Overview

Professional counselors work to support individuals, families, and communities who are facing significant life issues. Given the weight of the challenges counselors help their clients face, it makes sense that many seek additional training to improve their abilities. Enter master’s in counseling programs. These degree programs offer specialized training in multiple fields including school counseling, family therapy, substance abuse counseling, and mental health.

More importantly, focused coursework ensures that professionals are prepared to offer the best care and support possible. Resolving personal and interpersonal conflicts is no easy task, and detailed courses in ethics, advanced psychopathology, and counseling techniques ensure students are prepared for whatever support setting they find themselves in. As mentioned earlier, specializations also allow students to address particular issues which can lead to the improved mental health of the communities they serve.

  • ? HOW MUCH IS AN ONLINE MASTER'S IN COUNSELING?
  • ? WHAT CAN YOU DO WITH A COUNSELING MASTER'S DEGREE?
  • ? HOW DO I GET A DEGREE IN COUNSELING?
  • ? CAN YOU GET A COUNSELING LICENSE WITHOUT A MASTER'S DEGREE IN COUNSELING?

It’s difficult to deny the importance of counselors when looking at the estimated rate of growth for the industry. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the demand for counselors will grow by 23% which is much faster compared to other jobs. While job security is beneficial, the rate is a sign that counselors are needed more than ever, and degree holders will be positioned to provide an immeasurably important service for years to come.

For more more resources and career information related to this degree, please read our career guide here.

Our Methodology

Our Methodology

Best Online Masters in Counseling Programs

We took a deep-dive and analyzed every online Masters in Counseling program in the nation. Below are the results of our analysis and a list of the 26 best online Masters in Counseling programs.

Read about our methodology here.

University of Massachusetts Boston

100 William T Morrissey Blvd Boston, MA 2125

The University of Massachusetts Boston offers an online master's in mental health counseling program in a cohort format for distance learners. Students who enroll in this program will first meet their classmates in person at the UMass Dartmouth campus for two face-to-face courses and will remain as a group through every online semester and graduate together in two years.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: Department of Counseling and School Psychology
Program Name: Master of Science Degree in Mental Health Counseling
Accrediting body: MPCAC

DeliveryFormat: Online, Face-to face
Instruction Style: Synchronous, Asynchronous

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's degree
Credit Requirements: 60 credits

Program LengthProgram Options: Full-time, part-time
Program Length: 2 years
Program start dates: Summer

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: January 2
GPA: 3.0
Work Experience: At least one year of human services experience (work, volunteer, internship and research experience)

Graduation Rate
42%
School Type
Public
Tuition
$575 per credit

Southwestern Assemblies of God University

1200 Sycamore St Waxahachie, TX 75165

Southwestern Assemblies of God University's online master's in counseling program is perfect for students looking to become career counselors after graduation. This program combines both psychological and theological principles to enhance the students' knowledge and skills for successful careers in counseling.


Program OverviewProgram Name: Master of Education in School Counseling
Accrediting body: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)

DeliveryFormat: Online

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Regionally or professionally accredited bachelor's degree
Credit Requirements: 45 credits

Program LengthProgram Options: Full-time, part-time
Program start dates: Fall 2018, Spring 2019

Admission RequirementsGPA: 2.5

Graduation Rate
41%
School Type
Private Non-profit
Tuition
$585 per credit

Lincoln Christian University

100 Campus View Drive Lincoln, IL 62656

Lincoln Christian University offers a hybrid master's in counseling degree via the Master of Arts program and requires students to attend some on-campus sessions. In fact, this university has one of the best week-long intensives available and increases the students' skill set for developing solid counseling principles based on psychology and theology.


Program OverviewProgram Name: MA in Counseling
Accrediting body: CACREP

DeliveryFormat: Online

Program requirementsCredit Requirements: 60 credits

Program LengthProgram Options: Full-time

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: March 1
GPA: 3.0

Graduation Rate
57%
School Type
Private Non-profit
Tuition
$499 per credit

Northwestern University

633 Clark St. Evanston, IL 60208

Although Northwestern University's online master's in counseling program can be completed online, it requires students to visit the campus for an immersion experience. It also requires clinical field placement to give students hands-on opportunities, which will prepare them for successful careers after graduation.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: School of Counseling
Program Name: Master of Arts in Counseling
Available concentrations: Child and Adolescent
Accrediting body: CACREP

DeliveryFormat: Online

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's degree
Credit Requirements: 60 credits

Program LengthProgram Options: Part-time, Full-time
Program Length: 1.5 - 3 years
Program start dates: January, April, June, September

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: January 2019: October 29, 2018; April 2019: January 28, 2019; June 2019: April 22, 2019

Graduation Rate
93%
School Type
Private
Tuition
$4,510 per credit

Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center

3601 4th St Lubbock, TX 79430

Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center offers three master's of science in counseling degrees. Students may apply to the addiction counseling, clinical rehabilitation, or mental health counseling program. These distinct individual programs give students a way to focus their attention in a specific field of interest and gain valuable experience in their favored discipline.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: School of Health Professions
Program Name: Master of Science in Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling (MSCR)
Accrediting body: CACREP

DeliveryFormat: Online

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's Degree
Credit Requirements: 60 credits

Program LengthProgram Options: Part-time
Program start dates: Fall, Spring

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: June 1, November 1
GPA: 2.7

Graduation Rate
95%
School Type
Public
Tuition
In-state: $250 per credit; Out-of-state: $570 per credit

Palo Alto University

1791 Arastradero Road Palo Alto, CA 94304

Palo Alto University provides immersive remote classrooms with live, interactive lessons that are delivered by professors on campus. Students who enroll in the master's in counseling program are able to improve their skills through discussions with peers and professors, to get support through the 24/7 student center and to keep track of their coursework on the go thanks to a friendly mobile format.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: Counseling Department
Program Name: Master's Degree in Counseling Program
Available concentrations: Marriage, Family, and Child, Clinical Mental Health
Accrediting body: CACREP

DeliveryFormat: Online and On-Campus Hybrid

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's degree
Credit Requirements: 93 quarter-units

Program LengthProgram Options: Full Time and Part-time
Program Length: 2 years 9 months
Program start dates: Fall and Spring

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: Spring: February 28; Fall: July 31
GPA: 3.0

PAU's Counseling Program is perfect for me. The program and supportive faculty have prepared me with the theoretical and practical background to become an effective multicultural counselor. The online component was critical to achieving my education.
Florence Ntakarutimana, Online Student and Trauma & Healing Specialist for Catholic Relief Services
School Type
Private Non-Profit
Tuition
$523 per unit

Adams State University

208 Edgemont Blvd Alamosa, CO 81101

Adams State University prepares graduates for successful careers as clinical therapists with its online master's in counseling degree program. Graduates are prepared to work in mental health clinics, group practices, outreach agencies and other facilities to assist with the treatment of emotional disorders.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: Department of Counselor Education
Program Name: Master of Arts in Counseling
Available concentrations: School counseling, clinical mental health counseling
Accrediting body: Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs

DeliveryFormat: Online, On-Campus
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Program requirementsCredit Requirements: 60 credits

Program LengthProgram Options: Full-time, part-time
Program start dates: Fall, Spring, Summer

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: Spring: December 1; Summer: April 1
GPA: 2.75

Graduation Rate
21%
School Type
Public
Tuition
$435 per credit

Angelo State University

2601 W. Avenue N San Angelo, TX 76909

Angelo State University offers an online master's in counseling program for career professionals who also want to earn their Texas School Counselor Certificate. Students who enroll in this program must already have a Texas Teacher Certificate and two years of teaching experience in a public school.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: Department of Curriculum and Instruction
Program Name: Master of Education in Guidance and Counseling

DeliveryFormat: Online

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor''s degree
Credit Requirements: 36 credits

Program LengthProgram Options: Full-time, part-time
Program Length: Less than two years
Program start dates: Spring A: January 1; Spring B: March 1; Summer: May 1; Fall A: August 1; Fall B: October 1

Admission RequirementsGPA: 2.75

Graduation Rate
30%
School Type
Public
Tuition
In-state: $271 per credit, Out-of-state: $685 per credit

Saybrook University

475 14th Street, 9th Floor Oakland, CA 94612

Saybrook University offers a master's in counseling program for students who can complete the coursework online but also visit the campus for required classes. This hybrid format works for all students from all over the country and includes an internship in which graduates can receive hands-on training which is supported by the faculty and are done where the student lives


Program OverviewDepartment Name: Department of Counseling
Program Name: M.A. Counseling
Accrediting body: CACREP

DeliveryFormat: Online, Hybrid
Instruction Style: Asynchronous, Synchronous

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's degree
Credit Requirements: 60 credits

Program LengthProgram Length: 3 years

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: Rolling
GPA: 3.0

School Type
Private
Tuition
$1,150 per credit

Wake Forest University

1834 Wake Forest Road Winston Salem, NC 27106

Graduates from Wake Forest University's online master's in counseling programs have a combined 98% pass rate on the National Counselor Examination. The program does an outstanding job of ensuring the success of their students by preparing their students for certification and providing students with a comprehensive curriculum. Students may choose from a master's in mental health counseling, school counseling, or human services.


Program OverviewProgram Name: Master of Counseling
Available concentrations: Clinical Mental Health , School Counseling
Accrediting body: CACREP

DeliveryFormat: Online

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's degree from an accredited institution
Credit Requirements: 60 credits

Program LengthProgram Options: Full-time
Program start dates: Spring, Summer, Fall

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: Spring 2019: October 1; Summer 2019: March 1; Fall 2019: January 15
GPA: 2.5

Graduation Rate
88%
School Type
Private Non-profit
Tuition
$1,420 per credit

Fort Valley State University

1005 State University Dr Fort Valley, GA 31030

Fort Valley State University prepares graduates for careers as rehabilitation counselors, giving them the skills to work with people who have disabilities, as well as those who are recovering from mental or physical injuries and having trouble coping with it all. Students can gain the necessary skills and gain successful career employment in the field by earning their master's in counseling degree with Fort Valley State's online program.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: Department of Counseling
Program Name: Master of Science Degree in Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling (CLRC)
Accrediting body: Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs

DeliveryFormat: Online, Hybrid

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Undergraduate degree from a regionally or nationally accredited institution
Credit Requirements: 61 credits
Field Education Requirements: The practicum and internship experiences must include working with  individuals with a variety of disabilities (i.e., physical; mental)

Program LengthProgram Options: Full-time, part-time
Program start dates: Fall, Spring, Summer

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: Domestic: Spring: November 15; Summer: April 15; International: Spring: October 1; Summer Semester: Summer
GPA: 3.0

Graduation Rate
32%
School Type
Public
Tuition
$219 per credit

Concordia University Wisconsin & Ann Arbor

12800 N Lake Shore Drive Mequon, WI 53097

Concordia University takes the stress out of enrolling in the online master's in counseling program with helpful enrollment advisers. These advisers work with students every step of the way and answer questions about transcripts, applications, tuition and more, as well as offer suggestions about which counseling specializations may suit their career goals.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: Department of Graduate Education
Program Name: Master of Science in Education - School and Professional Counseling - School Counseling Licensure (DPI #7054) or SAC Professional Counseling License
Available concentrations: Substance Abuse Counselor - In Training
Accrediting body: Higher Learning Commission, National Certified Counselor

DeliveryFormat: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's degree
Credit Requirements: 45 - 60 credits

Program LengthProgram Options: Full-time
Program Length: 6 - 8 weeks

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: October 1st
GPA: 3.0

Graduation Rate
49%
School Type
Private
Tuition
$596 per credit

Divine Mercy University

2001 Jefferson Davis Highway Arlington, VA 22202

Divine Mercy University offers an online master's in counseling program with an emphasis in moral, ethical and spiritual principles. Graduates are prepared to take a Christian approach to working with individuals and groups after graduation.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: School of Counseling
Program Name: Master of Science in Counseling
Available concentrations: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, CACREP
Accrediting body: Clinical Mental Health Counseling

DeliveryFormat: Online, Face-to-face
Instruction Style: Asynchronous, Synchronous

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution
Credit Requirements: 66 credits
Field Education Requirements: A practicum experience of 100 hours

Program LengthProgram Options: Full-time
Program Length: 2 - 3 years
Program start dates: January 2019

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: Rolling
GPA: 3.0

School Type
Private Non-profit
Tuition
$817 per credit

Edinboro University

219 Meadville Street Edinboro, PA 16444

The online master's in counseling program at Edinboro University doesn't just give students the skills to become successful counselors in schools or rehabilitation facilities; it also helps them to become special educators in grades K-12. Graduates who complete the program will have the knowledge and the skills to work with special-needs children and to develop programs that help them maximize their potential.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: School of Graduate Studies and Research
Program Name: Master of Arts in Counseling
Accrediting body: CACREP

DeliveryFormat: Online

Program requirementsCredit Requirements: 30 credits

Program LengthProgram Options: Full-time, part-time
Program start dates: Fall, Spring

Admission RequirementsGPA: 3.0

Graduation Rate
45%
School Type
Public
Tuition
$680 per credit

Huntington University

2303 College Ave Huntington, IN 46750

Huntington University's online master's in counseling program emphasizes leadership and provides a curriculum that turns graduates into leaders in their respective field. Students who graduate are qualified for leadership careers in consultant management, addictions counseling, clinical therapy and more.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: Institute for Leadership and Counseling
Program Name: Master of Arts in Counseling

DeliveryFormat: Online, On-Site

Program requirementsPrerequisites: 6 credit hours of coursework in Biblical studies, 6 credit hours of coursework in Psychology (including 3 hours in Abnormal Psychology)
Credit Requirements: 48-60 credits

Program LengthProgram Options: Full-time, part-time
Program Length: 2 years
Program start dates: Fall, Spring, Summer

Admission RequirementsGPA: 3.0

Graduation Rate
59%
School Type
Private Non-profit
Tuition
$505 per credit

University of Arkansas at Little Rock

2801 S University Ave Little Rock, AR 72204

The University of Arkansas at Little Rock offers an online master's in counseling program for graduates who want to pursue careers in family counseling. Graduates are prepared to work with families, identifying their issues and providing treatment to allow for healing and a positive family dynamic.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: School of Counseling, Human Performance and Rehabilitation
Program Name: Master of Arts in Rehabilitation Counseling
Accrediting body: Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs

DeliveryFormat: Online

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's Degree from an accredited institution of higher education.
Credit Requirements: 60 credits

Program LengthProgram Options: Full-time, part-time
Program start dates: Summer, Fall, Spring

Admission RequirementsGPA: 3.0

Graduation Rate
27%
School Type
Public
Tuition
$383 per credit

University of Louisiana at Monroe

700 University Avenue Monroe, LA 71209

The University of Louisiana at Monroe has an online master's in counseling program with a specialization in elementary school counseling. Students who complete this degree program are able to work with elementary students, assisting them with their emotional and behavioral needs while also working with the family and teachers.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: College of Health Sciences
Program Name: Master of Science in Counseling (M.S)
Available concentrations: Clinical Mental Health Counseling, School Counseling
Accrediting body: CACREP

DeliveryFormat: Online

Program requirementsPrerequisites: 60 hours of undergraduate coursework
Credit Requirements: 60 credits

Program LengthProgram Options: Full-time
Program Length: 2 years
Program start dates: Fall, Spring, Summer

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: Summer 2018: April 16, 2018; Spring 2019: November 15, 2018; Fall 2019: March 31, 2019
GPA: 3.0

Graduation Rate
43%
School Type
Public
Tuition
$500 per credi

University of the Cumberlands

6985 College Station Drive Williamsburg, KY 40769

The University of the Cumberlands provides an online master's in counseling program for students who want to advance their careers into clinical psychiatry. Upon graduation, students are qualified to work as clinical psychiatrists who can diagnose issues and prescribe medications to treat individuals.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: School of Counseling
Program Name: Master's in Clinical Mental Health Counseling
Available concentrations: Clinical Mental Health Counseling
Accrediting body: CACREP

DeliveryFormat: Online

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's degree
Credit Requirements: 60 credits

Program LengthProgram Options: Part-time
Program Length: 8 weeks
Program start dates: Fall, Spring

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: Spring: December 21, February 15
GPA: 3.0

Graduation Rate
36%
School Type
Private
Tuition
$400 per credit

University of the Southwest

6610 North Lovington Highway Hobbs, NM 88240

The University of the Southwest's online master of science in education, school counseling is for students who want to pursue careers as counselors in K-12 institutional setting. This program requires 42 credit hours and covers all aspects of school counseling to give graduates the skills to succeed in their area's school system.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: College of Arts & Sciences
Program Name: The Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling
Accrediting body: New Mexico State Counseling & Therapy Practice Board, Higher Learning Commission

DeliveryFormat: Online
Instruction Style: Synchronous

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor Degree
Credit Requirements: 42-48 credits

Program LengthProgram Length: Six, eight week semesters throughout the year
Program start dates: Every eight weeks

Admission Requirements

Graduation Rate
16%
School Type
Private
Tuition
$599 per credit

Brandman University

16355 Laguna Canyon Road Irvine, , CA 92618

Though Brandman University offers a master's in counseling program for distance learners, it's only available to students who live in California. Students learn the foundations of counseling and also the California state regulations that affect new and existing guidance programs in the state's school system.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: School of Arts & Sciences
Program Name: Master of Arts in Counseling
Accrediting body: Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)

DeliveryFormat: Online

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's degree
Credit Requirements: 45-48 credits

Program LengthProgram start dates: Spring

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: Jan 14, 2019
GPA: 3.0

School Type
Private
Tuition
$650 per credit

Liberty University

1971 University Blvd Lynchburg, VA 24515

Liberty University's online master's in counseling program offers excellent student support through the MyLU portal. This student center provides live webinars to enhance the students' skills, as well as offers academic advising, career planning and other services to ensure students have successful careers upon earning their master's degree.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: School of Behavioral Sciences
Program Name: Master of Arts in Professional Counseling Degree
Accrediting body: SACSCOC

DeliveryFormat: Online

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's degree
Credit Requirements: 60 credits

Program LengthProgram Options: Part-time, Full-time
Program Length: 2.5 years
Program start dates: January 14, 2019

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: Rolling
GPA: 2.7

Graduation Rate
50%
School Type
Private
Tuition
$565 per credit

Clarks Summit University

538 Venard Rd Clarks Summit, PA 18411

Clarks Summit University provides a massive discount for active military members, veterans and military spouses who want to earn their master's degree in counseling online. The cost per credit hour is only $265 and affords those who have served or are serving a way to earn their degree without taking on a financial burden.


Program OverviewProgram Name: Master of Science in Counseling
Available concentrations: Addictions, General Counseling, Hospital Chaplaincy, Marriage and Family, Mental and Mood Disorders, Therapeutic Recreation
Accrediting body: Middle States Commission on Higher Education

DeliveryFormat: Online

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Psychology will need to complete 18 credits of prerequisites to gain entrance into the program
Credit Requirements: 60 credits

Program LengthProgram Options: Full-time, part-time
Program Length: Eight weeks
Program start dates: Summer

Admission RequirementsGPA: 3.0

Graduation Rate
54%
School Type
Private Non-profit
Tuition
$415 per credit

Governors State University

1 University Parkway University Park, IL 60484

Governors State University offers a master's in addiction counseling program for students who want to work with people who have substance-use disorders. Not only do students earn their master's degree but are also eligible to earn their qualification for Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor.


Program OverviewProgram Name: Master of Arts in Counseling
Accrediting body: CACREP

DeliveryFormat: Online, On-Campus, Hybrid

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university
Credit Requirements: 60 credits

Program LengthProgram Length: 3 years
Program start dates: Fall, Spring

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: Fall: February 15; Spring: August 15
GPA: 3.0

Graduation Rate
54%
School Type
Public
Tuition
$482 per credit

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology

325 N Wells Street Chicago, IL 60654

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology offers an online master's in counseling program with a focus on mental health counseling. This focus provides students with a solid foundation in mental health counseling, providing them with the skills to research, to treat and to take preventative steps in treating mental health issues in their clients.


Program OverviewProgram Name: M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling
Accrediting body: CACREP

DeliveryFormat: Online

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor degree from a regionally accredited institution
Credit Requirements: 60 credits

Program LengthProgram Options: Part-time
Program Length: 3 years
Program start dates: Spring 2019, Fall 2019

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: Rolling
GPA: 3.0

School Type
Private Non-profit
Tuition
$1,164 per credit

George Washington University

2136 G Street NW Washington, DC 20052

George Washington University's location in Washington, D.C., makes it an ideal school for students who want to earn their master's in counseling degree while networking with area corporations and organizations. Students who live in the area can take advantage of both online courses and on-campus sessions to build networking relationships via seminars and on-site visits.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: Graduate School of Education and Human Development
Program Name: Master of Arts in Rehabilitation Counseling
Accrediting body: CACREP

DeliveryFormat: On-Campus, Online

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelors Degree
Credit Requirements: 48 - 60 credits

Program LengthProgram Length: 2.5 years
Program start dates: Spring, Summer, Fall

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: Rolling
GPA: 3.22

Graduation Rate
79%
School Type
Private
Tuition
$860 per credit

University at Buffalo

409 Baldy Hall Buffalo, NY 14260

The University at Buffalo offers an online master's in counseling degree program for distance learners in New York State. This program requires at least 300 internship hours as part of the curriculum, giving students invaluable experience in an area practice to gain the skills for advancement in their own careers after college.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: Department of Counseling, School and Educational Psychology
Program Name: Master of Science Rehabilitation Counseling
Accrediting body: CORE, CHEA

DeliveryFormat: Online, On-Campus

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's degree
Credit Requirements: 48 credits

Program LengthProgram Options: Full-time, Part-time
Program Length: 3 years
Program start dates: Fall, Spring, Summer

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: Fall: April 1, July 1

Graduation Rate
72%
School Type
Public
Tuition
$462 per credit