Applying for counseling scholarships is the best way to afford the costly advanced mental health training required for professional licensure.
Whether you’re pursuing a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate degree, counseling associations nationwide have funding available to cut tuition.
Counseling programs are good investments because they unlock a plethora of healthcare and community service jobs. Graduates can become pediatric counselors, mental health specialists, marriage therapists, grief counselors, school counselors, addictions specialists, and more.
Overall, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that counseling jobs will grow faster-than-average by 19 percent through 2024.
The following scholarships for counseling majors can help you fulfill your vocational calling for helping others improve their lives.
1. AAC Behavioral Health Scholarships
Deadline: May 31st
Each year, the American Addiction Centers (AAC) awards one $5,000 and two $2,500 Behavioral Health Scholarships to students pursuing counseling, psychology, social work, marital therapy, or related majors full-time and part-time. Eligible undergraduate and graduate students must be attending accredited U.S. colleges, be at least 18 years old, and show interest in treating substance abuse disorders. Applications must include an 800-1,000 word essay suggesting solutions to key behavioral health issues.
AAC Behavioral Health Scholarships
200 Powell Place
Brentwood, TN 37027
2. AAMFT Diversity Scholarship
Deadline: January 22nd
The American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) offers several scholarships for counseling, including its Diversity Scholarship for Emerging Leaders. Valued at $3,000, this award is offered to ethnic minority students who are enrolled full-time or part-time in COMAFTE-accredited master’s marriage and family counseling programs in the United States to become licensed therapists. Graduate applicants must submit a current resume, two letters of reference, and a supervisor candidate verification form.
AAMFT Diversity Scholarship
112 South Alfred Street
Alexandria, VA 22314
3. Asa Hilliard III Black Education Scholarship
Named for a San Francisco State professor who devoted his career to promoting African-centered education, the Asa Hilliard III Black Education Scholarship is awarded by the Association for Multicultural Counseling and Development each year. To qualify, ACA members must be earning a master’s or doctoral degree in counseling full-time or part-time at an accredited U.S. institution. Nominees must write a 500-word essay that exhibits their dedication to serving individuals and communities of African descent.
Asa Hilliard III Black Education Scholarship
5999 Stevenson Avenue
Alexandria, VA 22304
(703) 823-9800 ext. 222
4. Betty W. Robbins Scholarships
Deadline: February 1st
Since 1962, the National Association of Junior Auxiliaries Inc. has awarded over $1.2 million in graduate counseling scholarships, including the $1,000 Betty W. Robbins Scholarships. United States citizens residing in Southeastern states with an NAJA chapter can apply. Eligibility criteria requires attending an accredited university to study counseling, psychology, rehabilitation, speech pathology, special education, or relevant fields for careers working directly with exceptional children.
Betty W. Robbins Scholarships
845 South Main Street
Greenville, MS 38701
5. Butch Barnes Scholarship Award
Deadline: April 1st
Created by the Arkansas Rehabilitation Association to honor a beloved vocational counselor who died suddenly, the Butch Barnes Scholarship Award presents $1,500 to full-time graduate students majoring in rehabilitation counseling. Qualified recipients must attend any in-state Arkansas university, take nine or more credits per semester, maintain a GPA above 3.0, show knowledge of the public vocational rehab program, submit three recommendations, and write a brief career goals statement.
Butch Barnes Scholarship Award
1 University of Arkansas
Fayetteville, AR 72701
6. Catharine Wilder Guiles Scholarship
Deadline: June 18th
Administered by the Maine Community Foundation, the Catharine Wilder Guiles Scholarship awards $2,000 yearly to outstanding graduate students who are pursuing mental health education in the University of Maine or University of Southern Maine systems. Acceptable majors include counseling, social work, psychiatric nursing, and psychology. Eligible Maine residents must be starting their second year, have unmet financial need, attend on-campus courses, and intend to work with mentally ill adults in Maine’s public sector.
Catharine Wilder Guiles Scholarship
245 Main Street
Ellsworth, ME 04605
7. Clinton E. Phillips Scholarship
Deadline: January 13th
Offering up to $4,000, the Clinton E. Phillips Scholarship is granted by the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT) to honor the California Family Study Center’s co-founder. Financial assistance is provided for earning an accredited master’s or doctoral degree in counseling, marriage and family therapy, or closely related mental health disciplines. Judges look for high academic achievement, active participation in community service, CAMFT membership, and potential for the LMFT profession.
Clinton E. Phillips Scholarship
7901 Raytheon Road
San Diego, CA 92111
8. Donald Mattson Graduate Scholarship
Deadline: May 23rd
Given to the Graduate Student of the Year, the $500 Donald Mattson Graduate Scholarship recognizes the extraordinary accomplishments of American Mental Health Counselors Association (AMHCA) members. Eligible nominees must be pursuing an accredited master’s program in clinical mental health counseling, attend a U.S. institution, carry a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0, and show significant contributions to the counseling field. Nomination packets must be sent with two recommendations to the state’s AMHCA chapter.
Donald Mattson Graduate Scholarship
675 North Washington Street Suite 470
Alexandria, VA 22314
9. Elk River College Scholarships
Deadline: April 29th
Ranging from $500 to $5,000 yearly, the Elk River College Scholarships are awarded each spring to junior, senior, or graduate students who are majoring in mental health-related fields full-time at accredited colleges in the United States. These counseling scholarships are ideal for aspiring addiction counselors, case managers, eating disorder therapists, family therapists, child psychologists, and more. Applicants must be U.S. residents who hold a minimum 3.0 GPA and demonstrate passion for helping others.
Elk River College Scholarships
500 Governors Drive SW
Huntsville, AL 35801
10. Haberman-Williams Graduate Scholarship
Deadline: May 1st
The Massachusetts Mental Health Counselors Association (MaMHCA) created the Haberman-Williams Graduate Scholarship to bestow $1,000 and free one-year membership to outstanding students pursuing graduate study in counseling, preferably clinical mental health. Interested applicants must reside in Massachusetts, attend a CACREP-accredited U.S. college, possess a minimum 3.4 GPA, exhibit community leadership, and be passionate about solving mental health issues. Annual conference fee waivers are included with the master’s counseling scholarships.
Haberman-Williams Graduate Scholarship
17 Cocasset Street
Foxboro, MA 020355
11. Harry and Susanne Clay Scholarship
Deadline: March 15th
Worth $2,000, the Harry and Susanne Clay Scholarship is presented annually by the Michigan School Counselor Association (MSCA) to students currently pursuing full-time study for a master’s, specialist, or doctoral degree in school counseling. Promising K-12 school counselors must be accepted into CACREP-accredited colleges, hold MSCA membership, have unmet need for tuition assistance, submit at least one letter of recommendation, and write a 500-word essay outlining their vision of school counseling.
Harry and Susanne Clay Scholarship
P.O. Box 158
Centreville, MI 49032
12. Jim Rhatigan Fellowship Scholarships
Deadline: February 12th
Annually, the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) gifts the Jim Rhatigan Fellowship Scholarships for $500 to four graduate scholars pursuing accredited master’s or doctoral degrees in student affairs counseling, admission counseling, or related higher education fields. Funding will include an NASPA Annual Conference trip. Eligible applicants must upload an original two to three-minute video to YouTube discussing a hot topic in college education.
Jim Rhatigan Fellowship Scholarships
111 K Street NE, 10th Floor
Washington, D.C. 20002
13. Josie Torralba Romero Scholarship
Deadline: June 1st
In memory of a social welfare advocate who passed away in 2004, the National Latino Behavioral Health Association (NLBHA) created the Josie Torralba Romero Scholarship, which gifts $1,000 each year. Eligible Latino/as must be New Mexico residents, attend an accredited in-state college full-time, demonstrate financial need, and complete 24+ hours of volunteer service. Preference is given to undergraduates pursuing degrees in counseling, social work, human services, or related majors with a 3.0 GPA.
Josie Torralba Romero Scholarship
1155 University Blvd. SE
Albuquerque, NM 87106
14. Marge Tierney Scholarship Fund
Deadline: June 1st
Through the New York State Education Department (NYSED), the Marge Tierney Scholarship Fund distributes $1,000 per year to qualified individuals who are enrolling full-time or part-time in an accredited master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling. Eligible NYS residents are evaluated based on their commitment to helping disabled adolescents or adults cope with impairment, live independently, and find gainful employment. Preference is given to applicants with diagnosed disabilities.
Marge Tierney Scholarship Fund
89 Washington Avenue
Albany, NY 12234
15. Marie C. Quinn Memorial Scholarship
Deadline: March 15th
Another of the New York counseling scholarships is the Marie C. Quinn Memorial Scholarship, which grants a maximum of $4,000 to members of the Nassau Counselors Association (NCA). To apply, candidates must be enrolled at least half-time in accredited master’s counseling programs, have completed 12 or more graduate credits, show academic merit, and plan to obtain counseling licensure. Studying, interning, or residing in Long Island’s Nassau Country is mandatory.
Marie C. Quinn Memorial Scholarship
163 Hagedorn Hall – Hofstra University
Hempstead, NY 11549
16. Mike Troy Graduate Scholarship
Deadline: November 1st
Members of the Wisconsin School Counselor Association (WSCA) gain access to the $1,000 Mike Troy Graduate Scholarship to fund tuition at any accredited, in-state university. Two eligible applicants who are pursuing master’s degrees in school counseling are chosen each winter. Along with the online application, candidates must provide a resume, unofficial transcript, faculty letter of recommendation, goals statement, and one-page essay showing their promise as culturally competent, ethical counselors.
Mike Troy Graduate Scholarship
2820 Walton Commons Suite 103
Madison, WI 53718
17. NBCC Minority Fellowship Program
Deadline: November 15th
Graduate scholarships for counseling abound in the National Board for Certified Counselors’ (NBCC) Foundation, such as the Minority Fellowship Program. This $5,000 award is granted to African American, Native American, Asian, and Hispanic students who are enrolled full-time in CACREP-accredited counseling programs to fulfill NCC certification requirements. Recipients must commit to providing mental health or addictions services to underserved minority populations for at least two years post-graduation.
NBCC Minority Fellowship Program
3 Terrace Way
Greensboro, NC 27403
18. Richard Louis Caplan Memorial Scholarship
Deadline: April 1st
The National Resource Center for Hispanic Mental Health (NRCHMH) sponsors the Richard Louis Caplan Memorial Scholarship to support master’s or doctoral students earning degrees in mental health disciplines, including counseling and therapy. Eligible applicants must be Maryland residents, have U.S. citizenship or legal residency, maintain a cumulative GPA above 3.0, earn adjusted gross income under $91,000, and be dedicated to clinical practice with patients suffering from personality disorders.
Richard Louis Caplan Memorial Scholarship
3575 Quakerbridge Road
Mercerville, NJ 08619
19. The Melanie Foundation Scholarship
Deadline: March 4th
Presented for $2,500 annually, The Melanie Foundation Scholarship has honored the life of Melanie Merola O’Donnell since 2006. Qualified candidates must be pursuing a master’s or doctoral degree in the mental health field, such as counseling or psychology, from a United States college with specialized accreditation. Selection is based on students’ extra-curricular involvement, research, academic merit, letters of recommendation, and dedication to relieving suffering from mental illness.
The Melanie Foundation Scholarship
245 Washington Street Suite 4666
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866
20. William L. White Scholarship Award
Deadline: May 31st
The National Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors (NAADAC) awards the William L. White Scholarship Award annually to provide $1,000 to undergraduates and $2,00 to graduate students who plan careers in addiction counseling. Successful applicants will attend NAADAC-approved college programs, have at least two semesters remaining, maintain a minimum 2.7 GPA, and have current student membership. The application process includes submitting an APA-style research paper on recovery-oriented care.
William L. White Scholarship Award
44 Canal Center Plaza Suite 301
Alexandria, VA 22314
Counselors are compassionate, intuitive professionals with the creative problem-solving skills to help clients overcome obstacles. However, one obstacle standing in most counselors’ way is affording rising graduate tuition. The NCES reports that master’s and doctoral programs cost $16,435 each year on average. Scholarships can be an excellent solution because they’re free and typically don’t come with spending constraints. Getting your hands on scholarships can also boost your ROI since the average counseling salary is only $44,052 according to PayScale. Market yourself for some of these great counseling scholarships to make your entry into this gratifying career more affordable.