In this article, we present all the accredited institutions currently offering an online master’s in counseling, along with information about each program. We also provide general guidance for individuals considering online counseling master’s degrees.

While psychology remains one of the top majors at many colleges and universities, fewer students are pursuing graduate degrees in psychology, and more are opting for graduate counseling degrees. This is due in large part to a shift in the way mental health services are being delivered across the United States. In the past, mental health services were traditionally provided by doctoral-level Psychologists or a Psychiatrists with a medical degree. Today, more of these positions are held by those who have earned a master’s degree in counseling. A master’s degree in counseling is a specialized professional degree where students learn both in the classroom as well as in the field to become professional counselors. Some of the available degree options include:

  • Master of Arts (MA) in Counseling
  • Master of Science (MS) in Counseling
  • Master of Education in School Counseling
  • MA or MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling
  • MA or MS in Mental Health Counseling
  • MA or MS in Addictions Counseling
  • MA or MS in School Counseling
  • MA or MS in Rehabilitation Counseling

The curriculum in these programs cover the major areas of counseling and mental health services so these professionals can effectively treat both mental illness as well as individual struggling with personal difficulties. Listed are all the programs offering a fully accredited, online master’s degree in counseling. The programs are listed by cost of attendance for two years of attendance. Cost information was gathered using a combination of College Navigator or and the program’s own website.

Online Master’s in Counseling Degree Programs

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Aspen University

Website

Cost: $8,100

Online Master’s in Counseling Programs / Related Programs:
Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Addiction Counseling
Master of Arts in Psychology and Addiction Counseling

The Online Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Psychology and Addiction Counseling Degree program at Aspen is designed to prepare graduates for careers in substance abuse counseling. The curriculum used in this program is built upon courses that outline the rudimentary elements of individual and family counseling, ethical issues and addiction specific topics related to the assessment, treatment, and prevention of substance abuse. The fully online program focuses on giving students the necessary assessment and counseling skills through core courses such as Psychology of Addiction Counseling, Assessment Procedures, Addition Counseling, and Counseling Skills.

The Online Master of Arts in Psychology and Addiction Counseling is a degree plan created for students seeking careers in substance abuse counseling. The goal of the program is to provide training to help students become skilled professionals with the graduate training to advance in the field. This program is structured around courses that address central models of individual and family counseling as well as substance abuse treatment issues related to the treatment and prevention of various addictions. Prior to graduation, students seeking licensure must participate in a counseling practicum. Those students who already possess their state license, or who are not interested in licensure, can complete a research-based project instead.

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University of the Cumberlands

Website

Cost: $11,072

Online Master’s in Counseling Programs / Related Programs:
Master of Arts in Professional Counseling

The Master’s Degree in Counseling Degree program at the University of the Cumberland’s offers a flexible online degree that can help motivated students work towards becoming a licensed professional counselor. This online degree program is designed for both recent baccalaureate graduates as well as those students with a desire to expand their expertise as mental health counselors by earning their licensed professional clinical counselor degree. The mission of University of the Cumberland’s School of Counseling (UCSC) is “to provide a superior educational experience that will coach passionate students to become mental health counselors, addiction counselors, and counseling leaders distinguished by sound ethical values with a heart for humanity who can change the world one life at a time.” The curriculum used in this program was specifically designed to train highly skilled professionals with a strong commitment to ethical treatment of individuals, client-centered counseling, diversity, social change, and academic excellence. The esteemed faculty has strong grounding in research, scholarship, professional ethics, evidence-based practice, as well as local and international collaborations.
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Baptist Bible College

Cost: $11,380

Online Master’s in Counseling Programs / Related Programs:
Master of Science in Counseling

The Master of Science in Counseling at Baptist Bible College is offered both fully online as well as on campus. The online distance-learning program is designed to be a flexible and convenient alternative for students who cannot commit the time to a traditional, on-campus course of study. Each online class is offered in an eight-week session, which allows students to complete the program in as little as two to three years. Students enrolled in the online program must fulfill three course requirements on campus for one of the eight weeks. The school provides housing for students completing these three courses. This program was designed for recently graduated undergraduate students or those who have been called to a career in the field of counseling. This program will equip each student with the knowledge and skills to help them:

  • Pass the National Certified Counselor (NCC) exam
  • Apply for licensure as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC)
  • Pursue professional counseling careers
  • Develop ministry leadership positions

This online degree program integrates traditional classroom learning with practical experience. It is offered in both 48-credit and 60-credit options to accommodate the varying licensure requirements from state to state.

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Lubbock Christian University

Website

Cost: $13,680

Online Master’s in Counseling Programs / Related Programs:
Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

The Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling offered at Lubbock Christian is designed to prepare students for careers as professional counselors. This mostly online degree program format gives students an in-depth education in clinical counseling knowledge from a Christian worldview. The intentionally small classes are taught by professionals at the forefront of the field to boost the overall educational experience. All Faculty members possess doctoral level degrees in their respective field and are actively engaged in the counseling profession. The curriculum used in this program is in keeping with the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) standards for Clinical Mental Health Counseling education. The course selection meets licensing standards for professional counselors many states throughout the country. Students enrolled in this program are given exclusive access to the online writing center with a doctorate level writing coach. The program format is as follows:

  1. This 60-credit-hour, non-thesis program combines the benefits of online and residential courses
  2. Complete 75 percent of courses online
  3. Complete 25 percent of courses on campus for face-to-face time with faculty
  4. Participate in a 1-week residency each year (3 total) to gain important practical skills
  5. Complete a practicum and 2 internship courses to gain invaluable real-world experience

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Ohio Christian University

Website

Cost: $14,600

Online Master’s in Counseling Programs / Related Programs:
Master of Arts in Ministry with a Pastoral Care and Counseling Concentration

The Master of Arts in Ministry with a Pastoral Care and Counseling Concentration is designed for those ministers who wish to pursue counseling within their existing ministry. This program is not, however designed to train graduate students for careers as a licensed counselor. Completion of this concentration requires students successfully complete the courses required to earn the concentration but does not lead to a certificate or license that is required under state law to engage in the practice of professional counseling.

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Post University

Website

Cost: $15,180

Online Master’s in Counseling Programs / Related Programs:
Master of Science in Human Services with a Concentration in Clinical Counseling

The Online Master of Science in Human Services degree at Post can be earned in as few as 18 months. This 37-credit hour program is designed to meet the academic needs of professional that hope to advance their skills and career options or seek employment in a wide variety of human service positions. The classes are offered in 8-week modules that occur six times each calendar year. The Concentration in Clinical Counseling Within Organizational Settings offers students the conceptual, analytical, and operational information to tackle new or more advanced positions in clinical counseling within organizational settings. This fully online degree program allows students regular contact with and feedback from professors, as well as the opportunity to learn from and interact with other working professionals. This degree program and concentration is ideal for professionals who:

  • Want to demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of the issues involved in the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of various psychiatric disorders
  • Seek to develop an in-depth understanding of the primary models, theories and techniques in contemporary individual, group and family counseling
  • Are looking to understand how the models of counseling apply to various client populations and presenting problems
  • Want to identify the basic stages involved in the counseling process from the initial interview through termination and referral
  • Seek a foundation for a personal philosophy of and approach to counseling through earning an Online Master of Science in Human Services with a concentration in Clinical Counseling

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McDaniel College

Website

Cost: $16,200

Online Master’s in Counseling Programs / Related Programs:
Master of Science in Counseling

The Online Master of Science in Counseling Degree program at McDaniel is offered with optional specialization in School Counseling or Mental Health Counseling. The curriculum was carefully planned to train counselors who, as stated by the school, will be able to:

  • Perform effective individual counseling
  • Perform effective group counseling, and understand group development theory and group leadership styles
  • Understand the philosophical bases of helping processes, and relate that to consultation, referral, placement, and coordination services
  • Identify, evaluate, and use relevant data to assist the client in the development of his/her self-concept
  • Use various assessment techniques to collect, collate, record, and report data about the client
  • Understand and experience the implementation and planning of a comprehensive and coordinated counseling program in an educational setting
  • Explore societal changes and trends, heighten his/her sensitivity to self and special populations, and examine his/her impact upon clients of various cultures
  • Adhere to appropriate legislative statutes and ethical guidelines of professional associations in all areas of one’s professional role, and understand professional history and current trends
  • Observe and accurately conceptualize human behavior at all developmental levels, normal and abnormal human behavior, personality theory, and cultural contexts
  • Assist the client in career development, including lifestyle and career decision-making, and occupational information systems
  • Understand various theories related to the counseling profession, and integrate these theories into a personal approach to counseling
  • Understand types of research, basic statistics, and the importance of ethical and legal considerations in research and evaluation

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Corban University

Cost: $16,830

Online Master’s in Counseling Programs / Related Programs:
Master of Arts in Counseling

The Master of Arts in Counseling Degree program at Corban has been fully approved by the Oregon Board of Licensed Practicing Counselors and Therapists (OBLPCT). This degree program helps students found or advance their career while building upon the Christian faith. The curriculum offers students access to the most cutting edge research and counseling techniques while also building biblical perspective and comprehension. The graduate Counseling degree is offered through evening and online class formats. Students can continue to work while pursuing a degree and can earn a Master’s Degree in as little as two years. This Master of Arts degree is “budget sensitive” with opportunities for federal financial aid. Additionally, the school also accepts employee reimbursement plans, military tuition programs and personalized payment plans to make learning accessible for all students.

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Grace College

Website

Cost: $17,184

Online Master’s in Counseling Programs / Related Programs:
Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

The Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC) program at Grace College is designed to prepare graduate students for employment as professional counselors. The goal is to train counselors who will help people who are struggling to overcome obstacles and help them to become “the men and women that God created them to be.” The Department of Graduate Counseling faculty is grounded in a commitment to training new and highly skilled counselors who will be “scripturally grounded, professionally skilled, and interpersonally competent/” The teachings of the Christian faith and Christian biblical principles are a part of the CMHC curriculum and students are encouraged to consider a faith perspective when completing the coursework. Students completing this program are prepared and qualified to pursue state licensure as a professional counselor or to pursue doctoral training in professional counseling. Graduates of this program have gone on to secure employed in a variety of Christian and secular counseling settings including community mental health centers, residential programs, schools, colleges, churches, and private practice. The Department of Graduate Counseling offers the online learning options to help students simultaneously meet their educational goals, work obligations, and family responsibilities. This option consists of courses delivered over the Internet and requires students to attend residency on campus for a brief time period each year. The online learning environment is CACREP accredited and offers the same quality curriculum and training as the on-campus training program.

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Missouri Baptist University

Website

Cost: $17,946

Online Master’s in Counseling Programs / Related Programs:
Master of Arts in Counseling

The Master of Arts in Counseling Degree program at Missouri Baptist meets Certification requirements in the state of Missouri and several others for an elementary and secondary school guidance counselor. Students can choose from the following optional areas of concentration:

  1. Elementary Counseling, K-8 – For Certification (for certified teachers)
  2. Secondary Counseling, 7-12 – For Certification (for certified teachers)
  3. Elementary and Secondary Counseling, K-12 – For Certification (for certified teachers, as well as those without initial teacher certification)

The courses for the online degree program meet year round for 8 weeks at a time. The curriculum can be completed in a flexible, convenient schedule allowing students to work at their own pace, making it ideal for working students with other obligations. The online option features the same rigorous plan of study as the traditional classroom graduate program. The program can be completed in as little as 2 years with training from some of the highest quality counseling professionals in the country. The fully accredited program incorporates the most cutting edge techniques with certification qualifications so students can focus on both their current and future professional roles. The tuition rate is kept intentionally low to keep the program even more competitive.

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Marian University

Website

Cost: $18,432

Online Master’s in Counseling Programs / Related Programs:
Master of Science in Thanatology (Grief and Bereavement)

The Master of Science in Thanatology (Grief and Bereavement) Degree program offers a multidisciplinary and empirical investigation of the dying and grieving process. Students cover topics such as social attitudes towards death and loss, suicide prevention training and the social, psychological and medical aspects of death and bereavement. Students become well prepared in how to best work alongside nurses, social workers, chaplains, funeral directors, counselors, law enforcement officers and educators. The curriculum in this program is aligned with the Association for Death Education and Counseling’s (ADEC) Body of Knowledge, which prepares you to take the ADEC Certification exam. The graduate Thanatology program is designed for busy, working professionals who hope to earn their degree while keeping their current position and fulfilling personal obligations. Students complete the program entirely online, and can utilize three different program start times throughout the year. The curriculum is designed around a flexible course sequence, meaning students can complete the program is as little as two years.

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Fort Hays State University Online

Website

Cost: $18,846

Online Master’s in Counseling Programs / Related Programs:
Master of Science in Counseling

The Fort Hays State University (FHSU) main campus is located in the heart of Kansas. Over the past twenty years FHSU has become a world leader in distance education, with more than 40 online degrees available specifically to adult learners. All online degree programs are fully accredited, sensibly priced and use the most advanced methods and tools in learning technology. The Master of Science in Counseling Degree program is designed to be flexible, convenient and a high quality program that is needed to train busy working professionals. This fully online program concentrates on the everyday needs and challenges faced by schools and community counselors in today’s society. The program requires completion of a practicum experience and an internship prior to graduation.

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Faulkner University

Website

Cost: $19,200

Online Master’s in Counseling Programs / Related Programs:
Master of Science in Counseling

The Master of Science in Counseling Degree program at Faulkner is designed for working professionals who hope to receive an additional credential to enhance their counseling career. This blended Master of Science program requires 61-credit hours in a hybrid format. This means that students are given the convenience of online learning with the responsibility and access of the traditional classroom. The program is founded on Christian principles and ethics and integrates a Christian worldview within the practice of mental health services. Courses are designed to develop counseling skills through various class options and collaborative classroom and field experiences. The curriculum was developed to meet the state and national regulatory criteria, leading to licensure and certification of professional counselors. Students develop strong moral and ethical features while learning to apply biblical principles to the profession. Graduates of this program are qualified to work in a variety of clinical settings, including community agencies, state agencies, churches and Christian ministries. Approximately 85 percent of the coursework is completed online. Students must meet on campus twice during the program for Clinical Training. These trainings are scheduled for the third full weeks in January and September each year and take place from Tuesday to Saturday.

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Concordia University

Website

Cost: $19,320

Online Master’s in Counseling Programs / Related Programs:
Master of Science in Education with Counseling Concentration

The Master of Science in Education with a concentration in Counseling is an online program with the goal of preparing students in the counseling field. Students learn the rudimentary skill of counseling, including assessment, consultation, individual and group counseling, ethics and research, evaluating counseling needs, and information on the resources available to the church and community. Graduates of this program have gone on to work in schools, agencies, and communities at large, “sharing their faith, skills, and trust in God.” Some of the strengths of this program, as stated by the program include:

  • Instructors are practitioners in the field who bring that experience to the classroom.
  • School and professional tracks available with the possibility for dual licensure.
  • Graduates of the online school counseling program will be eligible for licensing in Wisconsin.
  • Graduates of the professional program will be eligible for their professional counseling training license.
  • Flexible online options include self-paced and collaborative online learning.
  • Students have the flexibility to align their selection of practical sites to their interests and talents.

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Liberty University

Website

Cost: $19,420

Online Master’s in Counseling Programs / Related Programs:
Master of Arts in Human Services Counseling
Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy
Master of Arts in Professional Counseling

Students at Liberty University’s Online Graduate School have a variety of options when pursuing a degree in the field of Counseling. The Master of Arts in Human Services Counseling is offered with the following optional concentration areas:

  • Addictions and Recovery
  • Business
  • Christian Ministries
  • Criminal Justice
  • Crisis Response and Trauma
  • Executive Leadership
  • Health & Wellness
  • Life Coaching
  • Marriage & Family
  • Military Resilience

The Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy Degree program provides students with the foundations of counseling principles and skills to prepare for licensure as a Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT). The course sequence provides students with a thorough framework in individual and group counseling theories and techniques, as well as clinical practice. The program emphasizes the assimilation of faith into counseling practice, and understanding the ethical, professional, and legal issues in counseling.

The Master of Arts in Professional Counseling Degree program offers students comprehensive preparation for careers in professional counseling to ready them for state licensure and national certification. The curriculum provides students with the important foundation in counseling theories building upon biblical principles to offer the standards, knowledge, and abilities required to effectively work as a professional counselor.

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Bellevue University

Website

Cost: $19,440

Online Master’s in Counseling Programs / Related Programs:
Master of Science in Clinical Counseling

The Master of Science in Clinical Counseling Degree program at Bellevue is a 60-credit, online graduate program. The program includes 100 hours of practicum (40 hours of observation) and 900 hours of clinical internship (60 percent with direct client contact). Students pursuing this degree online are responsible for completion of the practicum and clinical internship hours under the supervision of a licensed counselor. Students can complete these clinical hours in their home state through an accountability and approval process with Bellevue University’s Internship Director. This degree program prepare students with:

  • Foundation courses that introduce the counseling profession including theories, research practices, human development, and legal and ethical issues
  • Advanced courses for progressive understanding in areas such as diagnosis of disorders, group processes, social and cultural diversity, medical and social-psychosocial aspects of drug use, career development, couples and family counseling
  • Elective courses for advanced knowledge in applied neuroscience and psychopharmacology, treatment of child and adolescent disorders, or human sexuality
  • Internship requirements for direct service work to develop confidence and practical understanding of counseling work
  • Candidates for this master’s degree program must have completed a prerequisite requirement of 6 credit hours in the behavioral sciences.
  • University of Central Arkansas

Website

Cost: $20,036

Online Master’s in Counseling Programs / Related Programs:
Master of Science in School Counseling

The Master of Science (MS) in School Counseling Degree program is designed to prepare school counselors to meets the needs of educational, social, psychological, and career needs of students. Those enrolled learn to work collaboratively with students, teachers, parents, peer professionals, administrators, and the community. The program is characterized by a strong commitment to “leadership as both a field of academic study and as a practice that is a unique blend of knowledge, skill, and disposition.” The curricular requirements offer students the opportunity to tackle challenging experiences that incorporate theoretical concepts and ethical principles with real-world applications. The underlying educational philosophy of the program is “educating educator efficacy through reflective decision-making.” This program is fully accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).
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Grand Canyon University

Website

Cost: $20,382

Online Master’s in Counseling Programs / Related Programs:
Master of Science in Addiction Counseling
Master of Science in Christian Counseling
Master of Science in Christian Counseling of Substance Use and Addictive Disorders
Master of Science in Professional Counseling

Students who hope to earn an Online Master’s Degree in Counseling have several options to choose from at Grand Canyon University. The following fully accredited, online options are available to motivated students:

  • Master of Science in Addiction Counseling – The Master of Science in Addiction Counseling degree is for students planning to pursue careers as substance abuse counseling professionals, working with people who are living with substance abuse or dependency disorders. By earning this degree, graduates are adequately trained to run a private practice, a counseling clinic or work in a variety of settings including substance abuse clinics, group practices, and hospital settings. The need for licensed addiction counselors is anticipated to expand in both the public and private sectors over the next ten years. A Master’s Level Degree is necessary for individuals seeking the highest level of licensing certification in most states.
  • Master of Science in Christian Counseling – The Master of Science in Christian Counseling trains future counselors to serve clients who are in need of counseling services and prefer the integration of Christian faith elements and teachings. The program offers a strong framework in biblical information and theological teachings, which can be applied in a client-driven counseling setting. Topics covered in this program include an exploration of spiritual health, as well as growth and character development for the counselor in life and practice. Students develop a more thorough comprehension of the gospel to discuss relevant practitioner issues from a Christian worldview.
  • Master of Science in Christian Counseling of Substance Use and Addictive Disorders – This online Master’s Degree program provides a strong foundation in biblical knowledge and theological wisdom, to better serve clients who are battling a substance abuse disorder. Students in this program learn to treat addictions with a focus on the Christian faith. The program requires completion of a supervised practicum or internship experience, to allow students to explore and develop their counseling skills. Interns have the opportunity to provide substance abuse disorder services under clinical supervision.
  • Master of Science in Professional Counseling – The Master of Science in Professional Counseling program is designed for students interested in becoming licensed professional counselors. The program offers students the knowledge and skills required for counseling clients who may be dealing with a variety of psychological, social, behavioral, and emotional difficulties. Upon graduation, students must pass state-mandated testing at which point they will be ready to begin a career as a counselor, behavioral health counselor, or mental health counselor. Graduates are also prepared to offer counseling services to clients with substance abuse issues and marital and family issues.

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Indiana Wesleyan University

Website

Cost: $20,470

Online Master’s in Counseling Programs / Related Programs:
Master of Arts in Addictions Counseling

The Master of Arts in Addiction Counseling Degree program at Indiana Wesleyan is a 48-credit-hour program designed to prepare students to meet credential requirements. The program follows the guidelines of modern evidence-based practice, fusing a Christian perspective with behavioral and social sciences orientations. Indiana Wesleyan is an Approved Education Provider of NAADAC, the Association for Addiction Professionals. Students graduating from this program are qualified for student membership and Addiction Professional in Training national certification through NAADAC. They will also be academically qualified to gain accreditation and become Master Addiction Counselors upon graduation. Some of the strengths of the program, as stated by the university include:

  • Courses and practicums can be completed entirely online
  • The program prepares counselors to work with chemical addictions and addictive behaviors such as eating, sexual, and gambling disorders
  • The program trains professionals to bring a Christian worldview to a national crisis in addictive behavior
  • Students are challenged to integrate their Christian faith into the practice of Christian counseling
  • All faculty members have earned doctorates and licenses, are committed to the Christian faith, and are active in the counseling profession
  • Graduates will be academically qualified to pursue state licensure and/or national certification

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University of the Southwest

Website

Cost: $20,880

Online Master’s in Counseling Programs / Related Programs:
Master of Science in Education with School Counseling Concentration
The Master of Science in Education with School Counseling Specialization is a 42-credit, fully online degree program designed to prepare students for professional licensure as a school counselor in primary, elementary, middle, or high school settings. The curriculum covers counseling theories and techniques, counseling ethics, career development and group, family and child/adolescent counseling. By completion of this varied coursework students develop the knowledge and skills to work with colleagues from varying backgrounds and serve as an advocate for their academic, career and personal success. All students are required to participate in practicum opportunities as well as an internship, which can be completed in a variety of settings. This Master of Science in Education is accredited by the New Mexico Public Education Department and prepares students for licensure as a school counselor in the state of New Mexico, as well as many other states.

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Assumption College

Website

Cost: $21,320

Online Master’s in Counseling Programs / Related Programs:
Master of Arts in Rehabilitation Counseling

The online Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling is a 20-course, 60-credit program that can be completed over 8 semesters in less than 3 years. Upon graduation students are eligible to complete the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRC) exam. Some of the strengths of the program, as stated by the College include:

  • This program is the only fully online degree offered by a top-ranked Rehabilitation Counseling graduate program in the northeastern region of the United States.
  • Student-centered approach emphasizes ongoing communication, convenience, academic excellence, and interaction with professors, administrators, and professionals
  • The IT staff is dedicated to supporting students and is available to meet student individual needs
  • The varied faculty is interested, invested, and experienced in teaching online courses
  • The program is asynchronous, meaning students can learn at their own convenience each week.
  • The multiple learning modalities available include online, experiential, practice and team learning
  • The program uses outcomes-based learning with practical application of knowledge and career preparation
  • Curriculum designed to national standards with input from professionals in the field
  • US News and World Report ranks the program among the top Rehabilitation Counseling graduate programs in the nation
  • The college offers continuing education and professional development training to thousands of practicing counselors and other public staff
  • Program is fully accredited by the Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE)

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Messiah College

Website

Cost: $21,480

Online Master’s in Counseling Programs / Related Programs:
Master of Arts in Counseling

The Master of Arts in Counseling Degree program at Messiah College has earned a reputation for academic success. The program is accredited by Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) and prepares students for work in a variety of professional settings. This graduate counseling degree allows each student to find a balance between their academic career, their professional career and the rest of their responsibilities. The majority of courses are completed online allowing students the flexibility to pursue their career and degree at the same time. Students can choose from one of the three optional Degree Tracks:

  • Clinical mental health counseling
  • Marriage, couple and family counseling
  • School counseling
  • This program is the only one in the nation that is offered fully online, comes from a faith-based worldview and is CACREP accredited in Pennsylvania.

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Southwestern Assemblies of God University

Website

Cost: $21,920

Online Master’s in Counseling Programs / Related Programs:
Master of Science in Counseling Psychology
Master of Education in School Counseling

The Master of Science in Counseling Psychology Degree program at Southwestern Assemblies of God University (SAGU) is offered completely online. Students must complete a research component to complete this program, Psychological Methods and Research Design. In addition to the research component students must complete a Professional Component and a Practicum Component. The Professional Component is comprised of:

  • Ethical and Legal Issues
  • Counseling in a Pluralistic Society
  • Methods and Techniques in Counseling
  • Methods of Group Counseling
  • Marriage and Family Counseling
  • Integrative Issues in the Behavioral Sciences
  • Theories of Counseling and Psychotherapy
  • Personal Lifestyle and Career Development
  • Crisis Intervention
  • Human Growth and Life Span Development
  • Tests and Assessment
  • Clinical Psychopathology
  • Statistics for the Behavioral Sciences
  • The Practicum Component is comprised of:
  • Practicum in Counseling Psychology
  • Advanced Practicum in Counseling Psychology

The Master of Education in School Counseling also requires a Research Component, Research Literature and Technology. There are four additional components for degree completion, including:

  1. Professional Component – Educational Leadership and Supervision for Public Schools, Teaching Students of Diverse Cultures and Instructional Leadership in Curriculum and Assessment
  2. Core Component – School Guidance and Counseling, Differentiated Learning Strategies, Studies in Classroom Management and Crisis Intervention
  3. Resource Area Component – Introduction to Play Therapy, Principles and Practices of Early Childhood Education and Personal Lifestyle and Career Development
    Practicum Component – Internship in School Counseling

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Ottawa University Online

Website

Cost: $22,020

Online Master’s in Counseling Programs / Related Programs:
Master of Arts in Counseling

The Master of Arts in Counseling Degree at Ottawa is a largely online program that is designed around a recommended annual curricular schedule. The large majority of the program coursework is offered online, however students must attend two weeklong residencies in Phoenix, Arizona. All students in this graduate program will complete a field placement program component, made up of nine semester credit hours, completed in eight terms, for a total of 900 client contact hours. During this field component student’s work in a community behavioral health agency for an average of 15 hours per week to gather the experiential learning you cannot get in traditional classroom learning.

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Lakeland College

Website

Cost: $22,050

Online Master’s in Counseling Programs / Related Programs:
Master of Arts in Counseling

The Master of Arts in Counseling (MAC) degree program is a 48-credit-hour professional graduate training program. The program is designed to train students for one of three professional counseling areas: community counseling, higher education counseling or school counseling.

  • Community Counseling Emphasis – This emphasis is geared towards students who intend to focus their work in settings such as community mental health centers, inpatient facilities, vocational or employment counseling agencies, family service agencies, correctional institutions, private practice, or social service agencies.
  • Higher Education Emphasis – This emphasis is for students seeking employment in post-secondary settings such as community colleges, technical colleges, public and private colleges, and universities.
  • School Counseling Emphasis – This emphasis is geared towards students hoping to secure employment in elementary, middle/junior high, and high schools.

The MAC program accommodates the busy working professional by offering the opportunity to grow intellectually, morally and spiritually. The courses are available in 12-week semesters in a classroom, blended or online format. The faculty for the MAC program is currently practicing professionals who combine hands-on learning with in-class instruction. Students have the opportunity to participate in practicums and internships to allow students to observe and interact with actual clients.

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Yorkville University

Website

Cost: $22,427

Online Master’s in Counseling Programs / Related Programs:
Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology

The Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology (MACP) Degree program is a 30-month, fully online and practicum-based program. The program is designed to train highly skilled graduates for careers in the field of counseling psychology. The structure used in this program is a combination of core and elective courses to offer students the foundational competencies and practical skills needed to become professional counselors, researchers, educators and psychotherapists. Graduates of this program are trained to gather professional licensure and then may seek employment in a wide range of settings. The curriculum is offered primarily online, with a faculty-supervised practicum element. The elective courses cover the following counseling concentrations:

  • Career and Employment Counseling
  • Counseling for Health and Wellness
  • Psychopathology for Counselors
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Addiction Counseling
  • Counseling Couples and Families
  • Guidance and Counseling in School Environments

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California Baptist University

Website

Cost: $22,768

Online Master’s in Counseling Programs / Related Programs:
Master of Science in Counseling Psychology

The Master of Science in Counseling Psychology at California Baptist is an online program designed for students who are looking to acquire the knowledge and practical experience to counsel in various settings. The program is created around the needs of a range of professional and personal goals. The curriculum used in this program offers training that academically prepares students for Marriage and Family Therapy licensure as well as a concentration for the Professional Clinical Counselor (dual licensure option) and a certificate concentration in Forensic Psychology. This degree can also be paired with the Master of Arts in Counseling Ministry. Students enrolled in this program have ample opportunities to apply information gained in the classroom, to actual clinical environments. Because the school is recognized and highly respected by public, private and faith-based agencies throughout the region, students have the opportunity to observe and interact in a range of clinical settings, under the guidance of experienced faculty and supervisors. The program typically requires 2-4 years for completion and students have the opportunity to pursue the 18-credit Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor or Forensic Psychology concentration.

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Thomas University

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Cost: $23,260

Online Master’s in Counseling Programs / Related Programs:
Master of Science in Clinical Rehabilitation & Mental Health Counseling

The Master of Science in Clinical Rehabilitation & Mental Health Counseling is a fully online graduate degree program. The mission of this program is “to create a dynamic learning environment that advances the intellectual and personal development goals of our students to work as professionals in the field of rehabilitation counseling.” The program accomplishes this important mission through the following objectives:

  1. Faculty will provide rigorous and intellectually challenging studies that require creativity, discipline, and personal responsibility.
  2. Students will learn diversity, respect, community involvement, and cultural experiences through 63 hours of coursework.
  3. Students will learn through classroom, practicum, internship, and community service experiences, addressing professional issues and community needs and the needs of persons with disabilities consistent with the program’s mission.
  4. The Division will provide students with the Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE) required classes, using CORE standards. The students will be eligible to sit for the CRC exam after successfully completing 75 percent of the degree program

The curriculum includes the training required to pass the national Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) exam as well as be academically prepared to become Licensed Associate Professional Counselors. Students are eligible to take the CRC examination after completing 75% of the Program of Study. The department supports the Chi Sigma Iota Society for any students with a 3.5 or higher GPA. The 63-credit hour program is offered fully online with the benefit of internship placement and Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE) accreditation.

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Online Counseling Degrees Overview

More and more students are taking advantage of getting a counseling degree online by enrolling in one of the large number of online master’s in counseling programs found throughout the United States. By earning this degree from a fully accredited institution, you can start a career as a fully qualified professional counselor in a number of areas ranging from School Counseling to Marriage and Family Counseling. This means that in as little as two years you can begin a meaningful career helping those in need. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Handbook, a licensed practical counselor earns a median salary of $40,850 with the highest percentage of counselors earning upwards of $67,000 annually. Those with several years of experience can earn even more annually. Completion of an online Master’s in Counseling will put you on your way to a career in some of the most exciting and growing mental health fields. A Master’s Degree in this area qualifies you for a career in specialty fields like School Counseling, Marriage and Family Counseling, Addictions Counseling, Clinical Mental Health Counseling or Career Counseling.

Identifying Value in Counseling Degrees Online

According to FinAid.org, the average cost of a Master’s Degree in the United States ranges from $30,000 all the way to $120,000. The tuition varies depending upon a number of factors such as which university offers the degree and what kind of Master’s Degree program is being offered. The tuition for a Master’s Degree in Counseling also varies greatly. In order to determine whether the programs you are considering are a good academic value you must weigh a number of options. First you should consider the overall cost of attendance for each program. While some of the programs on your “wish list” may be more nationally recognized, being able to pay back student loans upon completion is important. Second, you must consider whether any financial aid or scholarship money is available for a given program. A final consideration is the amount of money you will potentially earn upon graduation. By carefully weighing these options against all of the programs you are investigating you can start to see which programs will be the best value for you. This will give you the ability to choose the most nationally recognized Master’s Degree in Counseling Program, while also paying attention to whether it is a fiscally wise choice for you.

Online Counseling Degrees and Accreditation

For students hoping to pursue a career as a professional Counselor, an online master’s in counseling is an excellent option. It is typically more cost effective and less time consuming than pursuing a doctoral degree in psychology. The majority of programs offering a Master’s Degree in Counseling will provide graduate level training in areas such as human development, communication skills, ethical counseling, human sexuality, group therapy, and psychological assessment. In many cases students will also complete a specified number of hours in a field experience or internship. Students can earn a Master’s in Counseling, a Master’s in Counseling with a number of options specializations as well as a Master’s of Marriage and Family Therapy. In order to ensure that your degree is earned from a reputable and respected College it is imperative to check the accreditation of each school you consider. In addition to regional accreditation, the most nationally recognized programs will earn program specific accreditations, such as the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), the Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE), the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE) or the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP).

Online Counseling Master’s Degrees

The online learning industry has experienced tremendous growth over the past twenty years. Gone are the days of unaccredited “degree mills” offering a limited number of degree programs. Now, fully accredited colleges and universities are offering thousands of degree programs in fully online programs. Earning a Master’s Degree in Counseling in an online format affords you the flexibility to learn on your own schedule, at your own pace. This means that individuals who full-time jobs, have young children or other time limitations can work towards their degree according to their schedule. A large number of these online degree options are from highly recognized, widely respected colleges and universities. In many cases the same curriculum is used both online and on campus and often the same faculty teach online and on-campus sections of the same course. Earning your Online Master’s Degree in Counseling does not mean that you must sacrifice the quality of your degree as long as you choose the best option available. Upon completion of a Master’s in Counseling Degree program, degree holders are qualified to pursue a career in professional counseling in a wide range of areas.

Career Specializations for Counseling Grads

School Counselor

One of the most important distinctions that should be made when discussing School Counseling is the fact that this is NOT the same as becoming a Guidance Counselor. School Counselors are responsible for working with students of varying ages with academic, personal and developmental support. School Counselors can work as Elementary School Counselors assisting young kids, in either individual or small group formats, assisting in many day-to-day activities. They often aid teachers in assessing students’ abilities and interests, while helping students with various needs. High School Counselors do much of what their elementary counterparts do, while also assisting teenagers move from secondary school into the workforce or enter college. Some assist students with college application materials, coordinating study trips, proctoring entrance tests and chaperoning college visits. One of the biggest responsibilities is helping teens choose a career path that suits their needs and help move the students toward that goal. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Handbook (BLS-OH) the industry is expected to grow 12 percent over the next two years equating to a predicted 31,200 new jobs. The Labor Department reported that School Counselors earned a median annual salary of $53,600 in 2014 with the highest paid earning $86,870, and the lowest-paid earning $31,850. Nationally licensed School Counselors possess a minimum of a Master’s Degrees and completion of 60 hours of coursework in education and psychology, with at least 1,200 internship hours.

Marriage and Family Counselor

Marriage and Family Counselors or Therapists (MFT’s) are highly skilled mental health professionals who have received advanced training to diagnose and treat mental health issues and substance abuse problems in individuals, couples, families and related groups. The specialty area of Marriage and Family Therapy is among the core mental health disciplines and is rooted in the philosophy that mental illness and family struggles are most successfully treated in a family context. MFT’s receive extensive training in psychotherapy and family systems, so they may understand clients’ symptoms and help uncover problem areas. These professionals treat mostly individuals, but may also provide couples, family and group therapy. MFT’s must possess a minimum of a Master’s Degree with an additional two years supervised clinical experience. The BLS-OH predicts that the field of Marriage and Family Therapy will see an increase of 30.6 percent between now and 2022. They also report that on average, MFT’s earned a median salary of $48,160 in 2013. The highest-paid earned $78,580, while the lowest earners brought home about $29,980.

Addictions Counselor

Substance Abuse or Addictions Counseling is a type of professional counseling that has become a necessary part of individuals overcoming and conquering dependencies on substances, such as alcohol and drugs. With a greater number of illicit drugs becoming available more extensively each year, the traditional boundaries of substance abuse have become almost erased leaving no one truly safe from its reach. These counselors use the techniques and theories of psychology to help identify and change the triggers for chemical dependency. The counselor works closely with the client to help them move towards total sobriety. Substance abuse counselors can find employment in hospitals, substance abuse rehabilitation centers, detention centers, schools, social and human service facilities and private practices. There is no minimum degree requirement set out by law but most Substance Abuse Counselors possess a minimum of a Bachelor’s Degree with the vast majority holding a Master’s or Doctoral Degree in Counseling or Substance Abuse Counseling. To become an Addictions Counselor you must complete a national certification. The BLS-OH predicts that over the next ten years the field will see a jump of 31 percent. They also report that Substance Abuse Counselors earn a median annual salary of $38,620, or approximately $18.57 per hour. The highest-paid earned about $60,160, while the lowest-paid earned less than $25,200.

Clinical Mental Health Counselor

Mental Health Counselors are mental health professionals who work with a wide range of individuals who are facing a range of life stressors or problems. Some of these include couples facing marital issues, individuals battling a specific life issue and people struggling with low levels of depression or anxiety. In addition to diagnosing mental and emotional disorders, these highly skilled counselors work directly with clients. In some cases they will work psychiatrists or social workers to coordinate even better care. As other mental health practitioners charge increasingly higher rates for service, most insurance companies are requiring patients use more cost-effective mental health counselors for their therapy. The BLS-OH predicts that the field will see growth of at least 28.5 percent between 2012 and 2022, leading to 36,700 new jobs in this field. The BLS also reports that Mental Health Counselors earned a median annual salary of $40,580 in 2013. The highest-paid earned more than $67,020, while the lowest-paid earned less than $25,840. The minimum degree requirement for this field is a Master’s Degree plus 2,000 to 4,000 hours of supervised clinical supervision and successful completion of a state license test.

Career Counselor

A Career Counselor is a mental health professional who possess the training and skills to help guide individuals of all ages towards careers and positions that best suit their personality, education and skill set. These professionals are considered mental health practitioners as they also offer the advice, guidance and assistance backed by their education, training and experience. The major focus areas in the field of career counseling is on issues such as career exploration, career change, personal career development and other career related issues. Career Counselors work with younger individuals who are searching for career options. They also work with more experienced adults who may be looking to change careers, move ahead in their current career or explore new options. The minimum degree requirement for Career Counseling is a Bachelor’s Degree, however the majority possess a Master’s Degree and complete an internship. Most Career Counselors are licensed by the state in which they practice. These professionals can be found working in high schools and colleges, social service agencies, employment and staffing agencies, and private practices. According to the BLS-OH, this field is expected to grow 12 percent over the next two years. They also reported that Career Counselors earned a median annual salary of $53,610 in 2014 with the highest paid earning $86,870, and the lowest-paid earning $31,850.

About the Author

After earning a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Rutgers University and then a Master of Science in Clinical and Forensic Psychology from Drexel University, Kristen Fescoe began a career as a therapist at two prisons in Philadelphia. At the same time she volunteered as a rape crisis counselor, also in Philadelphia. After a few years in the field she accepted a teaching position at a local college where she currently teaches online psychology courses. Kristen began writing in college and still enjoys her work as a writer, editor, professor and mother.