Best CACREP-Accredited Online Master’s in School Counseling Programs 2021
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Online master’s in school counseling programs prepare graduates to help K-12 students overcome academic and social challenges. School counseling degrees typically require 2-3 years of study, including a field experience. Online course delivery may be asynchronous, allowing learners to study at their convenience; synchronous, on a set schedule; or a combination of the two. Field experiences must be completed in-person.
Master’s in school counseling curricula cover topics like abnormal psychology, group counseling, school counseling program management, multicultural counseling, and professional practice. Programs may culminate in a capstone project and a presentation, or a thesis.
Applicants should ensure that their prospective program holds accreditation from the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). CACREP-accredited programs meet rigorous academic standards, and some state licensing boards require CACREP-approved degrees. Check out our guide to CACREP-accredited programs to learn about our ranking methodology and find the best school for you.
Located in Raleigh, NC State University's online master of education in counseling education prepares students for careers as professional school counselors. Upon graduating, learners possess the skills and knowledge necessary for promoting the academic, personal, professional, and social development of students in grades K-12. Graduates also meet North Carolina's professional licensure course requirements.
The program's curriculum emphasizes multicultural diversity and the significance of these perspectives in counseling theory, practice, and research. Admission requirements include submitting three letters of recommendation from those who know the applicant's aptitude for graduate study and academic record.
Students earn their master's degree online by completing a three-year study plan that requires them to attend courses year-round, including during the summer. They must also attend some on-campus weekend classes during their final year. During their final semester, students can take licensing exams in their field.
Career Counseling and Development Multicultural Counseling Theories and Tech of Counseling Group Counseling Strategies for Clinical Assessment in Counseling Techniques in Counseling
Cost: $446 per credit (residents); $1,295 per credit (non-residents) Credits Required: 60 credits Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs
Graduates may qualify for LCP licensure and their school counselor certification. Admissions requirements include submitting a current resume, a letter of interest, and three letters of recommendation. After receiving and evaluating all of the student's materials, the counseling faculty may choose to conduct a video interview.
Online classes take place year-round in eight-week sessions, allowing students to complete courses at an accelerated rate. Students must also meet clinical experience requirements via a practicum and an internship. The practicum involves at least 100 hours of field experience, while the internship requires a minimum of 600 hours spread over two semesters.
Counseling Theories Law and Ethics in Counseling Clinical Assessment and Psychometrics Diagnostics in Counseling Principles of Administration of School Counseling Programs
Cost: $500 per credit Credits Required: 60 credits Accreditation: Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs, Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Located in Magnolia, Southern Arkansas University offers a hybrid version of its master of education in school counseling degree. Students typically complete the program in three years when following a year-round, two classes per semester schedule. Students prepare for careers as professional school counselors while fulfilling Arkansas's K-12 school counseling licensure requirements.
Program graduates develop a firm understanding of a child and adolescent's developmental needs. They participate in programs that connect to national standards and the American School Counselor Association's National Model.
If students hold a valid teaching license, there's an option to earn the K-12 add-on license. Teachers can obtain this advanced credential following two 300-hour internships, one at an elementary and the other at a secondary building. The program's admission process involves submitting a letter of application to the University's Director of Counselor Education.
Foundations of School Counseling Ethical, Legal and Professional Issues in Counseling Human Development for Helping Professionals Counseling in a Diverse Society Development and Administration of School Counseling Programs
Cost: $284 (residents); $446 (non-residents) per credit Credits Required: 60 credits Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission, Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs
The online master of arts in school counseling available at North Carolina Central University prepares students for K-12 licensure practice as a school counselor. Students complete all experiences that the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) requires of professional school counselors. NCCU's master's in school counseling receives full accreditation by the CACREP and an endorsement by the IRCEP (International Registry of Counselor Education Programs).
Admission requirements include a 2.7 minimum GPA, GRE scores, and two letters of recommendation. Every student enrolled in this graduate degree program works with a trained academic advisor who assists in degree planning, course registration, and university resources. Students participating in online programs receive access to future networking opportunities with North Carolina employers and beyond.
Ethical, Professional Orientation to Counseling Psychosocial Development Multicultural & Gender Issues Group Counseling Advanced School Counseling
Cost: $273.63 (residents); $921.33 (non-residents) per credit Credits Required: 51 credits Accreditation: Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs, Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
The master of education in school counseling at the University of Nebraska at Kearney prepares students for working directly with students who need academic guidance or other preventative or responsive services. Graduates may specialize in either elementary or secondary school counseling.
Admission requirements include submitting an online application, official transcripts, and a resume. Students must also write an essay about their motivation for becoming a school counselor and submit three professional references. After their application passes through the Department of Counseling and School Psychology, students must participate in a CSP Department admission interview and intake process.
While most students enter the UNK school counseling program with an undergraduate degree in education, those with a bachelor's degree in a non-education field may now pursue the school counseling degree. To do so, these students must complete an additional 12 credits of field-based teacher education training with the master's degree in school counseling program.
Theories in Counseling Career Counseling Child & Adolescent Development & Interventions Multicultural Counseling School Counseling Organization and Practice Ethical, Legal, and Professional Practice in School
Cost: $315 (resident); $444 (non-resident) per credit Credit Requirements: 43 credits Accreditation: Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs, Higher Learning Commission
Wake Forest University offers an online master of arts in counseling with a school counseling track that prepares graduates for serving students' and their family's unique needs. Students learn from highly-regarded counseling thought-leaders while simultaneously having access to 24/7 technical support and tutoring services.
WFU counseling program graduates boast a 95% pass rate when they take the National Counselor Examination and can find and secure internships with the university's network of industry partners.
Applicants must provide proof of receiving a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution, GRE test scores, a personal statement, and three recommendation letters. After the application goes through the review process, students participate in a virtual interview with an enrollment advisor.
Life Span Development Theories and Models of Counseling Appraisal Procedures for Counselors Issues in School Counseling School Guidance and Counseling
Cost: $1,510 per credit Credit Requirements: 60 credits Accreditation: Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs, Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
St. Bonaventure University offers an online master of science in education in school counseling to students who are passionate about guiding children through various academic, developmental, and social milestones. After participating in engaging coursework and in-field practice, graduates learn how to support primary, middle, and high school students.
Students take foundational courses asynchronously and must also complete residency and practicum requirements to receive their degree. SBU counseling graduates find work in colleges, junior colleges, nonprofits, public and private schools, specialized education facilities, and universities. The school boasts a 98% pass rate on the licensed professional counselor exam.
Applicants must possess a minimum 2.75 GPA from undergraduate coursework and submit transcripts, a writing sample, and two letters of recommendation. The program does not require test scores.
Abnormal Psychology Group Counseling Multicultural Counseling Management of School Counseling Programs Interventions for School and CMH Counseling
Cost: $799 per credit Credit Requirements: 60 credits Accreditation: Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs, Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Oregon State University's master of counseling program has an option for school counseling intended specifically for Oregon and Washington residents. The curriculum takes place in a hybrid format, with courses occurring both in-person and online.
Face-to-face classes occur during two weekends every term in Wilsonville, Oregon. The internship and practicum course requirements during years two and three take place synchronously, which means students must participate in online courses in real-time during specific dates and times. OSU operates on a quarter-term schedule, with each term lasting 11 weeks.
With just 18 spots in each cohort, applicants compete rigorously for admission. Students must submit letters of recommendation and a resume with their application. Evaluation criteria during admissions include the student's academic background, emotional and personal suitability, paid and volunteer experience in helping professions, and educational and professional goals. OSU recommends that applicants with an undergraduate GPA of less than 3.0 also submit GRE scores.
Leadership of School Counseling Programs Legal, Ethical, and Professional Issues in Counseling Research Methods in Education Social and Cultural Perspectives Special Education Issues
Cost: $590 per credit Credit Requirements: 75 quarter-credits Accreditation: Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs, Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
The research-intensive master of education in school counseling program at the University of Alaska Fairbanks prepares students for the fast-growing field of school counseling. Along with the master's degree, students also receive certification as a school counselor upon graduation.
Students may choose a concentration in school counseling, K-12 school counseling, or a dual concentration with clinical mental health. While students may reside anywhere, UAF specializes in meeting the unique needs of Alaska's rural communities and cultural groups.
Admission requirements include completing a bachelor's degree, preferably in the human services field. Students must submit a statement indicating their academic goals, education, experience, motivations, personal characteristics, and intentions for earning this degree. Candidates must also submit at least three letters of recommendation and participate in an interview process.
Research in Counseling and Educational Settings Counseling Theories and Applications Developmental Interventions Child and Adolescent Development Professional Ethics Multicultural Counseling
Cost: $513 (resident); $1,079 (non-resident) per credit Credit Requirements: 48-60 credits, depending on the concentration Accreditation: Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs, Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
Located in Virginia Beach, Virginia, Regent University offers a master of arts in school counseling degree both on-campus and online with residency requirements. Regent students gain real-world and solutions-focused training, all presented from a Christian worldview, to help families, students, and teachers navigate issues. Career opportunities include positions as a K-12 school counselor in private schools, public schools, or charter schools.
Prior to graduation, students must participate in two separate week-long residencies. They must also complete a two-semester internship.
Prerequisites for this degree program include holding a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited university or college with a minimum GPA of 3.0 for all undergraduate coursework. Applicants must submit an academic background questionnaire licensure survey, as well as resumes, references, and an interview.
Counseling Children & Adolescents Principles of School Counseling Program Development & Evaluation for School Counselors Internship in School Counseling
Cost: $710 per credit Credit Requirements: 60 credits Accreditation: Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs, Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Malone University, located in Canton, Ohio, offers a master of arts in education in school counseling for those who aspire to serve K-12 students in an educational setting. Applicants with any undergraduate degree may apply to this program. The hybrid curriculum includes coursework, internships, and a practicum. Students can expect to complete this program in approximately three years.
Applicants must submit an autobiography in addition to transcripts and letters of recommendation. After reviewing these materials, the admissions office invites candidates to participate in an interview on campus.
Program graduates demonstrate an 85% pass rate on the Ohio Assessments for Educators for school counselors, and 75% of students obtain a full-time job within three years of their graduation.
Multicultural Counseling and Advocacy Counseling Children and Adolescents Foundations of School Counseling Consultation and Advocacy in School Counseling Program Development and Coordination in School Counseling Exceptional Children and Youth
Cost: $625 per credit Credit Requirements: 48 credits Accreditation: Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs, Higher Learning Commission
Lincoln Memorial University, located in Harrogate, Tennessee, offers a master of education in counseling and guidance to prepare students for academic and professional challenges. Prospective students must consult with the Chair of the Counseling Program before enrolling to determine if this curriculum is appropriate for their professional objectives. Upon admission, students continue consulting with their faculty advisor.
LMU counseling students may choose one of two concentrations: PreK-12 school counseling and mental health counseling. The school counseling concentration requires 700 hours of field experience, split between practicum and internship courses.
Applicants for the counseling program must submit transcripts, recommendations, and GRE scores. Once students have completed their first graduate course, they must also apply for degree candidacy and submit an advisor-approved program of study.
Professional Orientation and Ethics in Counseling Social and Cultural Aspects of Counseling Psychology of Human Development Crisis Intervention and Consultation Assessment in Counseling
Cost: $490 per credit Credit Requirements: 60 credits Accreditation: Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs, Higher Learning Commission
Monmouth University, located in West Long Branch, New Jersey, offers an online master of science in education in school counseling to prepare students to support students across every grade. Students become strong advocates by focusing on continuous learning, increased self-awareness, and personal and professional development. After completing 700 hours of supervised fieldwork, graduates can proficiently meet the challenges of our evolving and diverse society.
Applicants must have an undergraduate degree and submit a 500-word essay discussing how they foresee using this training in their future school counseling career. After the university receives and evaluates this information, students participate in a group interview.
Counseling and Ethical Practice Counseling Theory and Practice Counseling At-Risk Children and Families School Counseling Program Planning and Consultation
Cost: $1,267 per credit Credit Requirements: 48 credits Accreditation: Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs, Middle States Commission on Higher Education
With its location in Prescott, Arizona, Prescott College offers an online master of education in school counseling to prepare future school counselors for working with students through social-emotional-academic development and growth. Because this program follows the American School Counselor Association's program model requirements, it requires students to take a hands-on approach in the field.
Graduates can expect to possess the skills necessary to develop lesson plans, address diverse learners' needs, and articulate lesson objectives for students. Students can transfer up to 15 graduate semester credits from another regionally-accredited post-secondary institution as long as they meet curricular expectations and standards. The admission process involves submitting an application, submitting official transcripts, and writing an academic focus essay.
Foundations of School Counseling Counseling Theories and Techniques Human Growth and Development Social and Ecological Perspectives School Counseling: Program Development, Implementation, and Evaluation
Cost: $598 per credit Credit Requirements: 36 credits Accreditation: Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs, Higher Learning Commission
Applying to a CACREP-Accredited Online Master’s in School Counseling Program
Educational prerequisites for online school counseling programs usually consist of a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. Although schools may prefer a degree in counseling or related fields like psychology, many accept candidates with sufficient prior coursework in psychology, statistics, and biology. Similarly, a program may not define a minimum GPA, but the most competitive applicants maintain a 3.5 GPA.
Programs may also request transcripts, GRE scores, a personal statement, a resume, and letters of recommendation.
Most states require school counselors to be licensed, and some also mandate teaching credentials and/or 1-2 years of school counseling or classroom experience. School counselors obtain licensure by passing a state examination or a standardized exam like Praxis.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much do school counselors make?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, school and career counselors earn an annual median salary of $57,040. Elementary and secondary school counselors make $67,670 a year. School counselors earn the highest salaries in California, New Jersey, Maryland, New York, and Washington, D.C.
What is accreditation and why is it important?
Many states and employers require or prefer school counselors with a master’s degree from a CACREP-accredited program or one approved by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation. Accreditation ensures that programs implement uniform standards and uphold rigorous academic criteria. It also facilitates interstate licensing reciprocity.
Is a school counselor a good job?
School counseling appeals to those who want to help young people succeed academically, socially, and developmentally. The pay may not support a lavish lifestyle, but provides a comfortable living. School counselors may even enjoy summers off. Opportunities should increase in the profession, with an 8% projected job growth rate from 2019-29.
What can I do with a master's in counseling?
In addition to school counseling, a master’s in counseling leads to positions as career counselors, marriage and family counselors, mental health counselors, and substance abuse counselors. Other potential occupations include therapist and social worker. Counselors, therapists, and social workers find jobs in healthcare facilities, private practice, and government agencies.
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