Online Master’s In School Counseling Programs

Earning a master's in school counseling can lead to increased career opportunities. Here, we list the top programs available.

Updated September 20, 2022

Reviewed by ACO Rankings Team
Online Master’s In School Counseling Programs

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The school counseling field encompasses research, analysis, and direct practice with K-12 and college students. School counselors commonly address problems such as substance abuse, peer pressure, bullying, and depression. Other issues may include trauma, mood disorders, and dysfunctional families. School counselors should value compassion, personal growth, social justice, and education.

A master's in school counseling meets the minimum education requirements for school and career counseling jobs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), school and career counselors earn a median annual salary of $57,040. The BLS projects an above-average growth rate of 8% for these professions from 2019-2029.


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Choosing the Right Master's in School Counseling


What degree does it take to be a school counselor?

School counselors typically need a master's degree in counseling with a concentration in school counseling. Additionally, school counselors usually need state licensure.

Do school counselors get paid well?

Counselor salaries vary based on factors including credentials, employer, and location. According to BLS data, school and career counselors earn a median salary of $57,040 per year, well above the median of $39,810 for all occupations.

Is school counseling a good career?

School counseling careers require problem-solving skills and typically offer above-average salaries. Professionals in the field cultivate meaningful relationships and support the next generation.

Do I need a master's to be a school counselor?

School counselors need a related master's degree. Some states also require school counselors to hold a licensed professional counselor credential.

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Why Get a Degree in School Counseling?

Earning a school counseling degree can lead to various personal and professional benefits, including stimulating job activities, versatile skills, career advancement, and meaningful contribution to young people's lives. A school counseling master's degree meets the minimum education requirements for school and career counselor jobs.

Learners can pursue a school counseling degree online to save money and time. Many schools offer online programs in accelerated formats that can reduce degree completion time. Distance learners often continue working and earning an income while pursuing their master's degree. Working students can choose online programs with asynchronous course delivery to accommodate their schedules. Additionally, schools may offer discounted tuition rates for online students.

How Much Does a School Counseling Degree Cost?

Tuition costs vary by location, school, and program. According to a 2020 College Board report, the average tuition at public colleges in Vermont is three times higher than that of public schools in Wyoming. Tuition rates at private universities are typically much higher.

In-state, public institutions typically offer the most affordable tuition rates. However, online learners sometimes qualify for in-state tuition rates, regardless of residency. Distance learning also minimizes or eliminates costs associated with relocation, residency, and commuting to campus. Many online students also maintain full-time jobs, further reducing the financial burden of pursuing a school counseling master's degree.

Break down your current financial situation, and receive a college tuition estimate you can afford to pay.

How Much Do School Counseling Majors Make?

School counseling salaries vary based on factors including role, employer, and employee credentials. Many graduates of school counseling master's programs work directly with students at the K-12 or college level.

According to the BLS, school and career counselors earn a median annual salary of $57,040. Graduates can also become education, guidance, and vocational counselors, who earn a median salary of $55,410 per year. Additional career options include roles as social workers and social and community service managers, who earn median salaries of $50,470 and $67,150, respectively.

After earning a master's in school counseling, individuals can become licensed professional counselors and work in private practices. These professionals often earn higher salaries than other counselors. With additional education and experience, school counseling master's degree-holders may also qualify for jobs as counseling professors, who earn a median annual salary of $79,540.

Courses in School Counseling

Master's in school counseling curricula vary by state, school, and program. However, most programs include core coursework in counseling ethics, theory, and research. Students cultivate advanced skills and prepare to collect, analyze, and present counseling data. Learners must typically complete a master's thesis, and most counseling programs include a practicum experience that helps students develop clinical skills.

Learners pursuing a master's in school counseling typically study diversity in counseling and youth counseling. Degree-seekers sometimes specialize in a field such as special education or addictions counseling. Although curricula vary, the following courses appear in many school counseling master's programs.

Certifications and Licensure for School Counseling

School counselors must hold a state-issued license to practice. Requirements vary by state, but licensure candidates typically need a relevant degree and professional experience. School counselors can also obtain certifications, such as the national certified school counselor credential, to improve their job prospects and salary potential.

Licensure requirements vary by state but often include two years of professional experience and a school counseling-related degree with coursework in specific areas. Candidates must typically pass an exam. The National Board for Certified Counselors offers this credential for individuals who hold the national certified counselor credential. Candidates must have completed graduate-level coursework in five areas, submit a professional endorsement from a qualified colleague, and pass one of two approved exams. Candidates also need practicum, postgraduate, and professional experience. Requirements vary by state, but LPC candidates typically need a bachelor's degree in counseling, then a master's degree in counseling, psychology, social work, or family therapy. Additional requirements generally include 3,000-4,000 hours of professional experience, including supervised practicum and internship experience. LPC candidates must pass a licensing exam.

Scholarships for School Counseling

School counseling master's students can qualify for scholarships based on academic achievement, financial need, and membership with a special-interest group. Unlike loans, scholarships do not require repayment. Master's in school counseling degree-seekers may qualify for the following scholarships.

Scholarships for School Counseling
Scholarship Amount Who Can Apply

Ruth G. and Joseph D. Matarazzo Scholarship

$3,000 The American Psychological Foundation awards this scholarship to students pursuing interim master's degrees. Applicants must be nominated by a psychology department with membership in the Council of Graduate Departments of Psychology. Application requirements include a recommendation letter, a CV, and an outline of the applicant's research project.

AKA EAF Graduate Merit Scholarship

Varies The Alpha Kappa Alpha Educational Advancement Foundation offers this scholarship to full-time master's and doctoral students with a history of community service. Candidates need a minimum 3.0 GPA and must attend an accredited school. Applicants submit a resume, recommendation letters, and a description of their studies and goals.

AKA EAF Graduate Financial Need Scholarship

Varies This award supports full-time graduate students who demonstrate financial need and a history of community service. Candidates need a minimum 2.5 GPA. Application materials include three recommendation letters, a financial needs analysis, a resume, and a description of the student's scholarly pursuits.

Online Master's in School Counseling Programs 2022

#1

Liberty University

School Information
Location Lynchburg, Virginia
Admission Rate 51%
Graduation Rate 47%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 92% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Liberty University educates undergraduate and graduate degree-seekers online and at its Lynchburg campus. In addition to in-person graduate programs, the school offers a variety of online options. Students interested in counseling careers benefit from the accessibility of the master's in school counseling program.

Enrollees complete rigorous coursework and receive access to support services including career advising. The online counseling program's scheduling flexibility is ideal for learners balancing academics with personal and professional obligations. While most master's degree-seekers graduate in 1-2 years, part-time enrollment may extend degree completion time.

Students with financial need can submit the FAFSA to qualify for federal grants, scholarships, and loans. To pay for school, 57% of the school's enrollees take out loans, which they must repay after graduation. According to the institution's data, 99% of its learners pay for their degree using some form of financial aid.

Liberty University Numbers:

Total Programs: 229

Number of Online Programs: 161

Online Master's Programs: 68

Number of Online Students: 78,511

Per-Credit Tuition: $750

Religious Affiliation: Christian

Transfer Credits Allowed: Yes

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#2

Missouri Baptist University

School Information
Location Saint Louis, Missouri
Admission Rate 61%
Graduation Rate 45%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 34% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Missouri Baptist University delivers a respected online master's program in school counseling. The private institution educates students on its campus in Saint Louis and enrolls 1,826 online students. Busy learners balancing academics with personal obligations often benefit from online programs' flexible scheduling options.

The master of arts in school counseling program features a rigorous curriculum, helping degree-seekers develop foundational knowledge in the field. Faculty mentors help graduate students customize the program based on their professional goals. The program's flexible scheduling options make earning a master's more convenient for busy learners. Learners currently employed in the counseling field often qualify for career advancement after graduation. The institution's career services and alumni network can help master's students locate and secure professional opportunities.

The school offers learners access to career advising and financial aid counseling. Online learners at the school pay affordable tuition rates and can apply for institutional funding to further reduce the financial burden of earning a master's degree. Learners may also apply for scholarships and fellowships.

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#3

North Carolina State University

School Information
Location Raleigh, North Carolina
Admission Rate 45%
Graduation Rate 82%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 41% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Graduate degree-seekers can enroll in online and in-person programs from North Carolina State University. The public institution delivers online master's programs. The flexible M.Ed. in college counseling and student development is ideal for students with personal or professional responsibilities.

Master's students begin the online program by completing core coursework in school counseling. Degree-seekers take advanced courses and customize the program through electives. Graduate students can receive practical training through experiential learning opportunities and faculty mentorship.

With a master's in school counseling, graduates can pursue leadership roles in their field. Graduate students can access professional assistance from faculty advisors and career counselors.

Degree-seekers at the accredited institution can receive federal financial aid. Learners can research funding options including grants, fellowships, and employer-sponsored tuition plans. Of the school's graduate students, 68% fund their education through financial aid.

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#4

Southern Arkansas University

School Information
Location Magnolia, Arkansas
Admission Rate 65%
Graduation Rate 44%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 56% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Among Southern Arkansas University's online offerings is a top-ranked master's program in school counseling. While many of the institution's students pursue their degree on campus in Magnolia, 2,498 students attend online classes. Busy learners balancing academics with personal obligations often benefit from online programs' flexible scheduling options.

The M.Ed. in school counseling features a rigorous curriculum, helping degree-seekers develop foundational knowledge in the field. Students can customize the program through experiential learning opportunities and electives. The flexible program emphasizes industry knowledge. Graduates of the program often secure high-level positions in the field. Master's students can use the institution's career services to develop a plan for achieving their professional goals after graduation.

Master's degree-seekers can access support services including career advising and financial aid counseling to ensure they choose the best academic and professional tracks. The school's affordable tuition rates make graduate studies more accessible. Learners often apply for fellowships to fund their graduate education.

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#5

North Carolina Central University

School Information
Location Durham, North Carolina
Admission Rate 68%
Graduation Rate 49%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 47% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

North Carolina Central University educates graduate degree-seekers online in person and at its Durham campus. The public institution delivers online master's programs. Students who aspire to careers in school counseling can enroll in the flexible master's in school counseling program.

Master's students in the online school counseling program take core classes in their first year. The curriculum also features upper-level coursework exploring advanced topics. Faculty mentorship, experiential learning opportunities, and electives help graduate students individualize the program.

After earning a master's in school counseling, graduates often qualify for positions with increased responsibility and earning potential. During their master's studies and after graduation, individuals can access professional assistance from faculty advisors and career counselors.

Degree-seekers with financial need can submit the FAFSA to apply for federal grants, loans, and work-study programs. Distance learners can also apply for scholarships and fellowships to reduce the cost of earning a master's degree. According to the school, 93% of students fund their education through financial aid.

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#6

Angelo State University

School Information
Location San Angelo, Texas
Admission Rate 77%
Graduation Rate 40%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 41% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Angelo State University delivers undergraduate and graduate programs. Learners with personal or professional responsibilities often enroll in the school's online master's programs.

Degree-seekers interested in school counseling can pursue the online MS in professional school counseling. The program prepares learners to enter the job market or advance their current career. Faculty advising, career counseling, and experiential learning programs prepare graduates for the workforce.

Enrollees pursuing their master's degree online benefit from the school's affordable tuition rates and can apply for institutional funding. The school holds accreditation, which means students can submit the FAFSA and determine whether they qualify for federal financial aid. Learners often apply for scholarships and fellowships to reduce out-of-pocket expenses.

Angelo State University Numbers:

Students Receiving Aid: 94%

Students Receiving Loans: 35%

Total Master's Programs: 22

Total Online Master's Programs: 22

Transfer Credits Toward Degree: No

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#7

Fort Hays State University

School Information
Location Hays, Kansas
Admission Rate 91%
Graduation Rate 43%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 55% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Fort Hays State University educates graduate degree-seekers online in person and at its Hays campus. The public institution's offerings include online master's programs for distance learners throughout the country. The flexible MS in school counseling program prepares students for a variety of opportunities in school counseling.

During the first year of the program, master's students take core classes in school counseling. The curriculum also features advanced coursework and elective options. To prepare to enter the workforce after graduation, master's students can take advantage of faculty mentorship and experiential learning opportunities.

A master's in school counseling often leads to leadership roles and increased earning potential. During their master's studies and after graduation, individuals can access professional assistance from faculty advisors and career counselors.

At the accredited institution, degree-seekers who demonstrate financial need can qualify for federal aid. Distance learners pursuing a master's degree can apply for funding options including scholarships and fellowships. The school reports that 96% of students receive financial aid.

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#8

Chadron State College

School Information
Location Chadron, Nebraska
Graduation Rate 45%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 75% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Chadron State College is a public school located in Nebraska. This institution offers online and on-campus graduate degree options, including a master's in school counseling. Online learners can use test scores to bolster their application. Distance learners work with advisors, IT professionals, and other support staff at the school. The school's virtual classrooms let students interact with faculty and peers.

Graduate students use financial aid such as loans and scholarships to cover tuition expenses.

Chadron State College Fast Facts:

Online Student Enrollment: 1,809

Distance Learning Master's Programs: 7

Tuition for Grad Students: $4,086 in-state; $8,172 out-of-state

Average Per-Student Aid : $6,906

Average Price After Financial Aid: $14,203

The school is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

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#9

University of Tennessee at Martin

School Information
Location Martin, Tennessee
Admission Rate 64%
Graduation Rate 47%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 29% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

The University of Tennessee at Martin provides graduate programs for online and on-campus degree-seekers. The public institution's graduate-level offerings include a flexible M.S.Ed. in counseling for students interested in school counseling.

Master's students begin the online program by completing core coursework in school counseling. In addition to taking advanced courses, degree-seekers fulfill foundational requirements. Faculty mentorship, experiential learning opportunities, and electives help graduate students individualize the program.

After earning a master's in school counseling, graduates often qualify for positions with increased responsibility and earning potential. Master's students and alumni can work with faculty advisors and career counselors.

Degree-seekers with financial need can apply for federal aid, including grants and loans. Current professionals may qualify for tuition reimbursement programs through their employer. Of the school's students, 98% receive financial aid.

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#10

University of West Alabama

School Information
Location Livingston, Alabama
Admission Rate 35%
Graduation Rate 35%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 77% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Based in Livingston, the University of West Alabama educates graduate degree-seekers through in-person and flexible online programs. Distance learners can earn a master's in school counseling from the public institution in an online format. After earning the master's degree in school counseling, graduates can apply for positions in the field or advance their current career.

Graduate students can discuss issues in the field and plan their academic track with experienced faculty advisors. The program's rigorous curriculum provides foundational knowledge through core coursework. In addition to covering foundational topics, the curriculum emphasizes career-specific analytical and leadership skills.

The school charges online learners affordable tuition rates and offers institutional funding for eligible applicants. Degree-seekers meet with financial aid counselors to discuss their funding options. The school's affordable tuition rates make it easier for learners to pursue graduate degrees.

University of West Alabama Fast Facts:

Online Master's Programs: 15

Total Online Programs: 31

Number of Online Students: 4,339

Average Per-Credit Tuition: $410

Graduate Tuition In-State: $6,678

Graduate Tuition Out-of-State: $13,356

Transfer Credits Toward Degree: No

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#11

Edinboro University of Pennsylvania

School Information
Location Edinboro, Pennsylvania
Admission Rate 83%
Graduation Rate 44%
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 39% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Edinboro University of Pennsylvania has one of the best online counseling programs in the country. With a rigorous curriculum and faculty experts, the master' sin counseling ranks among the top options in the field. Like on-campus students, online learners work with advisors, IT professionals, and other support staff. The online counseling program uses video lectures, assignments, and class discussions.

To fund their degree, 92% of the school's students obtain financial aid and 71% take out loans. Prospective learners submit school transcripts for admission.

Edinboro University of Pennsylvania Facts:

Total Number of Online Learners: 1,820

Online Master's Offered: 10

Graduate School Tuition Rate: $9,288 in-state; $13,932 out-of-state

Average Aid Per Learner: $6,457

Average Cost After Aid: $15,167

The school has been accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

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#12

Kansas State University

School Information
Location Manhattan, Kansas
Admission Rate 95%
Graduation Rate 65%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 27% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Graduate degree-seekers can enroll in online and in-person programs from Kansas State University. The public institution delivers an online master's in school counseling, which is ideal for busy learners. The master's degree can qualify graduates for promotions to leadership positions.

Master's students and faculty advisors discuss and analyze complex issues related to the field and students' professional futures. The school counseling program features a rigorous curriculum, helping enrollees develop foundational knowledge in the field. Along with building core knowledge, master's coursework helps students hone crucial analytical and leadership skills.

The school's affordable tuition rates make graduate studies more accessible. The institution's financial aid counselors help graduate degree-seekers secure funding through scholarship and fellowship programs. The school offers institutional funding for eligible applicants.

Kansas State University at a Glance:

Online Master's Programs: 77

Total Online Programs: 73

Number of Online Students: 5,850

Graduate Tuition In-State: $10,212

Graduate Tuition Out-of-State: $23,050

Transfer Credits Toward Degree: No

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#13

Oregon State University

School Information
Location Corvallis, Oregon
Admission Rate 82%
Graduation Rate 67%
Accreditation Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
Percent Online Enrollment 47% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Learners throughout the country can pursue high-quality online graduate programs from Oregon State University. The Corvallis-based institution offers 50 online programs, including 13 online master's programs. At the school, graduate degree-seekers can enroll in a master's program in school counseling. The online program's scheduling flexibility is ideal for students balancing academics with personal and professional obligations.

In addition to core coursework, learners complete advanced classes in school counseling. Students can select field-specific electives and complete practical learning experiences to prepare for industry roles. Master's degree-seekers typically graduate with their school counseling degree in 1-2 years. Prospective learners can contact the institution for details about application deadlines and requirements.

The school prioritizes affordable tuition rates. The institution charges average graduate tuition rates of $12,933 for in-state students, while nonresidents pay an average of $24,975. Enrollees with financial need can fund their education through federal grants and loans. At the school, 85% of students receive financial aid to fund their education.

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#14

Mercy College

School Information
Location Dobbs Ferry, New York
Admission Rate 82%
Graduation Rate 44%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 36% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Mercy College delivers online and in-person graduate programs from its Dobbs Ferry campus. Distance learners can earn an online master's in school counseling from the private institution in an online format. The flexible master's program helps professionals prepare for leadership roles while maintaining employment.

Faculty advisors support graduate students with academic advice and professional input regarding the field's current challenges. The program's rigorous curriculum helps enrollees develop foundational knowledge and specialized skills in the field. Master's students develop analytical skills they can apply to solve complex problems.

The school charges online learners affordable tuition rates. Degree-seekers can discuss funding options with financial aid counselors.

Mercy College Facts:

Online Master's Programs: 34

Total Online Programs: 43

Number of Online Students: 3,814

Graduate Tuition In-State: $16,146

Graduate Tuition Out-of-State: $16,146

Transfer Credits Toward Degree: No

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#15

University of the Southwest

School Information
Location Hobbs, New Mexico
Admission Rate 45%
Graduation Rate 32%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 100% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Among the University of the Southwest's online offerings is a top-ranked master's program in school counseling. The private institution's student population includes on-campus degree-seekers and 875 online students. Busy learners often benefit from online programs' scheduling flexibility and complete academic requirements around their schedule.

The master's in school counseling's rigorous curriculum helps degree-seekers develop transferable career skills while gaining advanced knowledge in counseling. Faculty mentors help graduate students customize the program based on their professional goals. Learners in the online program benefit from flexible scheduling options and career-specific training. After earning the master's degree in school counseling, graduates can launch a new career in the field. The institution's career services and alumni network can help master's students locate and secure professional opportunities.

Learners in the school's master's programs can access career advising and financial aid counseling. Graduate students at the accredited institution can take out federal loans to cover costs. In addition to federal funding, learners can secure private scholarships and institutional fellowships. The average cost per credit for the school's master's programs is $663.

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