A master’s degree in student affairs and college counseling can lead to a position as a school or career counselor at a higher education institution. These counselors help college students determine a career path or search for jobs before graduation. They may give students aptitude assessments, help them hone resumes or cover letters, or offer advice on juggling the demands of college life.
Some candidates seeking academic advising master’s programs choose to pursue a distance learning degree. Online college counseling programs allow students to complete coursework at their convenience. Many distance learners are able to keep their jobs while enrolled in graduate school. However, individuals who wish to earn a master’s in college counseling online should seek a degree from an accredited program.
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Top 5 Best Online Master’s Degrees in Student Affairs and College Counseling
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What to Expect From a Master’s Degree in Student Affairs and College Counseling
While every online master’s in college counseling features a slightly different curriculum, most include foundational courses that address counseling theories and techniques. Curricula often feature at least one class on cross cultural counseling, or working with diverse populations. More advanced courses concentrate on specialized topics, such as vocational counseling, clinical assessment, and crisis intervention.
Individuals pursuing careers as college counselors may also need to complete a certain number of supervised work experience hours to obtain state licensure. Many master’s programs meet these guidelines by incorporating some sort of supervised work requirement into the curriculum. This might consist of a practicum, an internship, or both. Students may spend anywhere from 100-600 hours in a field placement at a college or a similar institution. Most full-time students graduate in around two years, although part-time candidates might take longer to graduate.
Career Outlook for Student Affairs and College Counselors
These days, students who obtain an academic counseling master’s degree enjoy a bright career outlook. As long as colleges and universities continue to enroll learners, student affairs officers and college counselors can secure jobs. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects the number of school and career counselors to increase by 8% from 2018-28, faster than the average rate for all occupations combined.
According to the BLS, these professionals enjoy a median annual wage of about $56,310. On average, they earn more than their peers who work as marriage and family therapists ($50,090) and rehabilitation counselors ($35,630).
Salary and employment figures depend on many factors, including geographic location and education level. Student affairs and college counselors earn the highest salaries in California, New Jersey, and Massachusetts, with the average earnings in California reaching $74,530.
Top Online Master’s Degree in Student Affairs and College Counseling 2020
A Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Counselor Education and Supervision is available online from Capella University. This CACREP accredited doctoral program allows students to transfer in up to 60 credits towards the 144 credit degree. Capella University offers students three four-day residencies to build upon what is learned in the online courses and fieldwork. The university offers students the opportunity to complete internship requirements through working with students in the master's programs. Graduates will be prepared to pursue careers in a variety of careers in a broad range of settings.
Courses include: advanced research in human development; advanced counseling theories; advanced clinical practice; statistical analysis for counselor education research; counselor education teaching and practice; counselor supervision; leadership and advocacy in counseling; foundations of advanced social science research and design; advanced study in counselor education research methods; counselor education and supervision practicum; counselor education and supervision internship; and dissertation courseroom.
- Ave. Graduate Tuition: $ 14,175.00
- Application Deadline: NA
- Credits Required: 84
The College of Education at Oregon State University offers a CACREP accredited Ph.D. in Counseling. This doctoral degree is available online with the hybrid format. Applicants should have a master's degree in counseling as well as the ability to travel to Wilsonville, Oregon (easily accessible from Portland International Airport for out of state students) for face-to-face courses (twice each quarter Friday-Saturday). Students in this program will work independently while also being engaged in a supportive and collaborative cohort with peers as they pursue their doctoral degree.
Courses include: dissertation; advanced supervision; doctoral practicum; doctoral internship; advanced counseling practice; qualitative research; quantitative research and statistics; publication methods in counselor education; advanced assessment; advanced career and consult; advanced group; advanced diversity and social justice; counselor education; and supervision.
- Ave. Graduate Tuition: $ 20,952.00
- Application Deadline: January 29th
- Credits Required: 94
Virginia Beach, VA
Regent University offers an online CACREP accredited Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Counselor Education and Supervision. Applicants are expected to have a master's degree in counseling (or equivalent field) and should be licensed or working towards licensure. This program is unique in that it provides students the opportunity to incorporate Christian biblical foundations with counseling theory and practice. This 66 credit online program enhances student experience with three one-week residencies.
Courses include: quantitative research methodology; qualitative research methodology; advanced counseling and career theories; multicultural issues in counseling; dissertation proposal; statistics; advanced assessment; instruction in counselor education; advanced marriage and family counseling and consultation; supervision and consultation; capstone-counseling and Christian thought; doctoral internship; and dissertation.
- Ave. Graduate Tuition: $ 16,700.00
- Application Deadline: December 15th
- Credits Required: 66
University of the Cumberlands
The University of the Cumberlands offers both a Ph.D. (66 credits) and an Ed.D. (60 credits) with a specialization in Counselor Education and Supervision. This CACREP accredited program prepares graduates to pursue careers in: higher education; administration in behavioral health settings; and in clinical practice (private practice and other settings). The Department of Education at the University of the Cumberlands collaborates with faculty from Educational Leadership as well as the School of Counseling to provide a comprehensive education. This program is offered online with the synchronous format allowing students to be a part of a live classroom experience with peers and faculty from the comfort of your own home. Minimal face-to-face residencies are required.
Courses include: learning in adulthood; the politics of educational decision making; program planning and assessment; leadership and advocacy in professional counseling; multicultural issues in counseling and education; the change process; online teaching and learning; grant writing and proposal development; dissertation; and ethical and legal issues in counselor education and supervision.
- Ave. Graduate Tuition: $ 5,670.00
- Application Deadline: NA
- Credits Required: 60-66
Walden University offers an online CACREP accredited Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision. Graduates of the program will be skilled in teaching, supervision, and counseling. Students in this online program have the opportunity to participate in three face-to-face residencies to enhance their academic and professional skills. Residencies range from 4-8 days and are offered in convenient locations across the country throughout the year in order to be as accessible as possible to all students. Graduates of the program will have experience in and be skilled in teaching, supervision, and counseling.
Areas of specialization include: the general program; advanced research methods; consultation; counseling and social change; forensic mental health counseling; leadership and program evaluation; and trauma and crisis.
- Ave. Graduate Tuition: $ 11,895.00
- Application Deadline: NA
- Credits Required: 93