@Anon48727: It can be difficult, but there are some objective criteria to help you narrow down your search. First, if you'd like to become a licensed counselor (LPC), meaning you have a license to practice for a given state, then you need to enroll in a program that states explicitly that their curriculum provides you with the courses required for a person to be qualified to even take the state licensure exam. Not all masters in psychology or counseling do this.
Also, it's important to remember that the course requirements vary from state to state. So if you get your masters in one state, but you move afterward and want to get your license in another state, they may tell you that you are still missing certain credits and until you get them, you cannot take the test for licensure.
A good starting point is the CACREP website. This is a council that accredits providers who apply for accreditation. Meaning, if you go to one of these schools, the curriculum is guaranteed to be what is required for taking the state exam. Although this is a great starting point, there are still many good programs which aren't accredited, which may not be because they are inefficient or lacking, but simply because they didn't apply for accreditation.
However, lots of these non-accredited schools still provide the necessary curriculum needed for taking the state license exam. These schools will typically tell you this on their website about their program. These schools are often just as good as the CACREP accredited ones. To find those schools, you really need to narrow down by location- where you want to be doing your masters. If it's in South Carolina, then look up "south carolina universities" and go to each school's web page and see what masters programs they offer.
Also, note that the "counseling" degrees vary in their title, and which department they are located in, depending on the university. Some may be in the psychology department, while many are in the education department and under "counselor education." Some are titled as M.A.'s or M.S.'s in mental health counseling, while some are called community counseling, while some are called clinical psychology. So if you don't find the program right away, make sure to look in other departments. Also, look at the curriculum and make sure that the classes sound interesting to you. Do they require a thesis? If so, do you want to do a thesis? Consider those things as well.
If you want to specialize in something other than mental health or community counseling, such as addictions or marriage and family therapy, you do the same process as I described above. Also, CACREP accredits programs in marriage and family counseling and i believe substance abuse, so you can use that website as a starting point as well.
I know it feels stressful and like looking for a needle in haystack, but I hope those points help you out. Also, although it's nice to have the CACREP accreditation, its not nearly as necessary or meaningful as it is for doctoral programs to be accredited by APA. Just as long as the program gives you the necessary curriculum, the CACREP isn't needed. If you're unsure, just contact someone from the department and ask them flat out. They will be honest with you! Good luck! --Danielle