Professional counselors see clients who are struggling with various interpersonal issues and help them overcome them through different therapy techniques. This rewarding field includes many subdivisions, and counselors typically specialize in niche areas of their profession. These specializations include school and career counseling, addiction counseling, marriage and family therapy, mental health counseling and rehabilitation counseling. Counselors also vary in their preferred methods of therapy delivery. Some primarily counsel clients in a one-on-one setting, while others provide therapy to couples, families and large groups.

A master's degree in counseling is the minimum education level for most counseling jobs, and counselors who offer services in private practices or public schools must also earn full licensure in all 50 states. However, a bachelor's degree in counseling is a critical first step for those who aspire to a career in this profession. Programs typically include degree specialization or concentration options, as well internship or residency courses. Many of today's students are choosing to earn their bachelor's degree in counseling online. The best online bachelor's in counseling programs follow the same rigorous curriculum as brick-and-mortar options, and the self-paced schedule of most online degrees is ideal for students with part-time jobs, childcare duties and other commitments that may interfere with campus-based learning.

Learn more about what you can do with an online bachelor's degree in counseling and what kind of career opportunities you can look forward to with this comprehensive guide.

Choosing a Program

WILL AN ONLINE COUNSELING DEGREE PROGRAM PROVIDE ME WITH THE SKILLS I NEED TO ADVANCE MY CAREER?

An online bachelor's degree in counseling will introduce the fundamental theories and methods that currently guide the counseling profession. Courses will cover topics like psychology, mental health and behavioral disorders, human growth and development and empirical research methods, as well as laws and ethics for licensed counselors. Internship and residency courses also enable students to visit active worksites and receive supervised training from experienced professionals. The best online bachelor's in counseling programs will also prepare students for post-graduation requirements, such as licensing exams.

WILL AN ONLINE COUNSELING DEGREE PROGRAM WORK WITH MY SCHEDULE?

Online counseling bachelor's programs offer a flexible alternative to traditional classroom learning. Students can access course readings and lectures, submit written assignments, take exams and communicate with their professors at the click of a mouse. Current technology also enables them to study away from the home computer using a laptop, tablet, smartphone and other Wi-Fi-compatible devices. For added convenience, online counseling students can usually coordinate internships, residencies and any other onsite courses at locations near their current address.

WHAT JOBS CAN I GET WITH MY BACHELOR'S DEGREE IN COUNSELING?

Although some entry-level jobs at counseling centers may be available, a bachelor's degree will not be sufficient for most counseling careers. Many counselors earn a master's degree ― and in some cases, a Ph.D. ― before entering the workforce, and those who plan to offer private practice services must complete all licensure prerequisites for the state where they plan to work. However, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) notes that a bachelor's degree may be adequate for those with career plans in substance abuse counseling. College graduates with a bachelor's in counseling may also be able to land jobs in fields related to counseling, such as social work or human resources.

WHAT ARE THE BEST ONLINE BACHELOR'S IN 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 bachelor's degree in counseling programs in the United States. If you are considering an online bachelor's in counseling, be sure to contact admissions specialists at different colleges and universities to learn more their about specific bachelor's degree requirements and offerings.

Accredited Online Counseling Programs

Rank School Cost Graduation Rate Description Toggle
1

Liberty University

Lynchburg, VA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 47%

The bachelor of science in Christian counseling at Liberty University approaches psychological therapy from an evangelical perspective. The fully online program comprises 120 credits, and classes follow an eight-week schedule. Courses blend psychology studies with Christian ethics to train counselors how to use biblical narratives to guide patients through marriage counseling, child development, and everyday pressures.

The program holds approval from the American Association of Christian Counselors. Coursework includes social and behavioral psychology, multicultural counseling, statistics and data analysis, and a final internship experience.

Students may transfer up to 75% of their undergraduate credits from another accredited institution — the equivalent of 90 credits. Full-time online students pay less per credit than part-time students. Liberty provides servicemen and veterans with a significant tuition discount. Veterans engaging with their community as a first responder or EMT also receive additional support.

Applicants must submit official transcripts demonstrating a minimum 2.0 high school GPA. Students with a lower GPA are still welcome to apply, although they may be accepted on a probationary basis until they can demonstrate strong performance in online coursework.


Program Overview
Program Name: BS in Psychology
Available Concentrations: Christian counseling
Tuition: $390/credit
Credit Requirements: 120 credits
Program Length: 3.5 years

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Contact
Phone: (800) 424-9595
Email: luoundergrad@liberty.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

2

Regent University

Virginia Beach, VA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 61%

Regent University is an interdenominational evangelical school located in Virginia Beach, Virginia. The school's online bachelor of science in psychology prioritizes clinical and counseling psychology. The program comprises 120 credits, including 49 general education credits, 36 major credits, 15 concentration credits, and 20 credits of electives.

Dedicated to infusing higher education with Christian values, core classes cover biblical studies, Christian leadership, and Christian history and thought. Students also complete coursework in written and oral communication, critical analysis, and literature and mathematics. The degree culminates with a capstone seminar in which students examine case studies that emphasize Christian theory and psychological practices. All classes follow an eight-week timeline, and the program is available entirely online with no on-campus components.

Applicants must submit unofficial transcripts and a copy of some form of government ID. Online students pay less in tuition than on-campus students, and full-time students pay lower tuition rates than part-time learners.

Regent University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. It's psychology programming holds approval from the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs.


Program Overview
Program Name: BS in Psychology
Available Concentrations: Clinical and counseling psychology
Tuition: $395/credit
Credit Requirements: 120 credits

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Contact
Phone: (800) 373-5504
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

3

Calvary University

Kansas City, MO Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 67%

The online bachelor of science in biblical counseling at Calvary University uses theological morals and lessons to address modern problems. This nondenominational Christian university teaches the fundamentals of counseling through the lens of Christian faith to prepare students for ministry. Core coursework begins with an introduction to biblical studies and moves through specialized biblical classes. Participants also complete 12 credits in systematic theology and evangelicalism before progressing into major courses.

The major-related curriculum includes theological foundations of biblical counseling, an introduction to Christian mission work, and ethics. Electives span a variety of topics, like grief counseling, depression and substance abuse, and institution administration. Students can select one of three concentrations: addiction, human trafficking, or marriage and family. The degree culminates with a senior counseling project and internship. The program consists of 126 credits and takes four years of full-time enrollment to complete.

Military servicemen, veterans, and full-time ministry workers receive a significant tuition discount. Students struggling to afford the cost of tuition may apply to Calvary University's Nikaó Leadership Institute. If admitted, learners participate in a week-long leadership summit in exchange for a tuition-free semester.

The Association For Biblical Higher Education accredits Calvary University.


Program Overview
Program Name: BS in Biblical Counseling
Tuition: $407/credit
Credit Requirements: 126 credits

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements
Standardized Tests: SAT or ACT

Contact
Phone: (816) 322-0110
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

4

Clarks Summit University

South Abington Township, PA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 65%

CSU — located in South Abington Township, Pennsylvania — is a Baptist undergraduate institution that offers an online bachelor of science in counseling ministries. This program can be completed entirely online and requires students to earn 121 credits, including 57 elective credits, which allows for a high level of personalization. For example, students interested in women and children can take developmental and family-oriented courses. Similarly, aspiring addiction specialists can pursue theoretical frameworks of addiction, abuse, and crisis counseling.

Students at CSU can take up to 18 dual-enrolment credits, allowing learners to gain master's and bachelor's credits simultaneously. Students can also transfer up to 90 credits from another accredited institution. Christian workers, Teen Challenge USA or Teens for Christ workers, and international students can access special tuition discounts.

CSU maintains an online resource hub to connect distance learners with school amenities, such as a writing center, learning support, IT assistance, and answers to commonly asked questions. This online counseling degree is accredited by the Association for Biblical Higher Education, and CSU holds regional accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.


Program Overview
Program Name: BS in Counseling Ministries
Tuition: $395/credit
Credit Requirements: 121 credits
Program Length: 4 years

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Contact
Phone: (800) 451-7664
Email: admissions@ClarksSummitU.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

5

Fort Hays State University

Hays, KS Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 44%

Students at FHSU can pursue a bachelor of science or bachelor of arts in sociology online with an addictions counseling focus. The 120-credit BS/BA program requires 55 general education credits, 23 open elective credits, 21 core major credits, and 21 major elective credits.

Specialized electives allow students to orient their degree track to match their professional objectives. Among the many class options are medical sociology, social deviance, family studies, sexual behavior, death and dying, rural sociology, and nonprofit administration and organization. Interested students can also enroll in an internship course that covers advanced grant writing.

Classes progress through a standard 16-week schedule, with some available on an accelerated 8-week format. Online participants enjoy access to writing help through Smarthinking, as well as career services and tech support.

Online students pay the same per credit tuition rate, regardless of their location. FHSU also offers a variety of military scholarship and grant opportunities for active-duty military personnnel, veterans, and their families. Applicants must submit official transcripts demonstrating a minimum 2.0 high school GPA, letters of recommendation, and a personal statement. Applicants need not submit SAT/ACT scores unless they are under 21 years of age and have less than 24 college-level credits.


Program Overview
Program Name: BA in Sociology; BS in Sociology
Available Concentrations: Addictions counseling track
Tuition: $219/credit
Credit Requirements: 120 credits

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: 2.0 minimum
Standardized Tests: SAT or ACT

Contact
Phone: (785) 628-5840
Email: tigers@fhsu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

6

University of Cincinnati

Cincinnati, OH Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 69%

UC offers a 120-credit online bachelor of science in substance abuse counseling that prepares students to sit for several state licensure exams. Classes cover substance abuse issues, such as emotional and physical trauma inciting addiction, psychological distress caused by substance abuse, and recovery. Learners also study alcoholism and prescription drug addiction, the ethics of substance abuse counseling, and the cultural and societal pressures impacting positive change.

Students must complete two terms of supervised substance abuse counseling in their local area. Though not required, a senior capstone course provides the opportunity to translate personal research into a thesis or project summary for a professional portfolio. Faculty deliver all coursework asynchronously. Out-of-state students pay a marginally higher tuition rate than in-state learners.

Applicants must submit official transcripts demonstrating a minimum 2.7 high school GPA, two letters of recommendation, and ACT or SAT scores. Admitted students are paired with an academic adviser to design and execute a successful study plan.


Program Overview
Program Name: BS in Substance Abuse Counseling
Tuition: $5,500/term in-state; $5,680/term out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 60-120 credits

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: 2.7 minimum
Standardized Tests: SAT or ACT

Contact
Phone: (833) 556-7600
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

7

Saint Leo University

Saint Leo, FL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 48%

Students at Saint Leo can complete a 120-credit bachelor of arts in clinical psychology online. This program offers a general focus or a clinical/counseling specialization. In the general focus, students take coursework on abnormal, social, and developmental psychology. Alternatively, the clinical/counseling specialization covers forensic psychology, human sexuality, and childhood disorders. The school also offers sub-specializations in developmental psychology and experimental analysis.

Applicants must submit official academic transcripts. Students can also apply to earn transfer credits based on professional training or prior coursework. International applicants must hold an F1 visa, provide English competency exam scores as necessary, and meet the university's country-specific international admissions requirements. For international students who do not meet all of the application requirements, Saint Leo offers a bridge program, which features coursework that helps transition students into the American system.

Online learners all pay the same per-credit tuition, regardless of their state of residency. Additionally, active-duty military and navy servicemen receive discounts on tuition. Saint Leo holds regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.


Program Overview
Program Name: BA in Psychology
Available Concentrations: Clinical counseling
Tuition: $370/credit
Credit Requirements: 120 credits

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Contact
Phone: (877) 622-2009
Email: admissions@saintleo.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

8

University of South Dakota

Vermillion, SD Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 55%

The flagship university of the state, USD offers an online bachelor of science in addiction studies that prepares participants to sit for the South Dakota Board of Addiction and Prevention Professionals licensure exam. The degree track is also accredited by the National Addiction Studies Accreditation Commission.

This online counseling degree requires students to complete 120 credits, including 45 credits in their major. Learners must maintain a minimum 2.5 GPA in general coursework to advance into major coursework. Participants can choose one of two specializations: substance abuse treatment or addiction prevention.

Electives allow students to align their course of study with their goals and interests, covering topics such as Native American substance abuse and addiction, gambling and processes of addiction, and adolescent substance use and abuse. All participants must complete a research practicum in their local community and participate in one on-campus field experience.

USD offers students a variety of online resources, such as disability services, orientations, and a writing center.


Program Overview
Program Name: BS in Addiction Studies
Tuition: $9,332/year in-state; $9,408/year Minnesota residents; $12,807/year out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 120 credits

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: 2.6 minimum
Standardized Tests: SAT or ACT

Contact
Phone: (800) 233-7937
Email: cde@usd.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

9

Toccoa Falls College

Toccoa Falls, GA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 55%

TFC is a small evangelical Christian institution in northern Georgia. The school's bachelor of science in counseling psychology is an evidence-based program that also requires participants to take two religious classes. Religious coursework options include psychology of religion, Christ-centered counseling, and family or community counseling. Additional coursework covers the fundamentals of adolescent, social, and educational psychology. Online students can also participate in optional study abroad opportunities.

Applicants must submit a personal testimony explaining their religious background; official transcripts; and SAT, ACT, or CLT scores. Online learners pay the same per-credit tuition, regardless of their residency status. All current and former students enjoy access to the school's career services center. Distance learners also receive support from the center for academic success, which offers tutoring services and disability support. The school encourages students to watch the college's weekly community worship videos to stay up to date on campus news.

TFC is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.


Program Overview
Program Name: BS in Counseling Psychology
Tuition: $333/credit
Credit Requirements: 126 credits

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements
Standardized Tests: SAT or ACT

Contact
Phone: (706) 886-7299, ext. 5350
Email: counsel@tfc.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

10

Southwestern Assemblies of God University

Waxahachie, TX Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 44%

SAGU is a Pentecostal Christian school endorsed by the Assemblies of God USA. The school's online bachelor of arts in counseling prioritizes ministry counseling and requires all applicants to profess Jesus Christ as their personal savior.

Students take 18 biblical studies credits that cover topics such as the history of church ministry, biblical literature, and Pentecostal fundamentals. Elective options include addictive behavior and recovery, methods and techniques for family and marriage counseling, and theories of personality. Students can also earn experiential learning credits by enrolling in a class and developing a portfolio during their first semester.

This degree requires learners to complete a total of 126 credits. Faculty deliver online coursework through the Blackboard learning management system. Additionally, for high school students with ministry ambitions, the school offers an early college credit program.

Applicants must submit a Christian character reference, transcripts, and ACT or SAT scores. Students need a minimum score of 19 on the ACT or 1350 on the SAT.


Program Overview
Program Name: BA in Counseling
Tuition: $499/credit
Credit Requirements: 126 credits

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: 2.0 minimum

Contact
Phone: (888) 937-7248
Email: info@sagu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

11

Crown College

Saint Bonifacius, MN Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 67%

Crown College — located in St Bonifacius, Minnesota — is a member of the Counsel for Christian Colleges and Universities. The school offers a bachelor of science in psychology and counseling, which is taught from a Christian perspective. In addition to a 31-credit general education core, students complete 15-21 biblical studies credits, including surveys of biblical literature, the history of apologetics and Christian evidence, and interpreting the gospels.

Students take 43 elective credits to shape their course of study to match their goals and interests. Elective course topics include family counseling, drug abuse rehabilitation, and adolescent depression. Students must complete 125 credits to graduate. Crown offers an expedited program where bachelor's graduates immediately begin taking graduate-level coursework. Participants can earn a master's degree after 1.5 more years of study — one year faster than the typical master's program.

All students pay the same per-credit tuition, regardless of their state of residency. Crown accepts ACE credits and military learning assessments for school credit. It also offers special military scholarships for online students.


Program Overview
Program Name: BS in Psychology/Counseling
Tuition: $460/credit
Credit Requirements: 125-131 credits

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Contact
Phone: (952) 446-4100
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

12

Houston Baptist University

Houston, TX Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 48%

Houston Baptist University, a private Christian college founded in 1960, offers classes on its Houston, Texas campus and a completely online bachelor of arts in psychology-Christian counseling degree for students who want to go to school when it suits their busy schedule.

This asynchronous online counseling degree combines "faith and reason" in its 125-credit curriculum. Students earn a foundation in liberal arts. They also take general psychology, history and theoretical systems, and introduction to statistics courses. To graduate, students must earn at least a "C" grade in all major courses.

The program prepares graduates to work as counselors for their churches or to take the national counseling licensing exam. Many graduates of this program go on to enroll in the master of arts in clinical mental health counseling degree. Learners who want to pursue a career as a school counselor enroll in the master of education program with a specialization in counselor education.

As a Baptist college, a key component of campus life includes faith. All students must earn 80 credits from community life and worship programs to graduate. Students earn credits by attending church internships, Bible studies, community prayer, and Bible museums. The college also requires students to earn 50 credits through convocation attendance.

To apply for an online counseling degree, applicants with no college experience must submit proof of a high school diploma or GED. Transfer students with 32 or more transfer credits must submit their college transcripts. To apply, applicants should begin by submitting a free online application.


Program Overview
Program Name: BA in Psychology
Available Concentrations: Christian counseling
Tuition: $415/credit
Credit Requirements: 125 credits

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Contact
Phone: (281) 649-3000
Email: OnlineAdmissions@HBU.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

13

Johnson University

Knoxville, TN Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 63%

Founded in 1893, Johnson University offers traditional classes on its Central Florida and East Tennessee campuses. The college also provides online courses for busy working professionals.

This college boasts more than 70 programs, including two online bachelor's degrees in counseling. The bachelor of arts in pastoral care and counseling and the bachelor of science in pastoral care and counseling require students to complete 120 credits over four years. Both degrees require the same amount of credits in theology and counseling coursework.

However, the bachelor of arts degree requires 52 core credits and 11 general elective credits, whereas the bachelor of science degree requires students to take 46 core credits and 17 general elective credits. The program maintains accreditation from the Association for Biblical Higher Education.

Students in both programs take courses such as biblical teaching and preaching and fundamentals of Christian faith. Online classes offer the same education as traditional classes, but the format differs. Online classes, which run on seven- or eight-week terms, feature an asynchronous format that does not require students to attend set class times. The curriculum aims to prepare students to provide counseling in church settings.

Applicants need to submit an online application and sign a commitment to the Johnson Lifestyle form. Students must also complete a 500- to 1,000-word essay outlining their Christian faith and goals and submit two letters of reference and their transcripts. First-time freshmen should submit SAT, ACT, or CLT scores.


Program Overview
Program Name: BA in Pastoral Care and Counseling; BS in Pastoral Care and Counseling
Tuition: $4,800/term
Credit Requirements: 120 credits

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements
Standardized Tests: SAT or ACT

Contact
Phone: (800) 827-2122
Email: adultstudies@johnsonu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

14

Drexel University

Philadelphia, PA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 71%

Founded in 1891, the Philadelphia-based Drexel University features three campuses in the city and online classes. The university offers roughly 200 degrees from 15 different schools and colleges, and nearly 5,000 students take online classes at the university.

The bachelor of science in behavioral health counseling degree offers students an education taught by faculty who possess behavioral health experience. The curriculum emphasizes teaching students about substance use and psychiatric disorders. The coursework lets students build the knowledge and skills needed to land careers as either substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors or as social and community service managers.

The degree delivers a learning platform available entirely online with no on-campus requirements. This means students can log on and complete assignments at their own convenience. The 180-credit degree requires students to take classes such as life span human development, counseling theory and practice, and introduction to addictive behaviors.

The online counseling degree runs in four, 10-week quarters, which allows students to take more classes than they would in a traditional two-semester program.

Learners can transfer up to 90 credits from an accredited college. Eligible transfer students require a minimum of 24 credits from classes with a “C" grade or higher. They also need a minimum of a 2.5 GPA.

First-year students can apply by submitting their high school diploma or GED. Students applying as first-year freshmen must also submit SAT or ACT scores.


Program Overview
Program Name: BS in Behavioral Health Counseling
Tuition: $501/credit
Credit Requirements: 180 credits

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements
Standardized Tests: SAT or ACT

Contact
Phone: (877) 215-0009
Email: sca39@drexel.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

15

University of the Cumberlands

Williamsburg, KY Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 41%

The University of the Cumberlands, which traces its roots back to 1888 when a group of Baptists ministers started the college, provides educational opportunities to students in the Appalachian mountain region. The main campus sits in Williamsburg, Kentucky, and students outside of the state can attend online classes.

The university offers more than 40 majors, minors, and pre-professional programs. Theonline bachelor's degree in human services requires students to complete 128 credits, including 21 elective credits, 74 general education credits, and 33 human services credits. To graduate, students must complete classes such as case management, individual and family assessment, and human diversity and ethics — as well as an internship and seminar course.

The internship requires students to work in the field under supervision. They must complete 120 or 250 hours of the internship experience. The program runs completely online, with students only ever stepping foot on campus for graduation, if they choose.

The degree appeals to students who want to pursue careers helping individuals. Students learn about social welfare policy, communication skills, and human behavior theory. Graduates go on to work as social and human service assistants, community health workers, addiction counselor assistants, and probation officers.

To apply, students under 22 years of age must submit ACT scores. First-time students with less than 11 college credits must also submit their high school transcripts or GED. Transfer students with 12 or more college credits must submit their college transcripts.


Program Overview
Program Name: Bachelor's in Human Services
Tuition: $199/credit
Credit Requirements: 128 credits

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: 2.0 minimum
Standardized Tests: ACT

Contact
Phone: (606) 539-4390
Email: gradadm@ucumberlands.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

16

Lee University

Cleveland, TN Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 52%

Lee University, a private Christian school that began in 1918, offers 49 on-campus undergraduate degrees and 129 programs.

The university's ministry leadership bachelor's degree offers a completely online education. Students can choose from several concentrations, including business, music and worship, pastoral ministry, youth ministry, church administration, children's ministry, discipleship, and counseling.

The ministry leadership, counseling emphasis degree follows a Christian philosophy of teaching, requiring students to take 18 credits of religion classes and 30 hours in ministry leadership. To earn their degrees, students must complete 120 credits. Counseling classes comprise 24 of these credits and include topics like abnormal psychology, crisis intervention counseling, the Christian family, and pastoral counseling.

The degree takes four years on average to complete. Throughout the program, students develop leadership skills in group and individual settings. They also learn church counseling methods. Students require a 2.0 minimum GPA to graduate with an online bachelor's degree in counseling.

To submit an application for admission, candidates must hold a high school diploma or GED. Applicants must also submit their transcripts and SAT or ACT scores. The admissions office requires a composite ACT score of 17 and 900 or above for the SAT. Transfer students with less than 16 college credits must also submit ACT or SAT scores. To apply as a transfer student, the college requires transcripts showing at least a 2.0 GPA. Tennessee transfer students with less than 24 credits must take the SAT or ACT.


Program Overview
Program Name: BA in Ministry Leadership; BS in Ministry Leadership
Available Concentrations: Counseling
Tuition: $8,845/semester
Credit Requirements: 120 credits

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: 2.0 minimum
Standardized Tests: SAT or ACT

Contact
Phone: (800) LEE-9930
Email: info@leeuniversity.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

17

Bay Path University

Longmeadow, MA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 57%

Founded in 1897, Bay Path University provides career-oriented undergraduate degrees to female students and co-ed graduate degrees. With a campus in Longmeadow, Massachusetts, the college also offers numerous online degrees.

Delivered through The American Women's College, or TAWC, the bachelor of arts in psychology: counseling foundations allows full-time students to earn their degrees in 1-3.5 years. The program offers full-time and part-time options. Classes run on accelerated six-week sessions with no set meeting times, allowing students to complete assignments at their own convenience. With two locations in Massachusetts, students can also opt to take on-campus classes on Saturdays.

Throughout the program, students learn about the various treatments for psychological disorders and behavioral research methods. The Social Online Universal Learning, or SOUL, platform allows online students to connect with other online learners taking classes through TAWC and their educator coaches. SOUL also allows students to customize their learning experiences by changing the instruction modalities to interactive exercises, audio, video, or text.

The college offers six different starts dates every year. Applicants with credits from accredited colleges can transfer up to 90 credits. The college also offers college credit for military or volunteer service. Students pay a flat tuition rate. The application process includes a free online application and an in-person or phone interview to go over a student's goals. In addition, students must submit their transcripts proving a minimum 2.0 GPA. Applicants with fewer than 12 college credits must submit high school transcripts.


Program Overview
Program Name: BA in Counseling Foundations
Tuition: $400/credit
Credit Requirements: 120 credits

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Contact
Phone: (844) 944-8292
Email: tawcadmissions@baypath.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

18

Oral Roberts University

Tulsa, OK Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 57%

Oral Roberts University, a Christian school located on a 263-acre campus in Tulsa, Oklahoma, offers distance learning classes for students based across the country and world. The college offers 77 undergraduate degrees and 65 minors.

The Christian caregiving and counseling degree provides students with a completely online education. Students take online classes asynchronously. Classes run year-round, allowing students to earn their degrees in less than four years. To prepare students for online classes, the program features a three-credit online learning strategies course in the first semester.

The program requires students to complete 57 general education credits, 45 credits in their major, 18 credits in a minor or electives, and 8 electives. The 128-credit curriculum combines psychology and Christian caregiving. Students must take principles of psychology and survey of Old Testament literature courses.

The degree suits students who want to pursue careers as counselors in a church setting or work as community health workers or substance abuse counselors. After graduation, many degree holders also find work as missionaries, pastors, or teachers. Graduates pursue a master's in psychology degree, a requirement to work as a clinical counselor.

Interested applicants can undergo a free assessment to see if online learning suits their lifestyle. In most cases, the college waives the application fee and applicants receive a decision within three days. Applicants with less than 15 college credits must submit ACT or SAT scores. The college requires a 2.6 GPA or higher for incoming freshmen applicants and a 2.0 GPA for transfer students.


Program Overview
Program Name: BS in Christian Caregiving and Counseling
Tuition: $385/credit
Credit Requirements: 128 credits

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Contact
Phone: (918) 495-6363
Email: onlineenrollment@oru.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

19

Hope International University

Fullerton, CA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 48%

The private Christian institution Hope International University opened in California in 1928. Today, the school features two campuses in Orange County, California, and extension campuses in Nebraska and Washington.

The bachelor of science in human development degree offers five optional concentrations in behavioral psychology, family studies, addiction studies, graduate studies, and community mental health and counseling. Students who opt for the community mental health and counseling concentration must take an applied strategies in human development course. They also must complete three out of five class options, including abnormal psychology, counseling skills, counseling theories, community mental health, or career counseling.

This completely online degree allows students to attend classes and access video lectures, readings, and assignments at their convenience. There are no set class times or on-campus requirements. Online students can also access library resources online. Throughout the program, academic coaches provide guidance to online learners.

The Christian-centered curriculum requires students to complete 120 credits. Students take 46 credits in their major, 49 general education credits, and 25 electives.

With an online counseling degree, graduates find work as case managers, children's pastors, behavioral health specialists, and domestic violence counselors. To begin the application process, candidates must submit an online application, application fee, and 250-word essay about their academic and career goals. Supplemental admissions materials include high school or college transcripts. Prior to applying, prospective students can test drive an online course at no cost.


Program Overview
Program Name: BS
Available Concentrations: Community mental health and counseling
Tuition: $450/credit
Credit Requirements: 120 credits

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: 2.5 minimum

Contact
Phone: (888) 352-HOPE
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

20

Grace College and Theological Seminary

Winona Lake, IN Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 62%

Grace College and Theological Seminary, an evangelical Christian school, sits on a 180-acre campus in Winona Lake, Indiana. The college offers more than 70 majors.

The 120-credit bachelor of science human services degree prepares working professionals to find careers helping and advocating for people. The degree requires students to complete 15 courses, or 45 credits, at Grace College and Seminary. Admitted students come to the program with 60 college credits.

The program includes classes such as systems of social welfare, public speaking in the workplace, and intervention strategies and technique. At the end of the program, students must take a three-credit senior seminar course, where they apply what they learned in the classroom to a work setting. After graduating, many students also go on to earn a master of arts in clinical mental health counseling degree.

The college offers this degree through its Grace Opportunities for Adult Learners program. The college helps defray the costs of college by providing students with free textbook rentals through its Open Education Resources digital platform. Students also receive a set tuition, which never increases from their freshmen year to their senior year.

Learners can complete the degree in as little as 16 months, with prior college credits and work experience. Classes run in five-week sessions, and students take two classes concurrently. The college offers start dates in the fall, spring, or summer. Applicants need 60 prior college credits from an accredited college or applicable life and career experiences. Eligible candidates also need to submit proof of a 2.0 GPA.


Program Overview
Program Name: BS in Human Services
Tuition: $487/credit
Credit Requirements: 120 credits
Program Length: 16 months

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: 2.0 minimum

Contact
Phone: (800) 599-1762
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

21

Eastern Washington University

Cheney, WA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 52%

Founded in 1882 by Benjamin Pierce Cheney, Eastern Washington University offers more than 150 programs. The main campus sits in Cheney, Washington, and the university delivers online programs through the Eastern Washington University Outreach Program.

The college'sbachelor of arts interdisciplinary addiction studies degree prepares students to take the state certification to work as chemical dependency professionals. Graduates can go on to earn a master's degree in addiction studies online. The university also offers certificates or endorsements in suicide assessment, treatment, and management along with graduate certificates in addiction studies.

After graduation, students find work in criminal justice agencies, mental health centers, hospitals, clinics, and rehabilitation centers. Online students attend classes completely online. They can also access other college resources online, such as tutoring, library resources, and writing assistance. The college's Writers' Center allows students to upload their work to receive video or audio conferences with writing assistants.

The program requires students to complete 67 credits with three optional practicum placement courses. The college accepts up to 90 transfer credits from accredited colleges. Applicants need a minimum of a 2.0 GPA.

Prospective students must complete a college foreign language course or two years of high school foreign language courses. They also must complete a human development or lifespan development course. Incoming freshmen with less than 40 credits must submit SAT or ACT scores and transcripts.


Program Overview
Program Name: BA in Addiction Studies
Tuition: $213/credit in-state; $783/credit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 67 credits

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Contact
Phone: (509) 828-1382
Email: adst@ewu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

22

Trinity International University

Deerfield, IL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 52%

Trinity International University-Illinois, which began in 1897, offers an evangelical-centered education. The main campus sits in Deerfield, Illinois, with additional campuses online and in South Chicago, Florida, and Southern California.

The college offers eight online programs, including the bachelor of arts in psychology with an emphasis in counseling psychology degree. Students must complete 124 credits to earn an online counseling degree, which generally takes four years. The exact time it takes to graduate depends on how many credits students transfer from previous college work.

To graduate, students must complete 47-67 general education credits and 47 credits in the major. Courses rotate every semester. Students typically take theory courses like personality theories. They also take clinical classes such as abnormal psychology. The curriculum also requires students to take specialty courses in crisis intervention, human sexuality, or psychology of addiction.

The admissions process requires students to submit an online application. Incoming freshmen must submit SAT or ACT scores and high school transcripts or GED scores. Students transferring from an accredited college must submit transcripts that prove at least a 2.0 GPA. All students must demonstrate writing proficiency at the college level. Specific writing proficiency requirements differ for transfer and incoming freshmen applicants.

Graduates take the knowledge they learned in this program and either find careers in the church or community or pursue an advanced degree in graduate school. Applicants can view demos of the online classroom to get an idea of the program.


Program Overview
Program Name: BA in Psychology
Available Concentrations: Counseling psychology
Tuition: $395/credit
Credit Requirements: 124 credits

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: 2.0 minimum

Contact
Phone: (847) 317-4032
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

23

Ohio Christian University

Circleville, OH Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 29%

Located in Circleville, Ohio, the private Ohio Christian University traces its roots back to 1948. The college caters to distance learners with additional locations in Ohio, Georgia, and online.

The bachelor of arts in substance abuse counseling degree offers an asynchronous education with around-the-clock access and no on-campus requirements. The 120-credit curriculum prepares students for various careers in addiction recovery. Classes integrate Christian principles and chemical dependency education. To earn a counseling degree, students must complete 45 general education credits, 36 electives, and 39 substance abuse counseling credits. Part of the general education credits include nine credits in biblical literature, religion, and theology.

This degree prepares graduates to earn a dependency counseling license. To receive licensure, graduates must meet state requirements. In Ohio, prospective counselors need to complete a set number of chemical dependency education hours, which they typically fulfill within this program. They also must complete chemical dependency work experience in a treatment facility. Finally, they must pass the Ohio licensure test.

Online programs offer an accelerated path to graduation, with some students earning a degree in as little as two years. Classes run on five-week sessions. Interested students must submit an online application with a fee, which the college applies to the first tuition bill. Applicants must also hold 50 credits from an accredited college with at least a 2.0 GPA.


Program Overview
Program Name: BA in Substance Abuse Counseling
Tuition: $416/credit
Credit Requirements: 120 credits

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: 2.0 minimum

Contact
Phone: (844) 726-7937
Email: enroll@ohiochristian.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

24

Bethel College

Hampton, VA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 50%

Founded in 1996 to train missionaries, Bethel College, in connection with Bethel Church, continues to educate church leaders through its Hampton, Virginia location and online.

The bachelor of science in church ministries with a concentration in Christian counseling degree combines Bible teaching and psychology. Other concentrations offered include ministerial leadership, biblical studies, missions, and worship and worshipping arts.

The 130-credit degree takes about four years to complete. This is a non-licensure degree. Students must complete 6 credits of theological studies, 62 credits of professional studies, and 26 credits of biblical studies. Graduates land non-clinical jobs as Christian counselors and in pastoral care occupations. The degree offers completely online classes which run asynchronously, with no specific class times. Students earn their degrees remotely without ever stepping foot on campus. The college also boasts online new student orientations. Learners can access announcements, assignments, videos, and discussion boards remotely.

The college expects all students to follow a Christian code of conduct. Bethel also requires students to attend chapel services and expects all students to refrain from alcohol or tobacco use on or off campus.

After submitting an application, admissions counselors contact potential students. Applicants must submit a 1- to 2-page essay, high school or college transcripts, personal and pastoral references, and an application fee. Admissions counselors contact prospective students within two weeks of submitting an application.


Program Overview
Program Name: BS in Church Ministries
Available Concentrations: Christian counseling
Tuition: $260/credit
Credit Requirements: 130 credits
Program Length: 4 years

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Contact
Phone: (757) 826-1883
Email: studentaffairs@bcva.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

25

Lindsey Wilson College

Columbia, KY Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 35%

Lindsey Wilson College, located in Columbia, Kentucky, offers multiple online programs. Students can earn an undergraduate or graduate degree through the school. Among the six online offerings is a bachelor's degree in human services and counseling.

The human services and counseling degree offers courses through an eight-week format, and some candidates can earn up to 30 prior learning credits. Students who enter the program with a Kentucky associate of arts degree can complete the program in 18 months. Learners can also choose between many specializations, including case management, community mental health counseling, acculturation, and substance abuse. The program requires students to earn 48 credits. Courses include life span development, research methods, ethics and multicultural diversity, and mental health administration. Students are required to complete a six-credit practicum that is split into two courses. Learners are also required to take an exit assessment.


Program Overview
Program Name: BS in Human Services and Counseling
Available Concentrations: Case management, community mental health counseling, acculturation, substance abuse, intimate partner violence, play therapy, neurofeedback, career guidance, and clinical supervision
Tuition: $414/credit
Credit Requirements: 120 credits
Program Length: 4 years

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Contact
Phone: (800) 264-0138
Email: LindseyOnline@lindsey.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

What to Expect from an Online Counseling Degree Program

Timeline 4 to 5 years
Program Costs $15,000 to $32,000 in annual tuition
Popular Minors and Dual Areas of Study Psychology, Education, Behavioral Science, Mental Health Counseling, Marriage and Family Therapy, School and Career Counseling, Substance Abuse Counseling, Rehabilitation Counseling
Accreditation Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP)

Employment Outlook for Bachelor's in Counseling Graduates

Job Placement

The counseling profession as a whole is expected to grow by a substantial margin between 2014 and 2024. This increase is due in part to the Obama Administration's Affordable Care Act (ACA); according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, roughly 20 million previously uninsured Americans now have medical coverage. Under the ACA, mental health issues are to evaluated and treated the same way as other chronic diseases. An aging baby boomer population is also contributing to the demand for licensed counselors, particularly those specialized in clients with dementia and other mental health issues associated with elderly populations.

According to BLS projections, more than 80,000 counseling jobs will be added over the next decade. The following table breaks down these BLS estimates for four of the most common counseling professions.

Profession Number of Jobs in the Industry (2014) Projected Growth Rate for Jobs (2014-24) Projected Increase in Number of Jobs (2014-24)
Mental Health Counselors and Marriage/Family Therapists 168,200 19% 31,400
Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors 94,900 22% 21,200
Rehabilitation Counselors 120,100 9% 10,800
School and Career Counselors 273,400 8% 22,500

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

These healthy job growth predictions have already translated into low unemployment rates for licensed counselors. The latest estimates from U.S. News & World Report found that substance abuse and behavioral counselors, marriage and family therapists and school counselors all face an unemployment rate of 3.3%. By comparison, the national unemployment rate for all occupations is currently set at 4.9%.

Earning a Living

According to the BLS, the median annual salary for all occupations in 'community and social service occupations' (including counselors) is $42,010. However, earning potential for counselors will vary by their career specialization, as well as other factors like educational attainment, licensure status and city/state of employment. The next table looks at salary expectations for common counseling careers at four different 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)
Marriage and Family Therapist $46,671 $50,213 $60,632 $65,918
School Counselor $42,692 $48,012 $56,140 $62,343
Career Counselor $40,183 $42,607 $47,962 $55,407
Substance Abuse Counselor $33,577 $37,850 $40,422 $43,796
Mental Health Counselor $37,230 $40,294 $45,048 $48,676

Source: PayScale

Of the five careers listed, school counselors experience the highest rate of career salary growth: 46.0% between the entry-level and late-career stages. However, the rate of growth was comparable between all five professions; the remaining four ranged between 30% and 42% salary growth after 20 years in the workforce.

Career and Further Education Opportunities

Although a graduate degree and full licensure will be required for most counseling careers, college graduates with a bachelor's degree in counseling will be qualified for numerous entry-level jobs in the field. Four common career pathways for counseling degree majors are outlined below.

School and Career Counselors: Found in public and private schools at all grade levels, school counselors work with students to address and overcome personal issues related to their academics and home life. Elementary and middle school counselors primarily help students build fundamental learning skills and provide them with emotional support. At the high school and postsecondary levels, counselors generally support students through career and college planning advice. While most of these counselors work in school offices, some may find employment through companies that provide after-school counseling services.

Mental Health Counselors and Marriage and Family Therapists: These counseling professionals help clients cope with a wide range of emotional and behavioral issues. They often observe and diagnose clients, and then provide the appropriate level of therapy. Mental health counselors specialize in various interpersonal issues, while marriage and family therapists mainly help clients tackle domestic issues.

Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselor: These counselors (also referred to as 'addiction counselors') help patients who struggle with alcoholism, drug abuse, gambling and other potentially destructive behaviors. Addiction counselors first help clients pinpoint 'triggers', or aspects of their life (such as work or family) that can lead to addictive spirals. They also support clients during the treatment and recovery phases.

Rehabilitation Counselors: Rehabilitation (or 'rehab') counselors help clients who live with physical and/or emotional disabilities. These counselors support clients by helping them seek employment, take care of day-to-day tasks and otherwise maintain an independent lifestyle. Many rehab counselors specialize in niche groups, such as children/students or military veterans who have been wounded in action.

Occupation Median Annual Salary Degree and Licensure Requirements
Mental Health Counselors and Marriage and Family Therapists $43,190 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 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 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
School and Career Counselors $53,660 Minimum master's degree; State-issued certification, license or other teaching credential; 1 to 2 years of classroom experience; Criminal background check

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Professional Organizations

Making professional connections and learning about different approaches to 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 professional counselors. These organizations host networking events, provide online trainings, maintain active job boards, and offer other services for career-ready college graduates.

  • 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 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.
  • This global organization (NAADAC for short) represents roughly 85,000 counselors, educators and other addiction-related personnel in the U.S., Canada and overseas. Member benefits include reduced rates on professional development courses, complimentary journal subscriptions and discounts for malpractice and liability insurance.

Financing Your Online Bachelor's in Counseling Program

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 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.