Best Online Master’s in Counseling Programs

Counseling is a rewarding field — but you’ll need more than a bachelor’s degree in order to qualify for most professional counseling positions. An online master’s degree in counseling will prepare you for most counseling jobs, and the flexible format inherent in web-based learning will allow you to continue working in your current job while you study. If you have completed a bachelor’s degree in counseling or a related field and plan to continue your education, then you may be an excellent candidate for an online master’s in counseling program.

Jobs for marriage and family counselors are expected to grow by 19% through 2024, but require a master’s degree as part of accreditation.

Online counseling master’s programs are designed to build on the skills and knowledge you developed as an undergrad. The curriculum focuses on theoretical approaches to counseling, along with case studies and research-based evidence. Many counseling master’s degree programs allow students to specialize in areas like substance abuse counseling, mental health counseling, or school counseling. These programs typically require students to engage in supervised, hands-on training as part of a practicum course or worksite-based internship.

Learn more about what you can do with a master’s degree in counseling and what kind of career opportunities you can look forward to with this comprehensive guide.

WILL AN ONLINE MASTER’S IN COUNSELING PROGRAM PROVIDE ME WITH THE SKILLS I NEED TO ADVANCE MY CAREER?

A master’s degree is widely viewed as the minimum educational requirement for a career in professional counseling. Some career paths require additional training. Mental health counselors, for instance, must complete between 2,000 and 4,000 hours of supervised post-degree clinical experience and sit for a licensure exam in order to practice in any U.S. state. School counselors are also required to obtain a state-issued certification. The best master’s in counseling online programs are designed to not only advance your training as a counselor, but also prepare you for the post-degree requirements associated with your specialization.

WILL AN ONLINE MASTER’S IN COUNSELING WORK WITH MY SCHEDULE?

Online degree programs offer a convenient alternative to traditional brick-and-mortar education. Interactive software allows you to access course readings and lectures, turn in written assignments, take exams, and communicate with your professors on your own time from the comfort of your home. Additionally, the latest technology allows you to study on-the-go using a laptop, tablet, smartphone, or other portable device. You can also work with master’s program officials to find practicum or internship opportunities near your residence. This flexible format is especially convenient for students who must juggle other commitments while in school, such as employment or childcare.

WHAT JOBS CAN I GET WITH MY MASTER’S IN COUNSELING?

Earning your master’s in counseling degree is the best way to advance your career in this competitive field. A master’s will be required to pursue licensure in areas like mental health counseling and school counseling. An advanced degree can also boost your job prospects in industries where a master’s isn’t strictly required for licensure, such as substance abuse counseling.

WHAT ARE THE BEST ONLINE MASTER’S IN COUNSELING PROGRAMS?

Choosing a master’s degree in counseling online program is a very personal decision, and only you can properly evaluate whether a target school’s strengths match your educational needs. The following ranked list of schools should serve as a helpful starting point in your search for the best online counseling master’s programs in the United States. Our ranking is based on the courses schools offer, available specializations, student outcomes, career support services, and other criteria used to determine academic excellence. If you are considering an online master’s in counseling, be sure to contact admissions specialists at different colleges and universities to learn more their about specific requirements and offerings. Please note that the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) is the official accreditation body for counseling degree programs; students are urged to stay away from master’s programs that are not accredited by the CACREP.

Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost % Enrolled Online Location Description
1Northwestern University76.114/5N/AIL

Northwestern offers an online master's degree in counseling, with an optional child and adolescent specialization. Though the majority of coursework can be completed online, the university incorporates a hands-on approach, requiring clinical field placement, and unique immersion experiences in addition to distance learning. Courses are accessed through a virtual learning platform called 2U, which also provides access to online student resources including tech support, networking opportunities, clinical placement assistance, and other services provided by the student support team. Curriculum is designed to be comprehensive in the online MA in counseling, centered on in-depth exploration of primary functions of mental health professionals, including understanding the psychodynamic perspective and the central purpose of the therapeutic relationship. A typical program for full-time students encompasses 24 courses, as well as a practicum and internship, completed over the course of six consecutive semesters.

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2Amberton University72.992/5N/AGarland, TX

Amberton offers an online MA in Christian counseling. The master's in counseling online at Amberton is designed to train counselors to build and maintain therapeutic relationships with a variety of client types within a spiritual context. Distance students can take advantage of a comprehensive network of online support resources, including academic, personal, and financial advising, as well as electronic library and bookstore access. The program comprises 36 credit hours in a combination of required graduate studies, core and major requirements, and counseling electives. Students must complete a practicum in Christian counseling to satisfy major requirements in this major. Although the degree does not lead to licensure, the university does offer a separate MA in professional counseling for those seeking professional credentials to practice in the state of Texas. Extensive financial aid assistance is available to online students.

Distance learning courses are accessed through Amberton’s eCourse portal. Students complete one graduate studies course, along with five major-based courses, four counseling electives, and six hours worth of human behavioral and development electives. Coursework includes Christian counseling, family life ministry, and counseling ethics. A minimum GPA of 3.0 is required to earn the degree. Amberton offers multiple payment plans, and students can opt to pay for courses as they take them rather than all up-front.

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3Touro University Worldwide67.193/572.73%Los Alamitos, CA

Touro University Worldwide offers an online master's in counseling in marriage and family therapy in several track options: non-clinical, clinical, and Licensed Professional Clinical Counseling (LPCC.) The program focuses on exploring interpersonal relationships between couples and families and providing systematic treatment options for issues they are experiencing in the here-and-now. Courses are accessed through Blackboard. The Student Success Center provides access to advisement services, career counseling and orientation courses and training online. The non-clinical program does not include clinical or practicum hours, though the clinical and LPCC programs require practicum coursework, on-site clinical hours, and practicum hours to complete the degree. The university offers the same set-rate for tuition per credit to all students, regardless of geographic location.

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4Nova Southeastern University66.814/528.26%Fort Lauderdale, FL

NSU offers a master of science (MS) in counseling in four specializations: mental health counseling, substance abuse counseling and education, applied behavior analysis, and advanced applied behavior analysis. Depending on their specialization, students can expect to complete between 45 and 60 credits in a combination of core, practicum, and internship courses. Courses are accessed through the SREB electronic campus, providing support through resources including collaborative chat rooms and discussion boards and online research tools. Core coursework in the master's degree in counseling online is universal for all specializations within the counseling major and is designed to provide a broad overview of diverse therapy styles and demographics. Major courses explore psychological testing methods, adult psychopathology, and ethical and legal issues, among other topics. The same set-rate tuition prices per credit are offered to in- and out-of-state NSU students.

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5Liberty University64.314/546.81%Lynchburg, VA

Liberty offers a master of arts (MA) in marriage and family therapy. The online counseling master's degree is designed to emphasize a faith-based approach to the clinical practice of couples and family counseling and the ethical and legal issues therein. Courses are accessed through Blackboard. The exclusive MyLU portal also provides access to academic advising opportunities, Webinars, career planning services, and more. Online students who are local may want to browse the university's Online Student Life page, offering a schedule of on-campus events geared towards the online student community. The program may lead to licensure as a marriage and family therapist (MFT) in most states. Students must satisfy 60 credit hours, including an internship, practicum, and five on-campus intensives, to complete the degree.

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6Seton Hall University59.744/513.07%South Orange, NJ

Seton Hall offers a variety of online master's programs in counseling, including an MA or educational specialist (EdS) degree in professional counseling. The university also offers an online MA in school counseling through its renowned Department of Psychology and Family Therapy. Courses can be accessed through the school's PirateNet portal. Support services for online learning include 24/7 tech support, virtual Webinars and training labs, and even a Seton Hall mobile app. The 60-credit program comprises 20 courses over 10 semesters, and requires two on-site residencies during the course of the degree. Students in the MA program are also required to complete a practicum, a two-part internship, and a capstone project. EdS candidates must complete 12 additional courses, including a third internship, to graduate. Online students may apply for scholarships created specifically for counseling programs through Seton Hall's College of Education and Human Services.

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7Concordia University – Wisconsin57.764/532.87%Mequon, WI

Concordia University-Wisconsin offers an online master's degree in counseling in several study tracks: school licensure, professional licensure, and substance abuse counselor in training. Courses are accessed through Blackboard. Concordia's student portal offers access to comprehensive online support tools including virtual orientation, Webinars, and online advising opportunities. The university offers unique mini-courses through email, sending weekly free lessons in family ministry, transforming literacy practices, creating personal space, and more. Curriculum within the online counseling master's degree is designed to integrate Christian values and principles into core foundational counseling techniques. Students must satisfy 45-60 credit hours, depending on their study track, including core, foundations, and elective courses. Candidates in all tracks must also meet required practicum and internship or portfolio hours.

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8Clarks Summit University57.683/581.88%Clarks Summit, PA

Clarks Summit offers an online MS in counseling, leading to licensure for professional counselors in and outside of the Christian ministry. The 60-credit online master's degree program in counseling at Summit can be completed by full-time students in as few as three years. The university also offers a non-licensure MA in counseling, encompassing 30 credit hours in core Biblical counseling topics. Courses are accessed through an exclusive student portal and designed to encourage collaboration between students at all levels in the virtual learning environment. Support tools for online learning include electronic library access, online writing labs, and tech support. Coursework in the online program combines rigorous study of theoretical concepts in counseling and on-site practical experience. The school offers the same set-rate tuition prices, per credit, to in- and out-of-state students in this program; Clarks Summit alumni receive an even greater discount via special per-credit pricing.

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9Corban University57.304/521.98%Salem, OR

Corban offers an online master's in counseling, leading to professional licensure for aspiring practitioners in the state of Oregon. The hybrid program requires weekly attendance at the Salem campus in addition to online coursework. Students have the opportunity to gain clinical experience and complete internships on-site at the university's own mental health clinic, serving patients in the Salem community. Courses and online student resources can be accessed in one place via the Corban Central Login system, which provides financial aid assistance, counseling services, and tech support. Online courses are completed by student cohort groups; applicants to the MA in counseling must complete an interview as part of the entry process to join the cohort each fall. Students may complete the 60-credit program in as few as two years. Graduate counseling faculty at Corban each have an average of 20 years of professional field experience, many in areas of counseling that emphasize the program's signature faith-based methods and values.

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10Medaille College56.793/555.43%Buffalo, NY

Medaille College offers an online counseling master's degree leading to licensure in New York. The MA in clinical mental health counseling comprises 17 courses, each seven weeks in length, in a fixed sequence over 2.5 years. Courses are accessed through Blackboard. Support for online students is provided by the Academic Advisement Center, the Academic Support Center, and TRiO Student Support Services. To satisfy the program's required practicum and internship hours, students may gain hands-on experience at the university's partnering training facility, the Medaille Family Counseling Center. Online students are required to attend campus five times throughout the course of the degree for on-site labs and training coursework. Enrollment is open during both fall and spring terms for the master's in counseling online.

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11University of the Cumberlands55.063/526.32%Williamsburg, KY

University of the Cumberlands offers an online MA in professional counseling for students who intend to pursue licensure. The 60-credit program includes one of two study tracks in addiction counseling or clinical mental health counseling. Courses are accessed through the iLearn portal, supported by academic advising, career counseling services, and more. Instructors of graduate counseling programs are uniquely trained to teach within the virtual learning environment. Each counseling study track includes a combination of core and specialty courses, as well as a required practicum and two-part internship. Core courses explore psychological assessment techniques, counseling theories, and legal and ethical issues in the profession.

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12University of Houston-Victoria53.853/515.27%Victoria, TX

UH-Victoria offers an online master's in counseling psychology, meeting Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) requirements for the state of Texas. Curriculum is centered on three primary functions of professional counseling practice: assessment, intervention, and consultation. Courses are accessed through the Blackboard platform. Support provided to online students through the exclusive MyUHV portal includes career services, online tutoring, and electronic library access. Coursework comprises 60 total credits in core, specialization, and practicum courses, and also includes a final exam. Through foundational coursework, students explore a variety of psychotherapy techniques and professional scenarios, including lifespan, group, and addictions-focused counseling.

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13Bellevue University51.463/5N/ABellevue, NE

Bellevue offers a MS in clinical counseling that leads to licensure. The master's degree in counseling online at Bellevue requires fulfillment of 60 credit hours in foundations, advanced, and advanced elective courses, as well as several clinical internships. Courses are accessed through the CyberActive virtual learning environment. The OneStop service provides advising and tutoring opportunities, as well as connects online students to tech support and bill-pay options. Advanced elective options allow students to explore various specializations within the counseling profession, including applied neuroscience and pharmacology, treatment of child and adolescent disorders, and human sexuality.

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14University of Massachusetts – Boston49.703/525.78%Boston, MA

UMass-Boston offers an online MS in mental health counseling, meeting requirements for licensure in Massachusetts. The master's degree in counseling online includes broad curriculum designed to prepare graduates to practice in hospitals, schools, vocational centers, and other mental health facilities. Courses are accessed through Blackboard. The university's student success center offers support to distance learners through 24/7 tech support, academic advising, and library services. The 60-credit program requires two clinical courses held on campus during the first summer semester. Online courses are completed via a student cohort group, with enrollment offered in the summer semester, only.

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15Lamar University48.623/538.94%Beaumont, TX

Lamar University offers an online master's in counseling with a certification option. The MEd in clinical mental health counseling is designed to provide broad training in a variety of client types and professional settings, including hospitals, schools, and private practice. Courses are accessed through Blackboard. Support services available to online students include tech support, online tutoring, and financial aid assistance. The 60-credit program includes foundational coursework in topics including human growth and development and multicultural counseling. Students must also complete a practicum, two-part internship and two-part seminar-based residency course.

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16Colorado Christian University48.004/540.49%Lakewood, CO

CCU offers an online MA in counseling that can lead to licensure in the state of Colorado. The online master's in counseling is designed to integrate Christian principles, or faith informed clinical identity and practice (FICIP) into every aspect of the curriculum. Courses are accessed through Blackboard. The exclusive online learning platform promotes collaborative learning through virtual document sharing, group discussions, and online discussion boards. Students complete a total of 60 course credit hours online via a lock-step cohort format, progressing through each seven-week course as part of a student-team. The program comprises core, Bible, and theology and elective courses, as well as a practicum/internship and four-hour residency requirement. A capstone project is required to close the degree. Coursework provides a broad view of developmental psychology and explores various counseling methods and theories. Students may complete the program in two and a half years.

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17Adams State University48.003/5N/ACO

Adams State offers an online master's degree in counseling through its Online Plus Program. Coursework is designed around four primary concepts: personal growth, broad knowledge of theory and research, individual and group counseling skills, and knowledge of auxiliary and follow-up services. Students may choose an emphasis in clinical mental health or school counseling. Courses are accessed through the Blackboard platform, with additional online student support provided through Nielsen Library access, financial aid assistance, and the help desk. The clinical mental health emphasis can lead to Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) certification in Colorado; The school counseling emphasis can also lead to school counselor certification. Though the majority of coursework is completed online, a one-week campus intensive is required per each of the summer sessions spanning the duration of the degree.

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18Fort Hays State University47.953/547.85%Hays, KS

FHSU offers an online counseling master's degree in clinical mental health counseling or school counseling. The MS in counseling encompasses 45-60 credit hours, including foundation, specialization, practicum, and internship courses. Courses are accessed through Blackboard and FHSU's Virtual College, which also provides academic tutoring and career counseling options, as well as additional student support services. In addition to online coursework, students are required to attend three four-day courses on campus during the course of the degree. The clinical mental health track requires five additional courses, including a seminar in education and advanced counseling skills.

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19Southwestern Assemblies of God University47.924/571.17%Waxahachie, TX

SAGU offers an online master's degree in counseling psychology leading to licensure, as well as a human services counseling (non-clinical) option. The MA in counseling psychology comprises 60 course credit hours, including a three-part practicum, while the MA in human services counseling requires one practicum course among its 30-credit program. All SAGU counseling degrees are designed around faith-based curriculum, integrating Biblical teachings and viewpoints into all required coursework in this discipline. Courses are accessed through Blackboard, providing distance students with support resources including career counseling, electronic library services, and information technology assistance. All graduate counseling students are required to show proof of liability as a condition of enrollment and before completing practicum coursework.

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20Ottawa University – Phoenix47.833/5N/APhoenix, AZ

OU-Phoenix offers an online master's in counseling with an optional addiction counseling focus. The MA in counseling prepares graduates to pursue licensure in the state of California. Coursework in the general counseling program includes one two-part practicum course, an internship, and a graduate seminar. Courses are accessed through Blackboard. Extensive support services for distance students include online financial assistance, access to electronic library resources, and research databases and financial aid advising services. The student-to-faculty ratio of online courses at Ottawa University is 4:1.

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21University of Louisiana at Monroe47.602/541.4%Monroe, LA

University of Louisiana at Monroe offers an MS in Counseling in two specializations: clinical mental health counseling and school counseling. Students enrolled in the online master's programs in counseling may choose one or both specializations. The degree can lead to licensure for students pursuing professional practice in Louisiana. Courses are accessed through Moodle. The eUNC student portal provides students easy access to support tools, including tech support, Webinars, and interactive course schedules and academic advising. The program comprises 60 credit hours in both major and concentration coursework, along with practicum requirements. Clinical and outreach requirements required of the program may be completed at the school's own community counseling clinic, for online students near the Monroe campus.

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22Grace College and Theological Seminary47.583/513.12%Winona Lake, IN

Grace College offers an online master's program in counseling that leads to licensure in the state of Indiana. The MA in clinical mental health counseling supports the development of critical theological, interpersonal, and clinical competencies. Courses are accessed through the Learning House platform. The student portal offers resources including electronic library access, online writing labs, and virtual orientation courses. The program may be completed in as few as three years by full-time students. Students in the counseling program must satisfy non-clinical, fieldwork, and gatekeeping elements, which include a candidacy review, a comprehensive exam, and a professional portfolio. Though the majority of coursework can be completed online, the program requires one 7-10-day residency on campus per year.

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23California Baptist University46.744/532.76%Riverside, CA

California Baptist offers an online MS in counseling psychology, meeting California licensure requirements for marriage and family therapists and licensed professional clinical counselors. Coursework in the online counseling master's degree is focused on the study of psychological science from a Christian perspective. Courses are accessed through Blackboard. Support resources for online students include electronic library access, career services, financial advising, and more. Students must satisfy 62 credit hours, including core and practicum requirements. Students seeking optional Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC) licensure must satisfy an additional 18 credits within the concentration. CBU's 100%-Christian faculty includes dedicated student advisors to help guide individual study for the duration of the program.

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24Mercy College46.383/518.14%Dobbs Ferry, NY

Mercy College offers an online MS in counseling with New York certification options in school counseling and bilingual school counseling. The 48-hour master's in counseling online is intended as a part-time degree, but can be completed on an accelerated full-time schedule at the student's choice. Courses are accessed through the Blackboard platform. The student portal also provides students easy access to learning support tools, including interactive calendars and schedules, group chat forums and an online job board. In addition to completing required core and elective courses chosen from counseling and education topics, students must complete a two-part supervised internship course. Mercy manages its own technology help desk, as well as offers select technology discounts to qualifying students, as part of its Mercy Connects program.

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25Prescott College45.714/512.36%Prescott, AZ

Prescott College offers an online counseling master's in five specializations: clinical mental health counseling, marriage, couple and family counseling, rehabilitation counseling, addictions counseling, and school counseling. The college is one of few in the nation to offer unique concentrations, including adventure-based psychotherapy and expressive art therapy, to delve deeper into the study of counseling as a profession. The 60-credit program focuses on holistic development of mental health and wellness competencies. Courses are accessed Moodle. The online student portal also offers support through resources including Webinars and orientation courses, library and bookstore access, and interactive self-help desk support. Students must complete a combination of advanced core and supervised clinical experience courses to graduate. The program is designed to prepare students to pursue licensure in their state of practice.

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Timeline
1 to 2 years
Program Costs (when available)
$4,000 to $15,000 per year (tuition)
Concentrations
Community Counseling, Child and Youth Counseling, Family Counseling, Mental Health Counseling, Substance Abuse Counseling, Rehabilitation Counseling, Behavioral Counseling, School Counseling
Accreditation
Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP)

Master of Counseling vs Bachelor of Counseling

Professional counselors with a master’s degree enjoy excellent employment rates and higher salaries than their bachelor’s-holding counterparts. According to BLS data, 48% of today’s professional counselors— roughly 239,000 people — have a master’s degree. By comparison, 26% of counselors finish their education with a bachelor’s. As a whole, bachelor’s degree holders make 35% less than those with a master’s degree, earning $37,000 and $50,000, respectively.

Earning a Living

Although a master’s degree in counseling will boost your potential salary, it’s important to remember that your earnings will also increase over the course of your career. The following data table features career salary expectations for four different counseling professions over time.

Job Title Median Salary for Entry-Level Employees (0-5 Years) Median Salary for Mid-Career Employees (5-10 years) Median Salary for Experienced Employees (10-20 Years) Median Salary for Late Career Employees (20+ years)
Marriage & Family Therapist $41,376 $47,578 $55,474 $58,599
Mental Health Counselor $37,230 $40,294 $45,048 $48,676
Substance Abuse Counselor $33,577 $37,850 $40,422 $43,796
School Counselor $42,692 $48,012 $56,140 $62,343

Source: PayScale

Of the professions listed above, school counselors enjoyed the highest salary growth rate over their career, earning 46% more from entry-level to late-career. School counselors also enjoyed the highest starting and ending salaries.

While a master’s degree is seen as the standard educational pathway for professionals, very few counselors pursue a doctorate. Data from the National Center of Education Statistics (NCES) reveals a major difference between the number of master’s and Ph.D. graduates in 15 different counseling subdivisions. Only 320 students sought a Ph.D. in school counseling during the 2011-12 academic calendar, for example, while schools around the country conferred nearly 13,000 master’s degrees during the same year. Fewer than 20 students earned doctoral degrees in several counseling fields — including substance abuse counseling, community health counseling, and mental health counseling — during the same period.

Career Opportunities

Based on their specialization, counselors with a master’s degree may pursue roles in a number of fields. Below are a few of the employment opportunities available for teachers with a master’s degree in counseling.

School and Career Counselors: School counselors work with students to help them achieve academic success and address personal concerns. Elementary and middle school counselors generally specialize in skill-building and emotional support, while counselors in high schools and postsecondary institutions tend to focus more on academic advisement and professional development. Career counselors provide information about college programs, job skills training, and other post-graduation pathways for adults. These counselors are generally found at high schools and colleges, but they may also work with individuals who are already in the workforce.

Mental Health Counselors and Marriage and Family Therapists: Mental health counselors and marriage/family counselors specialize in helping people, couples, or families cope with a range of emotional and interpersonal issues. They diagnose mental and emotional disorders, administer therapy, and help clients learn to lead happy, productive lives. Depending on their specialization, these counselors may offer individual, couple’s, family, and group therapy sessions.

Rehabilitation Counselors: Rehabilitation counselors assist clients living with physical, emotional, and developmental disabilities. They administer counseling in a one-on-one or group setting, working with clients to develop long-term plans that enable them to live independently and comfortably. Many rehabilitation counselors specialize in working with certain subsets of society, such as children, the elderly, or military veterans. Vocational rehabilitation counselors help clients with job-related issues.

Addiction Counselors: Substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors (also known as addiction counselors) specialize in treating patients who struggle with alcoholism, drug abuse, gambling, and other potentially destructive habits. These counselors help clients explore the problematic behaviors that trigger their addictions; they also assist clients during the treatment and recovery phase. Addiction counselors may offer therapy in different formats, including one-on-one, couple’s, family, or group therapy.

Position Median Annual Salary Projected Growth Rate (2014-24) Degree & Licensure Requirements
School & Career Counselor $53,660 8% Minimum master’s degree; state-issued license or certification is required; some states require 1 to 2 years of classroom teaching experience for licensure; criminal background check required
Mental Health Counselors and Marriage & Family Therapists $43,190 19% Minimum master’s degree; state-issued license required; 2,000 to 4,000 post-degree supervised hours required for licensure (varies by state); annual continuing education required for licensed counselors
Rehabilitation Counselors $34,390 9% Minimum master’s degree; state-issued license required for those who work with patients or clients; 2,000 to 4,000 post-degree supervised hours required for licensure (varies by state); annual continuing education required for licensed counselors
Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors $39,980 22% Minimum bachelor’s degree; state-issued license required for those in private practice; 2,000 to 4,000 post-degree supervised hours required for licensure (varies by state); annual continuing education required for licensed counselors

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics (2014)

Professional Organizations

Making professional connections and learning about different counseling approaches is crucial to your success. Professional organizations offer a great entry point for students who want to learn more about their chosen career path. Below you’ll find three of the country’s most prominent organizations established for professional counselors. These organizations host networking events, provide online trainings, maintain active job boards, and offer other services for career-ready college graduates.

  • American Association for Marriage and Family Therapists (AAMFT): The leading professional organization for counselors specializing in marriage and family counseling, the AAMFT represents more than 50,000 licensed counselors worldwide. The website features a job board and licensure links, an online information library, and a virtual networking center.
  • American Counseling Association: Founded in 1952, the ACA is considered the world’s largest professional organization for professional counselors, and has more than 52,000 current members. The ACA website features an extensive virtual knowledge center that contains information about licensure requirements, diagnostics, ethics, and other important areas of the field. Continuing education opportunities, journal publications, and an online job board are also available.
  • American School Counselor Association (ASCA): The ASCA serves school counselors at all academic levels across the country. Members receive discounts on site publications, free liability insurance coverage, and information about professional development and continuing education opportunities.
  • International Association of Marriage and Family Counselors (IAMFC): Founded in 1989, the IAMFC today represents a network of counselors, therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists, and other professionals working in marriage and family counseling. Members receive access to two online publications — The Family Journal and The Family Digest — along with information about certification, credentialing, and access to an extensive job directory.

Despite the relative affordability of online programs, most students still need financial assistance. Students should complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form to learn more about loans, grants, and other opportunities offered through the U.S. government. Additionally, private grants and scholarships are widely available through nonprofit organizations, companies, and other sources. Check out our collection of resources below to learn more about financial aid options.

AN OVERVIEW OF FINANCIAL AID

Approximately two-thirds of today’s college students rely on loans to fund their education, but there are plenty of overlooked financing options you can use to reduce costs.

UNDERSTANDING THE FAFSA

Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a crucial first step for any student with financial needs. Our guide features a step-by-step rundown on the process of filling out the FAFSA, along with answers to several frequently asked questions.

FINANCIAL AID FOR ONLINE COLLEGE STUDENTS

Financial aid for online learning is equivalent to what you’ll find for campus-based learning, but that hasn’t always been the case. Learn about the changes that have taken place, as well as the different funding opportunities available to online students.

SCHOLARSHIPS FOR WOMEN

Online programs can provide an affordable and flexible option for women trying to balance the demands of work, family, and school. We’ve curated a list of valuable scholarships specifically for women.

SCHOLARSHIPS FOR SINGLE PARENTS

Online college programs can be a flexible, affordable option for single parents who are interested in earning a degree and securing their family’s financial future. We’ve compiled a list of scholarships, grants, and other financial aid options geared toward single moms and dads.

FINANCIAL AID FOR VETERANS AND ACTIVE MILITARY

Millions of dollars in free money is available to U.S. military personnel, but much of it goes unused. Learn more about grants, scholarships, and other financial aid opportunities available to veterans, active-duty service members, and reservists.

SCHOLARSHIPS AND FINANCIAL AID FOR ONLINE STUDENTS

Students who pursue online degrees will be eligible for scholarships, grants, and other financial aid that is unavailable to their brick-and-mortar counterparts. Here, you can learn more about these financial opportunities.

Best Online Master's in Counseling of 2016
Rank School Location
1 Nova Southeastern University Fort Lauderdale, FL
2 Amberton University Garland, TX
3 Liberty University Lynchburg, VA
4 Seton Hall University South Orange, NJ
5 Medaille College Buffalo, NY
6 Mercy College Dobbs Ferry, NY
7 Clarks Summit University Clarks Summit, PA
8 Ottawa University - Phoenix Phoenix, AZ
9 University of the Cumberlands Williamsburg, KY
10 California Baptist University Riverside, CA