Counseling Services Programs

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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 (CMHC)

This 60-credit program prepares candidates for counseling and/or dance/movement therapy positions in mental health agencies, hospitals, industry, and private practice. The program is accredited under the 2009 CACREP standards. There are two curriculum concentrations, both of which meet the educational requirements for licensure as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in New Jersey and Pennsylvania and most other states; for certification as a National Certified Counselor (NCC) and for certification as a Board Certified Coach (BCC).

The CMHC curriculum concentrations are:

Clinical Mental Health Counseling
This concentration prepares students for practice in a wide range of clinical mental health settings, including hospitals, clinics, inpatient settings, and substance abuse treatment facilities. Students who complete this concentration also will have met the academic requirements for Licensed Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LCADC) and Approved Clinical Supervisor (ACS). Students may also take additional courses to qualify for the Student Assistance Coordinator (SAC) Certificate.

Dance/Movement Therapy
This concentration requires pre-requisite knowledge and skill in dance and will prepare students for work using movement as a therapeutic modality in a variety of settings including schools, nursing homes, hospitals, and clinics. Students in this concentration will have met the educational requirements for the entry level credential as a registered dance/movement therapist (R-DMT).

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.

Accelerated Programs


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.

  • 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.