The Top 25 Low-Cost Online Master’s Degrees in School Counseling

| Staff Writers

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Here we have put together a list of the best low-cost online master’s degrees in school counseling. School Counselors work in the elementary, middle, and high school settings. An online master’s degree in school counseling from one of the low-cost graduate programs listed here will prepare graduates to provide advocacy, assessment, evaluation, personal, social, developmental, academic and career counseling to students in kindergarten through twelfth grade. Along with providing a broad range of services, school counselors work with a diverse population of individuals including not only students and teachers but also parents, school staff, administrators, coaches, and community members.

Most of the low-cost online master’s degrees in school counseling listed here require students to complete an internship and practicum experience. The internship and practicum is generally designed to be completed in your home town and is incorporated into the program curriculum to be manageable for all students. Practicum and internship experiences provide students with valuable hands on learning experiences, in a school setting, allowing students to gain clinical and professional skills.

Another requirement that is common among online counseling programs, including many of the low-cost online master’s degrees in school counseling listed here, is the residency requirement. Residencies provide online counseling students the opportunity to engage in face-to-face on campus learning opportunities with peers and faculty. Residencies often take place once or twice for a few days to a week at a time during the course of the program. Students typically report that residencies provided invaluable learning opportunities as well as connections with peers and faculty that they feel appreciative of.

One final thing to consider for students interested in online counseling programs is licensure and accreditation. All of the schools on this list are regionally accredited, in addition many of the schools listed here are also accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP ). Accredited programs generally provide graduates with an advantage of having completed specifically required coursework when applying for licensure, streamlining the licensure process. Regardless of the program you choose, all students are encouraged to contact their home state’s licensing board to determine if the online master’s program they are interested in meets their home state’s licensing and certification requirements.

We are confident you will find the best low-cost online master’s degree in school counseling to meet your academic and career goals here! For more information about the methodology used for this ranking, please see the methodology section at the end of he article.

Top 10 Low-Cost Online Master’s Degrees in School Counseling 2017

Rank School Location
1 Fort Hays State University Hays, KS
2 University of the Cumberlands Williamsburg, KY
3 Chadron State College Chadron, NE
4 Walden University Minneapolis, MN
5 Southern Arkansas University Magnolia, AR
6 University of West Alabama Livingston, AL
7 Salem College Winston-Salem, NC
8 Capella University Minneapolis, MN
9 University of Louisiana at Monroe Monroe, LA
10 Indiana Wesleyan University Marion, IN
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  1. Fort Hays State University
    Location

    Hays, KS

    Online Master of Science in Counseling- School Counseling

    Fort Hays State University offers the lowest-cost online Master of Science in Counseling with an emphasis on School Counseling program on our list. Students in the School Counseling program offered through the Virtual College at Fort Hays University will have the opportunity to complete three four-day on campus residencies meant to enhance student's educational experience and clinical skills . Students in this program will also develop professionally through internship and practicum experiences that they can complete in their home town. This 45 credit School Counseling Program is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. Graduates of this program will be prepared for licensure in Kansas, as always, students should consult their home state licensure board for more information regarding licensure.

    Courses include: educational research; counseling skills development; lifespan human development; foundations of counseling; lifestyle and career development; appraisal in counseling; theories in counseling; management of counseling programs; group counseling- theories and procedures; social and cultural foundations; professional counseling in elementary schools; and professional and ethical issues in counseling.

    • Credits Required: 45
    • Cost: $272.71 / Credit Hour
  2. University of the Cumberlands
    Location

    Williamsburg, KY

    Online Master of Arts in Education - School Counseling

    The University of the Cumberlands offers an online low-cost Master of Arts in Education -School Counseling degree. Program courses cover a wide range of topics to prepare students to work with the variety of issues that school counselors inevitably face working in diverse school settings. The University of the Cumberlands offers flexible online courses in synchronous and asynchronous formats in an effort to meet the various needs of all students.

    Courses include: research methods in education; research methods and program evaluation; advanced human behavior, development, and learning; introduction to school counseling; theory and practice of multicultural counseling; psychological assessment; counseling individuals with diverse needs; lifestyle and career development; counseling theories and techniques; introduction to addiction counseling; legal and ethical issues in counseling; advanced clinical assessment; group counseling; and counseling aspects of grief and loss.

    • Credits Required: 45
    • Cost: $315 / Credit Hour
  3. Chadron State College
    Location

    Chadron, NE

    Online Master of Education - School Counseling

    Chadron State University offers a low-cost online Master of Education in School Counseling. Students in this 39 credit program can complete the majority of classes online (note: two courses as well as practicum/internship are not available online). Students in this program also have the option of preparing for licensure as a Licensed Professional Counselor with the completion of five additional courses. Graduates of the program will be prepared to work with elementary, middle, and high school students in private and public schools.

    Courses include: counseling ethics and professional identity; fundamentals of assessment; multicultural counseling; family development; counseling children; crisis counseling; counseling theories; career and lifestyle development; school counseling; and advanced human development.

    • Credits Required: 39
    • Cost: $400 / Credit Hour
  4. Walden University
    Location

    Minneapolis, MN

    Online Master of Science in School Counseling

    A Master of Science in School Counseling is available at Walden University. The School Counseling Degree offers students the opportunity to specialize in: addiction counseling; career counseling; crisis trauma; and military families and culture. Walden University is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). The School Counseling Program aims to prepare graduates to pursue licensure/certification as school counselors in kindergarten through twelfth grade. Licensure requirements vary by state and students should consult their home state licensing board for specific requirements. An accelerated track is available for students who are able to commit to full time study.

    Courses include: foundations of graduate study in school counseling; introduction to school counseling; counseling techniques in schools; counseling theories for school counselors; ethical and legal issues for school counselors; leadership, advocacy, and consultation in school counseling; lifespan development; child and adolescent counseling; group counseling and guidance in schools; crisis, trauma, and disaster response; and academic and career counseling.

    • Credits Required: 84
    • Cost: $410 / Credit Hour
  5. Southern Arkansas University
    Location

    Magnolia, AR

    Master of Education in School Counseling Online

    Southern Arkansas University offers a low-cost online Master of Education in School Counseling. The program aims to provide a broad curriculum emphasizing theory and practice. Students will be trained in child and adolescent development and gain hands on experience through the completion of a field internship at an approved school. Graduates will be prepared to pursue licensure as a school counselor and ready to meet the needs of all youth in K-12 settings.

    Courses include: introduction to the counseling profession; ethical, legal, and professional issues in counseling; counseling theories; basic counseling skills; group counseling; human development for helping professionals; career counseling-theory and practice; counseling in a diverse society; assessment procedures for counselors; counseling children and adolescents; and development and administration of school counseling programs.

    • Credits Required: 51
    • Cost: $414 / Credit Hour
  6. University of West Alabama
    Location

    Livingston, AL

    Online Master of Education in School Counseling

    The University of West Alabama offers a low-cost online Master of Education in School Counseling. Applicants to this program need to have educational (teaching or instructional support) experience. This 48 credit program will prepare graduates for certification as a school counselor.

    Courses include: professional orientation; introduction to school counseling; techniques of counseling; career development and counseling; counseling children and adolescents; strategies for crisis intervention; group counseling; counseling multicultural populations; practicum in school counseling; and internship in counseling.

    • Credits Required: 48
    • Cost: $429 / Credit Hour
  7. Salem College
    Location

    Winston-Salem, NC

    Master of Education in School Counseling Online

    Salem College offers a low-cost online Master of Education in School Counseling. The School Counseling Program at Salem College emphasizes research and clinical skills to prepare graduates for licensure. This 48 credit program can be completed in 36 months. Students will gain clinical training through two weekend residencies as well as the school counseling practicum and school counseling internship experiences. Graduates will be well prepared to partner with students, parents, teachers, and school administrators with the goal of enhancing all students academic and social development. Established in 1772, Salem College is the longest standing educational institution for girls and women with a tradition of attracting diverse students that continues today.

    Courses include: counseling, leadership, theory, and practice; introduction to the school counseling profession; ethics and legalities in education for school counseling; culturally relevant counseling-exploring educational equality; group counseling-strategies and techniques for school counselors; introduction to the school setting- practicum for school counselors; practicum in school counseling; and internship in school counseling.

    • Credits Required: 48
    • Cost: $480 / Credit Hour
  8. Capella University
    Location

    Minneapolis, MN

    Master of Science in School Counseling Online

    A low-cost online Master of Science in School Counseling is available at Capella University. Students in this 72 credit program will complete practicum and internship experiences. Students will also have the opportunity to grow professionally and develop relationships with peers and faculty through two required residency experiences. Graduates will be prepared to pursue licensure as school counselors in K-12 settings and ready to work with diverse populations. Capella University works to provide support for students before, during, and after their time in the program with enrollment counselors available to support students in choosing the degree to meet their career goals and licensure teams to support students in navigating the licensure process in their home state.

    Courses include: ethical and legal issues in professional counseling; group counseling and psychotherapy; life planning and career development; counseling and advocacy with diverse populations; theories of counseling and guidance for children and adolescents; contemporary issues in school counseling; introduction to school counseling; developmental school counseling and student services; and crisis intervention and emergency management.

    • Credits Required: 72
    • Cost: $485 / Credit Hour
  9. University of Louisiana at Monroe
    Location

    Monroe, LA

    Online Master of Science in Counseling - School Counseling

    The University of Louisiana at Monroe offers students a Master of Science in Counseling. Students interested in this low-cost online graduate degree in counseling can choose an emphasis in school counseling, clinical mental health counseling or both. This program is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), a distinction that means the program has met or exceeded national standards, making the process towards licensure more streamlined. Graduates will be prepared to work in K-12 settings with diverse populations and can pursue careers such as school counselors, career counselors, and school administrators.

    Courses include: introduction to counseling; legal and ethical issues; counseling theories; methods of counseling; advanced techniques; career counseling; multicultural populations; crisis counseling; assessment; school counseling; human growth and development; and addictions counseling.

    • Credits Required: 60
    • Cost: $500 / Credit Hour
  10. Indiana Wesleyan University
    Location

    Marion, IN

    Online Master of Arts in Counseling - School Counseling

    Indiana Wesleyan University offers a Master of Arts in Counseling- School Counseling Program. This low-cost online master's degree requires the completion of 48 credits. Indiana Wesleyan University is a Christian university offering students a comprehensive curriculum integrated with Christian principles. Students in this program will complete two weekend intensives on campus to connect with peers and faculty and build on what they have been learning from home. The School Counseling Program at Indiana Wesleyan University is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) ensuring that curriculum has met national standards and allowing graduates to have a more streamlined process towards licensure.

    Courses include: human growth and development; multicultural counseling; theory and techniques in the helping relationship; theory and techniques in group counseling; theory and techniques in career counseling; appraisal of individuals and families; legal, ethical, and professional issues; integration of the theory and practice of christian counseling; theories and techniques of school counseling; and child and adolescent development and treatment.

    • Credits Required: 48
    • Cost: $520 / Credit Hour

Methodology:

  • A list of schools offering programs in Counselor Education / School Counseling & Student Counseling was gathered using the NCES College Navigator database.
  • Only schools that offered these programs as Distance Education were selected.
  • From this list, each school’s regional accreditation was gathered and only schools that were regionally accredited remained.
  • Then each school’s website was searched to confirm if a counseling programs was indeed offered on line. Schools that didn’t have counseling programs offered online were removed from the list.
  • Each school’s Graduate tuition per credit hour was obtained from the schools’s web site. The lowest tuition rate was listed for schools that offered multiple programs with multiple tuition rates.

See also: The 50 Best Low-Cost Online Master’s in Counseling Programs 2016-2017

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