online masters programs in educational counselingFinding an online masters degree in educational counseling that fits your career goals can be daunting. There are many options available, and your choice depends on what you are looking for. Some are looking for affordability, while others are more concerned with reputation or the versatility of the degree. We’ve searched universities across the country to find you the best online programs from our nation’s top schools.

Do you have a heart for young people? Are you dedicated to helping others achieve their goals? Are you willing to spend time understanding a person’s background, culture, and unique challenges? If you answer these affirmatively you have the most important credential a school counselor can have—a heart for helping young people. 

online masters educational counselingIt goes without saying that young people face incredible challenges today. Through the years many of them have stayed the same—a difficult family life, relational problems, drugs, abuse, neglect, and self-esteem issues. However, today there are many issues unique to our young people as well as an increase in some of those perennial problems like abuse. More recent problems in our society today include increasing diverse populations, eating disorders, anxiety, learning disabilities such as ADHD, and addictions to video games and pornography to name just some. All of these factors and more prevent a young person from developing their full potential. This is where you come in with a heart to address these challenges person to person as a professional school counselor. 

What is educational counseling?

online masters educational counselingEducational counseling can take many forms, the most common being the role of “school counselor.” School counselors play a vital role in our society in advocating, assessing, encouraging, and directing young people. School counselors are trained professionals with the skills to help children, families, teachers, and communities in a school setting. They work on an educational team, with teachers and administration, to improve student outcomes as well as meet one-on-one with students. Tasks may include setting academic goals, doing individual and group counseling, safeguarding school records, assessing issues ranging from academic to psychological, and more. The demands of the job require specialized training in social and psychological problems.

Counselors need knowledge of what affects children and what contributes to success.

The ability to assess the child and intervene with relevance is why training is required. For example, what are the ways in which national origin, race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, and disability affects child development and relationships at home and at school? School counselors also need to understand the global society and unique issues that arise in families and the workplace. In other words, the older idea that a school counselor is just sitting in an office waiting to help prepare students for secondary school, college, and career is too limited. Nowadays, 21st-century school counselors need holistic training to meet the emotional, social, and academic needs of each child.

How do I earn my online masters in school counseling and certification?

online masters educational counselingOnline masters in school counseling degrees vary considerably from school to school. For example, some schools require a teaching degree and around 30 credits to graduate while others can be up to 60 credits and only require a bachelor’s. It really depends on what you need and where you’re at in life. That’s where we come in. We’ve sorted through multitudes of schools to narrow down the options to only the best in terms of quality, price, and reputation. So, if the price point is the #1 consideration, you can easily find it. Or if you’re looking for that combination of price and quality including certification, we’ve got you covered. Speaking of certification, when it comes to licensure be sure to check your state for specific requirements. This is especially true with online learning when you enroll in an out-of-state school. Many of the programs on this list prepare you for certification and some do not. We’ve noted that. 

What is your methodology?

As previously mentioned, every potential student is looking for something different when it comes to choosing a school, whether it be cost, reputation, or versatility. We have factored in these variables to compile a list of the top online masters in educational counseling degrees. We gathered data points from the National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. News and World Report, and school websites. Please note that the average net price listed below is per credit hour. The following calculations were used:

  • Cost per Credit Hour – 30%
  • Percentage of Graduate Students – 20%
  • Annual ROI – 20%
  • Student to Faculty Ratio – 10%
  • Graduation Rate – 10%
  • Retention Rate – 10%

The Top 30 Online Masters Programs in Educational Counseling

  1. MERIT: 100.0
    View Profile Average Cost: $665

    Online Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Counseling with a concentration in School Counseling

    online masters educational counselingConsistent with the College of William and Mary’s academic reputation it comes as no surprise the School offers some of the best online masters degrees. The Online Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Counseling with a concentration in School Counseling will ready you for the challenges and joys of counseling in a K-12 setting. Key competencies of the program include program planning, development of learning styles, and implementation of evaluation practices. The nationally recognized and both NCATE- and CACREP-accredited program follows the highest standards and delivers real results. The 60-credit curriculum is laid out with structured, real-world challenges, collaborative coursework, and relevant practical experience. Courses include:

    • Theories of Counseling and Psychotherapy
    • Group Theory and Techniques
    • Professional, Ethical, and Legal Issues in Counseling
    • Introduction to Professional School Counseling 
    • The Counselor and Psychopathology 
    • Advanced Issues in Professional School Counseling 
    • Theories & Strategies for Counseling School-Aged Children

    The cohort-style of delivery is a strength of the program. This interactive and creative collaboration between students and faculty from across the nation simply works. Admission includes GRE scores. With the CACREP-accreditation you will be prepared to meet most licensure requirements. 

    About the College of William and Mary

    The College of William and Mary’s educational experience and tradition goes way back to 1683. The mid-sized Public Ivy is located in historic Williamsburg, Virginia. Research is vital to the mission and so is service. W&M is a top producer of Peace Corps volunteers for the 11th consecutive year.

    • Location: Williamsburg, VA
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 27.6% 
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 11 to 1
    • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
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  2. MERIT: 98.6
    View Profile Average Cost: $565

    M.Ed. in International School Counseling or Counseling and Human Services 

    online masters educational counselingWhen crunching numbers (which is what we do here) LeHigh University’s top online masters programs keep coming up. If you’re wanting to get into school counseling there are three routes to choose from at LU: International School Counseling + PA Certification (hybrid), Counseling and Human Services, or School Counseling + PA State Certification. The CHS is 60 credits while the other two are 48. All the programs can be completed in two to three years. The School Counseling program is specifically geared to those wishing to enter K-12 counseling. Coursework includes:

    • Assessment and Appraisal in Counseling
    • Culture-Centered Career Intervention
    • Counseling and Therapeutic Approaches
    • Diversity and Multicultural Perspectives
    • Human Development Across the Lifespan
    • Advanced Inclusionary Practices in K-12

    Other program requirements include a minimum of 100 hours of fieldwork in addition to an internship of 15-20 hours a week for two semesters and a comprehensive portfolio. The online delivery is synchronous with evening classes to accommodate the working professional.  Admissions do not include GRE scores.

    About LeHigh University

    Lehigh University is a mid-sized “Hidden Ivy” located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. The private and selective university ranked 6th in the world recognized as an NGO by the United Nations. The most popular majors at LeHigh are Finance, Mechanical Engineering, Accounting, and Chemical Engineering. 

    • Location: Bethlehem, PA
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 26.3%
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 9 to 1
    • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education as well as numerous other accrediting bodies. 
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  3. MERIT: 97.6
    View Profile Average Cost: $560

    Master of Science in School Counseling and Preventive Mental Health

    online masters educational counselingOdds are if you’re searching for top online masters degrees you’ll find a bunch at Creighton. Their Master of Science in School Counseling and Preventive Mental Health program won’t break the bank and will give you what you need to excel in the rewarding field of school counseling. Within the fully-online program, you choose a track: Elementary School Counseling, Secondary School Counseling, or PK-12 Guidance Counseling. The 36-39 credits required divides into a core of classes covering key theories, methodologies, and best practices in the field. Classes include:

    • Ethical Guidelines for School Counselors
    • Introduction to the ASCA Model of School Counseling
    • Action Research in School Counseling
    • Data-Driven Perspectives in School Counseling
    • Career Perspectives for Children & Adolescents
    • Social Justice & Diversity in School Counseling

    After the robust core, you choose a track and take two more classes and complete an internship. If you are a Catholic and wish to teach in the Catholic school system you can enroll in Creighton’s Magis Catholic Teacher Corps. Admission to the program includes a minimum GPA of 3.0; GRE scores are not required. The program starts in June with the application deadline in May.

    About Creighton University

    Creighton University is a private Jesuit university.  The campus atmosphere and school culture imbibe service to others and social justice. CU offers over 160 undergraduate and graduate degree programs. The three most popular majors are Business, Health Professions, and Biology and Biomedical Sciences.

    • Location: Omaha, NE
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 50.1%  
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 11 to 1
    • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission as well as several other accrediting bodies.
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  4. MERIT: 96.8
    View Profile Average Cost: $275

    Master of Education in Counseling and Development Online

    online masters educational counselingLamar University provides working people with some of the best online masters degrees in America. A choice to go for Lamar’s Master of Education in Counseling and Development with a Specialization in Professional School Counseling online is a choice for success in terms of your education and your pocketbook. The absolutely amazing cost per credit of $275 is the 2nd most affordable on our top 30. This cost also does not reflect quality. The NCATE-accredited, 60-credit program is comprehensive and effective. You can earn your degree in as little as 30 months if you are ambitious. The program does include one residency and leads to your School Counseling Certification and Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in Texas. Classes include:

    • Group Counseling Theories & Techniques
    • Multicultural Counseling
    • Professionalism, Ethics and the Law
    • Abnormal Human Behavior
    • Marriage, Couple and Family Counseling

    In addition to coursework, there is a heavy emphasis on experience-based education; you are required to complete a 15-week practicum and one five-week internship. Admissions requirements include a valid Teaching License and at least two years of experience and a minimum GPA of 2.5. There are eight different start-dates making this degree able to fit in anyone’s schedule.

    About Lamar University

    Lamar University is a large public university near Houston. LU is made up of six academic colleges offering 15,000 students over 100 undergraduate and graduate programs. The top three degrees at Lamar are Health Professions, Multi-/Interdisciplinary Studies, and Engineering.

    • Location: Beaumont, TX
    • Percentage of Graduate Students:  39.7%
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 17 to 1
    • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges as well as several other accrediting bodies.
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  5. MERIT: 95.5
    View Profile Average Cost: $433

    Master of Education in Educational, School and Counseling Psychology

    online masters educational counselingMizzou is on the move and expanding into online learning with many top online masters degrees. The Master of Education in Educational, School and Counseling Psychology is delivered 100-percent online and offers an emphasis in mental health practices in schools. This emphasis helps you promote positive mental health among youth, improve classroom management, collaborate with families, and implement evidence-based programs. This online masters does not lead to certification or licensure. Courses follow a 34-credit curriculum of core classes (25 credits) and electives (nine credits). Some classes include:

    • Developmental Aspects of Human Learning
    • Foundations of School Mental Health
    • Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Disorders in Youth
    • School Mental Health: Policy, Law and Ethics
    • Diversity Issues in School Mental Health
    • Communication and Collaboration with Children and Families
    • Vital Issues in School Mental Health

    The program culminates in a capstone research paper that integrates and focuses all your learning in a real-world issue. You can apply at any time with Mizzou’s rolling admission. If you’re planning a timeline for your degree you can count on two years to complete Mizzou’s M.Ed. Please note that if you’re a veteran there is a scholarship possible, the Mizzou Online Military Tuition Award.

    About the University of Missouri

    The University of Missouri is a large public university. MU is known for nanomedicine, the most powerful university reactor, and an amazing medical school. Besides research and medicine, MU has all the trappings of an American university—spirited athletics, vibrant student life, and a vast array of academic options. 

    • Location: Columbia, MO
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 24.6%
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 17 to 1
    • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission as well as numerous other accrediting bodies.
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  6. MERIT: 92.8
    View Profile Average Cost: $439

    Online M.A. in Counseling

    online masters educational counselingOffering top online masters degrees is part of everyday business at UND. The M.A. in Counseling is online, affordable, and can be completed in two and a half years. The price is one of the best at $439 per credit leading to a positive ROI. Knowing also that the program is accredited (CAEP and the ESPB) ensures you and employers that the training delivered is up to industry standards. The program leads to eligibility for licensure in ND. The program is comprehensive and rigorous with 60 total credits. Classes include:

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

    The UND philosophy of education includes an emphasis on social justice as well as experience-based learning. There is a semester-long practicum, two-semester internship (that can be completed locally), and a final project that teachers data-driven decision making in the field. Two, four-day residencies are required per summer term. These four residencies feature traditional lectures, hands-on labs, and valuable networking. 

    About the University of North Dakota

    The University of North Dakota is a large public research school. UND is an innovator in energy, medicine, aviation, and unmanned aircraft systems. Students enjoy the choice of more than 225 academic programs and over 250 student clubs. 

    • Location: Grand Forks, ND
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 24%  
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 17 to 1
    • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission as well as numerous other accrediting bodies.
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  7. MERIT: 90.6
    View Profile Average Cost: $265

    Master of Education in School Counseling Online

    online masters educational counselingThere are dozens of top online masters degrees to choose from at Southeastern Oklahoma State University. The Master of Education in School Counseling Online is a great option for the working professional. The 42-credits required are delivered entirely online and offered in an accelerated and flexible manner. You can complete the program in a year and a half. Classes offered in this program are:

    • Human Growth and Development in Counseling
    • Assessment in Counseling
    • Career Counseling and Development
    • Theories of Counseling
    • Social and Cultural Diversity Issues in Counseling
    • Group Counseling
    • Developmental School Counseling
    • Psychopathology and Treatment Planning in Counseling
    • Counseling Children and Adolescents

    A unique and notable aspect of SOSU is the price and pay-as-you-go system. The price is the #1 most inexpensive on our list, and not only that, you literally pay as you go! There is also no sacrifice or scrimping on quality as the M.Ed. is CAEP-accredited. Admission requires a teaching certificate and a minimum GPA of 2.0.

    About Southeastern Oklahoma State University

    Southeastern State Normal School opened its doors in 1909. Since then, the institution has grown and changed much. Southeastern Oklahoma State University is now a public university offering nearly 5000 students undergraduate, graduate, and online degrees. The top three majors are Engineering, Business, and Education.

    • Location: Durant, OK
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 30.7%  
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 20 to 1
    • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
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  8. MERIT: 89.4
    View Profile Average Cost: $560

    Master of Counseling in School Counseling

    online masters educational counselingOSU’s Ecampus provides a stellar online education and several of the best online masters degrees. The Master of Counseling in School Counseling is a hybrid degree that is 50-percent online and 50-percent on campus. Residency requirements are two weekends a term. The program is one of the longest on our list in terms of duration and credits at three years and 75 credits. It is also one of the most accredited: CACREP, NCATE, and Oregon’s TSPC. The overarching purpose of OSU’s program is “…to promote the social, psychological and physical well-being of individuals, families, communities and organizations.” A sample of some courses are:

    • Social and Cultural Perspectives
    • Applied Psychopathology and Psychodiagnostics
    • Addictive Behavior Counseling
    • Leadership of School Counseling Programs
    • Multicultural Counseling

    There is a strong social justice emphasis and perspective throughout the program as well as a multicultural philosophy of education. OSU ScholarDollars is a new online portal for applying for money to help you earn your degree. There is over $50 million in funds available for OSU students during the 2019-20 school year. Admission does not require GRE scores.

    About Oregon State University

    Oregon State is an international public research university located in the lush Pacific Northwest. OSU offers 31,000 students over 200 total undergraduate and graduate programs through 11 colleges, 15 experiment stations, and 35 Extension offices.

    • Location: Corvallis, OR
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 17% 
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 17 to 1
    • Accreditation: Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities as well as numerous other accrediting bodies.
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  9. MERIT: 87.3
    View Profile Average Cost: $315

    Online Master of Arts in Education-School Counseling

    online masters educational counselingThe University of the Cumberlands offers several accredited and affordable top online masters degree programs. The Online Master of Arts in Education with a concentration in School Counseling is perfect for working professionals or educators seeking professional development or certification (the program does not lead to initial licensure in teaching). Licensure reciprocity is good in all but four states: AK, IA, MS, and MI. 

    Admission to the MAEd program requires a valid teaching license and your Praxis scores to be submitted. If you are not validly licensed you can still apply but need to pass an entrance exam and submit your GRE scores. Once accepted, you enter the NCATE-accredited 45-credit program. Classes prepare you with theory and practice:

    • Issues and Trends in Special Education
    • Introduction to School Counseling
    • Psychological Assessments
    • Counseling Individuals with Diverse Needs
    • Lifestyle and Career Development
    • Counseling Theories and Techniques I
    • Legal and Ethical Issues in Counseling

    There is also a practicum, capstone, and comprehensive exam required to graduate. UC’s transfer policy is generous accepting up to nine credits towards your MAEd. All in all the price is right, the program is effective, and it’s delivered entirely online.

    About the University of the Cumberlands

    Vita Abundantior,” or in English, “A Life More Abundant” is the University of the Cumberlands motto. The University of the Cumberlands is a small private liberal arts school founded in 1889 and is located in Williamsburg, Kentucky. Students choose from over 40 academic programs.

    • Location: Williamsburg, KY
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 75.7% 
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 13 to 1
    • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
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  10. MERIT: 87.2
    View Profile Average Cost: $614

    Master of Science in Education – School and Professional Counseling

    online masters educational counselingOnline education at Concordia University Wisconsin provides top online masters degrees to working professionals. The Master of Science in Education – School and Professional Counseling program prepares men and women to make a real difference in the lives of students. The program does lead to licensure (check your own state for reciprocity). It also integrates the Christian faith into practice through the call to counseling. CUW prepares “…ethical servant leaders who value the diversity of God’s children and embrace social justice with compassion.”

    Academic requirements include 45 total credits (48 if you do not hold a teaching license and up to 60 depending on previous education) and you’ll need to complete your Praxis II before graduation. The program is delivered fully online and includes the following outcomes:

    • Integrate evidence-based counseling theories, techniques and interventions into professional practice
    • Adhere to professional and ethical standards
    • Actively engage in self-reflection and lifelong learning
    • Serve clients according to their unique diverse needs
    • Help clients to lead purposeful and fulfilling lives in mind, body and spirit

    Admission to the M.S.Ed. does not require the GRE. There are a number of small scholarships offered by CUW to online students. 

    About Concordia University – Wisconsin

    Concordia University Wisconsin is a private Christian university operated by the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod (LCMS). The School is known for its service and academic excellence. CUW has an impressive 90-percent job placement rate. 

    • Location:  Mequon, WI
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 45.1% 
    • Faculty to Student Ratio: 11 to 1
    • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission as well as several other accrediting bodies.
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  11. MERIT: 87.1
    View Profile Average Cost: $575

    School Counseling, MEd (online)

    online masters educational counselingTop online masters degrees are available at UMass Boston. The Department of Counseling and School Psychology is offering an M.Ed. in School Counseling that meets requirements for licensure in the state of Massachusetts as a School Guidance Counselor,  The MPCAC-accredited curriculum is full and requires 60 credits to graduate. A sample of courses taught are:

    • Professional, Ethical, and Legal Issues in School Counseling
    • Group Counseling for Children and Adolescents
    • Psychopathology and Diagnosis
    • Child and Adolescent Counseling
    • Sociocultural Considerations in Counseling
    • Crisis and Trauma Counseling
    • College Readiness Counseling

    The program is offered both synchronously and asynchronously. It should be noted that this program requires a two-week residency at UMass Dartmouth during your first summer term, usually the last week of June through the first week of July. This important component features face-to-face time with your 15-student cohort, professors, international students, and others to engage in clinical coursework. Admission to UMass Boston includes a minimum 2.75 GPA and may require GRE scores. There is only a summer start date with your application due in January. 

    About the University of Massachusetts

    The University of Massachusetts is a large public research university. Over 16,000 students represent 113 countries. UMass Boston is dedicated to cutting-edge research and social and environmental justice  The School has launched 35 cutting-edge technology and life sciences startup enterprises and the nation’s first Green Chemistry PhD program in 2004.

    • Location:  Boston, MA
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 45.1% 
    • Faculty to Student Ratio: 16 to 1
    • Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education
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  12. MERIT: 87.0
    View Profile Average Cost: $915

    Online Master of Arts in School Counseling

    online masters educational counselingWe crunched the numbers and they revealed that the University of Denver has some of the best online masters degrees in America. The Morgridge College of Education offers an Online Master of Arts in School Counseling guided by CACREP standards. You can expect a challenge as the program is 72 credits; it takes two years to complete if you enroll full-time. At UD the SchoolCounseling@Denver curriculum is infused with an emphasis on social justice. Program outcomes include the ability to work with children and adolescents to meet their academic, career and social/emotional needs in K-12 settings, lead in your community for positive change, and b advocate for students. 

    The required courses involve every major area and train you to be a self-reflective counselor. The online school utilizes a flipped classroom, synchronous delivery. Courses include:

    • Basic Counseling Techniques
    • Counseling Theory
    • Roles & Responsibilities of the School Counselor
    • Diversity: Multicultural Counseling Psychosocial Issues
    • Mental Health & Substance Use
    • Career Counseling

    A 100-hour practicum experience and a 600-hour internship experience fulfilled locally (where you live) is required as well. There is also an optional on-campus immersion experience available in this program. All in all, at UD you’ll receive 24/7 help and support and be taught by doctoral-level faculty with real-world experience.

    About the University of Denver

    The University of Denver is a mid-sized, private research university. The School is the most experienced in the region with a history stretching back to 1864. Their educational philosophy is experientially-based, and UD offers over 200 academic programs in just about every field. The top three choices are Business, Social Science, and Psychology.

    • Location: Denver, CO
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 51.4%  
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 12 to 1
    • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
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  13. MERIT: 86.1
    View Profile Average Cost: $600

    Online Master’s in School Counseling 

    online masters educational counselingYou’ll find top online masters degree programs in Education, Business Administration, Nursing, and Counseling at Gwynedd Mercy University. If you’re looking to earn a graduate degree and be eligible for your school counseling license, the Online Masters’ in School Counseling delivers. The program is respected by national industry standards and aligned with components of the American School Counseling Association’s (ASCA) National Model. It should be noted that though all classwork is delivered online there are two weekend residencies required. Here are a few of the classes you’ll take if you choose GMU:

    • Disabilities in the School Counseling Setting
    • Needs of English Language Learners in the School Counseling Setting 
    • Intervention Techniques in School Counseling
    • Organization of School Counseling
    • Group Counseling and Facilitation Skills for the School Setting

    There are 60 total credits, 30 core, 30 in school counseling. There are six credits of electives that give you options to customize as well as a 100-hour practicum and 600-hour internship at three different sites. A distinguishing factor of GMU is the small-school personal attention and mentorship provided by expert faculty. Admission requires a GRE if you do not hold a graduate degree or have a minimum 3.0 GPA.

    About Gwynedd Mercy University

    “Veritas et Misericordia, or Truth and Mercy” is the motto of Gwynedd Mercy University in Pennsylvania (about 30 minutes from Philadelphia). GMU is a small private Catholic school rooted in service and the liberal arts. There are over 40 majors to choose from including nursing, business, education, liberal arts, and science. 

    • Location: Gwynedd Valley, PA
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 26.3%  
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 10 to 1
    • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
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  14. MERIT: 85.5
    View Profile Average Cost: $429

    Online M.Ed. in School Counseling

    online masters educational counselingThe University of West Alabama offers several top online masters degrees. UWA offers an outstanding Online M.Ed. in School Counseling designed for educators at a great price. The 48-credit, 100-percent online, CAEP-accredited program can be completed in one to two years. Outcomes include the ability to provide advocacy, assessment, evaluation and a range of counseling services to students. You’ll not only learn counseling theory but practical skills such as counseling techniques, strategies for crisis intervention, counseling multicultural populations and more. Program courses and requirements are divided into nine-credits of Professional Courses and 39-credits of School Counseling (including a practicum and internship).

    • Techniques of Educational Research
    • Educational Statistics
    • Life-Span Development and Learning
    • Counseling Children and Adolescents
    • Strategies for Crisis Intervention
    • Diagnostic Techniques for School Counselors

    Admission requires (among other general requirements) that you hold a valid baccalaureate (bachelor’s) level certification in a teaching field or a valid master’s level professional educator certificate in another area of instructional support as well as two years of the educational experience. If you do hold a valid bachelor’s level Professional Educator Certificate in the same teaching field(s) in which the Master’s Level Certificate is sought you will earn an Alabama Class A Certification upon completion of this program. 

    About The University of West Alabama

    In 1835 Livingston Female Academy opened its doors to young women looking to teach. Only after several name changes and moving from a church-sponsored to a public university did the University of West Alabama become what it is today. UWA is a mid-sized coeducational university offering over 50 majors with the most popular being Business, Engineering and Communication.

    • Location: Livingston, AL
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 58.5%  
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 14 to 1
    • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
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  15. MERIT: 84.5
    View Profile Average Cost: $325

    Master of Science – School Counseling 

    online masters educational counselingThe University of Central Arkansas jumped into the wave of online learning and now offers some of the best online masters degrees. The Master of Science degree in School Counseling (SCCN) is affordable, convenient, and flexible. It should be mentioned that the price is the fourth most affordable on our top 30 at $325 per credit. The 48-credit online curriculum is offered in two tracks: Initial Licensure Track and the Add-on Licensure Track. If you are currently an educator and hold a valid license in Arkansas and want to transition into the exciting and rewarding job of a school counselor you choose the Add-on Track. If you are not a licensed teacher you choose the Initial Licensure Track. The courses are delivered both synchronously and asynchronously and there are some face-to-face residencies required. Here are some of the required classes

    • Foundations of School Counseling
    • Life-Span Development 
    • Multicultural Counseling in Schools
    • Career Guidance for School Counselors
    • School Counselor as Consultant
    • School Counseling Intervention Strategies
    • Counseling Theory in K-20 Education

    Graduation requires you also pass the Praxis exam and complete the field-experiences. Please note that UCA does not admit anyone with a graduate GPA under 3.0 in this program. If you haven’t attended another graduate school the minimum GPA is 2.75.

    About University of Central Arkansas

    Historically the University of Central Arkansas was the primary teacher training school in the State. Now the public research university offers over 150 degrees at every level in just about every subject. UCA is known for academic excellence and the only school in Arkansas to be recognized for that specifically by U.S. News and World Report.

    • Location: Conway, AR
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 15.6%  
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 15 to 1
    • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission as well as numerous other accrediting bodies.
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  16. MERIT: 82.6
    View Profile Average Cost: $500

    MS in Counseling – School Counseling

    online masters educational counselingSeveral of the best online programs can be found through ULM Online. The Master of Science Degree in Counseling with a Concentration in School Counseling meets the requirements for School Counselor Certification in the state of Louisiana. The Program is designed for professionals to work in K-12 settings with the skills to advocate for students, assess concerns and problems, recommend intervention, offer career guidance, and lead as a change-agent in the community. The CACREP-accredited curriculum utilizes the latest theoretical orientations, treatment approaches, and evidence-based research. Courses include:

    • Introduction to Counseling
    • Counseling Theories 
    • Legal and Ethical Issues in Counseling 
    • Career Counseling
    • Maladaptive Psychopathology 
    • Principles of Administration of School Counseling Programs 3
    • Crisis Intervention Counseling

    A practicum and two internships root your learning in the real world and help you apply knowledge gained in the classroom. Graduate assistantships may become available. They include 20 hours a week of work and receive free tuition and a stipend of $8,000. GRE scores and a minimum 3.0 GPA are required for admission.

    About the University of Louisiana – Monroe

    The University of Louisiana Monroe is a public university offering 89 majors and minors to over 9000 students. Points of pride include having the only state-funded pharmacy program in Louisiana, a nationally-ranked nursing program, and a 100-percent pass rate for Nursing, Dental Hygiene, Speech-Language Pathology, Marriage and Family Therapy, Counseling, and Radiologic Technology.

    • Location: Monroe, LA
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 16.1% 
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 20 to 1
    • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges as well as numerous other accrediting bodies.
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  17. MERIT: 80.0
    View Profile Average Cost: $560

    Master of Arts with a major in School Counseling

    online masters educational counselingIndiana Wesleyan University delivers high quality and affordable online including some of the best online masters degrees. Their Master of Arts in School Counseling is one of the best around. The quality is assured with a CACREP-accreditation, participation in the National Counselor Examination program, and a unique clinical counseling focus. The MA is offered online with your internship completed where you live. There are two-weekend intensives as well; they’re offered typically Thursday through Saturday in late October and early May. The 48-credit program integrates the Christian distinctive of service to others with the latest research-proven theory. Courses covered are:

    • Multicultural Counseling 
    • Theory and Techniques in the Helping Relationship 
    • Theory and Techniques in Career Counseling
    • Research and Evaluation of Methods and Practice
    • Legal, Ethical and Professional Issues 
    • Integration of Christian Faith in Professional Counseling
    • Child and Adolescent Development and Treatment

    IWU’s School Counseling Program prepares you for licensure in Indiana but also to become a National Certified Counselor. Once you finish the program you can then need to complete the NCE within six months. Check out the Lilly Endowment Foundation for financial assistance. This opportunity specifically targets remote places and those that may not have equitable or easy access to programs such as this.

    About Indiana Wesleyan University

    Indiana Wesleyan University is a Christian school in Marion, Indiana. IWU’s reputation for top-quality academics and distinctive Christian identity is well-established. It is the largest Council for Christian Colleges and Universities institution in the country. In recent years IWU has become known for innovative adult education.

    • Location: Marion, IN
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 10.5% 
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 13 to 1
    • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
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  18. MERIT: 79.8
    View Profile Average Cost: $435

    Master of Arts in School Counseling

    online masters educational counselingAdams State University offers eight of the best online masters degrees on the internet. The Master of Arts in School Counseling is inexpensive and CACREP-accredited. The 60-credit hours are completed in seven or eight semesters. The curriculum is delivered online in cohorts with two one-week sessions on ASU’s beautiful campus in June. The goals of the program are:

    • Personal growth
    • Development of a broad knowledge of counseling theory and research
    • Development of individual and group counseling skills
    • Knowledge of auxiliary services and follow-up

    If you are seeking licensure you’re on the right track! The MA in School Counseling meets the coursework requirements for licensure as a School Counselor in the State of Colorado. The curriculum is trusted not only bc of the CACREP accreditation but also approval by the State’s education office. There is a robust core followed by a focus on school counseling. Multiple practicums and fieldwork is required. Courses include:

    • Multicultural & Diversity Issues
    • Ethics/Professional Issues
    • Crisis, Disaster & Trauma
    • Foundations of School Counseling
    • Counseling Modalities in a School Setting

    New cohorts begin every Fall, Spring, and Summer. Admission requires a minimum GPA of 2.75 and no GRE scores.

    About Adams State University

    Adams State University is a small public liberal-arts school in Alamosa, Colorado. ASU began as a normal school in 1921 and now serves a diverse student population; it is a Hispanic Serving Institution. The top three majors are Liberal Arts and Humanities, Business, and Kinesiology and Exercise Science.

    • Location: Alamosa, CO
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 35.7% 
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 12 to 1
    • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
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  19. MERIT: 79.6
    View Profile Average Cost: $599

    Online Masters in School Counseling

    online masters educational counselingEven though USW is small their top online masters degrees are recognized for quality and price. The Online Masters in School Counseling from USW prepares you to enter the field confidently and highly-skilled on day one. The M.Ed. trains you in both fundamentals and advanced knowledge of counseling in a K-12 setting. The 42-credit, fully online degree program is designed to prepare you for licensure. The curriculum structure includes standard core, specialization, and practical experience elements. Courses lead to the ability to:

    • Focus on the relations and interactions between students and their school environment with the expressed purpose of reducing the effect of environmental and institutional barriers that impede student academic success
    • Assist students with evaluating and considering future educational and career paths
    • Provide an atmosphere where all students can learn
    • Practicums and an internship are required and can be completed in a variety of settings. 

    As a Christian university, you will gain the benefit of faith integrated into all your classes. All classes are l as the USW traditional brick-and-mortar curriculum. Since USW is a small school you’ll receive personalized attention and faculty-mentorship.

    About the University of the Southwest

    The University of the Southwest is a small non-denominational Christian school in Hobbs, New Mexico. USW academic and school culture is based on the Christian faith and a focus on servant leadership. The school offers undergraduate and graduate programs.

    • Location: Hobbs, NM
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 58.4
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 14 to 1
    • Degrees Offered: Bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree, Doctor’s degree
    • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
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  20. MERIT: 79.2
    View Profile Average Cost: $907

    Online Master of Arts in Counseling–School Counseling Specialization

    online masters educational counseling“Make a difference in the lives of others” is the slogan for the Lake’s several top online masters programs. The Online Master of Arts in Counseling– School Counseling Specialization is nationally recognized for effectiveness, affordability, and prepares you for the Texas School Counseling certification. A choice for the Lake is a choice to be fostered intellectually, professionally, and spiritually. The 48-credit program aims to prepare school counselors who know how to lead by serving and have the real-world skills to help young people navigate life. Program outcomes include:

    • Assess and confidentially address students’ behavioral and learning problems
    • Promote psychological health in children and adolescents
    • Implement effective career development planning
    • Uphold the ethical codes applicable for school counselors

    The CACREP-accredited curriculum moves from core to specialization with experience-based practicums as well. There are three areas that classes fall under:

    • Foundation 
    • Contextual dimensions
    • Practice

    With quality well-established, you can move onto the practical dimension of choosing the right school for you. OLLU tuition is $907 a credit and admission requires a 2.75 GPA and no GRE scores are required. All told, this online masters degree will put you in a place to succeed where it counts—with your students and yourself.

    About Our Lady of the Lake University

    Our Lady of the Lake University is a small Catholic liberal-arts university founded in 1895. OLLU offers 30 undergraduate majors and minors, 14 master’s programs and two doctoral programs. It is particularly known for the programs in social work and counseling.

    • Location: San Antonio, TX
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 54.9
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 11 to 1
    • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
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  21. MERIT: 78.7
    View Profile Average Cost: $615

    Online Master of Education in School Counseling

    online masters educational counseling

    LU’s motto “Knowledge Aflame” fits their effective online learning platform some of the best online masters degrees in the country. The Master’s in School Counseling Online is a case in point. The CACREP- and NCATE-accredited program is 48 credits. It is delivered online with some required intensives. The student convenience and faculty expertise make LU’s M.Ed. a great choice. At Liberty, you can always expect to learn everything from a biblical perspective. Courses you’ll take are:

    • Counseling Theories and Techniques
    • Career Development and Counseling
    • Child and Adolescent Counseling in the Schools
    • School Counseling Program Development and Evaluation 

    The program prepares you for certification in VA. More importantly, it prepares you on day one with the skills and knowledge to plan, develop, implement, and evaluate comprehensive school counseling programs to help young people K-12. A notable feature of LU is that the school will accept up to 50 percent of transfer credits. Overall, LU’s program is a tremendous combination of quality, price, and convenience. With motivation, you’ll earn your school counseling degree in only two and a half years.

    About Liberty University

    Liberty University is literally a kind of universe unto itself. The Christian university is the largest in America and continues to provide a solidly Christian education to men and women. LU offers over 100,000 students (including a huge contingent of online learners) 600 unique programs of study. 

    • Location: Lynchburg, VA
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 41.9%
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 18 to 1
    • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges as well as several other accrediting bodies.
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  22. MERIT: 78.6
    View Profile Average Cost: $770

    Online MSED in School Counseling

    online masters educational counselingSt. Bonaventure University Online offers a personalized online learning experience in all their top online masters programs. SBU has its outstanding credentials on display the MSED in School Counseling. First and foremost it is nationally accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs (CACREP) and is located within the NCATE-accredited School of Education. Secondly, it meets requirements for licensure in the State of New  York. The 100-percent online degree trains men and women with knowledge of

    • individual counseling
    • counseling techniques
    • testing and diagnosis
    • current school counseling issues

    Best practices are emphasized through instruction by experienced faculty in small class sizes. The 60-credit program can be completed in two years. The curriculum includes an initial practicum and two internships of 300 hours with a certified K-12 counselor. Once you complete your program you can apply for provisional certification in School Counseling through the TEACH website. Admission doesn’t require a GRE but does require a minimum 3.0 GPA, a statement of purpose, and an interview.

    About St. Bonaventure University

    St. Bonaventure is a private Catholic university founded by the Franciscans in 1858. SBU is now home to 2400 students. The academic philosophy is informed by the school’s religious tradition and focused on excellence and personal attention. Degrees are offered in liberal arts and sciences, business, education, and journalism and mass communication.

    • Location: Saint Bonaventure, NY
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 23.7%
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 12 to 1
    • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education as well as several other accrediting bodies.
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  23. MERIT: 78.3
    View Profile Average Cost: $1428

    Online Masters in School Counseling

    online masters educational counseling“For Humanity” is Wake Forest’s motto on display in some of the best online masters degrees in the nation. The Online Master’s in School Counseling program is a perfect example. At WFU the program educates you with the knowledge and advanced skills to take your love for helping young people succeed to a new level. Knowing the fact that 95 percent of graduates pass the National Counselor Examination means you are in a quality program. Additional indicators of quality include CACREP accreditation and several award-winning faculty in the field of school counseling. The online delivery utilizes a cohort model that maximizes student and faculty interaction. The curriculum includes eight areas of focus:

    • Human growth and development
    • Social and cultural foundations
    • Helping relationships
    • Group work
    • Career and lifestyle development
    • Appraisal
    • Research and program evaluation
    • Professional orientation

    The 60-credit program is organized and intense. It moves through foundation, core, beginning, and advanced coursework. You are also required to complete two internships totaling 600 hours and 42 hours of group counseling. A marked emphasis is on experience and mentorship. 

    About Wake Forest University

    Wake Forest is a private research university in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. WFU is known for excellence in its School of Law, Medicine, Business, and Nanotechnology to name just a few. The school maximizes learning by maintaining a small student to faculty ratio of 10 to 1. 

    • Location: Winston-Salem, NC
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 37.8%
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 10 to 1
    • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges as well as several other accrediting bodies.
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  24. MERIT: 77.0
    View Profile Average Cost: $545

    Master of Education in School Counseling

    online masters educational counselingGCU offers several top online masters degrees. The 100-percent online Master of Education in School Counseling is approved by the Arizona State Board of Education and guided by the American School Counseling Association (ASCA) National Model. The program is open for anyone with a bachelor’s degree, especially teachers seeking to move into counseling. Admission requirements include a minimum GPA of 2.8 and GRE scores. GCU is generous with accepting transfers—up to 12 credits. The 60-credit program is rigorous and can be completed in two years. There is a considerable weight on practical experiences. The program requires 725 total hours of practicum and internships. Courses include:

    • Theories and Models of Counseling
    • Counseling Skills
    • Counseling the Culturally Diverse
    • Organization and Administration of a School Counseling Program
    • Development through Childhood and Adolescence
    • Developmental Disabilities

    A look at the price makes GCU attractive; the cost per credit is $545. The convenience and experience of GCU’s entirely online expertise add to the excellent price point. You don’t have to travel anywhere outside your current location as all practicum experiences are accomplished locally. Lastly, if you’re looking for a program that leads to initial licensure you’ve found it!  

    About Grand Canyon University

    Grand Canyon University is expanding its scope and mission by adding quality online programs for over a decade. With a strong student-centered approach GCU serves over 90,000 men and women enrolled in just about every degree you can imagine! GCU is a non-profit, private Christian university located in Phoenix, Arizona.

    • Location: Phoenix, AZ
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 40%
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 20 to 1
    • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
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  25. MERIT: 76.9
    View Profile Average Cost: $627

    Master of Arts in Counseling with a school counseling emphasis

    online masters educational counselingLakeland University provides opportunities for the working professional with quality and affordable top online masters programs. The Master of Arts in Counseling (MAC) with a school counseling will get you into the world of counseling fully prepared with a degree that doesn’t break the bank. The program is entirely online. The LU co-op philosophy is present in the structure and layout of the program. Admission is straightforward—no GRE, just a bachelor’s, minimum GPA of 2.75, and an onsite interview. Once admitted you work towards completing 60 credits. There are 36 core requirements with classes such as:

    • Lifespan Development and Counseling: An Integration
    • Introduction to Psychopathology
    • Counseling Methods and Ethics
    • Counseling Theories
    • Psychometrics and Assessment

    After the core comes 15 credits of emphasis and the experiential component. There is one practicum of 125 hours and two internships at 300 hours each. This program is also very flexible and offered in LU’s BlendEd format with face-to-face learning at a variety of locations. The MAC program is approved by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction and is approved for licensure and certification as a Wisconsin school counselor.

    About Lakeland University

    Lakeland is a mid-sized, private university affiliated with the United Church of Christ in Plymouth, Wisconsin. LU’s co-op model of education fuses knowledge with experience and is the bedrock of their success. The 2500 students earn associates, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees.

    • Location: Plymouth, WI
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 25.5%
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 13 to 1
    • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
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  26. MERIT: 76.0
    View Profile Average Cost: $370

    Master of Arts in Education – School Counseling

    online masters educational counselingWhether you’re a current educator or not, Chadron State College provides a way to boost you into a career in school counseling. Their Master of Arts in Education-School Counseling is flexible and affordable. If you have a teaching license, the program is 39 credits and you will be recommended for certification upon completion. If you do not have a teaching degree you take 54 credits. Both programs include a core of classes that prepare you for 21st century school counseling. Courses include:

    • Counseling Ethics and Professional Identity
    • Fundamentals of Assessment
    • Multicultural Counseling
    • Counseling Theories
    • Career and Lifestyle Development
    • Advanced Human Development

    Courses are mostly online though a few are not. Admission requirements also include an on-campus visit for the Counseling interview and the orientation. The MAE-School Counseling program requires a practicum and internship as set forth by the State of Nebraska for licensure. The internship requirement is either an elementary or secondary experience of 450 hours, or, if you are seeking a PK-12 license, both for 900 hours. It should not go without mention that Chadron State’s cost per credit is an incredible $370.

    About Chadron State College

    Chadron State College is a small public college started in 1911 in the Nebraska Panhandle. CSC’s academic model is learner-centered and 2500 students choose from 52 undergraduate programs and eight graduate programs.

    • Location: Chadron, NE
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 21.5%
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 17 to 1
    • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
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  27. MERIT: 75.5
    View Profile Average Cost: $1475

    M.Ed in Educational Psychology – School Counseling 

    online masters educational counselingTexas A&M offers incredible academic opportunities and resources in a number of top online masters degrees. Their online M.Ed in Educational Psychology with an emphasis in School Counseling degree is of the highest quality. The 48-credit program follows standards set forth by the Texas Education Agency and the American School Counselor Association. TAMU’s philosophy of education for the program is a scholar-practitioner approach that utilizes the best technology, practical experiences, and creative resources for our 21st century society. The core curriculum covers fundamental and advanced concepts to train men and women to look at the child holistically. Courses include:

    • Foundations of School Counseling
    • Multicultural Counseling in Schools
    • Techniques of Research
    • School Counseling Theories & Techniques
    • Issues in Child and Adolescent Development

    This program is recommended to teachers with at least two years of experience (the TEA requires a minimum of two years of education for a school counselor licensure). Without that, you can still be admitted but will need to complete two years of education experience prior to licensure. The program is among the highest cost at $1475 per credit.

    About Texas A&M University

    Texas A&M University is the first public university of Texas. Founded in 1876, the University is now home to over 65,000 students. It is a powerhouse research institution and the flagship of the Texas State University System. TAMU offers 133 undergraduate degree programs, 175 master’s degree programs, and 92 doctoral degree programs.

    • Location: College Station, TX
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 21.7%
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 20 to 1
    • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
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  28. MERIT: 75.4
    View Profile Average Cost: $1260

    Online M.A. in School Counseling

    online masters educational counseling“Despite hazards, move forward” describes the spirit behind SHU’s several top online masters programs. The Online M.A. in School Counseling as an excellent example. The program prepares professionals to understand, relate, and help diverse students from different backgrounds in a rapidly changing world. This challenge undoubtedly brings hardships, but with the drive to keep moving forward most problems can be overcome.

    The MA program comes with excellent credentials. The College of Education and Human Services is nationally accredited by three professional associations: APA, COAMFTE, and CAEP. This triple-accreditation means that the industry standards are present and employers recognize this. The 48-credit program takes about two to two and a half years to complete. The curricular structure consists of a core followed by areas of competency, Assessment, Psychological Foundations, Sociological Foundations, and Research. This is then followed by Supervised Experience, Professional Orientation, and then either a comprehensive exam or a capstone project. Admission requirements include a GRE though waivers are possible with a GPA of 3.0 or above. The cost per credit is $1260.

    About Seton Hall University 

    Seton Hall University offers a dynamic private Catholic education to 10,000 students. SHU offers 90 programs that are challenging and with many accolades. U.S. News & World Report has recently ranked the Nursing program among the best in the nation and Forbes ranked SHU as one of America’s Best Value Colleges.

    • Location: South Orange, NJ
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 39.6%
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 20 to 1
    • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education as well as numerous other accrediting bodies.
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  29. MERIT: 75.0
    View Profile Average Cost: $1795

    Online Master of Arts in Counseling and Guidance

    online masters educational counselingYou can count on your NYU education in any subject to be respected and of high quality. The Online Master of Arts in Counseling and Guidance offers an online program for those seeking to become a school counselor. NYU’s program offers a concentration in school counseling or in bilingual school counseling. The program philosophy is guided by equity and social justice. It is fully accredited by the Masters in Psychology and Counseling Accreditation Council (MPCAC) under the Masters in Counseling Accreditation Committee (MCAC) standards.

    The curriculum consists of 48 credits and can be completed in as little as 18 months. With rolling admission and no GRE requirement, NYU makes starting easy, convenient, and flexible; there are three start-dates in January, June, and September. In addition to core classes, you will complete a counseling lab, a 100-hour practicum, and a 600-hour internship. Core classes teach skills in multiculturalism, techniques of research, relevant theories and best practices, and fundamental issues in child development. The final requirement of the program is the completion of the Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Examination (CPCE). 

    About New York University Steinhardt

    New York University is a research cornucopia. NYU is one of the largest private universities in American and operates campuses and centers across the country and globe. NYU’s reputation and rich experience extend all the way back to 1831. 

    • Location: New York, NY
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 48.4%
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 9 to 1
    • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education as well as numerous other accrediting bodies.
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  30. MERIT: 74.8
    View Profile Average Cost: $1928

    Master of Education in School Counseling

    online masters educational counselingUSC delivers a 21st-century education. Their Master of Education in School Counseling marshalls the most relevant research coupled with the skills to understand the overall well-being of the child. The program is housed in the USC Rossier School of Education and is guided by the American School Counselor Association’s National Model for School Counseling. A USC degree includes skills associated with restorative justice, including “…facilitating behavior management through accountability and promoting just treatment for all individuals,” as well as trauma-informed practice.

    The program structure is consistent with other schools in offering a core of classes, followed by a 100-hour practicum and a 600-hour internship. You can choose to complete the 49 units either full- or part-time in two or three years. The program prepares you for the Pupil Personnel Services Credential (PPS) with a specialization in School Counseling (SC). Please note that you do not need educational experience to apply to the program and no GRE is required.

    About the University of Southern California

    The University of Southern California is well-known and respected for research and academic prowess. USC’s economic impact is over $8 billion every year and this year there were a record number of applications for new freshmen. The most popular majors at USC are Business, Social Sciences, Visual and Performing Arts, and Engineering.

    • Location:  Los Angeles, CA
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 48.4%
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 9 to 1
    • Accreditation: WASC Senior College and University Commission as well as numerous other accrediting bodies.
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What does a school counselor do?

online masters educational counselingSchool counselors work in public, private, and charter school settings. Work environments vary, but you generally work on a team with other teachers and administration to help educate children. Though school counselors don’t teach classes, their work has a lot of overlap because the young people counseled interface with teachers and students in class as well as administration, staff, and the community.  A basic job description for a school counselor is a school employee tasked with working with children to achieve their academic and career goals and overcome challenges along the way. This equates to tasks such as helping with attendance issues, protecting students records, advocating for students in meetings, working with teachers on academic plans, doing individual and group counseling with students, and more.

Counselors can be licensed to work K-12 or only elementary, middle, or high school grades. One thing you can toss out of your head is the image of the school counselor hanging out in their office with an occasional student wandering in to pick up a college application. Today’s world and students have changed. Though a school counselor may not do as much trauma intervention, addiction counseling, etc.—the work of a professional counselor—you can expect to encounter these problems among students.

The proliferation of learning disabilities, better diagnosis of behavioral problems such as ADHD, the breakdown of families, abuse, bullying, and many more problems, students need guidance, help, and sometimes intervention. This is where a professional training comes in, and truly, is absolutely necessary. Even more primary that training though is a heart for helping young people. A desire to work with them to help them succeed academically, emotionally, socially, and personally.  

What is an online masters in educational counseling?

online masters educational counselingThere are several ways to approach this question. Firstly, and most simply, an online masters in educational counseling is a graduate degree for those seeking to enter the career of a school counselor. There are different kinds of master’s degrees that may affect your choice. The Master of Arts, Master’s in Education, and Master of Science are three that are common. An MA differs from an MS in that it is more practically-focused whereas an MS includes specific research components. MA programs are generally geared to the liberal arts as opposed to the sciences with MS degrees. Also, an MA is usually a terminal degree.

MEd programs are essentially MAs but are created and guided by practical experiences for professional activity. In the case of a school counseling program, most are MA or MEd degrees. In terms of curriculum, there is a significant similarity. This is mainly due to so many being guided by national accrediting agencies such as the Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs (CACREP).

In general, you’ll receive an education in a core consisting of fundamental theory, assessment, skills of individual and group counseling, multiculturalism, and professional ethics.

Programs then move into more advanced coursework dealing with specific issues such as trauma counseling and working with families. Practicums and fieldwork follow and usually ranging from 600-800 hours. Some programs include a capstone project, comprehensive exam, or research paper. In general, you can expect to be working for two-plus years and completing 45-60 credits.

Who are online masters in school counseling programs designed for? What are the admission requirements?

online masters educational counselingEvery school that is now in the business of offering online programs seeks to provide a way for working professionals and family men and women. The idea is that an online degree, whether delivered asynchronously or synchronously, allows one to keep earning a living on the same basic schedule as you earn your degree. Be aware that some programs do require some on-campus work that will impact your schedule and budget. For example, it’s not uncommon to for schools that are not offering a 100-percent online option to require an orientation or a few weekends. These can also be a huge advantage as they allow you to meet others in your cohort, professors, and professionals. This networking really can get you your first job. It’s not what you know, but who you know, right!?

In terms of admission requirements, we can speak to generalities. A bachelor’s degree, minimum GPA, and the basic package of an application fee, official transcripts, letters of recommendation, and statement of purpose is standard. Differences to be aware of include on-campus interviews, the type of bachelor’s degree, namely if an education degree is required, a teacher’s license, and if GRE scores are required. If GRE scores are required lookout for minimum scores and also possible waivers. The common waiver is if based on GPA. If you are currently a teacher and seeking to move into school counseling there are programs designed for you. These are usually less total credits, and hence, less time and money. 

Is an online masters in school counseling worth it?

online masters educational counselingWhether or not a degree is worth depends on how much it costs in terms of money and time, in other words, investment, and the value it produces, namely your salary and job satisfaction. Though there are objective data points to consider, there is also the subjective value of each individual. This particular topic is complicated and can even be controversial. To address the objective values in terms of money and ROI, we offer some general thoughts and two concrete ideas from Forbes magazine. Let’s start with the cost or what you spend. The average cost on our list is $585 per credit. The low is $265 and the high is $1928 per credit.  This equates to a total tuition cost range, using an average 40 credit degree, of $24,000 to $78,000.

What you spend can be reduced by financial aid such as grants and scholarships, and even some graduate assistantships. On the flip side, undergraduate debt can also factor into your decision. Now let’s look at the return. The average school counselor salary varies from state to state but ranges from $45,000 to $65,000. Payscale reports that the average overall salary is $49,837 and the BLS reports $56,310. With this general information in mind, a school counseling degree can be worth it. Forbes has an excellent article explaining various mathematical methods to help calculate if a graduate degree is worth it.

Two easy ways are as follows: “If your total undergraduate debt and grad school debt are higher than your first-year salary out of graduate school, then the cost of your total education is too high. Another good rule of thumb [is that] you should borrow no more than you can repay in 10 years or than you can repay before you retire.”

What is the job outlook and salary for a school counselor?

online masters educational counselingA master’s in school counseling program prepares you specifically for working in public, private, or charter schools. Currently, there is a growing need for more school counselors, especially ones that are highly skilled and personally motivated to help young people in a holistic manner. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics reports rising demand for school counselors K-12 and in universities. “Employment of school and career counselors is projected to grow 8 percent from 2018 to 2028, faster than the average for all occupations.”

In addition to current counselors reaching retirement age, the demand is coming from enrollment growth and simply the need. Today’s societal trends, especially with the increase in abuse, neglect, divorce, suicide, ADHD, and a slew of other problems, our schools need to add a team player who can help.

This is where school counselors come in. They intervene, advocate, work with staff, protect records, create plans, and more, all to help young people academically, socially, emotionally, and personally.

Now let’s look specifically at the salary. Salaries vary greatly from state to state, but the average salary is $56,000 according to the BLS. According to Payscale “Employees with School Counselor in their job title in Houston, Texas earn an average of 22.2% more than the national average. These job titles also find higher than average salaries in New York, New York (17.0% more) and Los Angeles, California (13.2% more). The lowest salaries can be found in Indianapolis, Indiana (17.8% less) and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (2.9% less).” The lowest 10 percent earns $33,000 and the highest 10 percent earns $94,000. 

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If you aren’t sure about an online masters in educational counseling or are interested in other degrees, check out the links below.