According to the American Counseling Association, people with an online master’s in counseling help build a
relationship that empowers diverse individuals, families, and groups to accomplish mental health, wellness, education, and career goals. As these challenges mount across the country, more skilled and empathetic professionals are needed to help people in their community. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) anticipates that the field will expand in the coming decade, projecting for substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors. Students who graduate from an online master’s in counseling program learn the academic and professional skills needed to enter or advance within this dynamic field. Additionally, many programs offer curricular options that enable students to earn a degree without compromising their professional or familial obligations.
Online Master’s in Counseling Degree Program Ranking Methodology
万宝路平台官网We selected the degree programs based on the quality of program and range of courses provided as well as school awards, rankings, and reputation.
The Best Online Master’s in Counseling Programs
1. Northwestern University
Northwestern University is home to about 21,000 students and a dozen colleges and schools. The university operates campuses in Evanston and Chicago, Illinois, as well as in Qatar. Northwestern offers a in affiliation with the Family Institute. The master’s in counseling online emphasizes clinical immersion, self-reflection, and diversity. The experiential learning model requires students to collaborate with faculty and students during weekly online courses.
Students complete coursework that teaches them how to diagnose, assess, and treat patients. Learners also work with clients during approved supervised placements in their communities. The curriculum immerses students in counseling and psychotherapy; assessment of counseling; outreach, prevention, and advocacy; and cultural diversity in counseling. An emphasis in child and adolescent counseling prepares counselors to treat mental health issues in younger clients. During a 200-hour practicum, students learn how to perform clinical responsibilities. In the subsequent 600-hour internship, learners complete clinical duties under the supervision of a professional.
Students in the accelerated track can complete the program in 18 months. The traditional full-time track can be completed in 27 months, while the part-time track takes 36 months. Graduates are qualified to pursue clinical mental health counselor licensure in most states. Applicants should have a bachelor’s degree, preferably in psychology or human services.
Northwestern University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). The online MA in counseling is fully accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).
2. Wake Forest University
万宝路平台官网Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Founded in 1834, Wake Forest University continues its mission to build scholars with character. The school educates approximately 8,000 students on its main campus in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and more students through its online programs. Designed for working professionals, the 60-credit features two online tracks: school counseling and clinical mental health counseling. Online students have access to 24/7 tutoring services and tech support.
Both tracks share foundational courses and a common core. Foundational courses examine the theories and models of counseling, lifespan development and the implications for counseling, and research and statistical analysis in counseling. The program core delves into family counseling, cultures and counseling, basic counseling skills and techniques, group procedures in counseling, and advanced counseling skills and crisis management. Each track requires three clinical courses that focus on the specialty area. Students also participate in practicum and internship experiences to hone their skills. Graduates pass the National Counselor Exam at a rate of 98% and enjoy a high acceptance rate into doctoral programs. Admission requirements include a bachelor’s degree with a minimum 2.5 GPA and GRE scores.
万宝路平台官网Wake Forest is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). The online master’s program in counseling is fully accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).
3. New York University
万宝路平台官网New York, New York
万宝路平台官网New York University, recognized globally for academic excellence, is one of the largest private colleges in the nation. The school educates approximately 50,000 students on campuses in New York City, Shanghai, and Abu Dhabi. Counseling@NYU programs continue the school’s tradition of scholarship and public service in a collaborative online learning environment. Online students may pursue the 60-credit or the 48-credit . The guidance program features two concentrations: school counseling and bilingual school counseling.
Students in the MA in counseling for mental health and wellness learn how to assess individuals and groups, assist clients using techniques such as case conceptualization and practice, and foster relationships that promote client development. Students in the MA in counseling and guidance track learn how to create a nurturing environment for elementary students, provide academic and emotional support to middle schoolers, and help high schoolers achieve academic and postsecondary success. In both programs, students participate in a 100-hour practicum and a 600-hour internship at a setting in their community. Graduates of the online master’s in counseling for mental health and wellness qualify to pursue state licensure in mental health counseling. Graduates of the school counseling program qualify to sit for New York state certification for school counselors, grades pre-K-12. NYU does not require GRE scores for admission.
万宝路平台官网New York University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). The master’s in counseling program is fully accredited by the Masters in Psychology and Counseling Accreditation Council (MPCAC).
4. Clarks Summit University
万宝路平台官网South Abington Township, Pennsylvania
Clarks Summit University provides learners with faith-based academic programs. The school enrolls fewer than 1,000 students, giving each learner personalized learning opportunities. In order to maximize flexibility for working students, CSU’s graduate degrees are online or web-enhanced.
万宝路平台官网The prepares students to pursue counseling careers or leadership positions in ministry. The hybrid program incorporates classroom learning and practical experiences to prepare students for the National Certified Counselor exam and Licensed Professional Counselor credentialing.
The curriculum covers methods of biblical change, abnormal behavior, behavioral addictions, biblical theology of counseling, theories and techniques in counseling, and evaluation and consultation of mental and mood disorders. Students gain hands-on experience during supervised counseling practicums and a supervised counseling internship. Courses are structured in eight-week sessions. Distance learners can complete the program in three years. While most courses are available in an asynchronous online format, three courses require some on-campus attendance. Online students can participate in extracurricular activities such as clubs, student government, sports, and service organizations. Courses for the online master’s degree in counseling begin in August, October, January, March, and May. Online students pay the same tuition rate, regardless of residency. More than 95% of CSU students receive financial aid.
万宝路平台官网Clarks Summit University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
5. Texas Tech University
Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center graduates more health care professionals than any other Texas college. The center operates five schools, five satellite sites, and an eLearning platform. TTUHSC offers three online counseling programs: the 60-credit , the 60-credit , and the 60-credit .
All three practitioner training programs prepare counselors to address the needs of patients in diverse settings, especially rural communities. Students learn how to use evidence-based counseling practices to help clients across the lifespan. The programs also prepare learners to take the National Counselor Examination and earn Licensed Professional Counselor licensure in most states. The three programs share core courses in addictions, counseling theories, multicultural counseling, group counseling, counseling and ethical development, and human growth and development.
Students in the MS in addiction and MS in mental health counseling take 12 credits of specialty coursework that cover the neurobiology of addiction, advanced addiction counseling, addiction counseling and ethical development, and professional development in addiction counseling. All three specializations require clinical and practicum experiences. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree with a minimum cumulative 2.7 GPA. Each degree has slightly different requirements. Students do not need to take the GRE for admittance.
万宝路平台官网Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). The online master’s in counseling is fully accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).
6. LeTourneau University
Founded in 1946, LeTourneau University blends academic and professional development with faith-based education. LETU, located on a 162-acre campus in Longview, Texas, also has learning centers in Dallas and Houston and offers elearning courses. The school’s hybrid features tracks in school counseling, licensed professional counselor, and licensed marriage and family therapist. Students in the master’s in counseling online learn how to incorporate prayer and scripture to help clients address their challenges.
Distance learners must attend a three-day intensive in Longview. The 66-credit curriculum addresses lifespan human development, addictions counseling, research methods, counseling of diverse populations, and human sexuality and sex therapy. A series of clinical theology courses delve into theology for counselors, trauma and theodicy, and the theological and spiritual dynamics in counseling. All students take a course on professional, personal, and spiritual life that examines the process of Christian formation and the role of the counselor in society. Learners participate in practicums, internships, and direct clinical practices. Students may choose to complete academic requirements for the Licensed Professional Counselor and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist licenses. Students seeking the school counselor specialization must have two years of teaching experience. Admission requirements include a bachelor’s degree with a minimum cumulative 2.5 GPA, and some students may have to submit GRE scores.
LeTourneau University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
7. University of Massachusetts – Amherst
万宝路平台官网The University of Massachusetts-Amherst, the state’s flagship university, stands as one of the nation’s top public colleges. Recognized for scholarship and research, UMass-Amherst offers degrees through University Without Walls and other eLearning options. The 60-credit online prepares counselors to practice in schools, hospitals, rehabilitation agencies, and residential treatment facilities.
万宝路平台官网This online master’s in counseling follows a cohort model. The curriculum covers abnormal psychology, counseling theories and practice, group counseling, diversity in counseling, and the clinical application of human development. Students learn to treat clients with specific challenges in substance abuse, psychopharmacology, sexual intimacy, and couples therapy. An ethics course delves into ethical decision making, client rights, responsibilities of the counselor, and ethical codes of professional organizations.
Students develop competencies through a 100-hour practicum and a 600-hour internship. During the first semester, new students visit an onsite location for a two-week intensive. The program meets the academic requirements for mental health counselor licensure in Massachusetts. Online students pay the same tuition rate, regardless of residency. Applicants should hold a bachelor’s degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA, undergraduate coursework in the social sciences, and GRE scores. The program only admits students in the summer. Students who reside in Alabama, Arkansas, Maryland, or Minnesota are not eligible to apply.
UMass-Amherst is regionally accredited is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), formerly known as the New England Association of Schools and Colleges Commission on Higher Education (NEASC-CIHE).
8. Pepperdine University
万宝路平台官网Situated on an 830-acre campus in Malibu, Pepperdine University prepares students for lives of leadership and service. The Christian college operates six international campuses and delivers a comprehensive suite of programs through distance learning. Pepperdine’s graduate degrees emphasize professional competencies, critical thinking, and effective communication. The master’s programs follow a scholar-practitioner model, delivered by faculty actively working in their areas of expertise.
The with an emphasis in marriage and family therapy incorporates applied methods in psychotherapy and a practice-based study plan. The curriculum consists of 62 to 68 credits and prepares learners to sit for the Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor or Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist exams in California. The core curriculum delves into the theories of counseling and psychotherapy; techniques of counseling and psychotherapy; trauma in diverse population; the assessment of individuals, couples, and families; and the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders.
万宝路平台官网A series of courses focus on areas of treatment such as substance abuse and family therapy. Students engage in four clinical rotations to develop their skills as counselors. During the practicums, students consult with instructors, present cases using psychotherapeutic models, and receive feedback from other students. Pepperdine works with learners to identify practicum and internship sites in their communities. Applicants with a GPA below 3.0 should submit an exception request form. More than 75% of students receive financial aid.
Pepperdine University is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).
9. Dallas Baptist University
Dallas Baptist University filters all its programs through a Christian worldview. The school offers several faith-based programs, including the 36-credit . Graduates can find work in churches, ministry-based organizations, and denominational agencies. The theology curriculum delves into biblical servant leadership, applied hermeneutics, systematic theology, Christian history and heritage, and spiritual formation and worship. Professors teach from the textbook and from their own experiences in ministry.
万宝路平台官网The counseling curriculum focuses on abnormal psychology, lifespan human development, counseling theories and techniques, and ministry mentorship. Students also take elective courses covering topics such as group counseling methods and marriage and family counseling. During a course in Christian counseling, students practice counseling skills and learn firsthand how to incorporate biblical principles in their work.
Learners can take the program in a fully online or hybrid format. Upon completion of the online counseling master’s program, graduates understand how to evaluate psychology theories from a biblical perspective and use Christian counseling skills and techniques. The online master’s program in counseling does not lead to state licensure. Online learners pay the same tuition rate regardless of in-state or out-of-state residency. Applicants should be members of a Christian church and hold a bachelor’s degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Applicants must also submit a statement of purpose and two letters of recommendation. Distance learners are eligible for financial aid.
Dallas Baptist University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
10. Crown College
万宝路平台官网Saint Bonifacius, Minnesota
Crown College, a private Christian college established in 1916, enrolls over 1,300 students in a variety of undergraduate and graduate degree and certificate programs. Among its offerings is an online degree program for students who seek to enter professional counseling careers.
The 60 credit master’s in counseling program prepares students for the Minnesota state LPCC licensure exam. The curriculum includes 54 credits of required courses, and six hours of electives, with courses covering foundational and advanced topics in research, theory, and practice, as well as an internship that develops valuable hands-on experience, and two brief residency courses. Students may also elect to add a nine credit emphasis in mental health, or alcohol and drug counseling.
万宝路平台官网The program builds from a Christian and Biblical worldview. The master’s in counseling online program includes online college courses in in topic such as addictions and substance abuse, assessment and testing, diagnosis and treatment planning, multicultural counseling, and psychopathology.
The online counseling degree may be completed in two and a half to three years of study.
Crown College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
11. Regent University
Virginia Beach, Virginia
万宝路平台官网For students interested in mental health counseling careers, Regent University offers an online degree program. With the majority of its students enrolled in online degree programs, Regent is well-versed in providing flexible, affordable online education options for non-traditional students.
万宝路平台官网The online master’s in counseling approaches the field from an evangelical world view, blending biblical perspectives with key aspects of mental health counseling and psychology. Students gain theoretical and practical understandings of how to work with patients and their families in a range of situations.
Its 60-credit curriculum consists of a 45-credit core, as well as an internship. The master’s in counseling online includes online college courses in topics such as addiction therapies for individuals and families, concepts of family systems, psychopathology and diagnosis, ethics and legal issues, multicultural counseling, and theories of counseling.
万宝路平台官网Applicants to the online counseling degree program must hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution, with a 3.0 GPA. Online students must complete two week-long residencies during the program.
万宝路平台官网Regent University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). The online master’s in counseling program is fully accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).
12. Eastern University
Saint Davids, Pennsylvania
Eastern University, a private, Christian university established in 1925, enrolls over 3,000 students in a variety of undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs. Initially founded as a seminary, it went through multiple changes before being granted full university status in 2001.
Eastern University offers numerous online degree programs, including an online for students seeking to implement positive change among their communities through private and group counseling practice. The 60 credit program blends foundational and advanced counseling concepts with a Biblical perspective, preparing students to work in private practices, as well as church counseling settings.
Students may tailor their degree with a variety of elective courses in areas such as substance abuse counseling, marriage and family therapy, grief and loss, and autism and applied behavior analysis. The master’s in counseling online program includes online college courses in topics such as ethics and legal issues in the field, professional development, psychopathology, lifespan development, personality dynamics, and techniques of counseling and psychotherapy.
万宝路平台官网In addition to their core and elective courses, students in the online counseling degree program must complete internships and a practicum. The program may be completed entirely online through asynchronous coursework, or through a blended format. Applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree with a minimum 2.8 GPA.
万宝路平台官网Eastern University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
13. Messiah College
万宝路平台官网Located in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, Messiah College provides students with faith-based degrees in the liberal arts, applied arts, and sciences. The school offers more than 80 majors, including several distance learning options. MC’s online graduate degrees allow students to complete coursework at their own pace.
The 60-credit prepares practitioners to serve as counselors through one of three specializations: school counseling; clinical mental health counseling; or marriage, couple, and family counseling. The program uses a developmental model. Students take 30 credits of core coursework and 30 credits in their specialization. Core courses include study of counseling theories; counseling techniques; lifespan development; professional issues and ethics for counselors; and assessment techniques for individuals, couples, and families. Although courses are mostly online, students must participate in a weeklong intensive at the Mechanicsburg campus.
万宝路平台官网The school boasts state-of-the-art counseling rooms that allow professors to tape counseling sessions for students’ professional development. An internship gives students the opportunity to perform counseling duties in their area of specialization. Graduates from the master’s degree in counseling online meet the educational requirements for Licensed Professional Counselor or Marital and Family Therapist licensure. Online learners receive tutoring support, tech support, and career services. Potential students should hold a bachelor’s degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA.
Messiah College is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). The master’s in counseling is fully accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs ().
14. Concordia University – Irvine
Established as Christ College in 1976, private Concordia University – Irvine became part of the Concordia University System in 1993. It enrolls over 4,000 students in a variety of undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs.
Concordia University – Irvine offers an online degree program for students seeking to enter the field and serve an array of people and communities. The 60 credit program includes 45 units of core courses. nine units of clinical courses, and six units of electives. Students gain a blend of theoretical and practical knowledge in key areas of counseling, as well as hands-on experience. The master’s in counseling online program includes online college courses in topics such as advanced skills and mental health counseling, legal and ethical issues in the field, theory and practice of groups, theory and techniques of counseling, and clinical psychopathology and diagnosis.
The online counseling degree program is completed through seven-week courses and a cohort model. The program begins with a four day kick-off conference on campus and includes bi-monthly synchronous class meetings. Applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree.
Concordia University – Irvine is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).
15. Liberty University Online
Liberty University offers more than 550 programs, including hundreds of online options. The school educates more than 110,000 students, including 30,000 military students and 900 international students. The 60-credit trains counselors treat a diverse array of clients, including individuals, families, and groups with mental and behavioral health issues.
The master’s in counseling curriculum examines topics such as counseling theories, group counseling, addiction and the recovery process, clinical diagnosis and treatment planning, and counseling techniques and the helping relationship. The program requires a supervised, 6-hour, two semester internship, a 3-hour observation practicum, and two on-campus intensives. Students work with LU counselors to find an internship site in their state, choosing from facilities such as hospitals, counseling agencies, and university counseling centers. The master’s in counseling online program includes online college courses in areas such as clinical diagnosis and treatment planning, crisis counseling, marriage and family counseling, and substance abuse.
Courses follow an asynchronous, eight-week format. Distance learners may attend optional intensives on campus. Unlike many graduate schools, LU allows students to transfer in up to 50% of their total credits. Full-time students can complete the program in two years. For admission, the school requires a bachelor’s degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Approximately 96% of Liberty students receive financial aid.
Liberty University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). The master’s in counseling online program is fully accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).
16. Nova Southeastern University
万宝路平台官网Fort Lauderdale, Florida
万宝路平台官网Nova Southeastern University offers 150 degrees through their main campus in Broward County, Florida, or one of its many satellite locations across the state. The school’s catalog features academically rigorous and competitive professional programs in fields such as clinical psychology. The college’s distance learning program allows students from all over the country to earn undergraduate and graduate degrees.
万宝路平台官网The includes specializations in school counseling, clinical mental health counseling, applied behavior analysis, substance abuse counseling, and substance abuse counseling and education. Each specialization requires its own number of credits and unique courses relevant to the track. All specializations except the school counseling track require core courses in counseling theories and practice, human growth and development, research and evaluation for counselors, diagnosis and treatment of adult psychopathology, and group theory and practice. A core course on substance abuse explores the etiology of alcohol and drug dependency with an aim to assess and treat clients.
万宝路平台官网Each track in the master’s in counseling online requires a practicum and/or internship, during which students spend a specified number of hours each week working with clients in a clinical setting. Students may choose to enroll on a full-time or part-time basis. Potential students should have a bachelor’s degree with a minimum 2.5 GPA. Applicants should also submit a statement of interest and two letters of recommendation.
万宝路平台官网Nova Southeastern University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). The masters’s in counseling program clinical mental health counseling track is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).
17. Indiana Wesleyan University
Indiana Wesleyan University operates learning centers in Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio. The school offers a comprehensive suite of eLearning options, including the online . Students may choose from fully-online and hybrid specializations in , , and .
All three online master’s in counseling programs include core coursework in theory and techniques in the helping relationship; theory and techniques in group counseling; multicultural counseling; and legal, ethical, and professional issues. Specialization courses include assessment and intervention, theories and treatment of addiction, psychopathology, and career counseling in student development. Students gain professional experience through supervised on-site practicums and community-based internships. Graduates can interpret, evaluate, and apply scholarly research; incorporate multicultural awareness in their practice; and integrate faith in the counseling profession.
Students may enroll in the program on a full-time or part-time basis. Full-time students complete the program in two-and-a-half years, while part-time students complete the program in three-and-a-half years. IWU accepts up to nine credits from another institution, which are applied toward electives. Applicants should have a bachelor’s degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA, undergraduate coursework in psychology, and adequate GRE scores.
Indiana Wesleyan University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). The master’s in counseling is fully accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).
18. Bradley University
万宝路平台官网Bradley University, a private, non-sectarian university established in 1897, enrolls over 5,500 students in a variety of undergraduate, graduate, and professional degree and certificate programs. Its offering includes an online degree program two concentration options, in clinical mental health counseling, or professional school counseling.
The program requires 60 credits for completion, including 48 credits of core coursework, and six credits of specialization courses. Students gain in-depth theoretical and practical knowledge through their coursework, as well as hands-on experience in a practicum and internships.
Whether seeking careers in clinical practice or school settings, students develop the qualifications necessary to succeed in the field. The master’s in counseling online program includes online college courses in topics such as clinical supervision, diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders, human growth and development, loss and grief counseling, principles of groups counseling, and psychopharmacology and counseling.
Students in the online counseling degree program must attend two week-long campus residencies.
Bradley University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). The master’s in counseling program is fully accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).
19. University of Massachusetts
万宝路平台官网Part of the University of Massachusetts system, Umass Boston enrolls over 16,000 students in a variety of undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degree programs. Among its offerings is an online degree program for students pursuing careers helping with those working through mental health issues.
The 60-credit master’s in counseling program utilizes a cohort model and can be completed in two years. Students must complete a 100 hour practicum and 600 hour internship, as well as an array of core coursework.
Students gain in-depth theoretical and practical knowledge, as well as crucial hands-on experience. The master’s in counseling online program includes online college courses in topics such as child and adolescent counseling, life span human development, psychopathology and diagnosis, and sociocultural considerations in counseling.
The online counseling degree utilizes synchronous and synchronous courses. The program begins in the summer and includes two face-to-face courses. Applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution.
The University of Massachusetts is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), formerly known as the New England Association of Schools and Colleges Commission on Higher Education (NEASC-CIHE). The master’s in mental health counseling program is fully accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).
20. University of Louisiana at Monroe
万宝路平台官网Established in 1931, the University of Louisiana at Monroe is a public university with over 16,000 students enrolled in undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs. Its online programs include degree program with concentrations in clinical mental health counseling and school counseling.
万宝路平台官网The 60 credit program includes a blend of core and concentration courses, alongside a practicum and internships, providing students is theoretical and practical knowledge, skills, and experience. Students engage with key concepts such as counseling theories, group counseling, human growth and development, legal and ethical issues, career counseling, assessment and diagnosis, and counseling in multicultural settings.
Students complete the master’s in counseling program online without ever attending campus, through a blend of synchronous and asynchronous courses. Online students begin the program with a summer workshop. Applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution.
The University of Louisiana at Monroe is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). The master’s in counseling program is fully accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).
21. Touro University Worldwide
Los Alamitos, California
Touro University Worldwide, a Jewish-sponsored system of higher education, delivers programs through a network of traditional and online campuses. TUW’s programs emphasize the school’s commitment to social justice and philanthropic duty. The 54–73 credit teaches therapists the skills to treat couples and families. Graduates are knowledgeable of contemporary challenges that couples face and understand how to identify and treat mental health problems.
The online master’s degree in counseling does not require any on-campus residencies. Students may choose from tracks in clinical, nonclinical, and Licensed Professional Clinical Counseling. Coursework explores subjects such as couples counseling, psychopharmacology, human sexuality, child-focused family therapy, treatment of trauma in families, and development within the family life cycle. Electives examine topics such as career development counseling and spousal/partner abuse detection and intervention. Learners who pursue the LPCC track take five additional courses to master advanced counseling theories and techniques.
Each track requires students to engage in 225 to 280 face-to-face clinical hours and 300 to 450 hours of practicum experience in their communities. The program meets eligibility requirements for California MFT licensure, as well as licensure in many other states. All students pay the same tuition, regardless of residency. Applicants should hold a bachelor’s degree with a minimum 2.5 GPA. TUW does not require GRE scores.
Touro University Worldwide is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).
22. Fort Hays State University
Fort Hays State University offers over 200 online degrees and certificates. These include a hybrid . The three-year program prepares school counselors to help students achieve their academic and career goals. The degree meets eligibility requirements for school counselor licensure in Kansas.
The curriculum incorporates theoretic coursework and real-world experiences. All students undergo a supervised practicum and internships. Courses for the master’s in counseling online include lifespan human development, counseling skills development, theories of counseling, psychopathology and diagnosis, and professional and ethical issues in counseling. The program also includes a course in research methods that requires completion of a research paper. Many courses are available online, but some courses are offered on campus. At the end of the program, learners take the Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Examination. The CPCE focuses on eight core areas, including professional orientation, social and cultural foundations, and helping relationships.
万宝路平台官网The college admits students in the fall, spring, and summer. FHSU boasts one of the lowest tuition rates in the nation, and all students pay the same rate regardless of residency. For admission, students should possess a bachelor’s degree, a minimum 3.0 GPA in the last 60 hours of undergraduate coursework, and GRE or MAT scores.
Fort Hays State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). The master’s in counseling is fully accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).
23. Carlow University
万宝路平台官网Carlow University, a liberal arts college located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, administers educational programs rooted in the school’s Catholic identity. The school’s 60-credit cultivates mental health counselors trained to work with adults, children, and families. Graduates find work in schools, correctional facilities, and other settings. The program blends on-campus coursework and online learning.
万宝路平台官网In addition to a 17-course core, the curriculum offers four specializations that each include three courses. Learners in the forensics concentration receive the training necessary to address the unique mental health challenges of populations in legal or correctional settings. The children and families concentration prepares counselors for work in settings outside of schools. The program covers play therapy, specific interventions, and applied behavioral analysis. The addictions concentration focuses on adults and adolescents with substance abuse challenges. Students in this concentration learn about co-occurring disorders and biological factors that impact addiction. The trauma concentration examines how to assess and implement interventions to help traumatized adults and children.
万宝路平台官网The online counseling master’s degree meets Pennsylvania’s educational requirements for licensure in professional counseling. The majority of students work full-time. Some students complete the program in two years. Carlow admits new students in the fall, spring, and summer. For admission, students should have a bachelor’s degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA and acceptable GRE or GMAT scores. Students with a GPA below 3.0 may qualify for admission if they have relevant work experience, training, or research skills.
Carlow University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
24. Southern New Hampshire University
万宝路平台官网Manchester, New Hampshire
万宝路平台官网Southern New Hampshire University enrolls more than 80,000 online students from around the world. The college offers more than 200 programs on its campus in Manchester and through a virtual arm. The 60-credit trains counselors to help clients with behavioral and emotional problems, including addiction and mental illness.
万宝路平台官网The curriculum aligns with standards set by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs. Learners study human development, theories of counseling, psychopharmacology, the diagnosis of emotional and mental disorders, and prevention and intervention during crisis and trauma. Students learn to help clients with specific problems such as sexuality issues and substance use disorders. The program also emphasizes culturally relevant strategies and treatments. During a five-day residency on campus, students meet faculty to practice counseling techniques and demonstrate competencies. The program includes a 100-hour practicum at an approved site, which has students work with real clients under the supervision of a licensed counselor. Distance learners receive further hands-on counseling experience through a 600-hour supervised internship conducted at an approved location. Program notables include affordable tuition, a large network of alumni, internship and career opportunities, and comprehensive support services such as tutoring. All distance learners pay the same tuition rate, regardless of residency. SNHU does not require GRE or GMAT scores.
Southern New Hampshire University is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), formerly known as the New England Association of Schools and Colleges Commission on Higher Education (NEASC-CIHE). The master’s in counseling is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).
25. Gwynedd Mercy University
万宝路平台官网Gwynedd Valley, Pennsylvania
万宝路平台官网Gwynedd Mercy University, one of 16 Sisters of Mercy colleges in the nation, offers programs rooted in service. The school is situated on a private campus in Gwynedd Valley, near Philadelphia. GMercyU offers several eLearning options, including a 60–63 credit program. With three concentrations to choose from, in school counseling, college counseling and student affairs, and clinical mental health, the program prepares students for diverse counseling careers.
Students earning the master’s in counseling online learn critical counseling theories and techniques. The curriculum includes a 30-credit counseling core and either 30 or 33 credits for each concentration. Students must also complete a 600-hour internship and 100-hour practicum.
The program covers topics such as human development, effective communication, individual and group counseling, assessment and intervention strategies, research skills for reflective practice, and social justice advocacy and leadership. The master’s in counseling online program includes online college courses in topics such as career development, counseling skills, human development, research methods, and social justice issues in counseling.
Students complete the online counseling degree in an accelerated format. Asynchronous courses are structured in seven-week terms. Graduates can pursue a pre-K-12 school counseling certification. All online students pay the same tuition rate, regardless of residency. Online students receive assistance through the school’s Career Development Center, which offers virtual resources, workshops, and help with resumes. Applicants should have a bachelor’s degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA. GMercyU is a military friendly school.
万宝路平台官网Gwynedd Mercy University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
Students pursuing a master’s in counseling online take coursework that builds on foundational concepts in psychology, sociology, and the health sciences. Graduate programs also emphasize ethical concerns and research standards and techniques. Learners gain not only important theoretical knowledge, but also the ability to apply best practices.
万宝路平台官网Additionally, because much of what counselors do involves interacting with people, practicums represent an important part of the curriculum in master’s degree in counseling online programs. Many schools provide options for students to complete these field experiences in their communities or at their current jobs, while other programs offer intensive on-campus practicum sessions over the summer. These options give distance learners the flexibility to complete requirements without dramatically interrupting their schedules.
万宝路平台官网Online master’s programs in counseling share many similar characteristics, but they may differ in terms of specialization options. Counseling is a large field and some schools offer a wide variety of concentration areas. Common specializations include clinical mental health, school counseling, marriage and/or family counseling, and substance abuse. Other programs focus on only one particular area, such as professional counseling. Your professional goals determine which online counseling master’s degree best suits your needs.
What Else Can I Expect From an Online Master’s in Counseling Program?
While online master’s degree in counseling programs generally build from the same pool of required coursework, other curricular specifics—such as advanced classes and capstone requirements — depend on the faculty and departmental focus. Most online counseling master’s programs also prepare students for professional examinations and state licensing requirements; however, you should be sure to check that a program provides the support you need to achieve your goals.
Curriculum for an Online Master’s Degree in Counseling
- Advanced research methodology:
- This is a foundational course available in most master’s in counseling online programs. It teaches students how to conduct research according to the standards of the field, including how to write a proposal, develop variables, handle human subjects, and apply for funding.
- Professional ethics and law:
- This class helps students understand federal and state laws, along with mandatory field-specific regulations. Course content may also include a historical look at famous cases that shaped the field.
- Child abuse and neglect:
- In this course, students learn to identify signs of maltreatment, provide counseling and support to children, and follow through by accessing community resources to ensure that either the family dynamic changes or that a child is placed into a safe environment. These skills prepare students for careers as family therapists, child advocates, and school counselors.
- Human development:
- Another common topic—particularly for programs based in clinical counseling — this course guides students through the stages of human development, including psychological, cognitive, and biological theories of growth. Students may analyze case studies and begin to develop their own styles of counseling.
- Group counseling:
- This course trains students to become effective group facilitators, covering the purpose and types of group sessions. Students also learn techniques related to engaging group members and evaluating success.
Certifications and Licenses a Master’s in Counseling Prepares For
- Students must pass this exam to become a licensed counselor in most states. It consists of 200 multiple-choice questions, which assess the test taker’s ability to provide effective counseling and related services. Eligibility requirements include a traditional or online master’s in counseling and 3,000 hours of post-graduate field experience, 100 hours of which must be supervised.
- Passing this exam is an integral step to becoming a licensed mental health counselor in many states. The test tasks students with treating clinical issues in 10 simulated mental health cases, each of which is broken down into sections that lead students through the decision making and treatment process. To sit for the NCMHCE, candidates must hold a master’s degree and 3,360 hours of supervised postgraduate work experience.
Online Master’s in Counseling 万宝路平台官网
The counseling field encompasses many professions, and workers can find employment in hospitals as clinical counselors or at colleges and universities as career counselors. They can also develop their own practices as family and marriage counselors. By enrolling in an online counseling master’s program and obtaining the necessary postgraduate experience and licensure, individuals can build a career that is both lucrative and meaningful.
- These professionals provide assessment and support for families whose members find themselves at risk of an inherited condition, such as birth defects or genetic disorders. They guide patients through testing and connect them with healthcare and social support resources. Genetic counselors can work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, physician offices, and laboratories. Certified counselors are required to have a master’s degree.
- Median Annual Salary: $80,370
- Projected Growth Rate: 27%
- These professionals can work in many different organizations, including private hospitals and pubic treatment centers. They diagnose conditions and provide one-on-one support to patients suffering from mental illnesses and related challenges like addiction. They also connect patients to community resources, including outpatient programs and job opportunities. To be a licensed mental health counselor, professionals must obtain a master’s degree or higher.
- Median Annual Salary: $44,630
- Projected Growth Rate: 22%
- Dedicated to the academic success and personal health of their students, school counselors can work in any education environment, from K-12 institutions to colleges and universities, depending on what degree they hold. These professionals provide academic guidance, community support, and career counseling. Many also possess the skills needed to handle cases of child neglect or abuse.
- Median Annual Salary: $56,310
- Projected Growth Rate: 8%
Accreditation for Online Master’s in Counseling Degrees
Colleges and universities in the U.S. must be accredited to confer valid degrees recognized by most professional bodies and employers. National accreditation is granted by organizations who have received authority from the U.S. Department of Higher Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), which determine a school’s eligibility for federal funding and the quality of its programs, respectively.
万宝路平台官网Regional accreditation, which is usually considered more valuable than national accreditation, is granted by CHEA-recognized agencies and operates on a regional level. Six bodies grant this kind of accreditation in the United States, ensuring that schools meet certain academic and professional standards. Additionally, an online master’s degree program in counseling may hold accreditation from a field-specific institution, such as the or the .
Counseling Professional Organizations
Professional organizations offer individuals resources, connections, and services to help them build successful careers. Some, such as the National Board for Certified Counselors, oversee accreditation exams and offer test preparation materials and training sessions. Most organizations hold conferences and other networking events where counselors engage with their peers, giving them access to new job opportunities and collaborative research projects. For current students—and recent graduates who have yet to gain extensive work experience — these organizations are a good way to help people jumpstart their careers.
- Established in 1952, the ACA is the largest organization for counselors in the U.S. and provides resources including a job board, online research tools, and grant opportunities. The association also hosts an annual conference and expo where professionals can build relationships and present their findings.
- The preeminent organization for the certification of professional counselors in the country, the NBCC also engages in advocacy and research dedicated to protecting the rights of counselors and growing the field.
- The ACCA supports counselors, therapists, and social workers employed in higher education settings. Resources include a job board, networking and conferencing events, and grants for research and projects. The ACCA also houses an extensive digital library.
The 30 Best Online Master’s in Counseling Programs for 2018
George Washington University, GW Online
Washington, District of Columbia
Texas Tech University
Oregon State University
Wake Forest University
Winston-Salem, North Carolina
New York University
New York, New York
University of North Dakota
Grand Forks, North Dakota
Clarks Summit University
South Abington Township, Pennsylvania
University of Massachusetts - Amherst
Liberty University Online
Indiana Wesleyan University
Seton Hall University
South Orange, New Jersey
Nova Southeastern University
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Touro University Nevada
University of Wyoming
Fort Hays State University
Southern New Hampshire University
Manchester, New Hampshire
University of Colorado Denver/Anschutz Medical Campus
Missouri State University
John Brown University
Siloam Springs, Arkansas
Gwynedd Mercy University
Gwynedd Valley, Pennsylvania
Dallas Baptist University
Golden Gate University
San Francisco, California