Best Online Master’s in School Counseling Degrees

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by Successful Student Writing Staff / published 6.4.2019 / updated 1.10.2020

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.

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.

Jobs in School Counseling

Online School Counseling Degree Program Ranking Guidelines


Best Online Master’s in School Counseling Degree Programs: School Ranking


NYU Steinhardt
Department of Applied Psychology
New York, NY
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School Type: Private University
Number of Online Programs: 11
Types of Online Programs: Master's, Doctorate

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

Admission Requirements for Graduate Students: Depending on the program, applicants must submit official transcripts, a statement of purpose, resume, letters of recommendation, test scores and an essay or portfolio.
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Vanderbilt University
Peabody College
Nashville, TN
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School Type: Private Research University
Number of Online Programs: 2
Types of Online Programs: Master's, Doctorate

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.

Admission Requirements for Graduate Students: Applicants must submit transcripts, test scores, letters of recommendation and a statement of purpose.
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Wake Forest University
Department of Counseling
Winston-Salem, NC
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School Type: Private university
Number of Online Programs: 5
Types of Online Programs: Certificates, Master's, Doctorate

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.

Admission Requirements for Graduate Students: Applicants must submit a personal statement, three references and transcripts from each college or university they've attended.
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Regent University
School of Psychology & Counseling
Virginia Beach, VA
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School Type: Private University, Christian
Number of Online Programs: 125+
Types of Online Programs: Associate, Bachelor, Master, and Doctorate

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.

Admission Requirements for Undergraduate Students: SAT or ACT requirement: Yes
Total transfer credit accepted: 90 credits
Admission Requirements for Graduate Students: GRE or GMAT requirement: Varies based on program
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University of Louisiana Monroe
College of Health Sciences
Monroe, LA
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School Type: Public University
Number of Online Programs: 45+
Types of Online Programs: Associates, Bachelors and Masters

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).

Admission Requirements for Undergraduate Students: Applicants must submit official transcripts and SAT/ACT scores as well as proof of immunizations.
Admission Requirements for Graduate Students: Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited university or college. Applicants must submit official transcripts from all colleges or universities attended as well as GRE or GMAT scores.
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Indiana Wesleyan University
Marion, IN
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School Type: Private University, Wesleyan Church affiliation
Number of Online Programs: 90+
Types of Online Programs: Associate, Bachelor, Master, Doctorate, Certificate

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).

Admission Requirements for Undergraduate Students: SAT or ACT requirement: Yes
Minimum GPA requirement: 2.6
Minimum GPA of transfer credit: Transfer credit must have a grade of C or higher
Admission Requirements for Graduate Students: The admissions team does accept graduate transfer credit
GRE or GMAT requirement: No
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Adams State University
Office of Graduate Studies
Alamosa, CO
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School Type: Public University
Number of Online Programs: 11
Types of Online Programs: Certificates, Bachelor's, Master's

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).

Admission Requirements for Undergraduate Students: Freshman applicants must submit official high school transcripts and ACT/SAT scores.
Transfer applicants also must submit official college or university transcripts.
Admission Requirements for Graduate Students: Applicants must submit official transcripts from all institutions attended.
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School of Education
Lynchburg, VA
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School Type: Private University, Christian
Number of Online Programs:
Types of Online Programs: Certificate, Associate's, Bachelor's, Master's, and Doctorates

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.

Admission Requirements for Undergraduate Students: SAT or ACT requirement: Yes
Minimum GPA of transfer credit: 2.0
Admission Requirements for Graduate Students: GRE or GMAT requirement: No
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Seton Hall University
College of Education and Human Services
South Orange, NJ
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School Type: Private Catholic University
Number of Online Programs: 8
Types of Online Programs: Master's, Doctorate and Graduate Certificates

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.

Admission Requirements for Graduate Students: Applicants must submit a statement of purpose, resume, three references and official transcripts.
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Creighton University
Graduate School
Omaha, NE
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School Type: Private University, Roman Catholic
Number of Online Programs: 30+
Types of Online Programs: Bachelor, Master, Doctoral, Graduate Certificate

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.

Admission Requirements for Undergraduate Students: SAT or ACT requirement: Yes
Admission Requirements for Graduate Students: GRE or GMAT requirement: Varies by department
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University of Massachusetts Boston
College of Advancing and Professional Studies
(Boston, MA)
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School Type: Public Research University
Number of Online Programs: 25+
Types of Online Programs: Certificates, Bachelor's, Master's, Doctorate

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).

Admission Requirements for Undergraduate Students: Applicants must submit official high school transcripts and ACT/SAT scores, an essay and a letter of recommendation. UMass Boston does offer a no-test admissions option.
Admission Requirements for Graduate Students: Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university. They also must submit letters of recommendation, official transcripts, a statement of purpose and official test scores, if applicable.
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University of North Dakota
Department of Education, Health, and Behavior Studies
Grand Forks, ND
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School Type: Public University
Number of Online Programs: 80+
Types of Online Programs: Bachelor, Master, Doctorate, Undergraduate and Graduate Certificates, Specialist Diploma

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.

Admission Requirements for Undergraduate Students: SAT or ACT requirement: Yes
Minimum GPA requirement: 2.75
Minimum GPA of transfer credit: 2.0
Admission Requirements for Graduate Students: Graduate applicants must demonstrate a minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.75.
GRE or GMAT general requirements for the University of North Dakota: Yes, for certain programs, and No for certain programs. Check with each program for specific details.
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University of Texas at Tyler
Department of Psychology & Counseling
Tyler, TX
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School Type: Public University
Number of Online Programs: 25+
Types of Online Programs: Certificates, Bachelor's, Master's, Doctorate

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.

Admission Requirements for Undergraduate Students: Applicants must submit official high school transcripts, or its equivalent; class rank and SAT scores.
Admission Requirements for Graduate Students: Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree or its equivalent. They must submit official transcripts, GRE or GMAT scores, and proof of English proficiency, is applicable.
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Angelo State University
College of Graduate Studies and Research
(San Angelo, TX)
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School Type: Public University
Number of Online Programs: 5
Types of Online Programs: Bachelor's

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).

Admission Requirements for Undergraduate Students: Freshman applicants must submit official high school transcripts, including class rank, and SAT/ACT scores.
Transfer applicants also must submit official college or university transcripts.
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Lamar University
College of Education and Human Development
Beaumont, TX
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School Type: Public University
Number of Online Programs: 50+
Types of Online Programs: Undergraduate and Graduate

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).

Admission Requirements for Undergraduate Students: SAT or ACT requirement: Yes
Minimum GPA of transfer credit: 2.0
Admission Requirements for Graduate Students: GRE or GMAT requirement: Yes
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University of Central Arkansas
College of Education
(Conway, AR)
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School Type: Public Research University
Number of Online Programs: 30
Types of Online Programs: Certificates, Bachelor's, Master's, Doctorate, Education Specialist

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).

Admission Requirements for Undergraduate Students: Applicants must submit official transcripts from all institutions attended.
Admission Requirements for Graduate Students: Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree, or its equivalent, and submit official transcripts from all institutions attended.
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University of Tennessee Martin
College of Education, Health, and Behavioral Sciences
(Martin, TN)
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School Type: Public University
Number of Online Programs: 12
Types of Online Programs: Bachelor's, Master's

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.

Admission Requirements for Undergraduate Students: Freshman applicants must submit high school transcripts or proof of GED and ACT/SAT scores.
Admission Requirements for Graduate Students: Applicants must submit official transcripts.
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Concordia University Wisconsin
School of Education, Department of Graduate Education
(Mequon, WI)
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School Type: Private Lutheran University
Number of Online Programs: 90+
Types of Online Programs: Certificates, Associate's, Bachelor's, Master's, Doctorate

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.

Admission Requirements for Undergraduate Students: Applicants must submit official transcripts from all institutions attended as well as SAT/ACT scores.
Admission Requirements for Graduate Students: Applicants must submit official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended, two letters of recommendation, a resume and a personal essay.
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University of West Alabama
College of Education
(Livingston, AL)
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School Type: Public University
Number of Online Programs: 50+
Types of Online Programs: Certificates, Bachelor's, Master's, Doctorate, Education Specialist

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.

Admission Requirements for Undergraduate Students: Applicants must submit official transcripts and ACT/SAT scores.
Admission Requirements for Graduate Students: Applicants must submit official transcripts from all institutions attended.
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Salem College
(Winston-Salem, NC)
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School Type: Private Liberal Arts College for Women
Number of Online Programs: 1
Types of Online Programs: Master's

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.

Admission Requirements for Graduate Students: Applicants must have a 3.0 undergraduate GPA or at least 12 hours of graduate work with a 3.0 GPA. Applicants also must submit writing samples and professional references and undergo a criminal background check. For the fall 2019 cohort, the college is focusing on students who are North Carolina residents.
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Southern Arkansas University
College of Education, Department of Counseling and Professional Studies
(Magnolia, AR)
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School Type: Public University
Number of Online Programs: 20+
Types of Online Programs: Bachelor's, Master's

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.

Admission Requirements for Undergraduate Students: Applicants must submit official high school transcripts or GED scores, as well as ACT/SAT scores.
Admission Requirements for Graduate Students: Applicants must hold a bachelor's or master's degree and submit official transcripts from the university granting the degree. Depending on the program, GRE, GMAT or MAT scores also may be required.
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Our Lady of the Lake University
San Antonio, TX
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School Type: Private
Number of Online Programs: 30+
Types of Online Programs: Bachelor's , Master's

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.

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Missouri Baptist University
Graduate Department of Counselor Education
(Saint Louis, MO)
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School Type: Private Evangelical Christian University
Number of Online Programs: 25+
Types of Online Programs: Associate's, Bachelor's, Master's, Doctorate, Education Specialist

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.

Admission Requirements for Undergraduate Students: Applicants must submit official transcripts.
Admission Requirements for Graduate Students: Applicants must submit official transcripts.
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Gwynedd Mercy University
School of Graduate & Professional Studies
(Gwynedd Valley, PA)
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School Type: Private Catholic University
Number of Online Programs: 24+
Types of Online Programs: Certificates, Associate's, Bachelor's, Master's, Doctorates

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.

Admission Requirements for Undergraduate Students: Applicants must hold at least 46 college credits from a regionally accredited institution and submit transcripts and a resume demonstrating at least two years of work experience.
Admission Requirements for Graduate Students: Applicants must hold a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution. They must submit official transcripts, GRE scores, letters of recommendation and a personal statement. They also must complete an interview.
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University of the Cumberlands
Williamsburg, KY
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School Type: Private
Number of Online Programs: 150+
Types of Online Programs: Associate's, Bachelor's, Master's, Doctorates, Certificate's

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.

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Best Online Master’s in School Counseling Degree Programs: School Ranking


Online School Counseling Degree Program 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 students who want to know what their educational options are for online school counseling degrees.

updated 1.10.2020

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