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The Best Online Master’s in School Counseling Degree Programs

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The Best Online Master’s in School Counseling Degree Programs
RankSchoolLocation
1NYU SteinhardtNew York, NY
2Vanderbilt UniversityNashville, TN
3Wake Forest UniversityWinston-Salem, NC
4Regent UniversityVirginia Beach, VA
5University of Louisiana MonroeMonroe, LA
6Indiana Wesleyan UniversityMarion, IN
7Adams State UniversityAlamosa, CO
8Liberty UniversityLynchburg, VA
9Seton Hall UniversitySouth Orange, NJ
10Creighton UniversityOmaha, NE
11University of Massachusetts Boston(Boston, MA)
12University of North DakotaGrand Forks, ND
13University of Texas at TylerTyler, TX
14Angelo State University(San Angelo, TX)
15Lamar UniversityBeaumont, TX
16University of Central Arkansas(Conway, AR)
17University of Tennessee Martin(Martin, TN)
18Concordia University Wisconsin(Mequon, WI)
19University of West AlabamaLivingston, AL
20Salem College(Winston-Salem, NC)
21Southern Arkansas University(Magnolia, AR)
22Our Lady of the Lake UniversitySan Antonio, TX
23Missouri Baptist University(Saint Louis, MO)
24Gwynedd Mercy University(Gwynedd Valley, PA)
25University of the CumberlandsWilliamsburg, KY

Online Master in School Counseling degree programs prepare school counselors to provide important guidance and support to diverse student populations in preK-12 settings.

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School counselors help children and adolescents achieve success. They select and implement strategies to assist K–12 students gain personal, academic, and social growth.

School counseling focuses on helping students make the best of their education, and includes helping students prepare for college. They also provide career counseling.

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Counselors typically work with students, teachers, parents and school administrators. As such, they work in elementary, middle and high schools, in district supervisory positions, counselor education positions, and others.

The Best Online Master’s in School Counseling Degree Programs

Ranking Guidelines

We selected and ranked the degree programs based on the quality of the program, the types of courses available, the faculty involved, awards, rankings, reputation, and the online education process. Our rankings focus on what’s important to students in determining the ranking criteria. As such, this is a ranking for students, to be a guide for online school counseling degree options.

1.NYU Steinhardt

New York, NY

NYU Steinhardt’s Department of Applied Psychology, established in 1989, directs students to attend to both theoretical and practical aspects of the field. Students have the opportunity to contribute to faculty research as well as lead studies of their own.

New York University’s online program offers a Master of Arts in Counseling and Guidance: School Counseling and Bilingual School Counseling, Grades Pre-K-12 degree. The program prepares students for New York State Certification as a school counselor for the aforementioned grades.

Students learn the needed skills to go on to serve as counselors for elementary, middle, and high school students, and they have the option to pursue the bilingual counseling concentration to develop skills to support learners from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

The curriculum expects students to complete 100 hours of practicum experience and 600 hours of internship experience.

Credit requirements: 48 graduate credits

Selection of required courses:

  • Foundations of School Counseling
  • Individual Counseling: Theory and Process
  • Individual Counseling: Practice I
  • Internship in School Counseling I, II, & III
  • Assessment of Children and Adolescents

Online instruction style: Both asynchronous and synchronous aspects

Program length: 18 months

Start dates: January, June, and September

Admissions and transfer credit information: Applicants must submit a statement of purpose, current resume, all post-secondary transcripts, two letters of recommendation, and, for students who are not native English speakers, test scores indicating language fluency.

Accreditation: The program receives accreditation from the Masters in Psychology and Counseling Accreditation Council (MPCAC) under the Masters in Counseling Accreditation Committee (MCAC) standards.

2.Vanderbilt University

Nashville, TN

Peabody College of Education and Human Development maintains its status as a leader in research. The college dates to 1785, and focuses on making a meaningful change in the field of education.

The online Master of Education with School Counseling Specialization forms school counselors in the humanistic model. The program teaches students to translate research into practice, providing the best school counseling possible to students in grades K-12.

The program includes two on-campus immersion experiences and three internship experiences.

Students follow curriculum focused on diversity, the helping relationship, fostering the growth of others, ethical practices, research, and career development, as well as gaining an understanding of the infrastructure and administration of schools and how a counselor fits into the model.

Credit requirements: 48 Credit Hours

Selection of required courses:

  • Developmental Counseling Psychology
  • Theories of Counseling
  • Social, Legal, and Ethical Issues in Counseling
  • Internship I, II, & III
  • Group Counseling
  • Exceptional Education and the DSM for School Counselors
  • Appraisal & Assessment

Online instruction style: Live, synchronous courses

Learning enrollment options: full-time and part-time

Admissions and transfer credit information: Admission to the program requires a bachelor’s degree with a GPA of 3.0 or higher, GRE or MAT scores, three letters of recommendation, an admissions interview, and a statement of purpose.

Accreditation: The online Master of Education in Human Development Counseling with a specialization in school counseling program has a review in order to obtain accreditation from the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP); the existing on-campus program already has CACREP accreditation.

3.Wake Forest University

Winston-Salem, NC

The Department of Counseling at Wake Forest University uses the cohort model to integrate all pertinent knowledge and experience of students and faculty.

The online Master in Counseling degree, with a School Counseling focus, encourages hands-on experience through practicum and internship experiences as well as building a solid knowledge base in students.

The program leads students to develop their skills and knowledge in human growth and development, social and cultural dynamics, helping relationships, group work, lifestyle and career development, appraisal, program evaluation and research, and professional orientation.

Credit requirements: 60 credit hours

Selection of required courses:

  • Theories and Models of Counseling
  • Advanced Counseling Skills and Crisis Management
  • Family Counseling
  • Counseling Children
  • School Counseling Practicum
  • School Counseling Internship I, II
  • Professional Identity Capstone

Learning enrollment options: Part-time

Admissions and transfer credit information: Applicants to the School Counseling Program should have a Bachelor’s Degree with a GPA above 2.5 and GRE scores above 300 with a writing score above three. The admissions process includes an interview and students must submit a personal statement.

The program accepts up to six transfer credit hours.

Accreditation: The Council on Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) provides accreditation for the School Counseling Program.

4.Regent University

Virginia Beach, VA

The School of Psychology and Counseling aims to empower students to make an appreciable difference in the lives of others. All psychology and counseling programs maintain a Christian counseling approach, integrating faith and science into successful individual practices.

The Master in School Counseling online degree prepares students to become effective advocates and listeners who challenge students and empower them to seek the best for themselves. Professors instruct counselors in the best ways to support students, family, and faculty in modern day challenges they face.

Students in the online Master’s in School Counseling degree program must complete two residencies, each one week long. At the completion of the program, students can obtain licensure in the state of Virginia.

Credit requirements: 60 credit hours

Selection of required courses:

  • Counseling Children & Adolescents
  • Principals of School Counseling
  • Program Development and Evaluation for School Counselors
  • Practicum and Advanced Skills
  • Psychopathology & Diagnosis
  • Concepts of Family Systems
  • Group Counseling
  • Internship in School Counseling

Start dates: fall and spring

Admissions and transfer credit information: Applicants need to have earned a bachelor’s degree, preferably in a related field, with a minimum 3.00 GPA. Applicants also complete a Licensure Survey, submit GRE or MAT scores and a resume, and complete an admissions interview.

Accreditation: The Council on Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) provides accreditation for the Master of Arts in School Counseling program.

5.University of Louisiana Monroe

Monroe, LA

The College of Health Sciences in the University of Louisiana Monroe offers undergraduate and graduate degrees through the Kitty DeGree School of Nursing and the School of Allied Health. The College focuses on preparing healthcare professionals to serve the needs of their communities.

The online Master of Science in Counseling program, with the School Counseling specialization, aims to create an environment that supports the development of skills and knowledge of all its students, fostering collaboration to promote better learning.

Students prepare for a career providing needed academic and counseling services in schools and various agencies, across the full demographic spectrum. The program also seeks to contribute to scholarship in the field.

Credit requirements: 60 semester hours

Selection of required courses:

  • Methods
  • Advanced Techniques
  • Group
  • Practicum

Admissions and transfer credit information: Applicants need a bachelor’s degree with a GPA of 3.0 or higher, a 290 or better combined score on the GRE, and, if the GPA of the applicant’s final 60 credits of undergraduate work is below, 3.0, a higher GRE score must compensate.

Accreditation: The M.S. in Counseling degree has accreditation from the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).

6.Indiana Wesleyan University

Marion, IN

Indiana Wesleyan University, founded as Marion College in 1920, provides a professional and liberal arts education. Belonging to the Wesleyan Church, IWU’s Christian identity suffuses the university. IWU seeks to help each student find their proper calling and help them develop in leadership, character, and scholarship.

The Master of Arts with a major in School Counseling online degree program looks at the current statistics regarding the many challenges today’s youth face in the current age and strives to prepare caring and capable professionals to meet the needs of the students facing these challenges.

The program prepares individuals to serve students from pre-kindergarten through the end of high school, collaborating with and serving the needs of faculty and family alongside those students. The Master’s in School Counseling degree program includes two, three-day weekend workshops on site.

Credit requirements: 48 hours

Selection of required courses:

  • Human Growth and Development
  • Multicultural Counseling
  • Theory and Techniques in Group Counseling
  • Legal, Ethical, and Professional Issues
  • Child and Adolescent Development and Treatment
  • Supervised Practicum
  • Supervised Internship (2)

Learning enrollment options: Full-time or part-time

Program length: Two and a half to five years based on enrollment

Start dates: fall or spring

Admissions and transfer credit information: Applicants need a bachelor’s degree with a GPA of 3.0 or higher, six psychology credits, including three in abnormal psychology, six credits in Bible, GRE scores from within the past five years, a writing sample, and three recommendations. Meritorious applicants will schedule an admissions interview.

Admissions accepts up to nine transfer credit hours of graduate work.

Accreditation: The M.A. in School Counseling degree has accreditation from the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) and the Council of the Accreditation of Educational Preparations (CAEP).

7.Adams State University

Alamosa, CO

The Office of Graduate Studies at Adams State University works to ensure students have access to graduate-level education in a way that meets their needs. The University offers programs full-time and part-time, on campus and online, and limited summers.

The online Master’s in School Counseling degree focuses on providing relational skills and practical application. Students develop a broad understanding of theoretical principals, allowing them to serve students better. Individuals in the program gain the professional and personal tools to assist students of various backgrounds.

The Department of Counselor Education serves as home to the MA program, as well as to an MA in clinical mental health and a PhD in counselor education and supervision. The program includes two residencies, held during the summer for one week each.

Credit requirements: 60 hours

Selection of required courses:

  • Lifespan Development
  • Counseling Theories & Helping Relationships
  • Group Counseling
  • Pre-Practicum
  • Practicum
  • Crisis, Disaster, & Trauma
  • Counseling Modalities in a School Settings
  • Internship (I, II) – School Counseling

Start dates: fall, spring, summer

Admissions and transfer credit information: Applicants to the online Master’s degree in School Counseling need a bachelor’s degree with a GPA of at least 2.75, personal statement, and two letters of recommendation. The admissions team may consider Master’s level coursework for transfer.

Accreditation: The master’s programs have accreditation from the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).

8.Liberty University

Lynchburg, VA

The School of Education empowers students to support the growth of young people into adults who have a positive impact on the world. The school prepares graduates to go out and make a religious and educational impact on those they serve, to ensure they receive the best support possible from those who have the opportunity to have a significant impact on them.

The Master of Education in School Counseling online program fosters effective counselors who can manage intervention and referrals, collaborate with peers, and counsel a diverse population.

Professors impart academic skills to students complimented with a strong understanding of the appropriate and ethical ways and times to integrate faith into school counseling.

Students in the online School Counseling degree program learn to identify all factors, environmental, familial, or personal, that impact students of any age.

Credit requirements: 48 credit hours

Selection of required courses:

  • Foundations of Exceptionality
  • Human Development Across the Lifespan
  • Educational Assessment and Intervention
  • Professional, Ethical, and Legal Issues in Counseling
  • Counseling Theories and Techniques
  • School Counseling Practicum
  • School Counseling Internship (2)

Online instruction style: Asynchronous

Program length: Two years

Admissions and transfer credit information: Students must have a prior undergraduate degree with a 3.0 GPA to apply. Students must submit an admissions application and all prior official transcripts.

The University accepts a maximum of 50 percent of the degree’s total credits as transfer credits from a different accredited institution.

Accreditation: The Council on Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) provides accreditation for the Master of Education in School Counseling degree.

9.Seton Hall University

South Orange, NJ

The College of Education and Human Services at Seton Hall University began as the Department of Education in the College of Arts and Sciences. The College focuses on developing moral and ethical values needed in the helping professions as well as practical and theoretical knowledge.

The online Master’s in School Counseling program takes students through clinical and counseling education before an internship in school counseling. Students learn to provide services to children and teens, preparing them for a successful education experience. Students also prepare for emergency and crisis response and collaboration with families and other professionals to best meet the needs of children in any circumstance.

The online School Counseling degree also includes two four-day residencies that require students to travel to the campus.

Credit requirements: 48 credit hours

Selection of required courses:

  • Counseling Theories
  • Appraisal and Assessment in Counseling
  • Principals of Learning and Behavior Modification
  • Research Methods
  • Practicum in Counseling
  • Counseling and Supervision in School Settings
  • Counselor Ethics in Practices

Start dates: August and January

Admissions and transfer credit information: The Advisory Committee expects students to have a minimum GPA of 3.0, with a higher GPA within their major. Students seeking to enroll in the online Master’s in School Counseling degree program should score above the 50th percentile on their GRE and GMAT.

The program accepts up to six graduate transfer credits.

Accreditation: The College of Education and Human Services has CAEP accreditation.

10.Creighton University

Omaha, NE

The Graduate School at Creighton University began as a separate division of the university in 1926, and supports programs and faculty in a pursuit of superior research and understanding. Offering over 40 Master’s level programs and several doctorates, the Graduate School provides students with cross-disciplinary opportunities to grow in their understanding and foster them as leaders who effect change in their field.

The online Master of Science in School Counseling and Preventive Mental Health degree focuses on preparing students for counseling careers within a school setting. Preparation emphasizes the struggles prevalent in the lives of students in the modern day and developing strategies to overcome those hurdles to children’s success.

Students may choose to concentrate on Elementary School Counseling, Secondary School Counseling, or PK-12 Guidance Counseling. The program’s curriculum springs from the standards identified within the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) national model.

Credit requirements: 36 Credits

Selection of required courses:

  • Ethical Guidelines for School Counselors
  • Issues in Child & Adolescent Development for School Counselors
  • Theoretical Perspectives in School Counseling
  • Data-Driven Perspectives in School Counseling
  • Diagnosis and Mental Health Issues in Children and Adolescents
  • Social Justice and Diversity in School Counseling
  • Practicum I & II

Online instruction style: Asynchronous

Program length: Two years

Admissions and transfer credit information: Applicants must submit a resume and a personal statement. Students also need a completed bachelor’s degree with a GPA of 3.0 or higher and official transcripts, as well as three letters of reference. The admissions team may ask applicants to complete an interview and provide standardized test scores.

Accreditation: The Higher Learning Commission provides Creighton University with accreditation.

11.University of Massachusetts Boston

(Boston, MA)

The College of Advancing and Professional Studies expands upon the University of Massachusetts Boston’s reach, offering classes online, on weekends and in evenings, and in alternate locations to support students’ pursuit of education. The College offers graduate, undergraduate, and certificate programs.

The online Master of Education degree in School Counseling prepares students for licensure as a school guidance counselor in the state of Massachusetts. Students participate in practicum and internships in local schools, supported through online video conferencing with their academic mentors.

The curriculum includes general counseling courses as well as courses specific to school counseling.

Students in the online School Counseling degree program must participate in two clinical courses in a two-week on-campus requirement. Out-of-state students must check their local state requirements for licensure to ensure the program meets their needs.

Credit requirements: 60 Credit Hours

Selection of required courses:

  • Professional, Ethical, and Legal Issues in School Counseling
  • Group Counseling for Children and Adolescents
  • Abnormal Psychology
  • Family Therapy Theories
  • College Readiness Counseling
  • Principals of Vocational, Educational, and Psychological Assessment
  • Advanced Internship Seminar (2)

Online instruction style: Asynchronous

Start dates: summer, fall, winter, and spring

Admissions and transfer credit information: Aspiring students need a bachelor’s degree, two to three undergraduate courses in social science, at least one year of human service experience (paid or unpaid), and an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0.

Applicants must submit two letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, transcripts, and GRE scores. Students pursuing licensure in Massachusetts must also complete the MTEL test.

Accreditation: The Masters of Education in School Counseling program received accreditation from the Masters in Psychology and Counseling Accreditation Council (MPCAC).

12.University of North Dakota

Grand Forks, ND

The College of Education and Human Development houses the Department of Education, Health, and Behavior Studies. The College of Education & Human Development is the largest and most comprehensive education college in North Dakota.

The online Master of Arts in Counseling, with a K-12 School Counseling Emphasis, trains students to be culturally responsive, data and evidence-based driven, and social justice change-agents in their school communities.

The University designed the program for currently working professionals.

The online School Counseling degree program offers “live,” evening classes, two four-day on-campus experiences, practicum and internship completion in schools near your home, and accessible library, tech support, office hours and advising.

Credit requirements: 60 credit hours

Selection of required courses:

  • School Counseling and Program Management
  • Educational Collaboration
  • Child and Adolescent Counseling
  • School-based Practicum and Internship
  • Multicultural Counseling
  • Career Counseling

Online instruction style: Synchronous

Program length: Two and a half years

Admissions and transfer credit information: Graduate programs require the completion of a Bachelor’s Degree and a GPA of 3.75, or a 3.00 for the final two years of study. Students also complete an admissions interview. The GRE is not required.

Accreditation: The Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) provides accreditation to the online M.A.in Counseling (K-12 School Counseling Emphasis) program.

13.University of Texas at Tyler

Tyler, TX

The University of Texas at Tyler’s Department of Psychology and Counseling offers graduate and undergraduate degrees. The Department directs students to examine and deepen their understanding of human behavior through imparting to them a broad range of skills to utilize.

The Master of Arts in School Counseling online degree prepares students to serve as creative, capable, and culturally versatile school counselors. The program prepares individuals to counsel effectively, take leadership roles, and create opportunities to create a more level playing field for students.

Credit requirements: 48 credit hours

Selection of required courses:

  • Family Therapy
  • Cultural Diversity and Advocacy
  • Counseling Theories and Applications
  • Applied School Counseling
  • Research and Program Evaluation
  • Supervised Internship in School Counseling (2)
  • Practicum
  • Counseling Children and Adolescents

Program length: 24 months

Start dates: summer only, students advance as part of a cohort

Admissions and transfer credit information: Applicants need three references, GRE scores, a statement of purpose and department information sheet, and an admissions interview.

Accreditation: The Master of Arts in School Counseling degree program meets the guidelines of the American School Counselor Association. The program receives accreditation from the SACS-COC and the state of Texas.

14.Angelo State University

(San Angelo, TX)

The College of Graduate Studies and Research focuses on being a place of learning, fully diverse and highly collaborative.

Angelo State University designed the online Master of Education in Guidance and Counseling program for individuals interested in careers as public school counselors, college and university counselors and other counseling careers.

Credit requirements: 36 credits (42 for students pursuing School Counselor Certification)

Selection of required courses:

  • Social and Cultural Influences
  • Legal and Ethical Principles
  • Curriculum and Methodology Trends
  • Group Counseling
  • Theories of Counseling
  • Dysfunctional Behavioral

The program provides courses in eight-week sessions. Students seeking certification as school counselors need a teaching certificate and two years’ experience and they take two additional courses including a practicum.

Program length: Two years or less

Start dates: Two spring, one summer, and two fall

Admissions and transfer credit information: Applicants do not need GRE scores, but do need a bachelor’s degree with a GPA of 2.75 (or 2.75 for the last 60 credits)

Accreditation: The Master of Education in Guidance and Counseling at Angelo State University received accreditation from the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).

15.Lamar University

Beaumont, TX

The College of Education and Human Development prepares students to foster social and civic responsibility and maintain ethical principals in the ever-changing global environment.

The online Master of Education in Counseling and Development with a Specialization in Professional School Counseling program teaches students to incorporate a wide range of concerns and perspectives into their practice.

Theoretical, behavioral, and play therapy techniques are all part of the program as students develop a repertoire of productive interventions to assist children and adolescents who have or are at risk for behavioral disorders with an integrative approach. The program includes a one-week residency, a 15-week practicum, and a 15-week internship.

Credit requirements: 60 credit hours

Selection of required courses:

  • Human Growth and Development
  • Child and Adolescent Counseling
  • Individual Counseling Theories & Techniques
  • Group Counseling Theories & Techniques
  • Advanced Ethics in Mental Health Counseling
  • Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling
  • Internship I

Program length: 30 months

Start dates: August, October, November, January, March, April

Admissions and transfer credit information: Applicants need a bachelor’s degree with a GPA of 3.0 (or over 2.5 with a qualifying GRE), two years’ teaching experience, a personal essay, and a reference from the applicant’s school principal.

Accreditation: The Master of Education in Counseling and Development degree has accreditation from the Council of the Accreditation of Educational Preparations (CAEP).

16.University of Central Arkansas

(Conway, AR)

The College of Education focuses on the betterment of academic services and programming, a goal pursued by means of collaboration with groups who share in this mission. The college prepares students to work in diverse settings, both from a geographical and a cultural standpoint.

The Master of Science in School Counseling online degree program helps students become members of school leadership teams as well as school counselors in settings working with K-12 students.

The program prepares graduates to offer academic development, career, and social/emotional services.

The program requires students to visit the University of Central Arkansas for both Practicum and Internship courses.

Students study either the add-on track, beginning with a teaching certificate and adding a new endorsement, or the initial license track, if they do not possess a certificate when beginning the program.

Credit requirements: 48 credit hours

Selection of required courses:

  • Foundations of School Counseling
  • Educational Assessment and Measuring
  • School Counseling Intervention Strategies
  • School Counseling Practicum
  • Internship
  • Counseling Theory in K-20 Education
  • Individual and Group Counseling in the K-20 Education Environment

Admissions and transfer credit information: Applicants to the online Master’s in School Counseling degree need a bachelor’s degree with a GPA of at least 2.70, GRE scores, two references, and a statement of intent.

Students with prior graduate courses need a 3.0 GPA in their graduate work. The Department chair and program coordinator approve up to 15 transfer credits.

Accreditation: The University of Central Arkansas’ teacher education programs received accreditation from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).

17.University of Tennessee Martin

(Martin, TN)

The College of Education, Health, and Behavioral Sciences focuses on preparing students for work in service to their communities and for graduate studies. Tailored toward teaching diverse students, all programs in the college include practical learning experiences through direct exposure.

The online Master’s in Education with a concentration in School Counseling degree seeks to produce counselors ethical in a social context and fully capable in their profession. The program encourages students to develop technically, personally, and in their awareness and acceptance of the varying social and cultural backgrounds of individuals they may serve.

The online school counseling program specifically emphasizes communication, technology, and diverse learners.

In addition to the Master’s degree, the College of Education, Health, and Behavioral Sciences offers a School Counseling Endorsement for students who already possess a teaching certificate and wish to become licensed school counselors without pursing an additional degree.

Credit requirements: 48 credit hours (24-27 hours for endorsement program)

Selection of required courses:

  • Multicultural Issues in Education and Counseling
  • Growth and Development Across the Lifespan
  • Theory and Techniques of Counseling
  • Group Dynamics
  • Counseling Practicum
  • Internships in Secondary, Elementary Counseling

Admissions and transfer credit information: Applicants submit a two-page essay, a resume, an acknowledgment of the four-day residency requirement, documentation of teaching experience or acknowledgment of the requirement, a background check, and three letters of recommendation sent by their authors. The admissions team for this program does not require GRE scores.

Accreditation: The Master of Counseling with a concentration in School Counseling online degree is in alignment with Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) standards.

18.Concordia University Wisconsin

(Mequon, WI)

Concordia University Wisconsin’s School of Education traces its mission of forming Christian educators to the University’s founding.

The Master of Science in Education in School and Professional Counseling online program emphasizes the preparation of students to effect mental, physical and spiritual healing of individuals they serve.

Forming students with a deep sense of respect for their clients, the program ensures they receive a healthy sense of the role faith can play in counseling

Credit requirements: 45 credits

Selection of required courses:

  • Counsel–Theories and Issues
  • Human Development
  • Consultations Strategies
  • Trauma Counseling
  • Career Counsel Foundations
  • Professional Ethics
  • Practicum and Portfolio courses for Elementary, Middle, and High School

Admissions and transfer credit information: Applicants to the program submit two letters of recommendation, a one-page essay explaining their motive for pursuing a graduate degree, a resume, and official transcripts of undergraduate work with a minimum GPA of 3.0. The program does not require standardized test scores. The admissions team evaluates transfer credit on a case-by-case basis.

Accreditation: Concordia University Wisconsin’s education programs received approval from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction and the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services.

19.University of West Alabama

Livingston, AL

The Julia Tutwiler College of Education has a goal to prepare teachers to inspire and touch the lives of their students in a unique way.

The online Master of Education in School Counseling program prepares school counselors to assess, evaluate, advocate for, and counsel, in a variety of methodologies, the students entrusted to them. While the program prepares students for a career as a school counselor in the state of Alabama, the college encourages all students to check their own state requirements and qualifications to ensure they’re fully prepared.

Credit requirements: 48 credit hours

Selection of required courses:

  • Educational Statistics
  • Techniques of Counseling
  • Strategies for Crisis Intervention
  • Counseling Multicultural Populations
  • Practicum in School Counseling
  • Internship in Counseling I, II

Program length: One year

Admissions and transfer credit information: Applicants to the Master of Education in School Counseling online degree program need to have two years of educational experience. Applicants should have a baccalaureate level teaching certificate or a master’s level certificate in a different educational support field. Candidates must submit an application and previous transcripts.

The University of West Alabama accepts up to nine hours of transfer credits.

Accreditation: The Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) provides accreditation to the Online Master of Education in School Counseling program.

20.Salem College

(Winston-Salem, NC)

The Department of Teacher Education and Graduate Studies in Education seeks students who are high-energy, inquisitive, and who desire to learn in a rigorous environment that keeps them connected to the community.

The online Master of Education in School Counseling program seeks to serve students on the path to impacting the lives of people they serve for the better.

Students receive an education in professional development and career counseling, program management, action research, legal issues, ethics, evaluation, assessment, and advocacy.

Individuals in the online School Counseling program become empowered to work cooperatively with teachers and other staff as well as with parents to best meet the needs of the pupils at schools.

All students need to spend two weekends in residence as part of specific coursework.

Credit requirements: 48 credits

Selection of required courses:

  • Action Research and Writing for Publication in School Counseling
  • Culturally-Relevant Counseling: Exploring Educational Equity
  • Managing the Comprehensive School Counseling Program
  • Focus on Student Advocacy and the School Counselor
  • Practicum in School Counseling
  • Internship in School Counseling

Program length: 36 months

Start dates: fall and spring

Admissions and transfer credit information: Students need a 3.0 undergraduate GPA, or a 3.0 GPA in at least 12 hours of graduate education, solid writing samples, professional references, and a clear criminal background check.

Accreditation: The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction approves the Department of Teacher Education and Graduate Studies in Education’s educator licensure programs.

21.Southern Arkansas University

(Magnolia, AR)

The Southern Arkansas University College of Education prepares a wide variety of professionals who participate in the school environment. The College gives special focus to instilling the virtues of leadership, service, scholarship, and dispositions.

The Online Master of Education in School Counseling maintains a balance to provide students with sufficient practical application as well as theoretical understanding. The program provides a well-formed understanding of developmental needs and issues children face throughout their school years.

Certified teachers may choose to take advantage of the add-on licensure track, to include 600 hours of internship experience at both the elementary and secondary levels.

Credit requirements: 48 credits

Selection of required courses:

  • Foundations of School Counseling
  • Ethical, Legal, and Professional Issues in Counseling
  • Basic Counseling Skills
  • Practicum in Counseling
  • Internships I, II in Elementary, Secondary School Counseling

Online instruction style: Hybrid

Program length: Two and a half to three years

Admissions and transfer credit information: Applicants to the online school counseling program must submit an application and all transcripts. Students whose highest degree has a GPA below 3.0 also need to submit standardized test scores.

The admissions team does accept transfer students if they meet all admission criteria.

Accreditation: The Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) provides accreditation to the College of Education at Southern Arkansas University.

22.Our Lady of the Lake University

San Antonio, TX

Our Lady of the Lake University focuses on pre-professional and professional programs offered in a Catholic, liberal arts context. The University focuses on a personal teaching style and provides a stimulating, supportive, and inclusive environment.

The online Master of Education in School Counseling program challenges its students to become counselors who influence those around them and effect change in both primary and secondary education settings.

Students receive preparation to take exams both to become certified school counselors in the state of Texas and to become Licensed Professional Counselors.

Credit requirements: 60 credits

Selection of required courses:

  • Multicultural Issues in Counseling
  • Career Counseling
  • Ethical Issues in Counseling
  • Assessment and Appraisal
  • Clinical Diagnosis
  • Child and Adolescent Counseling
  • Couple and Family Counseling

Online instruction style: Asynchronous with synchronous components in some courses.

Admissions and transfer credit information: Applicants to the online school counseling degree submit sealed undergraduate transcripts, a personal statement, completed questionnaire, references, and permission to obtain test scores, as well as teaching license and history if applicable.

Candidates should have an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher; candidates with a lower GPA should submit a statement to address their lower GPA.

Accreditation: The Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools provides Our Lady of the Lake University with accreditation.

23.Missouri Baptist University

(Saint Louis, MO)

The Graduate Department of Counselor Education prioritizes instruction through clinical experience and academic rigor.

The University designed the online Master of Arts in School Counseling for working adults seeking certification in K-12 school counseling. The program directs its attention to the public-school setting and requirements.

All education comes from a Christian perspective, from an exclusively Christian faculty. The same faculty provide training and mentorship to students as they advance from classroom theory to clinical practice.

The online school counseling program positions students for a potential career as a mentor, or to pursue a doctorate degree.

Credit requirements: 51 semester hours

Selection of required courses:

  • Foundations of School Counseling
  • Counseling Theories
  • Advanced Human Development
  • Group Counseling Lab
  • Counseling Practicum
  • Assessment & Testing
  • Substance Abuse Counseling
  • Internships in Elementary, Secondary School Counseling
  • Crisis, Trauma, & Disaster Counseling

Online instruction style: Asynchronous

Program length: 36 months

Admissions and transfer credit information: Applicants must submit sealed transcripts in addition to their application.

Accreditation: The Higher Learning Commission provides Missouri Baptist University with accreditation.

24.Gwynedd Mercy University

(Gwynedd Valley, PA)

The School of Graduate and Professional Studies at Gwynedd Mercy University aims at serving working adults and helping them obtain undergraduate and graduate degrees as quickly as possible in a way that serves their individual needs. The School also provides certificate programs and doctoral programs.

The online Master’s in School Counseling degree prepares individuals to help young people negotiate difficulties with teachers, peers, parents, and other family members while actively supporting these students in the development of healthy approaches to life struggles.

Credit requirements: 60 credits

Selection of required courses:

  • Disabilities in the School Counseling Setting
  • Intervention Techniques in School Counseling
  • Group Counseling and Facilitation Skills for the School Setting
  • Internship I, II, and III

Admissions and transfer credit information: Applicants to the online school counseling program submit official transcripts demonstrating the completion of an undergraduate degree with a GPA of no less than 3.0. In addition to the application, students must also submit two letters of recommendation and a personal statement before completing an interview.

The program accepts up to six credits of graduate level transfer credits.

Accreditation: The Middle States Commission on Higher Education provides accreditation to Gwynedd Mercy University.

25.University of the Cumberlands

Williamsburg, KY

University of the Cumberlands offers Associate, Bachelor, Master, and Doctoral degrees, as well as certificate programs, across a wide range of disciplines. The University seeks to foster in all of its students a sense of leadership and service.

Directed towards supporting aspiring school counselors and guidance counselors, the online Master of Arts in Education degree with a concentration in School Counseling provides preparation to serve from the end of high school all the way down to the pre-kindergarten level.

Professors empower individuals to make personal connections with each student they serve, making them better able to provide needed support. The online school counseling degree gives specific focus to ensuring the counselors it produces can position themselves to best support and guide students through challenging events occurring in their lives during their schooling.

Credit requirements: 45 credit hours

Selection of required courses:

  • Advanced Human Behavior Development and Learning
  • Psychological Assessments
  • Counseling Individuals with Diverse Needs
  • Legal and Ethical Issues in Counseling
  • Counseling aspects of Grief and Loss
  • Counseling Practicum
  • Counseling Internship

Admissions and transfer credit information: Applicants must submit official transcripts demonstrating an overall GPA of 2.75 or above (alternately, 3.00 in the last 30 credit hours) and three letters of recommendation after submitting an application.
Applicants with a teaching license may submit praxis scores in lieu of taking an entrance exam.

Accreditation: The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) provides accreditation for the online Master of Arts in Education Degree.

Master’s in School Counseling | Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Master in School Counseling Degree?

The programs typically emphasize meeting the personal, social, emotional, academic, as well as career readiness needs of all students. Master in School Counseling degree programs cover techniques utilized in counseling individuals and groups within culturally and economically diverse populations. Available Master’s degrees include a Master of Science, Master of Arts, and Master of Education. Master in School Counseling degree programs typically include courses such as:

  • Child and Adolescent Development and Treatment
  • Counseling Children
  • Human Development Across the Lifespan
  • Program Development and Evaluation for School Counselors
  • Counseling Modalities in a School Settings
  • Educational Assessment and Intervention
  • Group Counseling
  • Concepts of Family Systems

The degree programs typically include an internship and/or a practicum. Master in School Counseling programs typically prepare individuals to serve as counselors in elementary, middle, and high school settings (K-12).

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What are the Typical Requirements for a Master in School Counseling Degree Program?

Applicants typically need a bachelor’s degree from an accredited four-year college or university. Some schools also request a statement of purpose which indicates a commitment to working with children and youth in a school environment. Some Master in School Counseling programs give additional consideration to applicants who have counseling-related experience and/or experience working with children and youth. Some of the programs require applicants to provide letters of recommendation.

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Can Students Enroll in a Master in School Counseling Program with an Undergraduate Major other than Psychology or Education?

Yes. Many of the programs accept individuals with undergraduate majors in areas besides psychology and education.

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How long does it take to complete a Master in School Counseling Degree Program?

Most Master’s in School Counseling degree programs require two years (four semesters) of full-time study, however some schools offer programs which can take 14 months to complete. Students taking the degree program part-time typically complete the degree in 3-4 years.

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Do you need a Master’s Degree to Work as a School Counselor?

Many states do require a master’s degree in order to work as a school counselor.

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What is the Typical Path to become a School Counselor?

School counselors are certified/licensed professionals with at least a master’s in school counseling degree. Appropriate fields of graduate study in most states to qualify an individual for a school counseling career include school counseling and child psychology. Some schools prefer school counselor candidates to also have a teaching certificate and a few years of teaching experience.

Steps to become a School Counselor:

  • Obtain a bachelor’s degree in counseling, psychology, or a related subject
  • Acquire a master’s degree in school counseling or a closely related subject
  • Finish an internship or equivalent, on a state’s requirements
  • Complete the state’s exams for counselors
  • Acquire a counselor’s license

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Do you need a School Counseling Certificate or License to practice as a School Counselor?

Many states require a counselor to obtain a school counseling certificate or license to work as a school counselor. The rules for certification vary from state to state; individuals should check with their state’s board of education regarding requirements.

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Do you need a Teaching Certificate to become a School Counselor?

Many states do not require teaching experience or a teaching certificate for school counselor certification. Some states require professional school counselors to have previous teaching experience. Some school districts may give preference in hiring counselors with teaching credentials.

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Can you Work in other States with a School Counseling License from a Specific State?

Often yes, for example some of the CACREP-accredited School Counseling Program meets the requirements for working in other states.

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If you have Certification in a Specific State can you obtain Certification in other States?

Each state has its own requirements and some do require previous experience as a teacher. Contact the State Department of Education for information for.

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Do Master in School Counseling programs have Specialized Accreditation?

Many of the Master in School Counseling degree programs typically have accreditation from the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). The Master’s in Psychology and Counseling Accreditation Council (MPCAC) accredits a small number of school counseling programs in the United States.

How does a CACREP Accredited Program help Individuals in the Program?

A CACREP accredited program indicates the program has gone through evaluation and the content and quality of the program meets standards the profession has set. CACREP accreditation indicates a program includes appropriate knowledge and skill areas as well as the program is stable, professionally and financially. CACREP accreditation ensures the quality of counselors who graduate from the program to work with K-12 students. CACREP accreditation facilitates state licensure through ensuring a program provides specific content areas and clinical experiences. What are the Goals of an Accredited Master in School Counseling Program? According to CACREP:

  • Stimulate self-evaluation, development and self-directed improvement
  • Provide a system for accountability
  • Provide ongoing consultation
  • Provide peer recognition
  • Enhance the program’s reputation
  • Provide a cost effective review mechanism since trained volunteers who donate their time and expertise complete most of the work

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What can you do with a Master’s Degree in School Counseling?

Graduates of a Master in School Counseling degree program, typically serve as a school counselor in grades K – 12. Some graduates seek licensure for private practice, work in higher education settings, or obtain various types of roles.

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What does a School Counselor do?

School counselors support the entire student body with academic, career, and social/emotional issues in K-12 education. They’re also involved in schoolwide prevention and intervention, working with partners in the school community such as teachers, administrators, parents, and the larger community. School counselors evaluate a student’s skills, strengths, weaknesses, career goals, and interests. They may work in a district supervisory role or in a college counselor education program. They’re involved in areas such as:

  • Providing counseling to individual students
  • Advocating for students at individual education plan meetings, school attendance review boards and student study teams
  • Interpreting cognitive, aptitude and achievement tests
  • Providing suggestions to teachers for effective classroom management
  • Individual student academic program planning

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What Role do School Counselors have with College Education?

School counselors emphasize postsecondary options, including at the elementary school level. School counselors expose students to various careers and emphasize improving skills to help students access and achieve their goals. Due to many careers requiring a college degree, school counselors are typically well-versed in the various types of information students need to help them apply to college and have success at college.

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How much do School Counselors Earn? Salary Information

School and career counselors had a median annual wage of $58,120.00 in 2020, with a growth rate of 8%, adding 26,800 more positions by 2029. (Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics)

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Are School Counselors in demand?

Several factors, including state and federal economic indicators, retirements and local, state, and possibly federal school counseling program expansion initiatives, influence the job outlook for school counselors. The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts 8 percent employment growth for school and career counselors from 2029, faster than the average for all occupations.

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How can I pay for a School Counseling Degree?

Many colleges and universities offer online students financial aid. Online students as well as traditional students applying for federal financial aid must attend a school which has accreditation from an accrediting agency which has recognition from the Department of Education. Our Financial Aid Guide for Online College Students provides vital information about the various types of financial assistance such as Federal Direct Subsidized Loans, Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans, Grants, Lifetime Learning Credit, the American Opportunity Tax Credit, Parent Plus Loans, Grad Plus Loans, and more.

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