Online Counseling Degrees

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

February 25, 2022

Reviewed by ACO Rankings Team
Online Counseling Degrees is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Are you ready to find your fit?

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. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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 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.

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

    Knoxville, TN



    Those desiring to work in a ministry environment can enroll in the online program to earn a bachelor's degree in pastoral care and counseling at Johnson University. Eligibility requires evidence of spiritual maturity through reference letters and an essay, as well as an ACT score of 17 or above. In order to graduate, students will complete 120 credits covering general education, theology and counseling-specific coursework with a minimum 2.0 GPA. Curriculum is delivered through the web platform Sakai and technical assistance is available at any time.

  2. Barclay College

    Haviland, KS



    Barclay College integrates psychology and biblical studies through the online program to receive a bachelor's degree in psychology. Students will engage in 89 credit hours studying foundational courses in theology, research and social sciences. An additional 39 credits will focus on abnormal psychology, personality theories and family systems. Resources such as the writing center and an employment database will assist in your academic journey. Students interested in applying will need to demonstrate a 2.3 GPA, as well as an ACT English score of 18 or SAT writing score of 500.

  3. Old Dominion University

    Norfolk, VA



    Graduates of Old Dominion University's online option to complete a bachelor's degree in human services enter into positions as case workers, counselors and advocates working with youth, victims of domestic violence and those with mental or physical disabilities. In order to finish the program, you will satisfy 120 credits with a minimum 2.0 GPA. The Student Success Center connects learners with tutoring, online study groups and writing services. The Military Connection Center is host to resources specifically for veterans and active-duty service members. Prospective students will include transcripts and ACT or SAT scores in their application.

  4. The King's University

    Southlake, TX



    The King's University offers a fully online format to earn a Bachelor of Biblical Counseling. Students will work through 124 credit hours of coursework covering human development, personality theory and counseling skills. You will also participate in 5 credits of field experience. All curriculum must be passed with a 2.0 grade average. Following degree completion, students are prepared to work in ministry and nonprofit service or to continue on toward graduate studies. Admission is determined by demonstration of a 2.5 GPA and ACT scores of 21 or SAT scores 1600-1075.

  5. Southwestern Assemblies of God University

    Waxahachie, TX



    Students enrolling in the fully online program to receive a bachelor's degree in counseling will receive a 15% discount on tuition at the Southwestern Assemblies of God University (SAGU). To apply you must submit ACT scores of 19 or an SAT equivalent, a reference from a minister and an essay describing your background and spiritual involvement. A minimum 2.0 GPA is required for admissions and must be maintained throughout the 126 credit hours needed to graduate. You can access all resources afforded to on-campus students including career guidance and Wellness Center services.

  6. University of Cincinnati

    Cincinnati, OH



    There are both online and hybrid options to earn a Bachelor of Science in Substance Abuse Counseling at the University of Cincinnati. Following the satisfaction of 120 credits, students expecting to work in Ohio will be equipped for licensure under the state's Chemical Dependency Professional Board. Graduates also find employment in social work, probation and nursing. GPA, ACT or SAT scores, essays, references and extracurricular activities are all taken into consideration for admissions decisions. The Student Services Center will link you to academic advising, financial aid opportunities and additional resources.

  7. Grace Christian University

    Wyoming, MI



    For those interested in entering the counseling field as a case manager, probation officer, research assistant or health educator, Grace Christian University is host to an accelerated online program to complete your Bachelor of Science in Psychology. Over the course of 24 months, you will complete 60 credits in coursework such as Theology of Leadership, Survival Psychology and Biblical Counseling. Program eligibility requires a high school GPA of 2.0 and submission of a free application. Online learners can utilize the writing lab, library and career services.

  8. Toccoa Falls College

    Toccoa Falls, GA



    Students seeking to pursue a counseling education steeped in Christian values can enroll in an online option to work toward a bachelor's degree in counseling psychology at Toccoa Falls College. The program entails 126 credit hours of biblical curriculum, psychology core coursework and counseling electives. Although there is no minimum GPA required for admissions, students must maintain a minimum 2.0 average throughout their studies. Applicants will need to submit ACT, SAT or CLT scores, as well as an essay describing their spiritual journey. The school's library provides resources to assist in your work.

  9. Hobe Sound Bible College

    Hobe Sound, FL



    The Christian-based Hobe Sound Bible College offers prospective counseling students the opportunity to earn a bachelor's degree in counseling through a fully online format. In order to graduate, you will complete 129 credits with a minimum 2.0 GPA, which includes 30 hours of biblical studies and 7 credits of Christian service. Prospective enrollees must possess a high school diploma and applicants will be connected with an advisor to complete registration. The school works to create a supportive community through online devotionals and a link to submit prayer requests.

  10. Northwestern State University of Louisiana

    Natchitoches, LA



    Students interested in pursuing an education in counseling at Northwestern State University of Louisiana can specialize in either substance abuse or prevention when enrolled in the school's fully online bachelor's degree in psychology. Graduation requires 120 credit hours and classes are delivered via the web platform Moodle. Online learners pay the same tuition rate regardless of residency. The Student Help Desk will connect you to advising, tutoring and technical assistance. Applicants must demonstrate a minimum 2.0 GPA and the submission of ACT or SAT scores in order to determine class placement.

Related articles that may interest you is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Do this for you

Explore your possibilities- find schools with programs you’re interested in and clear a path for your future.