The Complete List of CACREP Accredited Online Master’s in Counseling Programs 2018

Best Counseling Degrees - Top Online Programs-01
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By Kirsten Hughes

April 2018

This list of online master’s counseling degree programs accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) will be a good resource for individuals wishing to advance their career in the field of counseling.

All the degrees listed here are CACREP accredited and available in an online or hybrid format. Most of the schools offer students the opportunity to attend 1-2 weeks of residency on campus in order to build relationships with peers and faculty and strengthen clinical skills.

Because these programs are all CACREP-accredited, graduates will be eligible to pursue licensure. Licensing requirements vary by state and applicants are encouraged to consult their home state licensing board for more information.

This list of the top 36 online master’s degrees in counseling offers students the ability to earn their degree from home and advance their professional career without disrupting their current work, family, and life commitments.

Read more about how we compiled this list by reading our methodology statement at the end of this article.

Ranking the CACREP-Accredited Online Master’s in Counseling by Affordability

#25 Union Institute and University

Cincinnati, OH

Online Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

union-institute-and-university-cincinnati-oh-online-master-of-arts-in-clinical-mental-health-counseling

This accredited online master’s program in clinical mental health counseling helps students from Union Institute and University to earn their degree without sacrificing their filial or professional lives. The core courses in the program include helping relationships, treatment modalities, and group work and therapy. Electives include human sexuality for counselors and crisis intervention. Students must complete a capstone project, a practicum, and internships in addition to core and electives classes, totaling 60 credits. The school offers both part-time and full-time options to students, with start dates in January, May, and August. The admissions office requires a minimum 3.0 GPA, official undergraduate transcripts, a resume, and three professional letters of recommendation.

#24 Lamar University

Beaumont, TX

Online Master of Education in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

lamar-university-beaumont-tx-online-master-of-education-in-clinical-mental-health-counselingDistance learners in Lamar University’s M.Ed. in clinical mental health counseling must complete 60 total credits to graduate. Graduates go on to work in places such as hospitals, schools, private practices, and clinics. Students take classes in group counseling theories/technique, multicultural counseling, and professionalism: ethics and law. Students should plan to address the residency requirement listed by this accredited online master’s program. They will need to ensure that they can find their own transportation, housing, and meals. Learners also need to complete 120 hours of direct service and 180 hours of indirect service during their internship requirements. A 40-hour practicum is also required.

#23 Lock Haven University

Lock Haven, PA

Online Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

lock-haven-university-lock-haven-pa-online-master-of-science-in-clinical-mental-health-counselingAs with other accredited online master’s programs, the master of clinical mental health counseling at Lock Haven University requires 60 credits for graduation. Core classes in the program such as theories and models of counseling across the lifespan, research and program evaluation, and differential diagnosis and treatment planning prepare graduates for positions in a variety of clinical settings. The program includes coursework designed to help military personnel and their families. Subjects discussed include diagnosis and treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder, issues facing military veterans, and reintegration and recovery for veterans and their families. Admission requires a 3.0 minimum GPA and three letters of recommendation.

#22 University of North Carolina at Pembroke

Pembroke, NC

Online Master of Arts in Education in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Online Master of Arts in Education in Professional School Counseling

university-of-north-carolina-at-pembroke-online-master-of-arts-in-educationStudents at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke can concentrate in either the school’s clinical mental health counseling program or the school counseling program. These accredited online master’s degrees each list their own requirements. The clinical health track helps learners develop the competencies necessary to succeed in a variety of clinical settings. Alternatively, the school counseling track requires 60 credits for program completing and prepares graduates to serve as counselors to students in the K-12 grades. Classes in the school counseling track include counseling children and adolescents, mental health issues in childhood and adolescents, and legal aspects of educational leadership.

#21 St. Bonaventure University

St. Bonaventure, NY

Online Master of Science in Education Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Online Master of Science in Education School Counseling

st-bonaventure-university-st-bonaventure-ny-online-master-of-science-in-educationThe master of science in education counseling from St. Bonaventure university online is a CACREP-accredited program. Like other accredited online master’s programs in counseling, this degree can lead directly to state licensure. The program requires a 100-hour practicum and two, 300-hour internships. Students can concentrate in one of two fields: clinical mental health counseling or school counseling. The primary point of difference between the programs amounts to offering classes to students who want to work in P-12 education and students who want to work with individuals, families, and communal groups. Admission does not require either the GRE or the GMAt.

#20 Regent University

Virginia Beach, VA

Online Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Online Master of Arts in School Counseling

Online Master of Arts in Marriage, Couple & Family Therapy

regent-university-virginia-beach-va-online-master-of-arts-in-clinical-mental-health-counselingRegent University offers an accredited online master’s program in clinical mental health counseling that centers around a Christian worldview. Addiction therapies for individuals and families, psychopathology and diagnosis, and concepts of family systems serve as three courses that students are likely to take during their stint in the program. To qualify for program entrance, students need a 3.0 GPA from their undergraduate courses, a resume, transcripts from all previously attended schools, and a filled out application. While the majority of the program can be completed online, the program does ask learners to attend two, one-week residencies on campus to meet with faculty and peers. Learners cannot waive the residency requirement.

#19 Colorado Christian University

Lakewood, CO

Online Master of Arts in Counseling

colorado-christian-university-lakewood-co-online-master-of-arts-in-counselingColorado Christian University’s master of arts in counseling holds the designation of an accredited online master’s program. In particular, the program is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs. The program prides itself on its Christian focus and offers courses such as theories of personality and counseling, human growth and development, and theories of groups and group counseling. To gain admission to the program, incoming students need at least a 2.5 GPA, a current resume, and a valid driver’s license — among other paraphernalia. The online curriculum also requires at least 4 hours in bible and theology to solidify student’s faith-based approach to the counseling profession.

#18 University of Kentucky

Lexington, KY

Online Master’s in Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling

university-of-kentucky-lexington-ky-online-masters-in-clinical-rehabilitation-counselingThe University of Kentucky offers a master’s in clinical rehabilitation counseling that holds the status of an accredited online master’s program. Specifically, the Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE) accredits the program. Students can complete the program in 16 months, taking all coursework asynchronously. Classes in the course sequence include crisis, disaster, and trauma response for persons with disabilities; placement services and techniques in rehabilitation counseling; and transition, supported employment, and independent living. Distance learners must complete a total of 60 credits during eight-week blocks over the course of a traditional school calendar year. The program offers the Rehabilitation Services Administration Scholarship to Kentucky-employed counselors considering a rehabilitation counseling program online.

#17 Gallaudet University

Washington DC

Online Master of Arts in School Counseling

gallaudet-university-washington-dc-online-master-of-arts-in-school-counselingGallaudet University’s accredited online master’s program holds accreditation from both the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation and the Council on Accreditation of Counseling-Related Education Programs. The program focuses its curriculum around a multicultural approach, creating professionals who are aware of the complexities involved with clients who come from a variety of different backgrounds. Courses include substance prevention for children and youth, psychopharmacology for counselors, and introduction to research for counselors. Graduates of the program have demonstrated awareness of how to act as professional counselors, of the different socio-economic climates their clients face, and of theoretical models for sustaining school and community welfare.

#16 College of William and Mary

Williamsburg, VA

Online Master of Education in Counseling – Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Online Master of Education in Counseling – School Counseling

college-of-william-and-mary-williamsburg-va-online-master-of-education-in-counselingAccredited online master’s programs such as the one found at College of William and Mary prepare graduates for careers in clinical mental health counseling and school counseling. The program emphasizes social justice in its coursework, and students enjoy a research-focused school deeply committed to professional and academic growth. Faculty in the program ensure that distance learners graduate after exposure to interactive learning, rigorous theoretical materials, differences in people groups, and professional best-practices. Courses in the clinical mental health track include theories of counseling and psychotherapy, theory and practice of multicultural counseling, and human growth and development: a life-span perspective.

#15 Messiah College

Mechanicsburg, PA

Online Master of Arts in Counseling – Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Online Master of Arts in Counseling – School Counseling

Online Master of Arts in Counseling – Marriage, Couple and Family Counseling

messiah-college-mechanicsburg-pa-online-master-of-arts-in-counselingMessiah College offers an accredited online master’s program in counseling to aspiring counselors interested in clinical mental health counseling; marriage, couple, and family counseling; and school counseling. Each track lists its own specific requirements. The program holds accreditation from the CACREP and requires a total of 48 credits to complete. Courses include professional issues and ethics for counselors, clinical mental health counseling practicum, and foundations of clinical mental health counseling. Resources that the school makes available to students include gainful employment disclosures, library resources, career services, and writing help. The program infuses faith-based traditions into this flexible online program to meet the needs of nontraditional learners.

#14 Thomas University

Thomasville, GA

Online Master of Science in Clinical Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling

thomas-university-thomasville-ga-online-master-of-science-in-clinical-rehabilitation-and-mental-health-counselingThomas University’s accredited online master’s program in clinical rehabilitation and mental health counseling fosters individuals prepared to work as professional rehabilitation and mental health experts. Program outcomes include preparing graduates for the certified rehabilitation counselor (CRC) exam and for licensure exams in their respective states. The 63-credit curriculum allows for a minor in gerontology and does not require students to ever visit campus for any reason. Students may apply for the program in the fall, spring, or summer, and internship experiences can be completed near the student’s home location at an organization approved by the program.

#13 Malone University

Canton, OH

Online Master of Arts in Education in Counseling and Human Development

malone-university-canton-oh-online-master-of-arts-in-education-in-counseling-and-human-developmentThe Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Education Programs offers Malone University’s master’s in counseling and human development program the designation of an accredited online master’s program. The school prioritizes flexible student learning and personable faculty who can offer help. Students can choose either the clinical mental health or the school counseling track, each with a list of its own program requirements. Application materials include two references, a completed application form, an “autobiography,” official transcripts from previously attended undergraduate institutions, and an interview. Additional requirements include a 3.0 GPA; those with lower scores may still gain entrance into the program under special review.

#12 Grace College

Winona Lake, IN

Online Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

grace-college-winona-lake-in-online-master-of-arts-in-clinical-mental-health-counselingGrace College offers an accredited online master’s program in clinical mental health counseling that requires 60 credits to complete. The program earned accreditation from the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) in 2010 and offers a fully online format for students in need of flexible learning. The program highlights the importance of scripture through courses such as theological foundations in counseling, spirituality in counseling, and lifestyle and career counseling. Students can choose the six-, seven-, or eight-semester “curriculum map” based on their personal needs and professional goals. Students also need to complete a portfolio in order to graduate.

#11 Liberty University

Lynchburg, VA

Online Master of Education in School Counseling

liberty-university-lynchburg-va-online-master-of-education-in-school-counselingLiberty University offers a CACREP-accredited counseling program that caters to teachers interested in both public and Christian school education. Like all accredited online masters programs, students need the degree in order to enter the workforce as school counselors. Military members enjoy a significant per-credit tuition reduction and the flexibility of an online program. All students must complete a six credit hour internship in order to graduate. Upon graduation, students can then earn school counseling licensure or further their education still more to become a professional counselor. Admission requirements include the completion of the application, a processing fee, college transcripts, and proof that the prospective student is proficient in the English language.

#10 Bellevue University

Bellevue, NE

Online Master of Science in Clinical Counseling

bellevue-university-bellevue-ne-online-master-of-science-in-clinical-counselingCompleting an accredited online master’s program at Bellevue University enables new professionals to make their mark in the counseling sector. The 60-credit degree confers licensure status onto graduates; requirements include 100 hours of practicum experience and 600 hours of internship experience. Prospective students should check with their state requirements to ensure that the program meets their needs. Program outcomes include the ability to offer skilled and technically proficient counseling, multicultural sensitivity, and counseling with a moral and ethical mindset. Courses include helping relationships and orientation to the counseling profession, theories of psychopathology, and diagnosis of mental and behavioral disorders.

#9 Indiana Wesleyan University

Marion, IN

Online Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Online Master of Arts in School Counseling

Online Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy

indiana-wesleyan-university-marion-in-online-master-of-arts-in-clinical-mental-health-counselingIndian Wesleyan University offers an accredited online masters program in counseling with six concentrations: clinical addictions, clinical mental health, community counseling, marriage and family counseling/therapy, school counseling, and student development administration. The program aims to foster graduates ready for professional service within their area of specialization upon earning the degree. The school offers incoming students both assistantships and scholarships to help offset the cost of a graduate degree. Students take courses with names such as theory and techniques in the helping relationship, integration of Christian faith in professional counseling, and research and evaluation of methods and practice.

#8 Oregon State University

Corvallis, OR

Online Master of Counseling in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

oregon-state-university-corvallis-or-online-master-of-counseling-in-clinical-mental-health-counselingAccredited online master’s programs like the one found at Oregon State University give students the skills needed to find employment in hospitals, agencies, and clinical mental health settings. This 90-credit, part-time program is taught by world-class faculty with both professional and academic experience. The degree holds accreditation from the CACREP and caters to nontraditional learners in need of a flexible education. Students take courses such as professional counseling orientation and ethical practice, social and cultural diversity, and human growth and development. Students are expected to complete 600 hours of an internship experience in which they gain the professional acumen needed for hire.

#7 Palo Alto University

Palo Alto, CA

Online Master of Arts in Counseling – Clinical Mental Health Emphasis

Online Master of Arts in Counseling – Marriage, Family and Child Emphasis

palo-alto-university-palo-alto-ca-online-master-of-arts-in-counselingAn accredited online master’s degree program, Palo Alto University’s counseling program caters to individuals hoping to specialize in either marriage, family, and child or clinical mental health. The program earned CACREP accreditation in 2017, and offers a flexible, online options to prospective students hoping to maintaining either their family life or their professional career while they learn. In the online format, students take two classes per quarter, all during synchronous evening classes delivered by distinguished faculty. In total, the program takes about 2 years and nine months to complete. Other students elect the hybrid path, which takes only two years and three months.

#6 University of Louisiana at Monroe

Monroe, LA

Online Master of Science in Counseling – Clinical Mental Health Counseling Focus

Online Master of Science in Counseling – School Counseling Focus

university-of-louisiana-at-monroe-monroe-la-online-master-of-science-in-counselingThe University of Louisiana at Monroe understands the importance of a CACREP-accredited online masters program in counseling. The school offers two concentrations: one in school counseling and one in clinical mental health counseling. Graduates of both tracks work in a variety of positions, including as career counselors, play therapists, and human resources specialists. They also work in a variety of settings, including schools, their local communities, and at private practices. Students hoping to earn admission to the clinical mental health concentration need a 3.0 overall GPA from their undergraduate school and at least a 290 combined score on the GRE.

#5 Capella University

Minneapolis, MN

Online Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Online Master of Science in School Counseling

Online Master of Science in Marriage and Family Counseling/Therapy

capella-university-minneapolis-mn-online-master-of-science-in-counselingCapella University offers an accredited online masters program in counseling with four concentrations: addiction studies, school counseling, marriage and family counseling/therapy, and clinical mental health counseling. Each pathway includes its own, unique requirements. For example, the clinical mental health track requires 10 core courses, seven specialization courses, two residencies, a practicum, and two internships. It emphasizes helping clients conquer their mental health challenges through therapies designed to address things like addiction. Coursework in the specialization includes foundations of addiction and addictive behavior and ethical and legal issues in professional counseling. Admission requires two letters of recommendation, an essay, a resume, and an application fee.

#4 Lindsey Wilson College

Columbia, KY

Online Master of Education in Counseling & Human Development

lindsey-wilson-college-columbia-ky-online-master-of-education-in-counseling-human-developmentAn accredited online masters program in counseling and human development from Lindsey Wilson College equips distance learners with a practitioner-based and community-centered education. Students take courses in life cycle development in individuals and families, counseling theories and techniques: affective/humanistic, and career education counseling. Students who live outside of Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia who are taking the online program should ensure that the program meets their particular state’s requirements for licensure. The school of counseling at Lindsey Wilson has held CACREP accreditation since 1996, and its masters program requires 60 total semester hours for completion.

#3 Walden University

Minneapolis, MN

Online Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Online Master of Science in School Counseling

Online Master of Science in Marriage Couple & Family Counseling

walden-university-minneapolis-mn-online-master-of-science-in-counselingThe accredited online masters program in clinical mental health counseling from Walden University offers the flexibility of an online program to nontraditional students who need to tend to their family and work obligations. Graduates enter the field having learned how to analyze the multiple functions of a counselor, the changes in theories concerning human development, and the support systems necessary for interventions. Alumni work with all age groups, including adolescents, adults, and the elderly — helping them cope with abuse, addiction, and family problems. Coursework includes counseling and psychotherapy theories, ethics and legal issues in counseling, and assessment in counseling and education.

#2 Adams State University

Alamosa, CO

Online Master of Arts in Counseling

adams-state-university-alamosa-co-online-master-of-arts-in-counselingThe master of arts degrees in clinical mental health counseling and school counseling from Adams State University provides online students with the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in their careers. These CACREP and Higher Learning Commission-accredited online masters programs include coursework in counseling theories and helping relationships; counseling the couple, family, & system; and foundations of addictions counseling. Students take 13 core courses and, among other classes, two electives, requiring 60 total credits for completion. While the school offers the program to maximize flexibility, a two-week residency intensive is required in order to graduate.

#1 University of the Cumberlands

Williamsburg, KY

Online Master of Arts in Professional Counseling – Addiction Counseling

Online Master of Arts in Professional Counseling – Clinical Mental Health Counseling

university-of-the-cumberlands-williamsburg-ky-online-master-of-arts-in-professional-counselingAmong other accredited online master’s degree programs, the University of the Cumberlands offers learners the credentials needed for a growing field. These counselors work in mental health centers, correctional facilities, and private practices, among other places. Those in the program take courses such as private practice and clinical supervision, marriage and family counseling, and advanced counseling theories and techniques. Graduates from accredited online master’s programs and accredited master’s of social work programs online boast familiarity with the ethical standards required of those in the counseling field. Transfers into the program may bring 30 total credits with them from a regionally accredited school.
 

See more: The Top CACREP Accredited Online Doctoral Programs in Counseling

 

Methodology: A list of schools offering counseling programs online was compiled from the CACREP website. Each school’s website was searched for tuition information (per credit hour). Schools were then sorted for Master’s (M.A., M.Ed. or M.S.) degrees and Doctoral (Ed.D, Ph. D.) degrees and ranked on tuition, lowest to highest.

Source: Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP)