Online Counseling Degrees & Programs: Top for 2016-2017

  1. You are here:
  2. Home
  3. »
  4. Degrees
  5. »
  6. Counseling Programs

Guide to Online Counseling Degrees and Programs

Counseling can appear to be a complex, esoteric career to describe. The American Counseling Association (ACA), a group of 31 counseling organizations, gathered to develop the following definition:

Professional counseling is a professional relationship that empowers diverse individuals, families, and groups to accomplish mental health, wellness, education, and career goals.

This apt statement has been adopted and integrated into the curriculum of counseling degree programs across the country. For the prospective student, making sense of the various educational options available while in the pursuit of a counseling degree and the intricacies and requirements of online programs is challenging. The high-level overview provided on this page will explain everything from the degrees themselves to an interview with a current online counseling student.

Best Online Counseling Degrees and Programs: 2016-2017

Online counseling degrees translate well to the virtual classroom by allowing students to utilize the latest area-specific technology as they receive the core knowledge needed to enter or advance their understanding in the field. The best programs allow students to learn counseling techniques through real-world scenarios while maintaining affordability, accreditation and other criteria. We’ve ranked the top online counseling degrees and programs by using a wide range of metrics. Find out who made the cut for our 2016-2017 list here.

Score Tuition & Fees Financial Aid % #ONLINE PROGRAMS Student-teacher RatioGrad Rate
Score Tuition & Fees Financial Aid % #ONLINE PROGRAMS Student-teacher RatioGrad Rate
1 The University of Texas of the Permian Basin
99.81 86% 2 18:1 37%

  • Credit for ExperienceNo
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
Read More Read Less
2 University of Alaska Fairbanks
98.33 43% 3 14:1 33%

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
Read More Read Less
3 Amridge University
98.29 100% 2 10:1 N/A

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesNo
  • Counseling ServicesYes
Read More Read Less
4 University of Cincinnati-Main Campus
98.26 54% 4 18:1 62%

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
Read More Read Less
5 The University of Alabama
98.21 53% 3 21:1 67%

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
Read More Read Less
6 Mercy College
97.61 88% 5 19:1 34%

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
Read More Read Less
7 Oregon State University
97.40 55% 3 19:1 61%

  • Credit for ExperienceNo
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
Read More Read Less
8 Brescia University
97.13 89% 2 14:1 46%

  • Credit for ExperienceNo
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
Read More Read Less
9 Thomas University
96.88 86% 3 10:1 14%

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
Read More Read Less
10 Utah State University
96.86 51% 2 22:1 50%

  • Credit for ExperienceNo
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
Read More Read Less
11 University of Houston-Victoria
96.77 92% 1 17:1 N/A

  • Credit for ExperienceNo
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
Read More Read Less
12 Mississippi College
96.74 99% 1 15:1 62%

  • Credit for ExperienceNo
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
Read More Read Less
13 University of Maine at Augusta
96.61 26% 5 17:1 13%

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
Read More Read Less
14 Indiana Wesleyan University
96.12 50% 5 16:1 70%

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
Read More Read Less
15 Penn State World Campus
96.05 37% 4 17:1 86%

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
Read More Read Less
16 Viterbo University
95.96 100% 1 11:1 53%

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
Read More Read Less
17 Western New Mexico University
95.95 26% 2 16:1 16%

  • Credit for ExperienceNo
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
Read More Read Less
18 Northwestern State University of Louisiana
95.90 48% 2 20:1 36%

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
Read More Read Less
19 Missouri State University-Springfield
95.86 51% 2 20:1 55%

  • Credit for ExperienceNo
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
Read More Read Less
20 Mid-Atlantic Christian University
95.85 72% 1 12:1 61%

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
Read More Read Less
21 University of Arizona
95.64 77% 1 20:1 61%

  • Credit for ExperienceNo
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
Read More Read Less
22 Oral Roberts University
95.09 100% 1 16:1 51%

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
Read More Read Less
23 California State University-East Bay
94.58 52% 1 27:1 41%

  • Credit for ExperienceNo
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
Read More Read Less
24 University of North Dakota
94.42 30% 2 19:1 52%

  • Credit for ExperienceNo
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
Read More Read Less
25 Colorado State University-Fort Collins
94.38 48% 1 16:1 63%

  • Credit for ExperienceNo
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
Read More Read Less
26 National University
94.12 1% 5 20:1 23%

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesNo
  • Counseling ServicesYes
Read More Read Less
27 Spring Arbor University
93.90 99% 1 12:1 52%

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesNo
  • Counseling ServicesYes
Read More Read Less
28 University of Wisconsin-Stout
93.27 23% 2 20:1 52%

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
Read More Read Less
29 North Dakota State University-Main Campus
93.06 37% 1 19:1 53%

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
Read More Read Less
30 Ohio Christian University
92.98 53% 1 10:1 36%

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesNo
  • Counseling ServicesYes
Read More Read Less
31 Union Institute & University
92.66 15% 2 8:1 27%

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesNo
  • Counseling ServicesYes
Read More Read Less
32 Crown College
92.31 89% 1 18:1 47%

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesNo
  • Counseling ServicesYes
Read More Read Less
33 Bellevue University
92.22 51% 1 32:1 31%

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesNo
  • Counseling ServicesYes
Read More Read Less
34 Pacific Oaks College
90.85 N/A 3 10:1 N/A

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesNo
  • Counseling ServicesYes
Read More Read Less

Counseling Degree Search Tool

Educational paths to a counseling degree are nearly as varied as the myriad positions within the field. With so many options when it comes to degree level and area of specialization, students can sometimes feel overwhelmed while narrowing their options. When factoring in other needs such as flexibility, internship opportunities, student support, or financial aid, the decisions only get tougher. The search tool below can help alleviate some of these concerns by separating out the best online counseling programs based on the individual needs of each student.

Degree Level:
Tuition:
Student Population:
School Type:
see map

Counseling Is a Diverse, Growing Field

The career opportunities in counseling are as varied and diverse as the profession itself. Overall, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects solid employment gains nationally between 2012 and 2022. Some counseling areas, such as clinical mental health and substance abuse counseling, are expected to increase by 29% and 31% respectively. However, becoming a counselor requires a specific and, in most cases, advanced degree, clinical experience, examinations and licenses.

Specializations in Counseling

Counseling can be distilled into four types, according to the ACA:

  • Individual counseling

    Provided in a one-on-one setting, counselors help individuals cope and deal with personal issues and problems, from substance abuse, to depression, anxiety and anger issues.

  • Couples counseling

    Couples, married and unmarried, can work with a licensed counselor to resolve conflicts and establish and work toward healthy relationship goals.

  • Family counseling

    Family counseling addresses a range of issues, such as sibling conflict, changes to the family environment, impending family additions and more.

  • Group counseling

    Counseling in a group setting typically includes a leader and several participants, and covers topics such as self-esteem, substance abuse recovery or anger management.

Under the umbrella of the four major categories exist subsets of specialized counseling practices. These specializations allow counselors to develop and apply an advanced set of theoretical and practical skills to the treatment, care and counseling of the specific population groups mentioned above.

Below are some examples of concentration areas that are accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP):

  • Marriage and family

    A distinct mental health discipline marriage and family counseling is typically available through advanced online graduate programs, including master’s and PhD degrees. Through study in these programs, graduates are equipped to work with couples, families and individuals within a larger family system. These counselors treat an array of issues from communication to emotional disorders.

  • Substance abuse

    Addiction and substance abuse counseling educational programs prepare students to work with both individuals and families dealing with and affected by drugs, gambling, alcohol and other addictive behaviors and disorders. Typically offered at the master’s degree level, these programs require approximately 60 credit hours of study to complete and focus instruction on prevention, treatment models and relapse prevention.

  • School counseling

    Degree programs in school counseling prepare their graduates to work with students in the K-12 educational system. Working in three areas, academic, career preparation, and personal and social development, school counselors may assist students through individual counseling, family counseling or group counseling settings.

  • Clinical mental health counseling

    In these programs, students learn how to work with individuals suffering from a host of emotional, behavioral and mental disorders. Curriculum focuses on the core principles of clinical mental health counseling, such as diagnosis and treatment, and provides students with the opportunity to hone those skills in clinical settings.

  • Career and employment counseling

    Career counselors, also known as vocational counselors, are tasked with helping individuals design, plan, and execute career paths by employing a range of assessment tools to assist in decision making.

Outside of these central specializations, students may also choose to concentrate their studies in other areas, such as adult development and aging, or professional counseling.

A Complete Guide to Online Counseling Degrees

Online Bachelor’s Degree in Counseling

The professional major in counseling is designed to prepare undergraduates for entry-level positions in a variety of counseling settings or pave the way for future entry into a graduate level degree program. Often, undergraduate studies in counseling may be intertwined with psychology, offering students a broad, preparatory education in both areas.

Online undergraduate counseling degrees are grounded in current research and established practices in the field. Expansive in scope, these programs introduce students to theoretical approaches in counseling, and help them to build a foundational knowledge in individual and group counseling. Students may also choose an area of concentration for their degree, based on their future professional or graduate educational goals, including marriage and family counseling, substance abuse counseling, mental health counseling and family counseling.

Designed to be completed in four years of full-time study, bachelor’s in counseling programs typically require between 120 and 136 credit hours of instruction to graduate. Students may complete their entire program of study online, but it is important to note there is a clinical requirement for a majority of online undergraduate counseling degrees. Depending on the university and department, students may be asked to complete in-person internships, residencies or practicums.

The most common undergraduate educational focus is the Bachelor of Science in Counseling. However, other options are available, including:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Addiction Counseling
  • Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Health Counseling
  • Bachelor of Science in Community Counseling
  • Bachelor of Science in Substance Abuse Counseling
Liberty University
  • Enrollment: 63,128
  • Tuition: $20,768
  • College Type: Private
  • State: Virginia
  • Bachelor of Science in Psychology - Christian Counseling
  • Bachelor of Science in Psychology - Crisis Counseling
Indiana Wesleyan University
  • Enrollment: 15,890
  • Tuition: $23,628
  • College Type: Private
  • State: Indiana
  • Bachelor of Science in Addictions Counseling

Online PhD in Counseling

The highest level of education available in counseling is the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). The PhD is designed to prepare counseling educators, practicing counselors and clinical supervisors for leadership and research-based positions in both clinical and academic settings. A master’s degree in counseling is the most common educational requirement for admission to an online PhD program in counseling.

Curriculum doctoral counseling programs typically concentrates on three areas: counselor education, advanced counseling practice and counselor supervision. Within that framework, students receive instruction in areas including:

  • Assessment
  • Supervision
  • Career counseling
  • Diversity
  • Advanced theory and practice

Depending on the university, completing a PhD in counseling may take between three and four years of instruction (between 60 and 72 credits) and requires a dissertation in order to graduate.

Although there are some online PhD programs in counseling that exist entirely online, most are offered through a hybrid learning format, requiring students to complete a series of courses through on campus instruction and others through online learning. For example, the PhD program at Oregon State requires students to attend their on campus program for the first two years of study, while the remainder may be completed online.

Internships are usually completed where the student lives. Because PhD students are generally employed as counselors, they can often use their work settings as their internship sites as well.

Liberty University
  • Enrollment: 32,511
  • Tuition: $9,170
  • College Type: Private
  • State: Virginia
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Counseling - Options: Counselor Education and Supervision - Advanced Clinical Skills - General
Amridge University
  • Enrollment: 619
  • Tuition: $12,140
  • College Type: Private
  • State: Alabama
  • Doctor of Philosophy (Phd) in Professional Counseling
  • Doctor of Ministry (Dmin) in Family Therapy I

Dual or Joint Degrees in Counseling

Sometimes students wish to complete more than one graduate degree at a time, in this case a master’s degree in addition to a PhD in counseling. Some universities offer joint degree options, which allow students to bridge their online master’s degree counseling into a PhD program in the field.

Five questions to ask before choosing an online counseling degree program…

There are numerous factors that impact the quality of undergraduate degree programs, from tuition to faculty, and from job placement rates to internship opportunities. Here are five questions students should ask to determine if the program is a good fit to meet their educational and professional needs and goals:

1. Is the program CACREP accredited?

One of the most important items to review before selecting a program is making sure it is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). It is the central accrediting body for both master’s and doctoral programs (and specialties) in counseling in the United States. This accreditation is significant because state licensing requirements and voluntary certifications and credentials typically require students graduate from a CACREP accredited program.

2. What are the acceptance rates and test scores for the program?

A low acceptance rate at a school is indicative of quality; entrance becomes competitive as they are receiving applications from top students. Secondly, what are the minimum test scores for admission? How do they stack up to other similar institutions? The higher the average test score, the more competitive, and better the program.

3. What is the student-to-faculty ratio?

The size of the program can directly impact the learning experience. Students should be sure to investigate the average class size and cohort (students admitted to the same class).

4. Does the program offer additional clinical experience?

In most programs, students are asked to complete a practica placement to build hands-on, clinical skills in the field. For those desiring additional training, the prospective student should check if the program offers an advanced practicum to develop their practical experience.

5. What is the faculty mix in the program?

Often overlooked, the faculty determine the overall quality of a degree program. Students should concern themselves with who is teaching their classes, especially in online learning settings. Are the faculty members licensed, practicing counselors? What type of real-world experience do they have? What is the percentage of doctoral to non-doctoral faculty?

5. What is the faculty mix in the program?

Often overlooked, the faculty determine the overall quality of a degree program. Students should concern themselves with who is teaching their classes, especially in online learning settings. Are the faculty members licensed, practicing counselors? What type of real-world experience do they have? What is the percentage of doctoral to non-doctoral faculty?

Four Tips: Choosing a Counseling Degree Online

1
Speak with professors

Students thinking about a master’s degree or master’s degree students pursuing a PhD should talk to their counseling professors at their current institutions. Most professors have networks of other professors and practicing counselors that can recommend programs or provide advice.

2
Speak to students

The counseling program or admissions department can connect students with individuals currently in their course of study. Getting input from someone in the program can help shed light into the quality of instruction.

3
Speak to professionals

Students should seek out interviews with counselors in their area of study (e.g., marriage and family therapy) to get a better understanding of the profession and the rigors of qualifying to practice in the field.

4
Review counseling programs online

Students should take the time to review each program’s website before making a decision. Information about the curriculum, cost, learning format and faculty can usually be found on each university’s website.

License vs. Certification

It is important for prospective counseling students to understand the difference between national certification and state licensing:

National counselor certification: National certification is granted by organizations such as the National Board for Certified Counselors. A certification is not a license to practice, but a voluntarily earned credential demonstrating advanced training, experience, and knowledge of the counseling practice.

State licensing: A license allows a counselor to legally practice in the state in which they are employed. Licensing requirements are determined on a state-by-state basis but usually include meeting educational, examination, clinical practice and ethics requirements to be granted a license.

  • Education. Possession of a master’s or doctorate degree from an accredited (CACREP) program.
  • Examination. Successful completion of the National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification (NCE) from the National Board of Certified Counselors. A 200-question examination, the NCE tests a candidate’s knowledge, skills and abilities in counseling.
  • Clinical experience. Prospective counselors are generally required to complete at least 3,000 hours of clinical practice and experience beyond the master’s degree to qualify for a license.
  • Ethics. Counselors must adhere to the counseling Code of Ethics as established by their state board of counselor licensure.

The American Counseling Association provides a list of state counseling licensure boards for more information.

Counseling Certifications

Graduates of counseling degree programs online may select from numerous voluntary certifications, including the National Certified Counselor (NCC) credential from the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC). The standard bearer for counselor certifications, the NCC requires applicants to hold an accredited master’s degree and successfully pass the NCE.

The NBCC also offers three additional specialty certifications:

  • Certified Clinical Mental Health Counselor (CCMHC)
  • Master Addictions Counselor (MAC)
  • National Certified School Counselor (NCSC)

Other counseling organizations offer voluntary certifications as well, across a spectrum of specialty and practice areas:

Interview with an Online Counseling Student

Maggie S. is a third year master’s student who is completing her internship in substance abuse counseling. We spoke with Maggie about her experiences and to asked her to share advice to students thinking about a career in counseling.

1. How is your counseling education preparing you for a career?

Great question. At this level, it’s about effort. What you put into your education is what you get out. Counseling is about talking to and listening to other people, and textbooks can only take you so far. Getting out of the books and into an internship or clinical setting is where the real education takes place. When you’re working with clients and see progress—both in them and in your own approach—then you know you’re on the right track.

2. What are the benefits, in your mind, of online counseling degrees?

Most students considering an online degree program should really think about their clinical rotation before anything else. Can you complete an internship through a school placement where you live? For me, I actually chose a school close to home for that exact purpose. The learning experience [in my program] has been wonderful. I work part-time, so being able to complete coursework on my own time has been the biggest benefit.

3. Do you have any advice for students thinking about taking online courses?

[Laughs] Yes! I have two. Don’t procrastinate. And, don’t procrastinate. It is so easy to get caught up in other things when going to school online that you forget an assignment here or there. Stay on top of your assignments!

4. What advice do you have for students considering a graduate program in counseling?

My biggest piece of advice is to really think about why you want to be a counselor. Is this truly something you want to do? You don’t get to leave your work [once you're] at home and the emotional toll can be grueling. Find an area you want to study and commit. My other thoughts as to graduate programs are to get an understanding of the faculty. You want to study with professors you want to study with…meaning they are individuals with experience in the field and a research-focus that matches your desires.

5. What has been your favorite part of the educational experience so far?

As I said before, working with clients. There is absolutely nothing better!

Best Online Counseling Degrees for 2015-2016

RANK COLLEGE ScoreStudent-Teacher RatioFinancial AidCostMORE INFO
1 Chadron State College 97.7721:187%

Upon completion of the Bachelor of Arts in psychology, students may choose to pursue advanced graduate degrees, or to immediately begin careers as counselors or in a related field. Students will be immersed in a psychology knowledge base to explore the foundations and trends in psychology and behavior. They will also be exposed to methods of scientific inquiry and critical thinking, concepts of social and ethical responsibility, professional development skills including effective teamwork and self-evaluation, and communication courses. Students are required to complete 36 credit hours in the psychology major, and to pair it with a non-psychology minor area of study.

2 Liberty University 95.8618:195%

The Bachelor of Science in Psychology with a concentration in Christian Counseling prepares students for lay ministry counseling from a biblical perspective. Graduates will be qualified to work in non-licensed positions related to counseling and psychology, including careers as Christian counselors, advocates, administrators, or mental health service providers. The degree is comprised of 120 credits, of which 30 hours and 50 percent of major hours must be undertaken at Liberty. All students are also required to complete at least 30 hours of upper-level coursework.

3 Brescia University 95.3614:1100%

Business managers, lawyers and social service professionals are just some of the people who can use a psychology degree as a career foundation. Graduates of the Bachelor of Arts in psychology degree can also use it as an academic jumping-off point to pursue an advanced degree. Students will investigate the psychology of both humans and animals, and study the methodologies used to interpret their behaviors. Students must complete 57 credit hours of general education and 24 credits in the major. Coursework includes an introduction to psychology, the history and systems of psychology, cognitive psychology, research methods, developmental psychology, biopsychology, abnormal psychology and personality theory.

4 Toccoa Falls College 95.2914:1100%

The Bachelor of Science in counseling psychology degree program's methodology is based on the application of scriptural principles to real-world scenarios. The program's faculty members, who have a combined 102 years of experience as counselors and educators, aim to give students the skills and knowledge needed to pursue careers as counselors. Students must complete 126 hours of coursework, including 18 hours of lower-level Bible and theology courses; 12 hours of upper-level Bible and theology courses; 18 hours of humanities; nine hours of computers, math and science; 42 hours of counseling psychology and 15 hours of electives.

5 Oral Roberts University 95.2415:198%

Students pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Christian caregiving and counseling from the College of Theology and Ministry are required to complete 128 hours over eight semesters. Thirty hours will be spent on major coursework, and 18 hours will be spent on minor or elective work. Graduates should leave the program with the skills and knowledge needed to serve as lay counselors at local churches or in related ministry programs, where they can devote themselves to helping people improve their physical, mental and spiritual well-being. Students who complete the program may also pursue a graduate degree.

6 Tiffin University 95.1518:198%

The concentration in applied human services offered under the Bachelor of Arts in psychology degree program is aimed at students looking for careers as social workers, day treatment workers, youth advisors, social service coordinators, group home residential managers or caregivers. The program, which is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, requires students to complete a total of 121 credit hours, including 49 credit hours in knowledge skills, 24 credit hours in open electives, 24 credit hours in core psychology courses and 24 credit hours in the human services concentration. Students will take classes - which begin in January, March, May, July and August - in seven-week terms.

7 Northeastern University 95.0213:177%

The Bachelor of Sciences in Human Services degree program is designed for students pursuing careers in community organizations, human services agencies, and nonprofit organizations. Students will be immersed in coursework relating to human services, sociology, politics, and public health. Three concentrations are offered, including child and family studies, health and social issues, and human development. Students qualifying for graduation have completed 160 quarter hours, comprised of 33 hours of core curriculum, 51 hours of major courses, 15 hours of their chosen concentration area, 24 hours of non-business topics, and 37 hours of electives.

8 Granite State College 94.7211:170%

This Bachelor of Science in Human Services degree prepares graduates for careers as substance abuse counselors, family service directors, social workers, case managers or child welfare advocates. The program can also act as a stepping stone to necessary licensure, or to an advanced graduate degree. During the course of their studies, students will learn about methods of inquiry, theories and concepts relevant to human services. Applicants should be aware that most human services occupations, as well as internships, require background checks. If students have already earned an associate degree, they may transfer credits and earn a bachelor's degree with as few as 15 courses.

9 Heritage Bible College 94.677:1100%

Students have two options, with several different tracks, for pursuing undergraduate degrees completely online at HBC. The Bachelor of Religious Education in Pastoral Ministry is designed to prepare students to become pastors of a congregation and requires 135 semester hours over nine semesters for full-time students. The Bachelor of Biblical Studies degree offers four different tracks, each of which require 129 semester hours completed over 8.5 semesters. Tracks available within this program include Christian counseling, discipleship mission and evangelism, and youth ministry.

10 Grace Bible College 94.6011:1100%

Understanding people's very different backgrounds, and gaining practical experience to help them, are two of the principles underpinning the Bachelor of Science in human services degree. The program is designed to turn students into biblically informed practitioners who are committed to applying their knowledge and skills to the service of families, individuals and communities. It takes 120 credits to complete the bachelor's program, but the length of the program may be shortened if the student can apply transfer credits from another institution. The program itself, which takes two years (four semesters) to complete, consists of 48 core credits and 12 concentration credits. Graduates may pursue degrees in corrections, social services and human services in the public, private and nonprofit sectors.

11 Mid-Atlantic Christian University 94.5712:1100%

The Family Studies undergraduate program teaches students to address societal issues such as abuse, addiction, unemployment, debt, and domestic violence within the context of family. Graduates will understand how healthy family structures can minimize or eliminate societal problems faced by individuals. Students will not only be qualified to enter the workforce, but also meet the criteria and standards required by the Certified Family Life Educator (provisional) designation by the National Council on Family Relations. Students must complete either 127 or 128 semester hours, including general studies, biblical studies, major courses, and elective classes.

12 East Tennessee State University 94.5420:194%

Private practices, community mental health centers, hospitals, homeless shelters and group homes are some of the many venues in which human services professionals work. The Bachelor of Science in human services degree program can be completed fully online, and is aimed at students pursuing a career in counseling, case management or a related field. Many graduates use it as a foundation for a graduate degree in counseling, which affords them the opportunity to become professional, licensed, counselors who are qualified to work in schools and community agencies, or to work as marriage or family counselors. Students must complete 27 core credit hours, six credits in human services field experience, six credits in guided electives, 14-22 general elective credits, and 18-26 minor credit hours.

13 University of South Carolina-Columbia 94.5218:190%

USC's online baccalaureate program in Counseling goes beyond conventional classroom training to prepare students for careers in areas of nonprofit management, social work and community care. Principles of psychology and sociology are applied throughout the 64 hours of coursework related to the major, with opportunities for internships available for those aspiring to be correctional treatment specialists, counselors, and public relations managers. This beyond-the-classroom experience gives students an avenue to enrich their understanding of real-world scenarios in settings related to community health, social services, children's facilities, and special needs organizations.

14 Shorter University 94.5112:199%

The 120-credit Bachelor of Science in human services degree program consists of 42 common core credits, 39 credits in electives and area of concentration, and 39 in the major. Students may choose to substitute common core requirements by enrolling in the associate degree program instead. Applicants with 24 credits or more must have maintained a GPA of at least 2.0. Students who have fewer than 24 transferable credits must have a high school GPA of at least 2.5 and an ACT score of at least 19. Roughly two out of three online instructors have achieved their field's highest possible degree.

15 Lee University 94.4918:194%

Students at LU have the opportunity to pursue a bachelor's degree in Christian Ministry with an emphasis on Counseling completely online. The program requires 30 hours of Christian Ministry core courses, 27 hours of collateral requirements, 36 hours of general education, 12 hours of communication, 24 hours of counseling emphasis courses, and six hours of social science. Lee University professors teach all online courses, and students will be challenged with case studies, personal reflection and spiritual growth. The university is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award baccalaureate degrees.

16 University of Massachusetts-Amherst 94.3318:188%

The University of Massachusetts Amherst offers online bachelor's counseling degrees with specializations in human services and psychology. The curriculum aligns with careers such as children's counselor, substance abuse counselor, case manager and counseling and administration services manager. This fully-online program generally takes four to five years to complete. Core courses include pharmacology, methods of inquiry in psychology, human development in infancy, drugs and society and introduction to counseling. Students use the UMassOnline portal to store class schedules, course assignments and test scores. Other communication resources include video conferencing, campus email, discussion boards and chat rooms.

17 Old Dominion University 94.2520:182%

The Bachelor of Science in human services degree program prepares students to enter the workforce in a wide range of community service roles, including a new track that enables students to become certified substance abuse counselors. The program consists of 120 credit hours, which is followed by a 12-credit internship that takes place after all coursework has been completed. Students may work at their own pace for some courses, while certain courses require students to be online at a specific time. Courses are taught by the same instructors who teach on the physical campus, and online graduates receive the exact same diploma.

18 College of Biblical Studies-Houston 94.1812:175%

Churches and other religious organizations seek counseling professionals who can address problems using biblical ideals as the guiding focus. The Bachelor of Science in biblical counseling prepares students to tackle difficult subject matter through a biblical lens, helping people heal relationships and solve personal problems through the application of scriptural instruction. Students may also use the degree as a precursor to seminary or graduate-level theological studies. The accelerated degree-completion program is designed for students (at least 24 years old) who have already completed at least 69 college credits, 36 of which were in general education.

19 Lees-McRae College 94.0315:1100%

The Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in Human Services degree is a full-time completion program aimed at students looking to build on an existing associate degree. Graduates will be qualified to pursue a wide range of careers serving individuals, families and communities. They may work in correctional facilities, group homes, halfway houses, disability centers, or community centers. The program consists of 63 credits and can be completed within two years. Students submit assignments, access coursework, interact with peers and professors, and view grades throughout the semester via the Sakai learning platform. Tutoring from qualified peer mentors is available on a first come, first served basis.

20 Quincy University 93.8414:1100%

Students who want to become counselors or social service professionals can earn a bachelor's degree in human services. The Professional Counselor and Clinical Professional Counselor Licensing Act of the State of Illinois outlines the standards for all bachelor's degrees in the field, which the BHS program adheres to. Graduates may go on to work with abused or neglected children or pursue careers as social workers or juvenile justice professionals. Students must be at least 24 years old and have graduated high school at least seven years ago. Applicants must have a minimum of at least 60 transferable credits.

21 Indiana Wesleyan University 93.8215:180%

Those seeking an undergraduate counseling degree from Indiana Wesleyan University have the option of earning a Bachelor of Science in Addiction Counseling. Courses built into the curriculum focus on areas such as developmental psychology, theory and practice of group counseling, psychology of abnormal behavior and addictions counseling. It's possible to complete the degree in 22 months, with a total of 124 credit-hours required for graduation. Students must also maintain at least a 2.5 GPA in the core courses. The program is fully online except for the practicum, which can be completed at one of three onsite locations. Students use the online portal MyIWU, campus email and streamed video conferencing to access their course schedules, connect with instructors and submit class assignments.

22 University of the Cumberlands 93.8014:1100%

Students enrolled in this online master's program in Counseling prepare to become licensed clinical counselors in fields ranging from neuroscience to psychopathology. Common coursework includes studies in mental health; addiction counseling; grief counselling; crisis management; marriage and family counseling; legal and ethical issues; and theories and techniques. Each semester is divided into two rounds of coursework, allowing students to undertake up to four sets of classes each academic year. The liberal arts foundation helps graduates develop a particular expertise as mental health counselors serving in community settings.

23 King’s University 93.746:160%

The Bachelor of Science in Biblical Counseling degree teaches the fundamentals of training for ministry, and gives students the intellectual and spiritual foundation for service in pastoral care. Students must complete 124 semester hours of coursework, including 18 hours of core courses, 38 hours of general studies, 39 hours of major work, 14 hours of practicum, and 15 hours of biblically-based electives. All online courses are taught over a seven-week session during fall, spring, and summer semesters. Students are allowed to enroll in four courses per semester, or two courses at any given time.

24 Arlington Baptist College 93.7215:174%

Arlington Baptist College offers a Bachelor of Science in Bible Counseling, designed for adults who are interested in building a Bible-based counseling ministry. Students must be at least 25 years old to enroll. The program requires 128 credit-hours and can be completed entirely online, with the exception of the discipleship lab or practicum. Core courses focus on the Bible and theology, church ministries, Biblical doctrine, speech communication and cross-cultural ministry. Students log into a digital portal to access courses and textbooks, submit assignments, connect with instructors and download library materials. Technical support is available via live chat and online tutorials.

25 Hope International University 93.6814:198%

The BS in Human Development degree is designed for students who aspire to careers as counselors, teachers or related occupations, with concentrations available in family development or community mental health and counseling. The family counseling track focuses on the social, physical and cognitive development of children and adolescents. Graduates may become counselors, day care directors, teachers or youth service directors. The mental health and counseling track prepares students to enter occupations in environments such as mental health institutions, community-based counseling settings and research institutions. Students from both concentrations may pursue advanced graduate degrees.

26 Upper Iowa University 93.6417:185%

Students majoring in Counseling through this online degree program are able to take year-round courses in psychology, human services, criminal justice, and social sciences. Divided into six terms lasting eight weeks each, students can elect to take courses every semester or during times of the year that may be less busy for them. Numerous academic options are available, including a self-paced paper format incorporating written assignments and proctored exams and a self-paced course starting at the beginning of each month.

27 Crown College 93.5917:196%

Crown College offers a Bachelor of Science in Christian Counseling/Psychology that can be completed entirely online, generally in four to five years. Core curriculum focuses on Christian faith and reason, developmental psychology, personality theories and methods of counseling, with the option to minor in alcohol and drug counseling or marketing. To enroll in the program, students must be at least 18 years old, have a high school diploma or GED and have a minimum 2.0 GPA. Students have access to enrollment advisors, academic advisors, career services and a virtual bookstore. Additional resources include online orientation, technical support, campus email, interlibrary loan service, student chaplains and community groups.

28 Washburn University 93.5014:192%

The Bachelor of Applied Science in Human Services offered at WU prepares students to careers in addiction counseling, youth services, gerontology, and victim services. As part of major requirements, students complete at least 66 credits chosen in consultation with their faculty advisor. Learners will undertake an additional 15 hours in their chosen concentration; 12 of these must be selected from the Human Services curriculum, while the final three can come from any department.

29 Drury University 93.3619:184%

The Behavioral Sciences Department within Drury's College of Continuing Professional Studies offers a bachelor's degree in psychology to students wishing to become counselors, social workers or educators. Students must take two general education courses, one in expository writing and one in U.S. government and politics, and must also complete a computing course. The degree also requires students to gain 33 hours of subject-specific courses that range from research methods to abnormal psychology to personality theory. The program is structured so that students finish all 100- and 200-level courses before completing 60 credit hours (junior status).

30 Columbia College 93.3235:184%

Students may choose between two undergraduate degrees in the field of human services: a bachelor of arts or a bachelor of science. A practical internship is part of the BS degree, and is recommended for students who are just entering the field. By contrast, the BA is designed for students who are already working in the field, or who have considerable work experience. Either way, graduates will be able to acquire the skills and knowledge required for a career in the expanding human services field.

31 Grace College 93.2624:1100%

Dealing with situations tactfully and effectively requires a special set of skills-ones that are emphasized in the Bachelor of Science in human services degree program. It trains students to assist and advocate for vulnerable people and groups, such as the homeless or those going through a personal tragedy or divorce. The program can be completed in as little as 16 months, and it replaces traditional examinations with adult assessment methods. Students must complete core courses that cover topics such as business writing and public speaking, as well as program courses that focus on intervention techniques, human growth and development, social welfare systems and ethical issues.

32 Johnson University 92.9514:198%

Johnson University Florida, formerly called Florida Christian College, offers a bachelor's degree in lay counseling. Graduates are prepared to enter a variety of careers, including pastoral care, Christian counseling, Christian marital therapy and counseling education. Curriculum covers orientation to the Old Testament, New Testament epistles, pastoral counseling, family services and spiritual formation for ministry. Distance learners have access to an orientation, academic advisors, bookstore materials, student ministry and financial aid. Online students use the Sakai portal to access class schedules, download course materials and submit completed assignments. Lectures are delivered via video conferencing and recorded seminars.

33 Summit University 92.9311:1100%

Students may pursue one of two Bachelor of Science degree programs completely online. The first, the BS in counseling, is a 126-credit course that teaches students counseling techniques based on biblical thinking. Those who successfully complete the course may pursue more advanced graduate degrees or go on to work as professional counselors. The second degree, the BS in counseling ministries, was created for students who are focused on how counseling applies to the ministry. The program, which requires students to complete 122 credits, incorporates both practical and philosophical biblical counseling methodologies.

34 University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point 92.7821:184%

The University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point's College of Education and Human Services presents coursework in professional leadership, decision-making and strategies for intervention and program evaluation. Some students continue on to pursue a future in administration, criminal justice, legal advocates, the nonprofit world or more or opt to earn a master's degree in counseling education or public administration. Students are required to complete 40 credits within Human Services Leadership Online's core courses. To complete the program, a total of 120 credits are required.

35 University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh 92.7322:183%

The College of Education and Human Services oversees this online degree in Human Services Leadership, which trains students in the complexities of leadership, psychology, intervention, evaluation, grant writing, legal issues, and ethics. Students complete 40 credits directly related to the major via the university's online platform, Desire 2 Learn. Engagement with coursework is of central importance and is accomplished through interaction with professors, online discussion and a variety of innovative assignments. This is a degree completion program, so applicants must have already completed at least 56 credits before being considered for enrollment.

36 Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College 92.558:1100%

The human services undergraduate degree program prepares students for graduate school or to work under the guidance of a professional with an advanced degree. Graduates may go on to work in the criminal justice system, psychiatric facilities, homeless shelters, youth organizations, healthcare facilities or assistance hotline facilities. Students are required to complete not just general education coursework, but also 43 credit hours of major coursework in courses such as Law, Ethics and Society; Sociology of Families; Not-for-Profit Administration; Abnormal Psychology; and Racial and Cultural Minorities. Students must also complete six credit hours of electives related to human services.

37 University of Arizona 92.5021:183%

The Bachelor of Applied Science in human services degree program is designed specifically for students who are planning to transfer credits from a qualifying school. Many who complete the program move on to graduate school, but graduates will also be qualified to work with professionals in a broad range of fields, including law enforcement, healthcare and emergency response. The 2+2 program offers only the third and fourth years of the degree, meaning that students must transfer in after having completed the initial two years.

38 Saint Joseph’s College of Maine 92.2712:198%

The Bachelor of Science in interdisciplinary studies with a human services minor is a degree completion program designed for students who have already earned transferable college credits and are looking to get a bachelor's degree. The program requires students to complete 128 credits, a quarter of which must be taken at St. Joseph's. Students who have completed 42 credits, which is enough to satisfy the subject area requirements, will pick two minors consisting of 18 to 24 credits each. The two minors alone are enough to fulfill the requirement that 25 percent of credits be taken at the college.

39 Luther Rice University & Seminary 92.0928:167%

Luther Rice University and Seminary offers an online Bachelor of Arts in Religion with an option to minor in Biblical counseling. Students are prepared for roles such as associate pastor, church counselor, missionary and Christian educator. The 120 credit-hour curriculum focuses on principles of psychology, preparing for Christian service, Biblical interpretations, principles of sociology and other areas. Up to 90 credit-hours can be transferred from another accredited school. Courses can be completed in eight weeks through an accelerated program, or 15 weeks per semester for traditional learning.

Online students use the Blackboard platform, live chat, email, discussion forums and video lectures to receive coursework, submit assignments and take exams. Additional resources include career counseling, academic advising and financial aid.