Best Online Master’s in School Counseling Programs

School counselors play a valuable role in public and private schools across the country. Some school counselors evaluate students for learning or mental health issues, and help them cope with social or behavioral problems. Others specialize in career planning, working with high school and college students to map out their professional pathway. Counselors also meet regularly with teachers, administrative staff, and parents to discuss the welfare of individual students.

Compared to counselors with just a bachelor’s degree, master’s-holders outearn their peers by 35%.

Badge (Online) with 2-Line TitleMaster'sin School Counseling2017
See MethodologyGet Ranking Seal

A master’s degree is considered the minimum educational requirement for most school counseling positions. Earning an online master’s in school counseling allows students to complete their program requirements without disrupting their current professional obligations. Designed to mirror the curriculum found in a traditional campus format, online master’s programs cover the current tools and techniques used by counselors, the latest research in the field, and other fundamentals of school counseling. Distance learners typically choose to concentrate their studies on a particular age group, and complete supervised internships at a local school.

In this comprehensive guide, you will learn more about how you can use your master’s in school counseling degree, and what kind of career opportunities will await you upon graduation.

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

Although some school counselors choose to earn a doctorate in a related discipline, a master’s is the terminal degree in the field. Students can bolster their skills by concentrating their studies in a certain age group, or earning a degree specialization in areas like career planning or mental health counseling. Internships are another way to build real-world experience. The best online master’s in school counseling programs also prepare students to sit for licensing exams; school counselors at public schools are required to earn a license in all 50 states.

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

Online master’s programs are a flexible, cost-friendly alternative to traditional classrooms. Students can access course materials, submit assignments, take exams, and communicate with their professors from the comfort of their home computer. Current technology also enables them to study on the go using a laptop, tablet, smartphone, or other Wi-Fi-compatible device. For additional convenience, distance learners can usually arrange internship accommodations close to their home, eliminating the need to commute.

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

A master’s degree is a crucial step toward a successful career in school counseling, but it may not be the only requirement. Job availability will depend in part on your specialization and prior classroom experience (including internships). Additionally, some states require counselors to complete one or two years of post-degree work experience or earn a teaching license before sitting for a licensing exam.

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

Choosing a program is an incredibly 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 master’s of school counseling programs in the United States. If you are considering an online master’s in school counseling, be sure to contact admissions specialists at different colleges and universities to learn more their about specific requirements and offerings.

Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost % Enrolled Online Location Description
1 Lehigh University 70.35 4/5 6% Bethlehem, PA

Lehigh University offers an online master's in school counseling program in which students can earn their degree in two years using an online and face-to-face model of teaching. The three key focus areas of the program include the school, the community, and the family. Unique to their program is the specification of international counseling within these areas, which teaches students about the different effects living in an international community can have on a child or family. The university supports this program with its Multicultural Resource Center that hosts a space with various online resources for students and faculty to better become multiculturally competent.


Program Overview
Department: College of Education
Program name: M.Ed. In International Counseling
Accrediting bodies: MSCHE, APA/CA
Tuition: $565/ credit

Delivery
Format: Hybrid
Instruction style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 48 credits
Field education requirements: 20 hour per week internship

Program Length
Program length: 2 years
Program start dates: Fall, spring

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: January 15, fall or summer; September 15, spring
GPA: Minimum 3.0 in undergraduate coursework
Work experience: Must be working in related field under a supervisor that holds at least a graduate level degree in counseling or clinical psychology

Contact
Department phone: (610) 758-3231
School email: education@lehigh.edu
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

Tweet this Share this School Profile
2 New York University 69.91 5/5 4% New York, NY

The master's in school counseling online degree is earned through Counseling@NYU, an online graduate program accredited by the Masters in Psychology and Counseling Accreditation Council. The program ensures that its online students are not restricted from creating relationships with peers and faculty by incorporating a virtual campus, live class sessions, in-person field practicums, and requiring attendance to an on-campus immersion weekend. When accepted to the program, students are allowed the flexibility to complete their MA on a full-time or part-time basis with the option to concentrate in school counseling Pre-K-12 or in bilingual school counseling Pre-K-12. Throughout the program, students have access to an academic advisor as well as a placement specialist who will aid in finding you an internship wherever you live to complete the field-training requirement.


Program Overview
Department: School and Mental Health Counseling
Program name: MA in Counseling and Guidance
Available concentrations: Bilingual school counselor K-12, counselor in schools K-12, MA with LGBT health, education, and social services certificate (Dual degree)
Accrediting body: MPCAC
Tuition: $1,596/ credit

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Synchronous and asynchronous.

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 48 credits
Field education requirements: A 100 hour practicum and 600 hour internship

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 2-6 years
Program start dates: January, June, or September

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling
GPA: Minimum 3.0 GPA

Contact
School phone: (855) 698-4622
Department email: Counseling@NYU.edu
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

Tweet this Share this School Profile
3 Wake Forest University 66.68 4/5 3% Winston Salem, NC

Three characteristics represent Wake Forest University's online school counseling master's program: a spirit of service, exceptional pass rates, and high regard. This three-year program focuses its courses on communication, listening, guidance, and human development, all designed to give students the knowledge and skill set necessary to become exceptional school counselors after graduation. Wake Forest boasts a 100% passing rate for graduates taking the National Counselor Exam. The online and face-to-face programs have identical curriculum; however, online campus students are strictly part-time, allowing these students the flexibility to continue working while earning their degrees.


Program Overview
Department: The Department of Counseling
Program name: MA in School Counseling
Accrediting bodies:SACS/CC, LCME
Tuition: $1,380/ credit

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Synchronous and asynchronous.

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 60 credits
Field education requirements: 6-credit internship

Program Length
Program options: Part-time
Program length: 3 years

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling
GPA: Minimum 2.5 in undergraduate coursework
Standardized tests: GRE

Contact
Department phone: (336) 758-2317
Department email: schatzla@wfu.edu
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

Tweet this Share this School Profile
4 Liberty University 64.86 4/5 90% Lynchburg, VA

Liberty University is the largest private, nonprofit online university in the nation and is part of the largest Christian university in the world. The online master's degree in school counseling consists of 48 total credit hours, one 6-credit hour internship, and four on-campus intensives; students can complete their degrees within two years. When receiving an education from Liberty, students will learn the skills necessary for success as a school counselor. They will also have the opportunity to go on mission trips and participate in weekly convocations. Liberty University supports their online graduate students through access to various resources such as: an online student life resource, an online library, an online writing center, and different digital study aids.


Program Overview
Department: School of Behavioral Sciences
Program name: M.A. in School Counseling
Accrediting body: SACS, CACREP
Tuition: $615/ credit part-time; $565/ credit full-time

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Program Requirements
Prerequisites: State licensure
Credit requirements: 48 credits
Field education requirements: 6-credit internship

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 2 years

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling
GPA: Minimum 3.0 GPA in bachelor's coursework.

Contact
School phone: (866) 584-7231
School email: luograd@liberty.edu
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

Tweet this Share this School Profile
5 University of Missouri - Columbia 63.52 3/5 29% Columbia, MO

The master's degree in school counseling online at the University of Missouri in Columbia, Missouri, strives to teach its students the best methods to prevent mental health problems in schools, families, and communities. It emphasizes the promotion of mental well-being through a 34-hour program geared towards professionals working with children and adolescents in schools. Courses are semester-long and use a weekly format, giving students the flexibility to complete their course work whenever it is most convenient for them within that week. Mizzou also invites online students who want to be active on campus to participate in one of the 600+ student organizations, join one of the 50 intramural/club sports teams, or simply enjoy cheering on the elite Mizzou division 1 athletes to victory.


Program Overview
Department: Department of Educational, School and Counseling Psychology
Program name: M.Ed., EdSp
Accrediting body:HLC/TEAC
Tuition: $408/ credit

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 34 credits

Program Length
Program length: 2-5 years
Program start dates: Fall, spring, summer

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: July 1, fall; November 1, spring; April 1, summer
GPA: Minimum 3.0 GPA in last 60 hours of undergraduate

Contact
School phone: 1 (800) 609-3727
School email: MizzouOnline@missouri.edu
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

Tweet this Share this School Profile
6 University of North Dakota 61.16 3/5 34% Grand Forks, ND

In two and a half years, students at the University of North Dakota can receive a master's in school counseling online and become eligible for licensure in ND and other compatible states. The online program focuses on the distance student who is a working professional seeking a degree in school counseling but unable to commit to a full-time, on-campus program. However, professors hold "live" Web classes at set times in the evening to give the distance student a more class-like experience. The university provides various support services to assure their online students' success including: online tutoring, library, tech support, and advising services.


Program Overview
Department: College of Education & Human Development's
Program name: MA in Counseling with an emphasis in K-12 school counseling
Available concentrations: NA
Accrediting body: NCACS
Tuition: $485/ credit

Delivery
Format: Online, with four 4-day on campus visits
Instruction style: Synchronous and asynchronous.

Program Requirements
Prerequisites: Minimum of 20 credits in relevant coursework
Credit requirements: 50 credits
Field education requirements: 6-credit internship

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 2.5 years
Program start dates: Fall, summer, spring

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: November 1
GPA: Cumulative GPA of 2.75 for undergraduate coursework or minimum GPA of 3.0 for junior and senior years of undergraduate coursework
Standardized tests: GRE

Contact
Department phone: (701) 777-3000
School email: UND.info@UND.edu
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

Tweet this Share this School Profile
7 University of West Alabama 58.12 3/5 51% Livingston, AL

The University of West Alabama, located in Livingston, Alabama, provides an online school counseling master's program to anyone who holds a valid teaching certificate and has at least two years of educational experience. Most students achieve their degree within 18 months of starting; however, students are welcome to complete their degree at their own pace. Students can insure the integrity of their online classes through the Remote Proctor Now system, which allows them to take an exam at a time and place convenient to them while allowing professors the confidence that their students are completing their own work in a secure setting.


Program Overview
Department: School of Graduate Studies
Program name: M.Ed School Counseling Certification
Accrediting body: SACS
Tuition: $429/ credit

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 48 credits
Field education requirements: 6-credit internship, 3-credit pre-practicum, 3-credit practicum

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 18 months
Program start dates: Fall, spring, summer

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Summer 2017: June 12; fall one 2017: July 24; fall two 2017: September 25
GPA: Minimum 2.75 GPA in undergraduate coursework
Standardized tests: MAT, GMAT, or GRE

Contact
Department phone: (877) 892-1835
School email: uwaonlineleads@uwa.edu
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

Tweet this Share this School Profile
8 Seton Hall University 58.02 4/5 15% South Orange, NJ

Seton Hall University is known as one of the most prestigious Catholic universities in the country, located just 14 miles outside of Manhattan in South Orange, New Jersey. Their online master's degree in school counseling is structured in cohorts which students join during their on-campus residency and progress with throughout the program. The learning teams help students connect, creating lasting relationships and playing a heavy role in the online students' success. The university utilizes Blackboard to offer online faculty office hours, group chat rooms, and Webinars, as well to add value and resources to the online experience.


Program Overview
Department: College of Education and Human Services
Program name: M.Ed. in School Counseling
Accrediting body: MSCHE, APA
Tuition: $1,212/ credit

Delivery
Format: Hybrid
Instruction style: Synchronous and asynchronous.

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 48 credits
Field education requirements: 3-credit practicum, 2 counseling internships

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 2-2.5 years
Program start dates: Fall, spring

Admission Requirements
Application deadlines: Fall: June 1; spring: November 1
GPA: Minimum 3.0 GPA in undergraduate coursework
Standardized tests: GRE

Contact
Department phone: (973) 313-6239
Department email: rosalie.maiorella@shu.edu
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

Tweet this Share this School Profile
9 Concordia University-Wisconsin 56.55 4/5 41% Mequon, WI

Concordia University in Wisconsin is a Christian university focused on serving others through education. Their online master's in school counseling program uses Blackboard as their online classroom platform and includes foundation courses, core requirements, electives, and practicums all supported by an intensive student support system. Concordia emphasizes their support system by assigning every student an Online Student Success Advisor who is available at all times for any problems you may encounter. By fully embracing the power of technology, Concordia is able to give their students the flexibility to form their own learning experience with the resources necessary to gain the knowledge to become an excellent school counselor.


Program Overview
Department: School of Education
Program name: M.Ed in School Counseling
Accrediting body:NCACS/THLC
Tuition: $565/ credit

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Synchronous and asynchronous.

Program Requirements
Prerequisites: 12 credits in psychology and/or sociology with a grade of C or better
Credit requirements: 45-60 credits
Field education requirements: 6-credit practicum

Program Length
Program start dates: Every 8 weeks.

Admission Requirements
GPA: Minimum GPA of 3.0 in undergraduate coursework

Contact
Department phone: 1 (877) 289-1897
Admissions email: onlineadmissions@cuw.edu
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

Tweet this Share this School Profile
10 Missouri Baptist University 55.14 3/5 25% Saint Louis, MO

Missouri Baptist University's main campus is located in West St. Louis County, and the university created nine regional learning centers throughout eastern Missouri and western Illinois to further reach students and aid them in accomplishing their goals. Their school counseling master's online program features four characteristics: flexible scheduling for full time working adults, ability to complete the program within two years, positioning students to pursue a doctoral program, and learning from a faculty who solely teach from a Christian perspective. Students do not have to login at set times; they construct their own schedule and are only responsible for submitting their work by the set deadlines. The curriculum equips students with the necessary requirements to gain a Missouri Certification, making them eligible as an elementary and secondary school guidance counselors.


Program Overview
Program name: MA in Counseling (School)
Accrediting body:NCACS/THLC
Tuition: $588/ credit

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Prerequisites: ELPS 563 with a minimum grade of B
Credit requirements: 48-58 credits

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 24-36 months
Program start dates: June 26, 2017

Contact
Department phone: (314) 704-8307
Department email: Brittany.Sansagraw@mobap.edu
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

Tweet this Share this School Profile
11 University of Massachusetts-Boston 54.20 3/5 20% Boston, MA

The Department of Counseling and School Psychology at the University of Massachusetts in Boston created an online school counseling master's program that allows them to offer their services to students in the U.S. and internationally. This program utilizes Blackboard as well as Wimba Classroom, a system that provides a space to meet in real time online, to deliver the class materials. In addition to the courses, students will participate in a practicum and an internship at a local school of their choosing in order to gain field experience. When visiting on campus, students are welcome and encouraged to visit the university's "living room," also known as their campus center, a space where students can grab lunch, study, meet with an academic advisor, or hangout with friends in between classes.


Program Overview
Department: Department of Counseling and School Psychology
Program name: M.Ed. in School Counseling
Accrediting body: NEACS, CIHL, APA
Tuition: $520/ credit

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Synchronous and asynchronous.

Program Requirements
Prerequisites: 2-3 undergraduate courses in psychology, sociology, or anthropology
Credit requirements: 60 credits
Field education requirements: Practicum, internship, two clinical courses

Program Length
Program options: Full-time
Program start dates: Summer

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: January 2
GPA: Minimum 3.0 in all undergraduate coursework.
Work experience: At least one year of human services experience

Contact
Department phone: (617) 287-5000
Department email: amy.cook@umb.edu
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

Tweet this Share this School Profile
12 Oregon State University 53.77 3/5 31% Corvallis, OR

The online school counseling program, offered through Oregon State University's Ecampus, is a hybrid program with students completing half of their instruction online and the other half in person during classroom meetings held two weekends each term in Salem, Oregon. This format allows the university more accessibility to students throughout the northwest without excluding the imperative face-to-face classroom experience. It also creates the perfect setting for the program's cohort structure to succeed. The program only accepts twelve students per year into the cohort, making the application process extremely competitive. The minimum admission requirements include a four-year baccalaureate degree from an accredited university with a cumulative 3.0 grade point average.


Program Overview
Department: OSU Graduate School
Program name: Masters of Counseling, School Concentration
Accrediting body: NCCU, CEPH, APA
Tuition: $521/ credit

Delivery
Format: Hybrid
Instruction style: Synchronous, asynchronous, and on-campus

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 75 credits
Field education requirements: 2 practicums and a 600-hour internship

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 3 years
Program start dates: Summer

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: January 31
GPA: Minimum GPA of 3.0 in undergraduate coursework
Standardized tests: GRE if undergraduate GPA is under 3.0

Contact
Department phone: (541) 737-8551
Department email: Gene.Eakin@oregonstate.edu
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

Tweet this Share this School Profile
13 Creighton University 53.37 4/5 36% Omaha, NE

The university created an online program to accommodate the working adult that allows you to complete your degree in two years through 8-week long courses and a 9-month internship. Creighton's online master's degree in school counseling allows you to specialize in elementary, secondary, or Pre-K-12 guidance counseling based on your interest. Creighton supports their online students throughout their experience, designating an entire center for academic innovation, which is constantly researching and developing Creighton's virtual campus in order to give the online students the best experience possible.


Program Overview
Department: Graduate School
Program name: MS in School Counseling and Preventative Mental Health
Available concentrations: Elementary school guidance counselor track, secondary school guidance counselor track, PK-12 school counseling track
Accrediting body: NCASC, LCME
Tuition: $525/ credit

Delivery
Format: Online or hybrid
Instruction style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 36 credits

Program Length
Program options: Full-time and part-time

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: March 31
GPA: Minimum 3.0 in all undergraduate coursework

Contact
Department phone: (402) 280-2703
Department email: LindsayJohnson@creighton.edu
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

Tweet this Share this School Profile
14 Mercy College 52.16 3/5 43% Dobbs Ferry, NY

Mercy College offers an online master's degree in school counseling to further reach students interested in helping children succeed. To make online schooling accessible and manageable to almost anyone, Mercy College's faculty has created helpful resources for its online program, including: online academic advising, an online learning center, career services, and financial assistance. Students gain the knowledge necessary to understand the challenges children face in today's world and the ability to apply current research to their practice of counseling. The 48-credit, two-year program fully prepares students to become certified in New York as school counselors.


Program Overview
Department: Department of Education
Program name: MS in Counseling
Available concentrations: Counseling with certification in school counseling and a bilingual extension mental health counseling, advanced certificates in alcohol/substance abuse counseling and in retirement counseling
Accrediting body: MSCHE
Tuition: $8583/ semester

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Combination of synchronous and asynchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 48 credit hours

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 2-3 years

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling
GPA: Minimum 3.0

Contact
Department phone: (319) 363.8213
Department email: waitlist@mercyed.net
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

Tweet this Share this School Profile
15 Gwynedd Mercy University 51.87 4/5 10% Gwynedd Valley, PA

Gwynedd Mercy University, a school rooted in service and the liberal arts, is located close to Philadelphia in Gwynedd Valley, Pennsylvania. Its online Master of Science in School Counseling program, affiliated with the American School Counselor Association National Model, emphasizes helping processes, behavioral sciences, and the ability to develop a reflective mindset once the student starts practicing. Gwynedd Mercy facilitates their online courses through Blackboard under an asynchronous format allowing students to work at their own pace. They provide their online students with a variety of resources to create a smooth experience including access to all campus facilities as well as a 24/7 online tutoring service.


Program Overview
Department: Department of Education
Program name: MS in School Counseling
Accrediting body: MSCHE
Tuition: 2017: $525/ credit; 2018:$550/ credit

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 48 credits
Field education requirements: 100-hour practicum, two 210 hour internships

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 48 credits

Admission Requirements
GPA: Minimum 3.0 in undergraduate coursework

Contact
Department phone: (844) 707-9064
Department email: accelerate@gmercyu.edu
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

Tweet this Share this School Profile
16 Fort Hays State University 51.14 3/5 75% Hays, KS

Fort Hays State University's Virtual College is a leader in distance learning and has helped students accommodate various college degrees into their everyday life for over 20 years. Their online master's in school counseling program allows you to earn your Master of Science in School Counseling within two years from wherever you are located. Fort Hays State University has been named one of the Top Military-Friendly Colleges and Universities for the last five years. Utilizing their Virtual College, Fort Hays is able to reach our men and women in uniform wherever they are stationed, offering them programs and benefits whether they are active or inactive. The university prides itself on student support and provides resources ranging from free online tutoring to student advisory committees to ensure the students' needs are met.


Program Overview
Department: College of Health and Behavioral Sciences
Program name: MS in School Psychology or Ed.S School Psychology
Accrediting body: NCACS
Tuition: $273/ credit

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 30 credits

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 2-5 years
Program start dates: Summer 2017: June 5; fall 2017: August 21; spring 2018: January 16; summer 2018: June 4; fall 2018: August 20; spring 2019: January 22

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling

Contact
Department phone: (785) 628-3478
Department email: cjjochum@fhsu.edu
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

Tweet this Share this School Profile
17 Gallaudet University 49.77 3/5 18% Washington, DC

Gallaudet University is the only university in the world designed to be barrier-free for deaf and hard of hearing students. The university's online school counseling master's program is a hybrid program that combines online learning with face-to-face classroom time. The program allows students to take courses online throughout the school year while participating in on-campus classes during the summers, and it usually takes three years to complete. The program is designed for working professionals looking for a career change or simply wanting additional education. Admission preference is given to applicants who have previous experience serving hard of hearing people and to applicants with a degree in education.


Program Overview
Department: Department of Counseling
Program name: MA in School Counseling
Accrediting bodies: MSCHE, APA, CACREP, CAEP
Tuition: $950/ credit

Delivery
Format: Hybrid
Instruction style: Synchronous and asynchronous.

Program Requirements
Prerequisites: One course in child, adolescent, or human development; abnormal psychology; and psychology
Credit requirements: 75 credits
Field education requirements: 12-credit internship, 3-credit practicum

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 2-3 years

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling
GPA: Preferable 3.0 in undergraduate coursework
Standardized tests: GRE, GMAT
Work experience: Minimum of 2 years experience in field

Contact
Department phone: 202-250-2556
Department email: jeffrey.lewis@gallaudet.edu
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

Tweet this Share this School Profile
18 Indiana Wesleyan University-Marion 49.33 4/5 66% Marion, IN

Indiana Wesleyan University (IWU) in Marion, Indiana, created online education programs structured so that students can work around their already busy schedules to attain this degree for an exciting job in school counseling. Students earn the same CACREP-accredited degree as if they were taking classes on-campus; however, they have the flexibility to study courses wherever is best for them. Their online master's degree in school counseling is a 48-hour program and includes two weekend intensives and clinical work in schools with a 100-hour practicum and two 300-hour internships. The face-to-face aspect of IWU's program allows students to truly connect with other students and faculty and also gives students a chance to put theory into practice before graduation. Note that CACREP requires all school counseling programs to increase to 60 hours by the fall of 2018, and IWU will also comply to this.


Program Overview
Department: Department of Counseling
Program name: MA in School Counseling
Accrediting body: NCACS, THLC
Tuition: $533/ credit

Delivery
Format: Hybrid
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Prerequisites: 6 credits in Psychology, 6 credits in Bible.
Credit requirements: 48 credits
Field education requirements: 100-hour didactic practicum, 2 internships

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 2.5-5 years
Program start dates: Fall, spring, summer

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling
GPA: minimum 3.0
Standardized tests: GRE

Contact
School phone: (866) 468-6498
School email: iwuenroll@indwes.edu
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

Tweet this Share this School Profile
19 The University of Tennessee-Martin 48.06 2/5 18% Martin, TN

The University of Tennessee uses Blackboard as their learning management system to facilitate their online programs and courses. They designed their master's degree in school counseling online to develop counselors who know how to improve learning and find the different, unique ways to help struggling children. The expected outcomes from this program include knowledge, skills, professional behavior, and specialization. Students are prepared to earn licensure and enter the counseling profession confident in their education. Students have access to many resources throughout their online education such as online tutors, librarians, and writing/reading centers.


Program Overview
Department: Department of Education, Health, & Behavioral Sciences
Program name: MS in Education in School Counseling
Accrediting body: SASC
Tuition: $412/ credit

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Program Requirements
Prerequisites: Counseling 725, counseling 740
Credit requirements: 48 credits
Field education requirements: 2, 300-hour internships

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 2-5 years

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling
GPA: Minimum 2.7
Standardized Tests: GRE

Contact
Department phone: (731) 881-7000
Department email: teach@utm.edu
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

Tweet this Share this School Profile
20 Salem College 47.81 3/5 7% Winston Salem, NC

Salem College, located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, is the oldest continuously operating educational institution for women in America and is still an all female college. Known for its innovation, it created an online, research-driven Master of Education in School Counseling program comprised of online classes, internships, and two on-campus weekend seminars. This program, known as one of the best in North Carolina, allows passionate educators to enhance their knowledge and become school counselors within 36 months. Throughout the program, students will learn about a variety of subjects including group counseling, individual counseling, and student advocacy. Upon graduation, students are prepared to become a licensed school counselor.


Program Overview
Department: Department of Counseling.
Program name: M.Ed. in School Counseling
Accrediting body: SASC
Tuition: $500/ credit

Delivery
Format: Hybrid
Instruction style: Synchronous and asynchronous.

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 48 credits
Field education requirements: 2, 3-day residency experiences, 200-hour practicum, 600-hour internship.

Program Length
Program options: Part-time
Program length: 3 years
Program start dates: Fall, summer, spring

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling
Standardized tests: GRE

Contact
Department phone: (336) 721-2660
Department email: holly.sopko@salem.edu
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

Tweet this Share this School Profile
21 University of Central Arkansas 47.42 3/5 20% Conway, AR

The online Master's of Science in Professional School Counseling offered by the University of Central Arkansas is formatted with mostly synchronous classes and occasional face-to-face session on-campus in Conway, Arkansas. An on-campus orientation is offered to students to allow them to meet professors and peers as well as gain more information about their program. The master's of school counseling online is available in two tracks: the Initial Licensure Track and the Add-on Licensure Track. These options allow students with or without a teaching license to have the chance to earn a degree to become a school counselor. Admission requirements include a 2.70 overall grade point average, submission of either the GRE or Praxis Core exams, and three recommendations.


Program Overview
Department: School Counseling Program
Program name: MS in Professional School Counseling
Available concentrations: Initial licensure track, add-on licensure track
Accrediting bodies: NCACS, THLC, APA

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 48 credits
Field education requirements: 2 semesters of internship, 1 practicum

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 2-5 years

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling
GPA: Minimum 2.7 or 3.0 in last 60 undergraduate hours
Standardized tests: GRE or Praxis Core Exams

Contact
Department phone: (501) 450-5000
Department email: aharless@uca.edu
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

Tweet this Share this School Profile
22 Southwestern Assemblies of God University 46.53 4/5 50% Waxahachie, TX

Southwestern Assemblies of God University is a Bible-based university that strives to prepare students spiritually, academically, professionally, and cross-culturally so they can provide professional Christian service wherever needed. Their online Master of Education in School counseling program is offered to adults, age 22 and older, who have at least two years of teaching experience in an accredited school. It is a 36-hour program comprised of research, professional development, and a practicum. SAGU has provided 25 years of distance education, giving them the experience to understand the needs of the online students. Students are welcome and encouraged to use any on-campus support, resources, and facilities.


Program Overview
Department: Harrison School of Graduate Studies
Program name: M.Ed. in School Counseling
Accrediting body: SASC
Tuition: $585/ credit

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Synchronous and asynchronous.

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 36 credits
Field education requirements: Practicum, internship

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling
GPA: Minimum 2.5
Work experience: 2 years of teaching experience

Contact
School phone: (888) 937-7248
School email: info@sag.edu
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

Tweet this Share this School Profile
23 University of Louisiana at Monroe 46.12 2/5 32% Monroe, LA

The University of Louisiana at Monroe's online school counseling master's program is a 60-credit program usually completed in two years by full-time students. This program prepares its students for a variety of careers including: school counselor, school administrator, higher education counselor, career counselor, vocational counselor, or consultant. The University of Louisiana strives to support all of its students; it has dedicated an entire building on campus as the student success center has created The Office of eUlm that provides a support system to specifically online learners.


Program Overview
Department: The School of Health Professions
Program name: MS in Counseling School Counseling Track
Accrediting body: SASC, CACREP

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 60 credits

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 2-5 years

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling
GPA: Minimum 2.8
Standardized tests: GRE

Contact
Department phone: (318) 342-1246
Department email: sutton@ulm.edu
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

Tweet this Share this School Profile
24 City University of Seattle 44.81 3/5 55% Seattle, WA

Three main qualities represent most students' choice to study at City University of Seattle: convenience and flexibility, relevant programs, and an adult learning environment. Their master's in school counseling online program incorporates all three of these characteristics, allowing students to participate in online instruction throughout the week while attending classes on the weekend in its cohort-based structure. Full-time students usually do not have to commit more than two years to earn their Master of Education in Guidance and Counseling degree from CityU. Qualifications to apply include a 2.75 cumulative GPA and documentation of at least one year of volunteer or work experience with youth.


Program Overview
Department: The Division of Arts and Sciences
Program name: M.Ed. in Guidance and Counseling
Accrediting body: NCCU
Tuition: $686/ credit

Delivery
Format: Online or hybrid
Instruction style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 49-54 credits
Field education requirements: 2 credits of practicum

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 2 years

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling
GPA: Minimum 2.75
Work experience: At least one year of prior volunteer or work experience with youth.

Contact
School phone: (888) 422-4898
School email: info@cityu.edu
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

Tweet this Share this School Profile
25 Southern Arkansas University Main Campus 44.62 3/5 43% Magnolia, AR

Southern Arkansas University is the fastest growing and most affordable university in Arkansas. It provides access to academic resources to distance learners through their online master's in school counseling program. This program is comprised of 51 hours and is taught in a hybrid system with a mix of on-campus and online learning. It fulfills all requirements for licensure in school counseling K-12 through its balanced curriculum of theoretical knowledge and practical application. The online portion of the program is taught through Blackboard, while the on-campus classes take place in Magnolia, Arkansas, on Southern Arkansas University's main campus.


Program Overview
Department: The Southern Arkansas School Counseling Program
Program name: M.Ed. in School Counseling
Accrediting body:NCACS, THLC
Tuition: $885/ credit

Delivery
Format: Hybrid or online
Instruction style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 48 credits
Field education requirements: 100-hour practicum, 600 internship hours

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 3 years

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Fall Semester: July 20; spring semester: December 1; summer I: April 1; summer II: June 1
GPA: minimum 2.5 or 2.75 in last 60 hours of undergraduate work.
Standardized tests: GMAT, GRE, MAT

Contact
School phone: (870) 235-4000
Graduate school email: gradstudies@saumag.edu
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

Tweet this Share this School Profile

An online master’s degree in school guidance and counseling is different between schools. Although many programs are offered with similar instruction methods and equally valid degrees, the specific curricula, graduation requirements, cost, and accreditation may vary. The licenses and certifications that a student may be eligible for can also depend on the program. Many degrees require fieldwork or on-campus components.

CONCENTRATIONS OFFERED FOR AN ONLINE MASTER’S DEGREE IN SCHOOL COUNSELING

Concentration Description Careers this concentration prepares for
School Counseling Students learn about the theory and practice of counseling and teaching and take classes in crisis intervention, team leadership, and coping strategies. School counselor, aide
Bilingual Counseling A bilingual concentration focuses on multicultural and bilingual counseling theories. Students will need to be fluent in another language and will become familiar with common problems of English language learners in school. Guidance counselor, aide in bilingual school or classroom
Career Counseling Students with a concentration in career counseling are prepared to work in high schools or colleges where they help students find jobs and careers. This concentration requires classes in networking, career services, and resource management. Career counselor, college counselor, school counselor

CURRICULUM FOR AN ONLINE MASTER’S DEGREE IN SCHOOL COUNSELING

Specific courses vary from school to school. This can be a deciding factor when choosing a program, but most programs have a similar core curriculum. Below is a list of classes you may encounter.

  • Counseling Techniques: From foundational theory to modern practical techniques, all master’s in school counseling online programs have courses that teach the most effective and appropriate skills. Students usually take more than one technique course during their online master’s in school counseling program.
  • Assessment in Counseling: Assessment courses are designed to help counselors see the nonverbal warning signs and ask the important questions. Assessment can often mean teamwork with educators and administrators.
  • Internship/Fieldwork: Internships and fieldwork are common in on-campus and online master’s in school counseling programs. It gives students work experience before they start their careers.
  • Crisis and Trauma Counseling: Many master’s in school counseling online programs feature courses on crisis management and dealing with trauma. This is an area that students can concentrate on to specialize with certain student groups.
  • Ethics and Legal Issues: There are numerous ethical and legal restrictions in counseling to protect students and counselors. Every student has to take at least one class in this area to understand rights and limits.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO GET AN ONLINE MASTER’S IN SCHOOL COUNSELING?

Earning a master’s in school counseling online can vary in length and credit requirements. Counseling programs require anywhere from 30 to 60 credits to graduate. On average, the program can be completed in two years.

Many online master’s in school counseling programs are taught in a cohort or independent, accelerated format. A cohort program tends to take more time to complete but provides a more traditional feel. Through an independent program, students are able to take as many credits as they can handle. Most school counseling programs require internships and fieldwork, which can impact completion time. Some programs also have capstone projects or on-campus components.

CERTIFICATIONS AND LICENSES A MASTER’S IN SCHOOL COUNSELING PREPARES FOR

  • School Counselor in a state: License requirements vary from state to state. Make sure your program fits the criteria for the state you want to practice in. Many programs have state-specific restrictions.
  • National Certified School Counselor: Awarded by the National Board for Certified Counselors, the NCSC proves that students have met the group’s strict standards. Counselors can earn the certification by applying, but they must hold a national certified counselor certification to do so. Some schools will offer incentives for counselors to earn this certification.

Accreditation is one of the most important features students should look at when choosing where to enroll. If a school or program is accredited, it means that it has met a set of requirements set by peer institutions, the government, and related industry groups. There are three forms of accreditation: regional, national, and program-specific.

Regional accreditation commonly applies to traditional brick and mortar colleges. It’s also more prestigious and sought after by employers. National accreditation typically applies to online schools, distance learning programs, and vocational education.

Program-specific accreditation comes from private, industry groups that decide whether or not a program meets certain criteria without judging the entire college. For school counseling, the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) accredits programs that lead to students becoming a licensed professional counselor or a licensed professional clinical counselor. CACREP is approved by the Department of Education (DOE).

Two of the most important accrediting bodies are the DOE and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). The DOE does not accredit schools itself, but rather recognizes the agencies that do and serves in an oversight role. CHEA also recognizes regional and national accrediting organizations. CHEA is a nongovernmental agency run by higher education leaders. Learn more about which programs around the U.S. are accredited by the CACREP and other agencies.

Job Placement: Master’s vs Bachelor’s of School Counseling

According to a recent survey by U.S. News & World Report, school counselors in the United States have a relatively low unemployment rate, at 3.3%. Additionally, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) notes that the profession is projected to grow by 8% — roughly 22,500 jobs — between 2014 and 2024. This rate is higher than the projected 5% growth for all industries during the same timeframe. However, education budget cuts at both the state and federal levels could mitigate any projected growth.

Additional BLS data reveals that professional counselors who hold a master’s degree outnumber their bachelor’s-holding counterparts by nearly two to one. The high number of master’s-holders has created a competitive job market for school counselors. Students who earn master’s degrees from top online programs will be well-positioned against other candidates.

Using BLS figures, the table below features the top employing industries for professional school counselors in the United States. As the table indicates, elementary and secondary school counselors represent more employees than the other four industries combined.

Industry Number of Professional Counselors Employed in the Industry (U.S.)
Elementary and Secondary Schools 127,100
Colleges, Universities and Professional Schools 54,980
Junior Colleges 20,160
Educational Support Services 4,060
Technical and Trade Schools 3,110

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Earning a Living

In addition to more favorable job placement rates, school counselors with a master’s degree enjoy higher earning potential. The BLS notes that the median annual salary for professional counselors with a master’s is $50,000. Compared to the median salary of $37,000 for counselors with a bachelor’s, master’s-holders outearn their peers with lesser degrees by 35%.

According to U.S. News & World Report, the median annual salary for school counselors in the U.S. (regardless of degree level) is $53,370. A thorough salary breakdown for school counselors is listed in the table below.

Median Annual Salary
Lowest-Paid $31,960
25th Percentile $40,900
Median $69,250
75th Percentile $69,250
Highest-Paid $86,610

Source: U.S. News & World Report

School counselor salaries vary depending on their area of specialization and work experience level. The next table uses PayScale data to show the salary expectations for different school counseling roles at four career benchmarks.

Occupation Median Annual Salary for Entry-Level Employees (0-5 Years) Median Annual Salary for Mid-Career Employees (10+ Years) Median Annual Salary for Experienced Employees (10-20 Years) Median Annual Salary for Late-Career Employees (20+ Years)
High School Counselor $42,000 $52,000 $59,000 $68,000
School Counselor $42,692 $48,012 $56,140 $62,343
College Career Counselor $42,000 $49,000 $57,000 $69,000
Admissions Counselor (College/University) $34,795 $40,703 $46,119 $42,854

Source: PayScale

The table reveals that high school counselors and college career counselors have a nearly identical career trajectory, with the same salary at the entry-level mark and very similar salaries throughout their career. Also, it’s important to note that the salary for admission counselors at colleges and universities actually begins to decline after the 10-20 year mark. PayScale does not currently have career salary data for elementary school counselors.

Career Opportunities

Graduates who leave school with a master’s degree will qualify for dozens of school counseling jobs, although individual eligibility will depend on the candidate’s specialization, licensure status, and other specific criteria. Below you’ll find details on some of the most common career pathways for school counseling master’s graduates.

Elementary School Counselors: At the elementary level (typically kindergarten through grade 6), counselors focus on fundamental learning and social skills. They routinely evaluate individual students for learning disabilities, behavioral disorders, and other issues that may hinder their education and development.

Middle School Counselors: In middle schools (grades 7 and 8, as well as grade 9 in some cases), counselors often help students address some of the physical and emotional issues related to early adolescence. They often collaborate with teachers, administrators, and other faculty and staff to foster a supportive, positive learning environment for students as they enter their teenage years.

High School Counselors: In high schools, counselors typically divide their energy between students who need support for emotional or social issues, and those seeking advice about college and/or career planning. Larger high schools may hire separate counselors who specialize in each area, while these roles may be combined at smaller schools with a limited counseling staff.

College Counselors: Most colleges and universities have large counseling departments with personnel that specializes in different niche areas of the field. Some offer mental health counseling and support for emotional or social issues. Others provide career guidance or assist applicants with the admissions process.

Licensure requirements vary by grade level and type of institution. Counselors must receive licensure in all 50 state in order to practice at public elementary and secondary schools. In order to sit for the licensing exam, candidates in most states must complete a set number of supervised clinical hours; master’s program internships usually satisfy this requirement. In some states, one or two years of work experience or a teaching license will also be required. There is no licensing requirement for counselors at private schools or college-level career counselors.

Professional Organizations

Making professional connections and learning about different approaches to school counseling 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 school counselors. These organizations host networking events, provide online trainings, maintain active job boards, and offer other services for career-ready college graduates. Resources like these often prove invaluable as you complete your degree requirements and prepare to enter the job market.

  • American School Counselor Association: The ASCA is a national association for school counselors working at all education levels, from elementary to college. Member benefits include discounts on professional development courses, complimentary liability insurance and a free subscription to two online publications.
  • American Counseling Association: Founded in 1952, the ACA has more than 56,000 members and is the largest organization representing professional counselors in the world. The website includes a vast online resource library, government publications, a career center, and links to continuing education opportunities.
  • International School Counselor Association: The ISCA is dedicated to counselors who work in international schools across the globe. Individual and organizational memberships are available, and the association hosts an annual conference in a different major world city each year.

Despite the relative affordability of online school counseling master’s 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 your overall student debt.

UNDERSTANDING THE FAFSA

Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a crucial first step for any student with financial needs. Our FAFSA guide features a step-by-step rundown on the process and 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 earning their degree. 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.

Best Online Master's in School Counseling in 2016
Rank School Location
1 Lehigh University Bethlehem, PA
2 Wake Forest University Winston Salem, NC
3 University of Missouri - Columbia Columbia, MO
4 Seton Hall University South Orange, NJ
5 University of Massachusetts - Boston Boston, MA
6 Gallaudet University Washington, DC
7 Oregon State University Corvallis, OR
8 University of North Dakota Grand Forks, ND
9 Concordia University - Wisconsin Mequon, WI
10 University of the Cumberlands Williamsburg, KY
11 Our Lady of the Lake University San Antonio, TX
12 University of Central Arkansas Conway, AR
13 University of Tennessee - Martin Martin, TN
14 Missouri Baptist University Saint Louis, MO
15 Regent University Virginia Beach, VA
16 Angelo State University San Angelo, TX
17 University of West Alabama Livingston, AL
18 Fort Hays State University Hays, KS
19 Indiana Wesleyan University Marion, IN
20 Southwestern Assemblies of God University Waxahachie, TX