Best Online Master’s in School Counseling Programs of 2021

March 19, 2021

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An online master's in counseling fulfills states' requirements to become a licensed counselor. Licensure opens up many rewarding career opportunities, including the ability to open a private practice. With a master's, professionals can also pursue a doctorate in counseling. This terminal degree qualifies graduates to obtain tenure-track positions at major colleges and universities.

What Are the Best Online Master's in School Counseling Programs of 2021? Here Are Our Top 10:

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#1 North Carolina State University at Raleigh Raleigh, NC
#2 University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA
#3 Wake Forest University Winston-Salem, NC
#4 University of Louisiana at Monroe Monroe, LA
#5 Concordia University-Nebraska Seward, NE
#6 Harding University Searcy, AR
#7 University of North Dakota Grand Forks, ND
#8 University of Missouri-Columbia Columbia, MO
#9 University of St Thomas Houston, TX
#10 Seton Hall University South Orange, NJ
How We Rank Schools

At BestColleges, we believe a college education is one of the most important investments you will make. We want to help you navigate the college selection process by offering school rankings that are transparent, inclusive, and relevant for online students.

Our rankings are grounded in a few guiding principles and use the latest statistical data available from trusted sources. Read our Ranking Methodology. We hope our approach helps you find the school that is best for you.

With so many excellent master's in counseling online programs to choose from, selecting the right one can feel challenging. The following ranking lists programs based on their admission requirements, unique courses, tuition information, and other important details that can help you make an informed decision. Each blurb also contains a link to the program's website, where you can learn more and determine whether the program matches your interests and career goals.

Although the following ranking may not contain the school you ultimately attend, researching the top online counseling master's programs can teach you much about what to look for in a mental health or school counseling program. Finally, if you have a question about a program, contact the school's admissions office to learn more.

Related Programs That Might Interest You

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

2021 Best Accredited Online Master's in School Counseling Programs

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North Carolina State University at Raleigh View School Profile Raleigh, NC

A public university located in Raleigh, NC State offers a mostly online master of education in school counseling. The program helps students develop the skills needed to support K-12 students, alongside an opportunity to explore clinical counseling.

The 60-credit online program follows a part-time cohort model where students take courses throughout the year. Course topics include multicultural counseling, gender issues in counseling, and crisis counseling.

All students must complete a 12-credit internship and a three-credit practicum experience. Graduating students qualify to sit for a professional licensure exam in the state of North Carolina. During their final year, students must attend some weekend classes on campus.

NC State holds regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. This school counseling program is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Master of Education in School Counseling
School Status: Public
Tuition: $462 per credit (in-state); $1,311 per credit (out-of-state)
Credit Requirements: 60 credits
Program Length: 3 years
Format: Online with some on-campus class requirements

Admission Requirements

GPA: No minimum specified
Standardized Tests: GRE or MAT required (waived through fall 2022)

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

University of Southern California View School Profile Los Angeles, CA

A private university located in Los Angeles, USC offers an online master of education in school counseling. Key focus areas of the curriculum include college and career readiness, restorative justice, and trauma-informed practice. The program helps students achieve the pupil personnel services: school counseling credential in California.

The 49-credit program includes courses that cover topics like learning and individual differences, theories in counseling, and cross-cultural counseling. Students must also complete a 100-hour practicum and a 600-hour internship.

USC is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Master of Education in School Counseling
School Status: Private
Tuition: $1,995 per credit
Credit Requirements: 49 credits
Program Length: 2 years
Format: Online

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum recommended
Standardized Tests: Not required

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

Wake Forest University View School Profile Winston-Salem, NC

A private university located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Wake Forest offers an online master's in school counseling. The 60-credit program requires students to complete 30 credits of foundational and core courses and 30 credits in the school counseling speciality.

Core course topics include advanced counseling skills and crisis management, group procedures in counseling, and family counseling, while speciality courses cover topics like appraisal procedures for counselors. Students must also complete a practicum, an internship experience, and a capstone course.

Wake Forest is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. This school counseling program is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Master's in School Counseling
School Status: Private
Tuition: $1,510 per credit
Credit Requirements: 60 credits
Program Length: 3 years
Format: Online

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.5 minimum required
Standardized Tests: Minimum GRE score of 300 required

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

University of Louisiana at Monroe View School Profile Monroe, LA

A public university in northern Louisiana, ULM offers an online master of science in counseling with a school counseling track. Graduating students qualify for school counseling certification and licensed professional counselor licensure.

The 60-credit program offers courses in law and ethics in counseling, diagnostics in counseling, lifespan development, and multicultural counseling. To qualify for graduation, students must also complete a 100-hour practicum and 600 hours of internship experience. The program also includes nine credits of electives, which students can use to pursue one of two focus areas: marriage and family or pediatric.

ULM is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. This counseling program is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Master of Science in Counseling With a School Counseling Track
School Status: Public
Tuition: $500 per credit
Credit Requirements: 60 credits
Program Length: 3 years
Format: Online

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.75 minimum required
Standardized Tests: GRE required

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

Concordia University-Nebraska View School Profile Seward, NE

Based in Seward, Concordia offers an online master of arts in school counseling program. Students can choose from two tracks: a track for certified teachers (50 credits) and a track for those without a teaching license (62 credits).

Course topics include foundations of school counseling, trauma and crisis intervention, and ethical and legal issues in school counseling. The program also requires students to complete a 100-hour practicum, 450 hours of supervised internship, and a capstone course.

The program culminates with professional PK-12 certification in Nebraska and follows guidelines established by the American School Counselor Association. Concordia is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Master of Arts in School Counseling
School Status: Private
Tuition: $425 per credit
Credit Requirements: 50 or 62 credits
Program Length: 2-3 years
Format: Online

Admission Requirements

GPA: No minimum specified
Standardized Tests: Not required

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

Harding University View School Profile Searcy, AR

Based in Searcy, Arkansas, Harding offers an online master of science in professional school counseling for new practitioners.The curriculum includes courses on advanced human growth and development, research methods, and school counseling. The 48-credit program also requires students to complete nine credits of practicum and internship experiences.

Students can complete the program in three years or less, and they have an option to get a dual license in both school and clinical counseling. Graduating students may sit for the national counselor exam.

Harding is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. This professional school counseling program is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Master of Science in Professional School Counseling
School Status: Private
Tuition: $575 per credit
Credit Requirements: 48 credits
Program Length: 3 years
Format: Online

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.5 minimum overall or 2.75 or higher on last 60 credits of coursework
Standardized Tests: GRE (900 minimum), MAT (380 minimum), or PRAXIS II required if the applicant does not hold a current teaching license

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Request more information about this program.

University of North Dakota View School Profile Grand Forks, ND

A public research university located in Grand Forks, UND offers an online master of arts in counseling with a K-12 school counseling emphasis.

The program covers course topics such as lifespan development in counseling, career counseling, school counseling and program management, and psychological testing. Students must also complete a 100-hour supervised practicum and a 450-600-hour internship in a K-12 school setting. Other program requirements include independent study, a scholarly project, or thesis work.

UND is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. This school counseling program is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Master of Arts in Counseling With a Specialized Track in K-12 School Counseling
School Status: Public
Tuition: $800 per credit
Credit Requirements: 60-66 credits
Program Length: 3 years
Format: Online

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.75 minimum required for all undergraduate work or 3.0 minimum on coursework completed in the junior and senior years
Standardized Tests: Not required

Contact the School

Get more information about this program.

University of Missouri-Columbia View School Profile Columbia, MO

Based in Columbia, Mizzou offers a three-year master of education in educational, school, and counseling psychology. Participants can complete their coursework entirely online.

This program prepares students for K-12 teaching certification. Course topics include theories and techniques of counseling, the foundation of teacher prep, introduction to special education, and diversity issues in school mental health. Students must also complete a supervised counseling psychology practicum in an approved school setting during the program's final year.

Faculty deliver courses in eight-week blocks, and participants take one class at a time. Students enroll throughout the year. Mizzou is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Master of Education in Educational, School, and Counseling Psychology
School Status: Public
Tuition: $463 per credit
Credit Requirements: 60 credits
Program Length: 3 years
Format: Online

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum required on last 60 credits of undergraduate coursework
Standardized Tests: Not required

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

University of St Thomas View School Profile Houston, TX

A Catholic university located in Houston, Texas, UST offers a two-year master of education in school counseling for trained educators who have at least two years of teaching experience. After completing the 48-credit program, students qualify for school counselor certification in the state of Texas.

Course topics include educational research design and data analysis, multicultural populations, issues and trends in counseling, and developmental school counseling. Students must also complete a counseling practicum — a 15-week course with 160 hours of observation and 80 hours of direct practice.

UST is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Master of Education in School Counseling
School Status: Private
Tuition: $500 per credit
Credit Requirements: 48 credits
Program Length: 2 years
Format: Online

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum required
Standardized tests: Not specified

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

Seton Hall University View School Profile South Orange, NJ

A private university in South Orange, New Jersey, Seton Hall offers a mostly online master of arts in school counseling. The coursework prepares individuals to succeed in ethnically, geographically, and socially diverse K-12 settings.

The 48-credit program includes theoretical, clinical, and professional coursework. Learners also complete nine credits of field internship experiences. Students learn about subjects like abnormal psychology, principles of learning and behavior modification, counseling and supervision in school settings, and counselor ethics in practices. Students must also complete a practicum and a capstone project, and attend a four-day residency on campus at the beginning of the program. Students join a cohort, advancing through courses together.

Seton Hall is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission of Higher Education.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Master of Arts in School Counseling
School Status: Private
Tuition: $765 per credit
Credit Requirements: 48 credits
Program Length: 2-2.5 years
Format: Online with one on-campus residency

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum recommended
Standardized tests: Not required

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

The University of Tennessee-Martin View School Profile Martin, TN

A public university based in northwest Tennessee, UT Martin offers a master of science in education with a major in counseling and a concentration in school counseling. All coursework is delivered online, but students must attend a three-day residency on campus.

The 48-credit program covers subjects such as principles of crisis intervention, theory and techniques of counseling, group dynamics, and organization and administration of school counseling. The program also requires students to complete 100 hours of practicum experiences and 600 hours of internships in secondary and elementary school settings.

UTM is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. This school counseling program is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Master of Science in Education With a Major in Counseling and a Concentration in School Counseling
School Status: Public
Tuition: $620 per credit (in-state); $676 per credit (out-of-state)
Credit Requirements: 48 credits
Program Length: 2 years
Format: Online with one three-day residency on campus

Admission Requirements

GPA: No minimum specified
Standardized Tests: Not required

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

Liberty University View School Profile Lynchburg, VA

A Christian university based in Lynchburg, Virginia, Liberty offers an online master of education in school counseling for those seeking credentials for a K-12 school position. Graduates can pursue school counseling licensure in public and private K-12 schools in Virginia.

The 48-credit program covers course topics such as foundations of education, educational assessment and intervention, principles of school counseling, and school counseling program development and evaluation. Students must also complete a two-semester internship in primary and elementary school settings and a nine-credit practicum experience.

Liberty is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. This school counseling program is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Master of Education in School Counseling
School Status: Private
Tuition: $565 per credit
Credit Requirements: 48 credits
Program Length: 2.5 years
Format: Online

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.7 minimum required
Standardized tests: Not required

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

East Carolina University View School Profile Greenville, NC

A public university in Greenville, North Carolina, ECU offers an online master of science in counselor education with a specialization in school counseling.

The 60-credit program includes 45 credits of core coursework and 15 credits dedicated to a student's specialization. Course topics include career counseling and development, social and cultural issues in counseling, student affairs and college counseling, and counseling in schools. Students must also complete a 100-hour practicum experience and a 300-hour internship.

ECU is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. This school counselor program is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Master of Science in Counselor Education With a Specialization in School Counseling
School Status: Public
Tuition: $249 per credit (in-state); $894 per credit (out-of-state)
Credit Requirements: 60 credits
Program Length: 3 years
Format: Online

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.75 minimum required
Standardized Tests: GRE or MAT required (with a minimum score in the 30th percentile)

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

Missouri Baptist University View School Profile Saint Louis, MO

A private university located in Saint Louis, MBU offers an online master of arts in school counseling taught through a Christian perspective. Working professionals can graduate within 36 months.

The 51-credit program includes courses like foundations of school counseling, counseling skills and techniques, group counseling, and child and adolescent counseling. While all the coursework is delivered online, those seeking counselor licensure must also complete 100 hours of supervised clinical practice involving direct and indirect client care, as well as 600 hours of supervised counseling practice within elementary and secondary schools.

MBU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Master of Arts in School Counseling
School Status: Private
Tuition: $663 per credit
Credit Requirements: 51 credits
Program Length: 3 years
Format: Online

Admission Requirements

GPA: No minimum specified
Standardized tests: Not specified

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

Concordia University-Wisconsin View School Profile Mequon, WI

Located in Mequon, CUW offers an online master of science in education program that leads to school counseling licensure. Students complete classes that cover topics like counseling theory, human growth and development, and professional ethics. Graduates are prepared to pursue licensure in the state of Wisconsin; those seeking licensure elsewhere should check specific requirements in their state.

In addition to submitting their transcripts, applicants should submit a personal essay, a resume, and two letters of recommendation. However, graduate entrance exam scores are not required.

CUW is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Additionally, the school counseling program track holds approval from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Master of Science in Education - School Counseling Licensure
School Status: Private
Tuition: $630 per credit
Credit Requirements: 45-60 credits
Program Length: 2-3 years
Format: Online

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum required
Standardized tests: Not required

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

Consult this comprehensive degree page to learn more about the master's in school counseling. The guide covers degree characteristics, concentration options, and relevant certification and licensure.

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For information on the careers available to school counseling majors, access this in-depth guide. You will find statistics on salary potential and employment prospects by location. The page also covers job options by degree level and professional development resources.

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