The Top 25 Best Online Master’s in Counseling Degree Programs 2016

Here is a list of the best online master’s in counseling degrees. We have assembled a list for you of the top master’s in counseling online programs in the country. For this list of online master’s in counseling degrees we have selected programs offering general counseling degrees such as clinical mental health counseling, professional counseling, and marriage and family therapy, that prepare graduates to work as counselors and therapists in a broad range of settings with diverse populations of individuals, couples, and families of all ages. Graduates will be prepared to work as professional counselors and therapists in a range of settings such as mental health clinics and private practice and support clients with issues such as anxiety, depression, and relationship issues. Graduates of these programs will have a rich education and strong skill set in counseling theories and techniques.

Most of the programs listed here are licensure track programs meaning that the coursework they offer is designed to meet state licensing requirements. Students are always encouraged to consult with their home state licensing board before enrolling in a program to determine if the program meets their home state licensure requirements because licensure requirements vary from state to state. Once students graduate from an online master’s in counseling program they can begin the process of pursuing professional licensure by completing supervised clinical hours and taking a national exam. All of the schools listed here are regionally accredited and many of the programs are accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). A couple of the schools are also accredited by Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE). For more information about why CACREP and COAMFTE accreditation is valuable check out their websites.

About half of the programs on our list offer residencies which we feel help enhance students learning experience and clinical skill development. Online master’s in counseling programs often offer residencies in an effort to provide training that is difficult to do in an online format due to the nature of the counseling profession which is built around in-person interactions. The short concentrated periods of time of in-person on-campus instruction support students in developing connections with and getting support from peers and faculty. Residencies are typically offered once or twice during the program for up to a week at a time.

As a student searching for a master’s in counseling online we know you are busy managing work and family commitments and you are looking for an online program that will offer you the flexibility you need to successfully reach your career goals. We wish you luck in your search for the best online master’s in counseling program for you. We are confident you will find that program here!

Featured Programs

  1. Liberty University Online – MA – Professional Counseling (60hr)
  2. Grand Canyon University – MS – Professional Counseling

#25 Amridge University

Montgomery, AL

Online Master of Arts in Professional Counseling

Online Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy

Amridge University offers a wide variety of online master’s in counseling degrees including the online Master of Arts in Professional Counseling and the online Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy. Additional courses are available, in addition to the required 60 credits, for students interested in pursuing licensure as a Marriage and Family Therapist or as a Licensed Professional Counselor. Students also have the opportunity to earn a dual degree, if interested, in both Professional Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy. Students can earn one degree with full time study in 7 semesters.

Courses include: ethics and professional identity; theories of counseling and psychotherapy; theories of marriage and family therapy; human development; human sexual development; social and multicultural diversity; interpersonal and family dynamics; marital and family systems; counseling for abusive relationships; assessment of individuals and families; group counseling; psychopathology and psychopharmacology; and lifestyle and career development.

  • Credits Required: 60
  • Cost: $715 / Credit Hour
  • Residency: No

#24 Nova Southeastern University

Fort Lauderdale, FL

Online Master of Science in Counseling

The Department of Counseling at Nova Southeastern University offers an online Master of Science in Counseling with a number of specializations available including a specialization in Mental Health Counseling. This 60 credit online master’s in counseling program is designed to be flexible to meet the needs of students also managing professional careers. Students enrolled in Nova Southeastern University’s Electronic Campus will have the opportunity to work independently as well as collaboratively with peers and faculty.

Courses include: introduction to mental health counseling techniques; human sexuality; diagnosis and treatment of child and adolescent psychopathology; community mental health; case conceptualization and treatment strategies; advanced treatment interventions; counseling practicum; counseling internship;

  • Credits Required: 60
  • Cost: $705 / Credit Hour
  • Residency: No

#23 California Baptist University

Riverside, CA

Online Master of Science in Counseling Psychology

California Baptist University offers an online Master of Science in Counseling Psychology. California Baptist University provides students in this online master’s in counseling program with an education integrated with a Christian worldview. The core curriculum (62 credits), for this master’s in counseling online, covers a broad range of topics including marriage and family therapy, Christian perspective on professional counseling; HIV/AIDS counseling; and domestic violence. An optional concentration can be completed for an additional 18 credits that prepares graduates to pursue licensure as a Marriage and Family Therapist or a Licensed Professional Counselor.

Electives include: community mental health counseling; career counseling; empirically-based approaches for treating adults with severe mental illness; play therapy for special populations; evaluation and treatment of compulsive disorders; standard of care approaches for evaluating and treating children and adolescents with externalizing disorders; and grief and loss.

  • Credits Required: 62-80
  • Cost: $680 / Credit Hour
  • Residency: No

#22 Thomas University

Thomasville, GA

Online Master of Science in Clinical Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling

Thomas University offers students an online Master of Science in Clinical Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling. This 63 credit online master’s in counseling degree teaches students the foundations of counseling theory and techniques with the option to specialize in addictions and alcoholism counseling for an additional 12 credits. Students interested in becoming a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) will have the opportunity to take the national exam once they are three quarters of their way through the program. All students will be assigned an academic advisor for support in laying out and determining their course of study to successfully complete the program in a timely manner. Thomas University does not have any residency requirements.

Courses include: introduction to counseling; crisis counseling; theories and techniques of counseling; case management and community resources; theories and techniques of group counseling; assessment and evaluation; psychopathology and the DSM; legal, ethical, and cultural issues in counseling; practicum; internship I & II, job development and placement; human sexuality; behavioral research methods; family counseling; and human growth and development.

  • Credits Required: 63-75
  • Cost: $655 / Credit Hour
  • Residency: No

#21 University of the Southwest

Hobbs, NM

Online Master of Science in Education with a specialization in Mental Health Counseling

The University of the Southwest offers an online Master of Science in Education with a specialization in Mental Health Counseling. Students can consult their home state licensing board to determine requirements for licensure and then decided on if they want to complete the 48 credit program or the 60 credit Mental Health Counseling Program. This online master’s in counseling program will prepare graduates to work with youth and adults as well as individuals, couples, and groups, they also offer electives covering speciality topics to meet the interests of all students. The program courses are designed to make graduates eligible to pursue licensure.

Courses include: professional orientation to counseling; counseling theories; professional and ethical issues; multicultural counseling; group counseling; counseling families; child and adolescent counseling; counseling techniques; introduction to play therapy; counseling traumatized clients; introduction to Christian counseling; psychopharmacology; and marital and couples therapy.

  • Credits Required: 48-60
  • Cost: $599 / Credit Hour
  • Residency: No

#20 Mid-America Christian University

Oklahoma City, OK

Online Master of Science in Counseling

Mid-America University offers an online Master of Science in Counseling. The Adult School of Psychology and Counseling at Mid-America University offers several areas of concentration in the field of counseling. This master’s in counseling online program offers areas of concentration including Clinical Mental Health Counseling and Marital, Couples, and Family Counseling/Therapy. The program is designed to prepare graduates to pursue licensure. The online master’s in counseling program integrates a Christian faith-based perspective into course curriculum with the goal of preparing graduates to pursue careers in both religious and nonreligious clinical settings.

Courses include: psychopathology; career counseling and development; theories of counseling and psychotherapy; individual counseling and psychotherapy techniques; marriage and family systems and treatment; marital and family treatment techniques; human development; multi-cultural treatment planning for individuals and families; ethics and professional studies; and interventions for individuals and families in crisis and trauma.

  • Credits Required: 60-63
  • Cost: $594 / Credit Hour
  • Residency: No

#19 Post University

Waterbury, CT

Online Master of Science in Human Services

Post University offers an online Master of Science in Human Services. This online master’s in counseling program offers concentrations in: alcohol and drug counseling; clinical mental health counseling; forensic mental health counseling; and nonprofit management. The Clinical Mental Health Concentration includes courses in: theories of counseling; family systems theory; group therapy; and psychopathology and psychological assessment. These courses will give students a strong understanding of the field of clinical mental health counseling. The 37 credit Master of Science in Human Services program at Post University is not a licensure program, students interested in pursuing licensure will need to complete additional coursework.

Courses include: human services ethics and diversity; human development through the lifecycle; human services policy; human services management; applied research methods in human services; practicum or internship; and research project.

  • Credits Required: 37
  • Cost: $570 / Credit Hour
  • Residency: No

#18 Concordia University

Mequon, WI

Online Master of Science in Education-Counseling

Concordia University offers an online Master of Science in Education-Counseling with a Professional Counselor Track. The Professional Counselor Track prepares graduates to pursue licensure, as always students are encouraged to consult their home state licensure board for individual licensing requirements. The Professional Counselor Track offers electives covering a variety of topics including a number of courses incorporating a Christian framework including: scripture and the Christian counselor; Christian care-giving; Christian reconciliation training; and current support issues for Christian pastors and church workers. This online master’s in counseling degree will be a good fit for students wanting to incorporate Christian principles into their personal and professional life.

Courses include: counseling-theories and issues; social/cultural foundations in counseling; models and methods of family counseling; human development; professional ethics in the helping profession; psychopathology; trauma counseling; addictions counseling; and career counseling foundations.

  • Credits Required: 45-60
  • Cost: $565 / Credit Hour
  • Residency: No

#17 Grand Canyon University

Phoenix, AZ

Online Master of Science in Professional Counseling

Grand Canyon University offers a wide variety of online master’s in counseling programs including the Master of Science in Professional Counseling. The 62 credit Master of Science in Professional Counseling is offered by the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. Grand Canyon University works to provide students in this master’s in counseling online program with a well rounded educational experience in preparation for licensure as a professional counselors. Students are encouraged to consult their home state licensure board to determine if programing meets state requirements. Graduates will be prepared to provide counseling to culturally and socially diverse populations facing a range of challenges from trauma to substance use.

Courses include: professional counseling orientation and ethics; counseling theories; introduction to addiction and substance use disorders; social and cultural diversity issues in counseling; group counseling theory and practice; human sexuality, aging, and long term care; counseling skills in the helping relationships; marriage and family therapy; spousal and child abuse, crisis, and trauma counseling; career development and counseling; and diagnostics, assessment, and treatment.

  • Credits Required: 62
  • Cost: $500 / Credit Hour
  • Residency: No

#16 Touro University Worldwide

Los Alamitos, CA

Online Master of Arts in Marriage & Family Therapy

Touro University Worldwide offers an online Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy. This online master’s in counseling degree in Marriage and Family Therapy is designed to prepare graduates to pursue licensure as a Marriage and Family Therapist, the degree is approved for licensure in the state of California as well as most other states, as always students should consult their home state licensing board to confirm program meets state requirements. Students in this master’s in counseling online program have the opportunity to choose from three tracks of study: nonclinical (54 credits); clinical (60 credits); and licensed professional clinical counseling (73 credits). This unique feature allows students the opportunity to choose the professional track that best meets their career goals. This degree is available fully online.

Courses include: contemporary issues in marriage and family therapy; foundations of psychopathology; couples counseling; child focused family therapy; development within the family life cycle; society, culture, and gender-a multicultural perspective; group counseling; human sexuality; substance abuse and recovery; adolescent-focused family therapy; treatment of trauma in families; counseling theory; and spousal/partner abuse detection and intervention.

  • Credits Required: 54-73
  • Cost: $500 / Credit Hour
  • Residency: No

#15 Seton Hall University

South Orange, NJ

Online Master of Arts/ Educational Specialist in Professional Counseling

The Department of Professional Psychology and Family Therapy at Seton Hall University offers an online Master of Arts/ Educational Specialist (M.A./ Ed.S.) in Professional Counseling. This online master’s in counseling program requires the completion of 60 credits (48 M.A. in Professional Counseling with 12 Ed.S. in Professional Counseling). Additionally, students in the online Professional Counseling Program at Seton Hall University will engage in two on-site four-day residencies to enhance clinical skill development. A unique benefit of this program is that residency expenses are covered by tuition with the exception of transportation costs. This program follows the cohort model allowing students to work together and support one another throughout their time in the program.

Courses include: counseling theory; counseling skills; psychology of human development; career development and counseling; multicultural counseling and psychology; orientation to professional counseling; counselor ethics in practice; etiology and treatment of addictions; and couple and family dynamics-systemic perspectives.

  • Credits Required: 48
  • Cost: $739 / Credit Hour
  • Residency: Yes

#14 Faulkner University

Montgomery, AL

Online Master of Science in Counseling

Faulkner University offers an online Master of Science in Counseling. This 61 credit online master’s in counseling program requires the completion of two five-day residencies. Residencies are scheduled for the third weeks of January and September each year. Faulkner University is a Christian University that emphasises a Christian worldview in the practice of mental health counseling with the curriculum integrating Christian perspectives. The program is designed to meet national standards and to prepare students to pursue licensure, students planning to practice outside the state of Alabama are encouraged to consult their home state licensure board. Graduates will be prepared to work in community mental health settings and religious settings.

Courses include: introduction to counseling theories; lifespan development; career and guidance counseling; counseling diverse populations; analysis of the helping relationship; counseling in the community; group counseling; measurement and assessment; research methods; integrations of theology and counseling; legal and ethical issues; diagnosis and treatment; clinical training I; and clinical training II.

  • Credits Required: 61
  • Cost: $585 / Credit Hour
  • Residency: Yes

#13 Liberty University

Lynchburg, VA

Online Master of Arts in Human Services Counseling

Online Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy

Online Master of Arts in Professional Counseling

A well established Christian University, Liberty University has been providing distance education since 1985. Liberty University offers over 245 distance learning degrees including a broad range of online graduate degrees with a number of online master’s in counseling degrees. Students at Liberty University can earn a master’s in counseling online in several areas including the following degrees: Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy (60 credits/ 5 residencies); and Master of Arts in Professional Counseling (60 credits/ 3 residencies). Additionally an online Master of Arts in Human Services Counseling (30 credits/ residencies may apply) is available with a number or areas of specialization. The on-campus residencies at Liberty University offer students the opportunity to engage with peers and faculty for support and feedback. The residencies provide valuable clinical skills and support students in their professional growth as a counselor.

Courses include: ethical and legal issues in counseling; human growth and development; multicultural counseling; counseling techniques and the helping relationship; integration of spirituality and counseling; theories of counseling; group counseling; assessment techniques in counseling; marriage and family counseling; crisis counseling; clinical diagnosis and treatment planning; substance abuse-diagnosis, treatment, and prevention; premarital and marital counseling; human sexuality; and counseling children, adolescents, and their families.

  • Credits Required: 30-60
  • Cost: $565 / Credit Hour
  • Residency: Yes

#12 Huntington University

Huntington, IN

Online Master of Arts in Counseling

The Institute for Leadership and Counseling at Huntington University offers a Master of Arts in Counseling. Students in the online master’s in counseling program will have the opportunity to complete two three-day residencies on campus. The program requests that students entering the program complete prerequisites in psychology and biblical studies. Huntington University encourages online students to complete programs at a pace that works for them and their individual needs on a part-time or full-time schedule. Additionally in an effort to promote flexibility and allow students to choose the degree that is best for them, this online graduate counseling program offers both a 48 credit and a 60 credit course plan.

Courses include: personal development skills process group; human growth and development; legal, ethical, and professional issues; theory and techniques of counseling; theory and practice of assessment; social and cultural foundations; theory and practice of groups; career and lifestyle development; foundations and dimensions of mental health counseling; knowledge and skills of mental health counseling; clinical psychopathology and diagnosis; and foundations of spiritual formation.

  • Credits Required: 48-60
  • Cost: $494 / Credit Hour
  • Residency: Yes

#11 Palo Alto University

Palo Alto, CA

Online Master of Arts in Counseling

Palo Alto University offers a Master of Arts in Counseling with areas of specialty in Marriage, Family, and Child as well as in Clinical Mental Health. The Marriage, Family, and Child emphasis prepares graduates to pursue licensure as a Marriage and Family Therapist while the Clinical Mental Health emphasis prepares graduates to pursue licensure as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor. Students in this 93 credit online master’s in counseling program will complete the program in 11 quarters including a one week residency on-campus in Palo Alto, international students generally are not required to travel to Palo Alto for the residency requirement. Graduates of this master’s in counseling online program will be prepared to promote values of diversity and social justice in their professional practice as counselors and therapists.

Courses include: lifespan development; professional identity; introduction to the clinical advancement project; counseling theory; family systems theory; legal and ethical foundations; diagnosis and treatment planning; clinical interviewing; community mental health with cognitive behavioral and brief therapy; child and adolescent counseling; crisis and trauma counseling; multicultural counseling theories and techniques; substance abuse; couples counseling; group counseling; human sexuality; and career development theories and techniques.

  • Credits Required: 93
  • Cost: $488 / Credit Hour
  • Residency: Yes

#10 Northcentral University

Prescott Valley, AZ

Online Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy

Northcentral University offers an online COAMFTE accredited Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy. Students in this online master’s in counseling program have the opportunity to choose from numerous areas of specialization focused on their personal and professional goals. Northcentral University strives to provide students with the utmost flexibility by offering online students the opportunity to start the program or specific course whenever they are ready without having to wait for general start dates and by allowing students to complete courses individually without the need to work with peers while in the program. Graduates of the program will be prepared to pursue licensure as a Marriage and Family Therapist.

Areas of specialization include: child and adolescent therapy; couple therapy; general family therapy; LGBTQ couple and family therapy; medical family therapy; and military family therapy.

  • Cost: $751 / Credit Hour
  • Residency: No
  • Accreditation: Commission on Accreditation for Marriage & Family Therapy

#9 Lock Haven University

Lock Haven, PA

Online Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Lock Haven University offers an online Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. This 60 credit CACREP accredited master’s in counseling program offers online courses in both the synchronous and asynchronous formats. Students in the program have the opportunity to choose from concentrations that are available in: Children and Adolescent Counseling; Counseling Veterans and their Families; and General Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Students will complete their internship and practicum hours in their hometown with local supervision provided by an approved supervisor. The program aims to prepare graduates for licensure as professional therapists through developing competencies in prevention, advocacy, assessment, diagnosis, and treatment planning.

Courses include: clinical mental health counseling as a profession; theories of counseling and psychotherapy; assessment and testing in mental health counseling; lifespan development-implications for counseling; skills and techniques in mental health counseling; multicultural counseling; career development and counseling; addiction counseling; psychopathology and differential diagnosis; family and couples therapy; group counseling; and ethical, legal, and professional issues in counseling.

  • Credits Required: 60
  • Cost: $725 / Credit Hour
  • Residency: No
  • Accreditation: Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Education Programs

#8 University of Louisiana at Monroe

Monroe, LA

Online Master of Science in Counseling

The University of Louisiana at Monroe offers an online Master of Science in Counseling with an emphasis in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. This 60 credit online master’s in counseling program is accredited by the CACREP. The program emphasises preparing students to work with diverse populations in a variety of clinical settings. The online counseling program at the University of Louisiana at Monroe aims to prepare graduates to successfully complete licensing exams to and meet their home state licensure requirements. In 2016 the pass rate for the Licensed Professional Counselor exam of University of Louisiana at Monroe graduates of this master’s in counseling online program was 100%.

Graduates can pursue careers such as: mental health counselor; school counselor; career counselor; play therapist; art therapist; life coach; consultant; private practice practitioner; and human resources specialist.

  • Credits Required: 60
  • Cost: $500 / Credit Hour
  • Residency: No
  • Accreditation: Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Education Programs

#7 University of the Cumberlands

Williamsburg, KY

Online Master of Arts in Professional Counseling

The University of the Cumberlands offers a Master of Arts in Professional Counseling (MACP). This online master’s in counseling degree is available fully online with no residency requirements. Students can apply to the program year round and will be accepted on a rolling admission basis with multiple start dates offered throughout the year. Two tracks of study are available within the MACP program with students having the opportunity to choose a Clinical Mental Health Counseling or Addictions Counseling concentration. Students in this 60 credit CACREP accredited online counseling program will have educational experiences aimed to enhance clinical competence, integrity, ethical practices, and attention to and value of diversity.

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; counseling theories; advanced clinical assessment; counseling during grief and crisis; theory and practice of multicultural counseling; group counseling; research methods in counseling; theories and techniques for the treatment of process addictions and substance abuse; counseling practicum; and counseling internship.

  • Credits Required: 60
  • Cost: $400 / Credit Hour
  • Residency: No
  • Accreditation: Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Education Programs

#6 Colorado Christian University

Lakewood, CO

Online Master of Arts in Counseling

Colorado Christian University offers an online Master of Arts in Counseling. This 60 credit master’s in counseling CACREP accredited program can be completed in 2 1/2 years of full time study including three on-campus 5-day residencies. Colorado Christian University offers the curriculum through a Christian framework. Students will learn to integrate research and theory with a faith-based perspective in clinical practice. The program aims to prepare students to take the National Counselor Examination in order to pursue licensure as a professional counselor.

Courses include: 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; social and cultural foundations; neuroscience and clinical counseling; anxiety and mood disorders; and child and adolescent diagnosis and treatment.

  • Credits Required: 60
  • Cost: $645 / Credit Hour
  • Residency: Yes
  • Accreditation: Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Education Programs

#5 Grace College and Theological Seminary

Winona Lake, IN

Online Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Grace College and Theological Seminary offers an online master’s in counseling with their CACREP accredited Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Students in this 60 credit online graduate counseling program will have the benefit of peer support with the program’s cohort model and the annual 7-10 day on-campus residency. Students can complete this program in 6-8 semesters. Grace College and Theological Seminary emphasises Christian faith throughout their master’s in counseling online program allowing graduates to incorporate Christian principles in their personal life and professional practice.

Courses include: theological foundations of counseling; ethical and legal issues; foundations of clinical mental health counseling; psychopathology; counseling skills; personality and counseling theories; human growth and development; group counseling; research and program evaluation; social and cultural issues; lifestyle and career counseling; advanced clinical practices and treatment; addictions counseling; marriage and family counseling; psychotherapy with children and adolescents; gender and sexuality; contemporary issues and trends in counseling; and spirituality in counseling.

  • Credits Required: 60
  • Cost: $610 / Credit Hour
  • Residency: Yes
  • Accreditation: Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Education Programs

#4 Adams State University

Alamosa, CO

Online Master of Arts in Counseling

Adams State University offers an online master’s in counseling with their Master of Arts in Counseling with an emphasis in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Students in this program will complete two one week residencies on campus during each of the two summers they are enrolled in this full time program. The Online Plus program at Adam’s State University is accredited by the CACREP and offers the same courses as the on-campus program. Students can enroll in this 60 credit program, that follows a cohort model, at three points throughout the year (spring, summer, and fall). Courses are offered in both the synchronous and asynchronous format.

Courses include: introduction to research; multicultural issues; lifespan development; group counseling; career development; couple, family, system counseling; assessment in counseling; ethics and professional issues; crisis, disaster, and trauma; diagnosis and psychopathology; evidence based counseling; and clinical mental health counseling.

  • Credits Required: 60
  • Cost: $430 / Credit Hour
  • Residency: Yes
  • Accreditation: Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Education Programs

#3 Walden University

Minneapolis, MN

Online Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Online Master of Science in Marriage Couple and Family Counseling

The Psychology and Counseling Department at Walden University offers a number of online master’s in counseling degrees including the Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and the Master of Science in Marriage Couple and Family Counseling. These CACREP accredited degrees offer both a general program as well as areas of specialization for students that wish to obtain more focused training on a particular topic or special population. Walden University is currently offering a tuition savings for master’s in counseling online students of up to $7,500 in the form of a grant for students that qualify. Students will complete two face-to-face residencies while in the program. Graduates will have training to effectively support individuals, couples, families, and groups experiencing a wide range of challenges including relationship issues, trauma, crisis, and life-cycle challenges.

Areas of specialization within the degree options include: addiction counseling; career counseling; forensic counseling; military families and culture; and trauma and crisis counseling.

  • Credits Required: 90-96
  • Cost: $410 / Credit Hour
  • Residency: Yes
  • Accreditation: Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Education Programs

#2 Lamar University

Beaumont, TX

Online Master of Education in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

The most affordable online master’s in counseling degree to make our list is offered by Lamar University. The Department of Counseling and Special Populations offers a low-cost online Master of Education with a concentration in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Students in the program will complete practicum and internship requirements as well as two residencies. The two face-to-face week long residencies support students in acquiring valuable clinical skills related to individual and group therapy. At the residencies students will also have the opportunity to connect with faculty and peers and receive academic advising and learn more about the credentialing and licensure process. Graduates of this 60 credit program will be well prepared to pursue careers as clinical mental health counselors in a variety of settings such as mental health clinics and private practice as well as speciality settings such as hospitals and school based health centers. This master’s in counseling online allows students the opportunity to enroll at multiple start dates throughout the year.

Courses include: human growth and development; foundations of clinical mental health counseling; individual counseling theories and techniques; group counseling theories and techniques; multicultural counseling; professionalism, ethics, and the law; career development; substance abuse counseling; abnormal human behavior; crisis prevention and intervention; and marriage, couple, and family counseling.

  • Credits Required: 60
  • Cost: $235 / Credit Hour
  • Residency: Yes
  • Accreditation: Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Education Programs

#1 Capella University

Minneapolis, MN

Online Master of Science in Marriage and Family Counseling/Therapy

Online Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling

Capella University offers a number of low-cost online master’s in counseling degrees. The Harold Abel School of of Social and Behavioral Science at Capella University provides counseling students programs that meet professional standards within the field of counseling. The curriculum is designed to provide students with the theoretical knowledge and clinical skills to be leaders in the field of counseling. With a variety of areas of speciality to choose from students can select the degree that matches their specific area of interest. Capella aims to make online education affordable for all students with opportunities for scholarships, financial aid, and discounts for qualifying students. Capella University offers online counseling programs that have received accreditation from two highly respected and sought after accreditation boards within the field of counseling, the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) and the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE).

Courses for the counseling programs at Capella University include: principles of integrated addiction and mental health treatment; survey of research in human development for professional counselors; ethical and legal issues in professional counseling; group counseling and psychotherapy; life planning and career development; counseling and advocacy with diverse populations; introduction to school counseling; crisis intervention and emergency management; professional ethics in marriage and family counseling/therapy; human sexuality; and child and adolescent counseling.

  • Credits Required: 48-92
  • Cost: $485 / Credit Hour
  • Residency: Yes
  • Accreditation: Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Education Programs
  • Accreditation: Commission on Accreditation for Marriage & Family Therapy

 

Methodology:

  • A list of schools was gathered using College Navigator offering programs in areas of general counseling.
  • Each school’s regional accreditation was gathered and only schools that were regionally accredited remained.
  • Each school was researched and only selected if a counseling programs was available online.
  • From this list, schools were ranked on a variety of factors including, but not limited to, whether they were accredited by a major accrediting body in addition to regional accreditation, tuition, residency program offerings, and course offerings.

 

Related Rankings

This concludes our ranking of the top online master’s in counseling degree programs.

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