This article describes the factors involved in developing the ranking of 10 Best Online Doctoral Programs in Counseling 2015.


All schools included in the ranking are regionally or nationally accredited. Those that have received specialized accreditation are awarded points as follows.


CACREP or COAMFTE Accreditation: 3 Points

Concentration Areas

A doctoral degree in Counseling is an excellent way to begin your career. An even better start to a blossoming career is taking your educational opportunity and getting the most out of it. Those doctoral programs that allow students to earn a specialization make the degree even more valuable. Specialization allows students the opportunity to receive in-depth training in the area of counseling they plan to pursue upon graduation.


Schools offering 2 or more areas of concentration or specialization: 1 Point


It is important to consider the cost of the program. Tuition data has been gathered from university or college self-reports.


Under $15,000/yr. / $15,000 – $20,000 / above $20,000:

3 Points / 2 Points / 1 Point

College Ranking

We considered major rankings at both university-wide and program specific levels.


US News Best National University Ranking / Best Regional University Ranking:

2 Points / 1 Point

Placement on US News and World Report Best Graduate Training Program in Psychology List: 2 Points

Online Format

Some programs describing themselves as "online" programs actually have in-person requirements. In this ranking, schools that offer the program fully online are awarded 1 point.


Fully Online Learning Format: 1 Points


Schools are presented in ascending order of point ranking. In the event of a tie, the edge goes to schools with specialized accreditation from either CACREP or COAMFTE.


Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE) Accreditation List

Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) Accreditation List

United States Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Handbook

US News and World Report National Ranking List

US News and World Report Southern Regional Ranking List

US News and World Report Top Public School List