Best Online Bachelor’s In Counseling 2021

A bachelor's degree in counseling can lead to new and exciting career opportunities. Here, we list the best online counseling programs.

Updated September 20, 2022

Reviewed by ACO Rankings Team
Best Online Bachelor’s In Counseling 2021

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Online counseling degrees prepare students for diverse roles helping and supporting others. Depending on their interests and goals, graduates may work as rehabilitation, school, career, or addiction counselors. However, some states require counselors to possess a license to practice, and many licensure programs require at least a master's degree in counseling or psychology. A bachelor's degree prepares students for graduate counseling programs.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that behavioral disorder and substance abuse counselors make a median annual salary of $47,660. The BLS also projects jobs for these professionals to grow 25% between 2019-2029.

This guide ranks the best online bachelor's in counseling programs. It also covers other important information for prospective students, such as common courses and scholarship opportunities for counseling students.

Why Get a Degree in Counseling?

A bachelor's degree in counseling prepares students for entry-level positions in the field and graduate study. A master's degree in counseling positions graduates for mid- to top-level counseling roles. A master's degree also prepares graduates to earn counseling licensure in many states.

Online counseling degrees often give students the flexibility to balance their studies with personal and professional obligations. Additionally, many schools offer tuition discounts to online students.

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Featured Online Programs

Find a program that meets your affordability, flexibility, and education needs through an accredited, online school.

How Much Does a Counseling Degree Cost?

The cost of a counseling degree varies by factors like school, location, and delivery format. Data from the National Center for Education Statistics indicate that in-state students at public universities paid an average of $20,598 during the 2018-2019 academic year. Students at private schools paid an average of $47,541 during the same year.

Pursuing a counseling degree online can help students save money. For instance, online students often save on some of the expenses that on-campus students incur, such as housing and commuting costs. Additionally, many schools offer tuition discounts to online students.

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

Courses in Counseling

Online bachelor's in counseling programs typically include general education, major, and elective courses. Many programs also offer concentrations that allow students to specialize the degree. Common concentrations include mental health counseling, school counseling, art therapy, and substance abuse counseling. Students may also complete an internship to gain hands-on experience in the field.

Courses vary by program, but the following list outlines courses commonly found in bachelor's in counseling programs.

Career and Salary Outlook for Counseling

Counseling degree programs prepare professionals for diverse roles, like substance abuse counselor, school counselor, and career counselor. However, licensure requirements for counseling roles vary by state, so students should research the requirements in the state where they plan to practice.

The career paths below represent common jobs for graduates with a bachelor's degree in counseling.

Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselor

These professionals support people with mental and behavioral problems, including drug addiction, alcoholism, and eating disorders. They help clients identify and modify problem behaviors. They may also work with members of a client's support system, such as family, friends, and colleagues.

School and Career Counselor

School counselors help students develop academic and social skills. They also connect students with additional academic and social support services as needed. Career counselors work with older students to explore professional options after graduation. They often coordinate with teachers, parents, and other school personnel.

Rehabilitation Counselor

Rehabilitation counselors support individuals with developmental, emotional, physical, and mental disabilities. Duties for these professionals vary. Responsibilities often include helping clients develop strengths and adjust to limitations, maintaining client records, and developing treatment plans.

Marriage and Family Therapist

These counselors help clients manage marital and familial relationships. They often help clients deal with issues like divorce, child custody, and the death of a loved one. Marriage and family therapists also help clients locate other services, such as relevant support groups or treatment facilities.


Career Salary Potential
Career Median Annual Salary Projected Growth Rate (2019-2029)
Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselor $47,660 25%
School and Counselor Career $58,120 8%
Rehabilitation Counselor $37,530 10%
Marriage and Family Therapist $51,340 22%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Certifications and Licensure for Counseling

Many states require counselors to hold a license to practice. Licensure requirements vary by state, but they typically include a master's degree and at least 2,000 hours of supervised clinical practice. In addition to licensure, counselors can pursue optional certifications to demonstrate their skills and advance their careers. The three counseling certifications below accept bachelor's-trained applicants.

Candidates for this credential must hold a bachelor's degree in human services from an accredited college or university and at least 1,000 hours of professional sexuality counseling experience. Candidates for this credential must hold an accredited mental health bachelor's degree. They must also complete a pre-training webinar, a five-day onsite course, and other post-training requirements to earn certification. Candidates must hold a bachelor's degree in counseling or a related field. They must also hold a state-issued credential in the field and complete 6,000 hours of relevant work experience.

Scholarships for Counseling

Counseling majors can take advantage of scholarship opportunities to help lower the cost of their degree. Unlike loans, scholarships do not require repayment, making them ideal forms of financial aid. The following list outlines several scholarship opportunities for counseling students.

Counseling Scholarships
Scholarship Amount Who Can Apply

AB Irvine Scholarship

$2,000 Santa Fe Civitan offers this scholarship to New Mexico, Colorado, or El Paso, Texas residents pursuing a counseling degree. Candidates must be enrolled at an accredited institution anywhere in New Mexico, Colorado, or Texas and hold a minimum 3.0 GPA. Students should aspire to work with children with special needs.

Future Counselors of America Scholarship

$1,000 Undergraduates majoring in psychology or a related field qualify for this scholarship opportunity. Applicants must hold a minimum 3.5 GPA and submit an essay on the psychological issues and challenges involved in online dating.

Online Bachelor's In Counseling Programs

#1

Johnson University

School Information
Location Knoxville, Tennessee
Admission Rate 53%
Graduation Rate 63%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 48% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Tennessee-based Johnson University educates degree-seekers online and at its Knoxville campus. With 21 distance programs, the private institution provides academic programs with in-person and convenient online formats. After completing the bachelor's in pastoral care and counseling from the school, graduates often enter rewarding careers.

Enrollees can pursue the online program to access flexible enrollment options that make earning a degree easier. The virtual classroom environment allows distance learners to complete course requirements from any location. Undergraduates typically require four years to earn the 120 credits required for the bachelor's degree.

Learners with financial need can submit the FAFSA to qualify for federal grants and loans. Financial aid counselors help students locate and apply for scholarships, grants, and loans. To fund their education, 97% of the school's undergraduates receive financial aid.

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#2

The King's University

School Information
Location Southlake, Texas
Admission Rate 74%
Graduation Rate 16%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools
Percent Online Enrollment 61% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

With a main campus in Southlake, Texas, The King's University provides 18 program options for students to pursue. Learners can study in person or in a distance learning format. To prepare for careers, undergraduate students can pursue the school's online bachelor of biblical counseling.

Enrollees pursuing the online degree benefit from scheduling flexibility. Students gain transferable critical thinking and communication skills, which apply to careers in a variety of fields. Degree-seekers apply knowledge gained from coursework, including specialized electives, to complete hands-on experiences such as internships. Undergraduates consult with faculty mentors and academic advisors to select classes aligning with their interests and career goals.

Online learners at the institution pay affordable tuition rates. Students can consult with financial aid counselors to explore funding options, such as scholarships and grants.

The King's University Numbers:

Number of Online Students: 373

Percent of Students Admitted: 74%

Total Bachelor's Programs: 7

Transfer Credits Accepted: No

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#3

University of Cincinnati-Main Campus

School Information
Location Cincinnati, Ohio
Admission Rate 77%
Graduation Rate 71%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 49% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

To graduate with the bachelor of science in substance abuse counseling, learners complete general education coursework, along with core and upper-division major classes. Specialized electives and hands-on experiential learning opportunities prepare degree-seekers for positions in counseling. Undergraduates and alumni can receive online advising from faculty advisors and career counselors.

To graduate with the bachelor's degree, learners complete general education coursework, along with core and upper-division major classes. Specialized electives and hands-on experiential learning opportunities prepare degree-seekers for positions in Counseling. Undergraduates and alumni can receive online advising from faculty advisors and career counselors.

The accredited institution meets federal requirements to distribute aid programs like the Pell Grant. For details about application deadlines and requirements, prospective applicants can contact an admissions advisor.

University of Cincinnati-Main Campus Numbers:

Total Bachelor's Programs: 113

Online Bachelor's Programs: 11

Number of Online Students: 19,270

Applicants Admitted: 77%

Graduation Rate: 71%

Average Cost Per Credit: $732

Accepts Transfer Credits: Yes

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#4

Toccoa Falls College

School Information
Location Toccoa Falls, Georgia
Admission Rate 60%
Graduation Rate 46%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 65% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

The programs at Toccoa Falls College help professionals advance their careers and pursue new opportunities. This bachelor's in counseling psychology prepares graduates for career advancement or for further schooling. The school enrolls 1,189 students in its online programs.

Online learning often appeals to students with children or other responsibilities. A bachelor's degree can qualify graduates for advanced career opportunities. Students without transfer credits typically need about four years to graduate.

Toccoa Falls College Facts:

Percent of Students Who Graduate: 46%

Students Awarded Financial Aid: 82%

Students Awarded Loans: 37%

Average Price Per Credit: Unavailable

Average Net Price: Unavailable

Allows Transfer Credits: No

Toccoa Falls College has received accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, an independent accrediting agency.

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#5

Hobe Sound Bible College

School Information
Location Hobe Sound, Florida
Graduation Rate 53%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Association for Bibical Higher Educaiton
Percent Online Enrollment 65% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Hobe Sound Bible College is a private institution based in Hobe Sound, Florida. Learners can study in person or in a distance learning format. Degree-seekers can choose from the school's 25 program options, with 18 programs available online. One option includes a bachelor of arts in counseling.

The school confers the counseling degree to individuals who complete all requirements, including earning at least 120 credits. Students pursuing the online degree complete core courses, general education requirements, and upper-division classes. Learners consult with faculty mentors to select classes aligning with their interests and career goals. Internship opportunities allow enrollees to gain professional experience, which they can add to their resume.

The institution holds accreditation, which means enrollees can qualify for federal financial aid programs, such as the Pell Grant. The school reports that 79% of its student body receives financial aid to fund their education. Admissions advisors help individuals understand the application requirements for their prospective program.

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#6

Washburn University

School Information
Location Topeka, Kansas
Graduation Rate 46%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 38% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Online learners can enroll in the convenient bachelor of applied science in family and human services - addiction counseling program at Washburn University. The online program's flexible scheduling options can make it easier for busy students to complete degree requirements. Graduates of the online bachelor's program can qualify for entry-level careers in the field.

Degree-seekers gain foundational knowledge during core classes and complete advanced coursework to develop specialized skills. In addition to core courses, learners select elective classes based on their interests and take general education courses. Graduates can apply the critical thinking and analytical skills gained during general education coursework to careers in a variety of fields. Learners consult with faculty mentors to select classes aligning with their interests and career goals.

The public institution offers 28 online programs, along with in-person programs at its campus in Topeka, Kansas. The school's academic offerings include nine online bachelor's programs. The institution holds accreditation, which means students with financial need to qualify for federal grants and loans.

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#7

Clarks Summit University

School Information
Location South Abington Township, Pennsylvania
Admission Rate 41%
Graduation Rate 88%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 64% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

A private institution, Clarks Summit University educates students from its South Abington Township, Pennsylvania, campus. The institution's academic programs feature online and in-person learning formats. Of the school's 40 programs, degree-seekers can pursue 11 in an online format. The online bachelor of science in counseling features a curriculum designed to prepare enrollees for diverse careers.

Degree-seekers pursuing the online bachelor's degree earn at least 120 credits to graduate. The curriculum includes general education courses, core classes within the major, and electives. The program features electives, allowing learners to tailor the curriculum to their professional goals. Internship opportunities allow students to gain professional experience, which they can add to their resume.

At the accredited institution, enrollees who demonstrate financial need can qualify for federal aid, such as the Pell Grant. The school reports that 100% of undergraduates fund their education through financial aid. For details about application deadlines and requirements, prospective applicants can contact an admissions advisor.

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#8

Oral Roberts University

School Information
Location Tulsa, Oklahoma
Admission Rate 68%
Graduation Rate 55%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 15% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Located in Oklahoma, Oral Roberts University is one of the best schools for online degrees. Bachelor's programs at this school expose students to both liberal arts and skills training. The school enrolls 622 students in its online programs.

Most undergraduate students complete the bachelor of arts in Christian caregiving and counseling in about four years. The program's flexible learning format is ideal for working professionals. Learners may pursue bachelor's studies to qualify for career advancement.

Oral Roberts University at a Glance:

Price Per Credit: Unavailable

Undergrad Tuition: $28,998 per year

Average Price With Aid: Not Known

Student Admission Rate: 68%

Percentage of Students Awarded Financial Aid: 99%

The school holds accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission, a regional accrediting body.

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#9

Crown College

School Information
Location Saint Bonifacius, Minnesota
Admission Rate 50%
Graduation Rate 50%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 68% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Crown College's online bachelor of science in alcohol and drug counseling is ideal for students interested in counseling careers. The online counseling program features flexible enrollment options that benefit working professionals.

Enrollees can attend classes at Crown College's campus in Saint Bonifacius, Minnesota. Students in any part of the country can enroll in the school's 29 online programs. The institution also offers 10 bachelor's programs for online degree-seekers.

The online counseling degree features core courses, general education requirements, and upper-division classes. Graduation requirements for the bachelor's program include required coursework and at least 120 credits. Enrollees complete core and specialized coursework meeting high academic standards.

Learners in any field can access support services such as tutoring, academic advising, and career counseling. Undergraduates and alumni can explore their professional options with the help of faculty advisors and career counselors. Financial aid counseling can help students explore options for reducing out-of-pocket expenses, including work-study programs, scholarships, and grants.

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#10

Ohio Christian University

School Information
Location Circleville, Ohio
Graduation Rate 32%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 84% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Ohio Christian University is a Circleville-based private institution. In addition to in-person programs, the school educates students through 18 online programs. The online bachelor's in substance abuse counseling features a curriculum designed to prepare learners for careers.

Degree candidates complete core and advanced coursework. The curriculum features upper-division requirements, which help learners develop transferable soft skills. Full-time undergraduate degree-seekers typically require four years to complete the 120-credit bachelor's program.

The school offers support services, including academic advising and career counseling, for online and on-campus learners. The institution holds accreditation, which means enrollees can submit the FAFSA and determine whether they qualify for federal financial aid.

Ohio Christian University at a Glance:

Undergraduate Admission Rate: Not Known

Total Programs: 33

Total Bachelor's Programs: 22

Online Bachelor's Programs: 11

Awards Transfer Credits: No

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