All Inclusive List of CACREP Accredited Online Master’s Programs, Ranked by Affordability

Best Counseling Degrees - Top Online Programs 2016
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By BCD Staff

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 15 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.


northwestern-university-online-master-of-arts-in-clinical-mental-health-counseling

#15 Northwestern University

Evanston, IL

Online Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Northwestern University offers an online Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Students can choose to enroll in this program full or part time. Students will have the opportunity to strengthen clinical skills through two on-campus immersion experiences in Chicago. The program offers a Child and Adolescent specialization for students who wish to focus their careers around working with children and teens while also preparing graduates to be well equipped to work clinically with adults and issues relevant to adult populations.

Courses include: counseling methods-skills for counseling and psychotherapy; theories of counseling and psychotherapy; psychopathology in counseling; counseling methods-outreach, prevention, and advocacy; research methods in counseling; foundations of family, marital, and couples counseling; research methods in counseling; ethics and legal issues in counseling; cultural diversity in counseling; and advanced topics in clinical mental health counseling.

  • Cost: $1,680.80 / Credit Hour
  • Credits Required: 60
  • Application Deadline: March 1st

wake-forest-university-online-master-of-arts-in-clinical-mental-health-counseling

#14 Wake Forest University

Winston-Salem, NC

Online Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Online Master of Arts in School Counseling

The Department of Counseling at Wake Forest University offers a Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and a Master of Arts in School Counseling. These degrees are CACREP accredited and available online. Both the clinical mental health and the school counseling tracks require the completion of 60 credits and allow students to select a program specialty area. Online students who wish to complete the program at a faster pace can choose to enroll in summer courses on-campus with other students in the campus-based program.

Courses include: research and statistical analysis in counseling; appraisal procedures for counselors; basic counseling skills and techniques; advanced counseling skills and crisis management; professional orientation counseling; theories and models of counseling; group procedures in counseling; career development and counseling; addiction counseling; family counseling; professional, ethical, and legal issues in counseling; and consultation and program development in counseling.

  • Cost: $1,340 / Credit Hour
  • Credits Required: 60
  • Application Deadline: January 15th

gallaudet-university-master-of-arts-in-school-counseling

#13 Gallaudet University

Washington D.C.

Master of Arts in School Counseling

Gallaudet University offers a hybrid program for students who are interested in earning a Master of Arts in School Counseling. This program requires attendance on campus during the summer with courses offered online throughout the rest of the year. A special focus of the Department of Counseling at Gallaudet University is on promoting social justice as well as providing culturally competent services to deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing students in grades K-12. Applicants with experience in the education system and/or with working with deaf and hard of hearing students are encouraged to apply. This CACREP accredited program prepares students to take the National Counselor Examination during their final semester in the program.

Courses include: orientation to professional school counseling; foundations in helping skills; social and cultural diversity foundations and multicultural counseling; theories and approaches in counseling and psychotherapy; lifespan development; school based group counseling; lifestyles and career development; substance prevention for children and youth; crisis and trauma counseling; play therapy; family therapy; and organization and administration of school programs.

  • Cost: $992 / Credit Hour
  • Credits Required: 63
  • Application Deadline: November 15th

antioch-university-new-england-online-master-of-arts-in-mental-health-counseling

#12 Antioch University New England

Keene, NH

Online Master of Arts in Mental Health Counseling

Antioch University in New England offers a Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. This online CACREP accredited 60 credit program can be completed in 3 years. This hybrid program would be a good fit for students living within driving distance of Antioch University because the first and second years of the program require students to be on campus for classes one day a week. Students are not required to be on campus during their third year. The program reports that 98% of students complete the program and 97% pass licensure exams. Students in the program have the opportunity to choose an area of specialization such as: sex therapy; addiction; and counseling special populations.

Courses include: group approaches to mental health counseling; fundamentals of therapeutic interaction; professional orientation and ethics; assessment; counseling theories; career and lifestyle counseling; human development; social and cultural diversity; psychopathology; family counseling approaches to addiction; crisis and trauma counseling; and research and evaluation.

  • Cost: $949 / Credit House
  • Credits Required: 60
  • Application Deadline: March 1st for Summer, June 1st for Fall and November 1st for Spring.

bradley-university-online-master-of-arts-in-counseling

#11 Bradley University

Peoria, IL

Online Master of Arts in School Counseling

Online Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Bradley University offers two tracks of study for their online Master of Arts in Counseling: the Clinical Mental Health Counseling track and the Professional School Counseling track. The counseling program at Bradley University emphasizes the study of the brain and how counseling impacts the brain with a focus on neuroscience and neuro-counseling. The CACREP accredited online program is equivalent to the course content of the on-campus program. Students will complete two one-week on-campus residencies. Graduates will be prepared to pursue licensure.

Faculty research interests include: neurofeedback; brain based-counseling interventions; diversity; grief and loss; Eastern and Native American psychologies; sports psychology; spirituality; trauma; multicultural issues; counselor education and supervision; ethics; neuro-linguistic programming; domestic violence; and multicultural counseling.

  • Cost:$850 / Credit Hour
  • Credits Required: 60
  • Application Deadline: Rolling Admissions

north-carolina-central-university-online-master-of-arts-in-career-counseling

#10 North Carolina Central University

Durham, NC

Online Master of Arts in Career Counseling

The Counselor Education Program at North Carolina Central University offers a CACREP accredited Master of Arts in Career Counseling. This is the only CACREP accredited career counseling program available online in the country. The 48 credit hour program supports students in training to become career counselors in colleges and universities.

Courses include: ethical, professional orientation to counseling; theories and techniques; vocational theory and career development; psychosocial development; cultural diversity and gender issues; group counseling; statistics; assessment; consultation; advanced career counseling; practicum; internship; and research.

  • Cost: $837.35 / Credit Hour
  • Credits Required: 48
  • Application Deadline: February 1st

regent-university-master-of-arts-in-counseling-degrees-online

#9 Regent University

Virginia Beach, VA

Online Master of Arts in School Counseling

Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling Online

Online Master of Arts in Marriage, Couple and Family Counseling

Regent University offers three licensure track Master of Arts in Counseling degrees online. The Master of Arts is available with tracks in: School Counseling; Clinical Mental Health Counseling; and Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling. All three tracks are CACREP accredited and available for students to choose from an online or on-campus format. The online tracks are available for 60 credits with two one-week residency requirements. Regent University emphasizes an integration of Christian faith throughout the course of study towards a counseling degree. Students are supported to grow in their individual faith as well as to apply Christian principles to their clinical work.

Courses include: orientation to the counseling profession; research and statistics; counseling skills and techniques; theories of counseling; assessment techniques in counseling; career and lifestyle development; human growth and development; concepts of family systems; group counseling; ethics, professional orientation and legal issues in counseling; multicultural counseling; counseling and Christian thought; addiction therapies for individuals and families; counseling children and adolescents; principles of school counseling; and marital and couple therapy.

  • Cost: $710 / Credit Hour
  • Credits Required: 60
  • Application Deadline: December 15th

messiah-college-online-masters-of-arts-in-counseling

#8 Messiah College

Mechanicsburg, PA

Online Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Online Master of Arts in Marriage, Couple and Family Counseling

Master of Arts in School Counseling Online

Messiah College offers an online Masters of Arts in Counseling with three CACREP accredited tracks available. Students can choose from the Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (60 credits); the Master of Arts in Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling (60 credits); and the Master of Arts in School Counseling (51 credits). Messiah College supports students in integrating Christian faith into their academic field of study. Students in this program take a core set of courses and then go on to complete specific courses for their chosen track. Faculty support students through engaging in synchronous courses, Skype, phone calls, and on campus residencies (January and July/ one-week each) Graduates of the program will be prepared to pursue licensure specific to their degree.

Courses include: professional issues and ethics for counselors; lifespan development; multicultural issues for counseling professionals; counseling theories; career counseling across the lifespan; group counseling; spiritual formation and faith based counseling; counseling techniques; assessment techniques for individuals, couples, and families; and research design and statistics; foundations of clinical mental health counseling; foundations of school counseling; and foundations of marriage, couple, and family counseling.

  • Cost: $625 / Credit Hour
  • Credits Required: 51-60
  • Application Deadline: Multiple starting dates throughout year

colorado-christian-university-online-master-of-arts-in-clinical-mental-health-counseling

#7 Colorado Christian University

Lakewood, CO

Online Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Students can earn a Master of Arts in Counseling online from Colorado Christian University. This 60 credit program can be completed in 2.5 years. Colorado Christian University offers students a Christian framework to support the student in developing both academically and spiritually. Students in this program will complete a Bible and Theology Core as well as have the opportunity to choose from a number of electives depending on their area of interest. Residencies are required. Graduates of the program will be prepare to pursue licensure.

Courses include: spiritual formation; theological foundations for counseling; counseling skills, psychopharmacology; counseling services and methods; theories of personality and counseling; psychopathology; human growth and development; crisis and trauma; marriage and family; theories of groups and group counseling; lifestyle and career; social and cultural foundations; research and evaluation; and professional orientation.

  • Cost: $614 / Credit Hour
  • Credits Required: 60
  • Application Deadline: Multiple starting dates throughout year

grace-college-master-of-arts-in-clinical-mental-health-counseling-online

#6 Grace College

Winona Lake, IN

Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling Online

Grace College offers an online Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. This 60 credit program is offered online along with an annual 7-10 day on-campus residency. Grace College aims to support students in growing personally and professionally while integrating Scripture and counseling research and theory. The program follows a cohort model and supports the development of relationships among students. Students will connect with each other and faculty at residencies and carry their relationships into their online work together throughout their time in the program.

Courses include: theological foundations in counseling; foundations of clinical mental health counseling; marriage and family counseling; personality/counseling theories; psychopathology; counseling skills; psychotherapy with children and adolescents; psychotherapy and trauma; addictions counseling; psychological testing and measurement; gender and sexuality; ethical and legal issues; group counseling; human growth and development; social and cultural issues; contemporary issues/trends in counseling; and spirituality in counseling.

  • Cost: $568 / Credit Hour
  • Credits Required: 60
  • Application Deadline: June 17th for Fall, November 17th for Spring, Match 17th for spring

liberty-university-school-of-education-master-of-education-in-school-counseling

#5 Liberty University – School of Education

Lynchburg, VA

Master of Education in School Counseling

Liberty University offers an online Master of Education in School Counseling. This degree is designed for students who wish to pursue a career as a school counselor in Christian public and private schools. Graduates will be prepared for working in a K-12 school and/or for pursuing a doctoral degree. Along with being accredited by the CACREP this program is also accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). Four on-campus residencies are required to enhance student learning and experience as a part of this 48 credit program.

Courses include: understanding educational research and assessment; foundations of exceptionality; human development across the lifespan; foundations of education; educational assessment and intervention; professional, ethical, and legal issues in counseling; social and cultural foundations in counseling; counseling theories and techniques; career development and counseling; child and adolescent counseling in the schools; and principles of school counseling.

  • Cost: $540 / Credit Hour
  • Credits Required: 48
  • Application Deadline: Multiple starting dates throughout year

capella-university-online-master-of-science-in-counseling

#4 Capella University

Minneapolis, MN

Online Master of Science in School Counseling

Online Master of Science in Marriage, Couple and Family Counseling

Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling Online

Capella University offers a number of online master of science degrees in the field of counseling including the CACREP accredited Master of Science in School Counseling (72 credits), Master of Science in Marriage Couple and Family Counseling (92 credits), and the Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (90 credits). Residencies are offered to support students in integrating coursework, theory, and practice. Additionally, residencies are for credit, allowing students to utilize financial aid. Capella University prioritizes offering flexibility and support to their students while in the program and even following graduation. Graduates of Capella University can count on support as they work towards obtaining their license following graduation.

Courses include: survey of research in human development for professional counselors; assessment, tests, and measures; principles of psychopathology: diagnosis and treatment; ethical and legal issues in professional counseling; introduction to clinical mental health counseling; crisis assessment and intervention; theories of psychotherapy; life planning and career development; counseling and advocacy with diverse populations; foundations of addiction and addictive behavior; and introduction to marriage and family counseling/therapy.

  • Cost: $487 / Credit Hour
  • Credits Required: 72-92
  • Application Deadline: Multiple starting dates throughout year

walden-university-online-master-of-science-in-mental-health-counseling

#3 Walden University

Minneapolis, MN

Online Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling

Online Master of Science in Marriage, Couple and Family Counseling

Walden University offers several counseling degrees online including the CACREP accredited Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling and the Master of Science in Marriage, Couple and Family Counseling. Walden University is currently offering a $7,500 Change Maker Grant to students enrolling in the program to apply towards the cost of tuition. Students at Walden University will learn evidence based counseling theories and skills to address a variety of issues with diverse populations. The program offers residencies to enhance student learning and application of theory in practice with peers and faculty. Students completing these degrees have the opportunity to choose additional areas of specialization to enhance their professional development.

Areas of specialization include: addictions counseling; career counseling; forensic counseling; military families and culture; and trauma and crisis counseling.

  • Cost: $465 / Credit Hour
  • Credits Required: 90
  • Application Deadline: Rolling Admissions

adams-state-university-online-master-of-arts-in-clinical-mental-health-counseling

#2 Adams State University

Alamosa, CO

Online Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Master of Arts in School Counseling Online

The Counseling Program at Adams State University offers a Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and a Master of Arts in School Counseling. Both degrees are accredited by the CACREP and available online. The online programming requires two one-week on-campus residencies (available in each summer of the program). During the residencies, students will have the opportunity to develop relationships with peers and faculty as well as to grow professionally through the practice of counseling theory and counseling skills. The online program has the same course content as courses offered on campus through Adams State University. The program follows the cohort model and starts every fall, spring, and summer.

Courses include: introduction to research; transpersonal psychology; deaf studies; multicultural issues in a pluralistic society; lifespan development; philosophies and theories of counseling; group counseling; career development; counseling the couple, family, and system; parenting; grief and loss; sexuality counseling; diagnosis and psychopathology; assessment in counseling; current issues in professional school counseling; evidence based counseling; and community counseling.

  • Cost: $430 / Credit Hour
  • Credits Required: 60
  • Application Deadline: July 1st for Fall, December 1st for Spring and April 1st for Summer

university-of-the-cumberlands-online-master-of-arts-in-clinical-mental-health-counseling-master-of-arts-in-addiction-counseling-online

#1 University of the Cumberlands

Williamsburg, KY

Online Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Master of Arts in Addiction Counseling Online

The University of the Cumberlands offers a Master of Arts in Counseling that is available 100% online. The program requires the completion of 60 credits, and with approval up to 30 credits may be transferred in. All students will complete a core set of courses and then may choose from two tracks of study: the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Track or the Addiction Counseling Track. Graduates of this program will be prepared to become licensed professional counselors and licensed/certified addiction counselors.

Courses include: introduction to professional counseling; legal and ethical issues in counseling; lifestyle and career development; psychological assessment in clinical practice; human growth and development; etiology and diagnosis of abnormal behavior; counseling theories; advanced clinical assessment; counseling during grief and loss; theory and practice of multicultural counseling; group counseling; and research methods in counseling.

  • Cost: $400 / Credit Hour
  • Credits Required: 60
  • Application Deadline: Rolling Admissions

 

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. (Click here for our list of CACREP Accredited Online Doctoral Programs)

Source: CACREP

Related Ranking: The Top 10 Online Master’s Degrees in Student Affairs and College Counseling