The Counseling Services Programs at Rider University provides graduate level training in Clinical Mental Health, School Counseling and Educational Specialist in Counseling Services.

The counseling services faculty is committed to preparing students to enter the counseling field with strong counseling skills and a deep knowledge base. The Master's Degree programs are accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).

All degree and certification programs are:

  • student centered, 
  • flexible to meet adult learning needs and schedules, 
  • provide cutting-edge philosophy and practice in schools and agencies, and 
  • staffed by supportive faculty who mentor students. 

What makes our counseling programs special?
Faculty’s focus on wellness counseling and positive psychology, with emphasis on clients’ strengths, rather than on deficits.

Degrees Offered

Master's of Arts Degree in Counseling Services, School Counseling Option
This 48-credit program prepares students to be certified as a school counselor in elementary and secondary public and private schools. The program’s emphasis is on developmental counseling. Accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), the program has been approved for certification by the New Jersey State Board of Education and meets the certification requirements in most other states; and meets the core requirements of the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC). Students may take two additional courses to also qualify for the Student Assistance Coordinator (SAC) Certificate.

Master's of Arts Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling
This 60-credit program prepares candidates for counseling positions in mental health agencies, hospitals, industry, and private practice. The program is accredited under the 2001 CACREP standards and meets the academic requirements for licensure as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in New Jersey and Pennsylvania and most other states; and for certification as a National Certified Counselor (NCC) and Approved Clinical Supervisor (ACS). Students may take additional courses to also qualify for the Student Assistance Coordinator (SAC) Certificate.

Educational Specialist Degree in Counseling Services 
The Educational Specialist (Ed.S), a 66-credit terminal degree beyond the master’s level, provides advanced training for professional counselors in the expanding demands of their profession. The program provides opportunities for those seeking a career change, specialization in a specific area, and broadening skill development. Certificate programs may be incorporated into student’s plan of study.

Counseling Services at Rider offers three New Jersey certification programs: School Counselor, Director of School Counseling Services, and Student Assistance Coordinator. At this time, admission is limited to currently enrolled students in or graduates of the Master’s Degree or Educational Specialist Degree in Counseling Services. For certification programs, you will need a graduate degree in counseling or related field. Current MA Counseling students may complete the Rider University Student Assistance Coordinator certificate requirements while enrolled in their MA program.

School Counselor Certificate Program
The 48-credit program meets the certification requirements in New Jersey and most other states. Students are responsible for applying directly to states other than New Jersey for certification. Admission is limited.

Director of Counseling Services
The program is designed for school counselors who wish to be certified as director of counseling services.  The applicant’s academic and experience background are assessed in terms of state certification requirements. Admission is limited.

Life and Career Coaching
The Life Coaching and Career certificate program at Rider University is designed to meet the educational requirements for certification as a Board Certified Coach through the Center for Credentialing and Education, Inc. There are three pathways to completion of required coursework, depending on your educational background. 

Student Assistance Coordinator
The Rider University Student Assistance Coordinator (SAC) Certificate is an approved program by the New Jersey Department of Education. This certificate is comprised of 21 semester hours. This Rider SAC certificate qualifies students to apply for the Student Assistance Coordinator Certificate of Eligibility with Advanced Standing (SAC CEAS) in New Jersey, which is supplied by the NJ Department of Education. Admission is limited.


Each year, Rider student performance on both the National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification (NCE) and the National Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Exam (CPCE) has consistently been above the national average.

Program Evaluation Report: The Counseling Services Program is committed to preparing students to enter the counseling field with strong counseling skills and a deep knowledge base. In order to evaluate the effectiveness of the program, we regularly survey our students, graduates, site supervisors, and employers of our alumni. The objectives on the survey are the competencies that are prescribed by the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) and the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Educational Related Programs (CACREP). Since 2000, we have conducted evaluations each year. Our overall ratings for the objectives have been above average to excellent. These results indicate that the Counseling Services Master’s Degree Program has provided graduates with the philosophy, knowledge, competency, and self-awareness that will enable them to function effectively as professional counselors. Even though we are proud of our students and program, we continually revise the program to keep current with the CACREP standards and licensure and certification requirements. (For a copy of the evaluation report, contact the Director of Counseling Services – 609-896-5353.)

Graduates seeking to pursue advanced studies have consistently been accepted into a variety of doctoral programs and earn doctorates.

Graduates have careers in a variety of settings and have been employed as: School Counselors in grades K-12; Directors of School Counseling Programs in grades K-12; Licensed Professional Counselors (LPC) in community agencies, hospitals, and private practice; Licensed Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counselors (LCADC) in drug rehabilitation programs; Certified Student Assistance Coordinators in elementary and high schools; Counselors and other professionals in colleges and universities; Faculty in colleges and universities; Counselors in college and university counseling centers; Authors

Program Data on Completion and Examination Pass Rate