Online counseling degree programs are offered by a variety of institutions. Whether the institution is online only, or traditional, most of the graduate counseling programs offered online require short four to eight day residency periods to practice the application of techniques in person.
Ranking The Top 10 Best Online Masters in Counseling Degree Programs
All of the universities on this list of top ten online counseling degrees are accredited regionally, other accreditations vary from school to school. The schools are ranked according to reputation. While the online only schools tend to offer a greater range of degree programs online, the reputation of the non-profit traditional institutions tends to outweigh the variety offered by their often for-profit online only competitors and are a good place to start for someone looking to get a counseling degree.
#1. Wake Forest University: Master’s of Arts in Counseling-Clinical Mental Health
Executive Summary: Wake Forest University’s commitment to excellence and the school’s “Pro Humanitate” (for humanity) philosophy is reflected in its reputation and the quality of its programs. The online counseling program at Wake Forest is focused on producing caring counselors and human services professionals during a time when so many face difficulty and hardship. 2012-2013 is the online counseling degree program’s first year and one can only hope there is more to come from this prestigious university.
Tuition: Estimated annual tuition at Wake Forest for the MA in Counseling program is $33,000.
Unique Features: Wake Forest University is ranked #27 by U.S. News and World Report’s Annual Guide to America’s Best Colleges and the #33 ranked best value university in the country.
#2. University of Massachusetts: Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling
Executive Summary: The University of Massachusetts has been a pioneer of the adoption of online education among its peers. The MS in Mental Health Counseling program is affordable and one of the strongest options available to prospective counselors seeking a high quality program from an institution with a strong reputation at an affordable price.
Tuition: Tuition for the MS in Mental Health Counseling program at UMass is $475.00 per credit.
Unique Features: The University of Massachusetts has been recognized by the Sloan Consortium for excellence in online teaching. UMass is ranked #97 among national universities by U.S. News and World Report and ranked by The Times of London as one of the top 20 universities worldwide.
#3. Seton Hall University: Master of Arts in Counseling
Executive Summary: SHU is a Roman Catholic school with a 150 year academic tradition as one of the first Roman Catholic universities in the United States. Seton Hall has recently begun offering online programs, bringing their rich academic history to the world of online education. Two short on site residencies are required for the completion of the online counseling degree program.
Unique Features: Seton Hall University is ranked #131 among national universities by U.S. News and World Report.
#4. University of North Dakota: Master of Arts in Counseling
Executive Summary: The University of North Dakota is a state university with a long heritage dating to 1883, before North Dakota became a state. The university is now launching online courses to bring the academic excellence of the University to a wider audience. Online students are charged the same rate as North Dakota Residents making it one of the most affordable online counseling degree programs available.
Unique Features: UND is ranked #171 among national universities by U.S. News and World Report and its psychology programs are highly rated.
#5. Post University: Master of Science in Human Services- Alcohol and Drug Counseling
Executive Summary: Post is another university with a long academic tradition that is breaking into the online market and is one of the only such institutions that does not require any residency periods for its online counseling degree program. This particular program has a light credit load of 37 credits and the cost is lower than that of many competing institutions.
Tuition: The cost of the full MSHS-Alcohol and Drug Counseling program at Post University is $20,000.
Unique Features: The online programs offered by post have received recognition from U.S. News and World Report’s online distance education honor roll including rankings of #12 for Faculty Credentials and Training, and #28 for Student Services and Technology
#6. Sacred Heart University: Master of Science in Applied Psychology
Executive Summary: This program offers a concentration in Community Psychology. The primary goal of the Community Psychology concentration is to develop counselors capable of meeting the needs of community organizations such as community centers, schools and social services organizations. The focus of this degree is on working with the underprivileged, underserved communities in need.
Tuition: The cost of the MS in Applied Psychology program is $700 per credit
Unique Features: Sacred Heart University is ranked #38 among universities in the northern region by U.S. News and World Report.
#7. Liberty University: Master of Arts in Professional Counseling
Executive Summary: Liberty University is a large evangelical Christian university and was one of the first prominent universities of its kind to begin offering online programs. The focus of Liberty’s MA in Professional Counseling program is to help students develop a mastery of professional counseling theory and practice and ground their practice in Christian ethical values.
Tuition: Liberty University tuition for the MA in Professional Counseling programs is $465.00 per credit.
Unique Features: Liberty University is ranked #65 among universities in the southern region by U.S. News and World Report.
#8. Northcentral University: Master of Arts in Psychology- Industrial/Organizational Psychology
Executive Summary: Northcentral is a private, for-profit university. The MA in Psychology with a focus on Industrial/Organizational Psychology focuses on preparing students to evaluate the psychological status of employees for corporations, aid in the hiring process and and perform many varied tasks involving the assessment of employee mental health, and when necessary, providing counseling for employees.
Tuition: The cost of Northcentral’s graduate program is $675.00 per credit.
Unique Features: While U.S. News and World Report doesn’t evaluate online counseling degree programs, Northcentral was rated top ten the Faculty Credentials and Training category for the two programs rated by U.S. News and World Reports online education honor roll.
#9. Bellevue University: Master of Science in Clinical Counseling
Executive Summary: Bellevue University is fully devoted to providing working adults with the resources and quality programs they need to advance in their careers. 80% of the school’s undergraduates are over the age of 25 and the average of graduate students is even higher, making this an attractive place for adults wishing to complete their degree or earn their graduate degree among their peers.
Tuition: Bellevue’s M.S. in Clinical Counseling program tuition is $495.00 per credit.
Unique Features: Bellevue was awarded the prestigious “21st Century Best Practices Award” by the United States Distance Learning Association, a great honor in the distance education community.
#10. LeTourneau University: Master of Arts in Counseling
Executive Summary: LeTourneau is a private interdenominational christian university that was founded just after World War II with one of its primary services being to provide quality education for returning American servicemen.
Tuition: Tuition for the MA Counseling program at LeTourneau is $540.00 per credit.
Unique Features: LeTourneau University is ranked #36 among western regional universities by U.S. News and World Report.
This concludes our ranking of the top online master’s in counseling degree programs.