college programs that do not utilize the GRE as a method for enrollment, students may need to provide documentation to support their previous achievements and degree programs prior to enrollment.

Typically, universities require that students provide proof of their undergraduate degree program and transcripts at the time of application. Students applying to universities with no GRE requirement may also be required to hold a minimum GPA of 3 or higher, depending on their enrollment.

Additional requirements may vary depending on the schools you are applying to. In some cases, schools may substitute graduate-level testing requirements with work experience, including a one- or two-year requirement for admissions.

Each school may have slightly different expectations for learners interested in applying to their programs. You should always review the requirements of each institution before submitting your final documentation.

Online CACREP Accredited Master’s in Counseling Options

In today’s educational setting, students may prefer the benefits of utilizing the internet during their learning experience. CACREP accredited online Master of Counseling programs with no GRE requirements can provide students with optimum flexibility and convenience from start to finish, which can be vital factors for busy adults with little free time to dedicate to education.

  • Northwestern University currently provides a CACREP-accredited online Master of Arts in Counseling to students interested in making a difference in the lives of others. This program can take 18-39 months to complete and prepare students for completing the National Counselors Examination.
  • The University of Denver also provides an online school counseling program with no GRE requirement. Its Master of Arts in School Counseling option can help you learn techniques appropriate for children needing guidance in school settings.

View counseling programs by state to find programs near you or view the online master’s in counseling programs.

Counseling Career Options

One of the most exciting aspects of counseling programs that don’t require a GRE is that they can lead to the same counseling careers as their GRE-requiring alternatives. The GRE does not designate the type of program you are permitted to participate in but simply acts as an admissions filter for higher-demand universities.

Before embarking on a counseling career, however, you must first obtain licensure. Online Master of Counseling programs can prepare you for the completion of the National Counselors Examination, which is a standard precursor for licensure in each state. Once you have graduated from your degree program, you can begin your supervised clinical experience that can last around two years for most participants. 

Career paths you can consider include:

Licensed Counselors

Licensed counselors can work for mental health agencies that provide care to a broad range of clients. 

Suppose you are interested in administering general counseling to the public. In that case, you could apply for a substance abuse counselor role in a hospital or private practice, work as a family therapist, or take on a host of other positions in the healthcare field. You could also go on to other specialized forms of clinical mental health counseling to assist patients with a wide range of mental health concerns. 

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), professional counselors (substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors) make an average salary of $47,660 per year as of May 2020. 

The BLS reports that the outlook for this field is strong, with employment of substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors expected to grow 25% from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average growth of all careers. The increasing focus on treatment for substance abuse instead of incarceration is a major factor in this growth.

School Counselors

Specialized career options in counseling can be found in the educational setting, with a large number of degree programs available to prepare learners for careers in school and career counseling, including online school counseling programs with no GRE requirement. 

In some areas, child and adolescent counselors can work in the school system (through group counseling, for example) as an added resource for students. According to the BLS, school and career counselors make an average salary of $58,120 per year as of May 2020. Roles for these counselors are expected to grow 8% from 2019 through 2019 as rising school enrollment necessitates more school counselors.

Military or Nonprofit Counseling

Counselors can be great tools for support in a wide variety of settings. As a licensed professional, you can work for other organizations that require counselors on staff during your career, including the military and even large nonprofits like the Red Cross.

Pursue Your Counselor Degree Without A GRE Requirement

Have you wanted to become a professional counselor, but struggle with standardized testing? The good news is that more universities than ever offer counseling programs that don’t require a GRE. Take time to discuss your options with your advisors to see if you are eligible for a GRE waiver today.

Master of Counseling with No GRE Requirements FAQs

Do I need to take the GRE to become a counselor?
No, several institutions offer counseling programs that don’t have a GRE requirement. 

How many hours is a master’s in counseling?
Several master’s in mental health counseling programs require students to complete 60 credit hours over two or three years. 

Is a master’s in counseling worth it?
Graduates who pursue professional counseling can launch their careers in a number of human services fields, and the demand for this profession is growing. 

Sources
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, School and Career Counselors
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors

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Counseling Career Guide

Still Looking for a Counseling Degree?

Here are some of the most popular online counseling programs. On each page you will find a detailed write-up of the program, specific courses, and schools that offer that program that are currently accepting applicants.


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