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

Students interested in becoming licensed counselors may feel overwhelmed by the amount of education opportunities available to them. To help with this process, we have ranked the top 25 schools offering online master’s in counseling degrees.

As a master of counseling student, you can expect to participate in both practicums and internships that prepare you for licensure. Each program listed below holds to high counseling education standards and is fully accredited. Students can enjoy the scheduling flexibility of online coursework that allows them to continue working while furthering their education. Within these master’s programs, students enjoy practical experience in counseling environments and gain experience from field experts.

Read on to discover the unique features of each school and how your master’s in counseling degree can lead you to a successful and fulfilling career in the mental health field.

#25 Amridge University

Montgomery, AL

Online Master of Arts in Professional Counseling

Online Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy

Amridge University, founded in 1967, boasts a long legacy of online education, now offering prospective students more than 35 different online programs. Two such programs include a master of arts in professional counseling and a master of divinity in professional counseling. The university offers special financial aid to military families and the clergy. Both full- and part-time options are available for class scheduling, and students must arrange locations for practicum and clinical experience requirements (500 hours of face-to-face client contact and 100 hours under close professional supervision). In order for students to pass each course, they must earn at least a B or coursework will need to be retaken.

#24 Nova Southeastern University

Fort Lauderdale, FL

Online Master of Science in Counseling

The master of science in counseling degree at Nova Southeastern University offers four areas of concentration for graduate students, including clinical mental health counseling, school counseling, applied behavior analysis, and substance abuse counseling. Required credits vary from 51-60 credit hours, with scheduling flexibility that benefits working students. This degree requires no on-campus visits, though practicum and internship requirements necessitate that students travel to a certified counseling location to obtain experience. Students may take coursework on either a part- or full-time basis, with a minimum of six credits per term required for full-time status. Learners can transfer up to six credits from previous graduate-level coursework if they present grades no lower than a B average.

#23 California Baptist University

Riverside, CA

Online Master of Science in Counseling Psychology

Using a Christian worldview, California Baptist University’s master of science in counseling psychology prepares students for careers in various counseling outlets, such as marriage and family practice or clinical counseling. This graduate degree comprises 62 credit units, requiring an average of 24 months for completion. Students can take classwork online through a virtual hybrid model with greater student-teacher interactions or tailor scheduling to meet personal needs with an asynchronous learning format. Prior to graduation, students must complete a written case report examination using knowledge gained through practicum experience. Tuition stands at $701 per unit. Students may transfer previous graduate credits and attend class year-round to decrease overall degree length.

#22 Thomas University

Thomasville, GA

Online Master of Science in Clinical Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling

Thomas University boasts a fully online master of science in clinical rehabilitation and mental health counseling degree with CACREP accreditation. This master’s degree in counseling comprises 60-63 credit hours and culminates in an internship and practicum experience. Students can participate in a community-centered honor society, Chi Sigma Iota, and receive practical, up-to-date and interactive experiences through faculty communication and coursework. Prospective students need at least a 3.0 GPA for admissions consideration, though Georgia residency is not required. Graduates of TU’s counseling master’s degree can go on to take the CRC exam and meet all state licensing requirements.

#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’s fully online master of science in education school counseling degree offers students flexible scheduling opportunities while preparing them for state licensure. This 42-credit online master’s degree requires practicums and an internship at an approved K-12 school prior to graduation. Coursework takes place through the Blackboard learning model.Graduate tuition stands at $599 per credit hour, with discounts available for military members and families through the Yellow Ribbon Program. For transfer credits, students need at least a 2.0 GPA from previous coursework or they will need to submit an appeal for further consideration. Founded in 1962, the University of the Southwest has received regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

#20 Mid-America Christian University

Oklahoma City, OK

Online Master of Science in Counseling

Formerly known as the Gulf-Coast Bible College in 1968, Mid-America Christian University now offers a master of science in counseling with four emphasis tracks: applied behavioral sciences counseling; clinical mental health counseling; and marital, couples, and family counseling. Coursework comes in sessions of five and 10 weeks, and all emphasis tracks require 60-63 credits for completion, except for the applied behavioral sciences track that requires 36 credits. Tuition stands at $639 per credit hour. Associated with the General Assemblies of God, MACU incorporates faith-based values throughout the counseling curriculum.

#19 Post University

Waterbury, CT

Online Master of Science in Human Services

Post University, founded in 1890 and located in Waterbury, Connecticut, now offers a master of science in counseling and human services degree entirely online. Students can choose concentrations in clinical mental health counseling, alcohol and drug counseling, and forensic mental health counseling. Each program culminates in a capstone, internship, and practicum experience. For admissions, the school allows alternative credit options for students to earn credit toward degrees for previous work experience, coursework, or examination scores. Post University received accreditation from the New England Commission of Higher Education.

#18 Concordia University

Mequon, WI

Online Master of Science in Education-Counseling

Students interested in becoming licensed counselors may feel overwhelmed by the amount of education opportunities available to them. To help with this process, we have ranked the top 25 schools offering online master’s programs in counseling.

As a master of counseling student, you can expect to participate in both practicums and internships that prepare you for licensure. Each program listed below holds to high counseling education standards and is fully accredited. Students can enjoy the scheduling flexibility of online coursework that allows them to continue working while furthering their education. Within these master’s programs, students enjoy practical experience in counseling environments and gain experience from field experts.

Read on to discover the unique features of each school and how your master’s in counseling degree can lead you to a successful and fulfilling career in the mental health field.

#17 Grand Canyon University

Phoenix, AZ

Online Master of Science in Professional Counseling

Grand Canyon University, founded in 1949, offers an interdenominational education that includes a master of science in Christian counseling of substance use and addictive disorders, a master of science in clinical mental health counseling, and a master of science in addiction counseling. Degrees range from 36-62 credits for completion, with each course lasting eight weeks online. Up to 12 credits can transfer from previous graduate studies. With tuition costs for online master’s in counseling degrees at $515 per credit, Grand Canyon University also provides financial aid to online students in the form of special offers and programs.

#16 Touro University Worldwide

Los Alamitos, CA

Online Master of Arts in Marriage & Family Therapy

Requiring 82 total credits for completion, Touro University Worldwide’s master of arts in marriage and family therapy licensed professional clinical counseling degree concludes with a 500-hour practicum and 100 supervision hours. As a nonprofit institution, TUW tuition costs $500 per semester credit and offers discounts to military members and their families. Prospective students pay no admission application fees but must provide undergraduate transcripts showing a minimum 2.5 GPA. Touro University Worldwide’s mission involves educating passionate students to become better citizens with a global focus.

#15 Seton Hall University

South Orange, NJ

Online Master of Arts/ Educational Specialist in Professional Counseling

With counseling programs beginning in 1960, Seton Hall University now offers masters degrees in both professional counseling and school counseling online. The master’s in professional counseling consists of 10 semesters (60 credits) and requires students to attend campus sessions and meet with professors. This degree combines with an education specialist program led by faculty holding extensive counseling experience. The master’s degree in school counseling includes 48 credits and culminates in an internship with a K-12 school counselor. Prospective students must provide GRE scores and submit undergraduate transcripts showing a minimum 3.0 GPA.

#14 Faulkner University

Montgomery, AL

Online Master of Science in Counseling

Affiliated with the Churches of Christ, Faulkner University offers a master of science in counseling that takes place 85% online. Clinical training courses must be taken twice on campus, and coursework concludes with a practicum and internship experience. This 61-credit hour degree weaves a Christian worldview into the curriculum and provides practical field experiences to enhance the counseling education. For program consideration, prospective students must have earned at least a 2.75 GPA on undergraduate work and pass the MAT. Graduates are prepared to pursue licensure within the state of Alabama.

#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

Beginning online education programs in 1985, Liberty University boasts five online master’s programs in counseling that include addiction counseling, professional counseling, human services counseling, pastoral counseling, and an M.Ed. in school counseling. Liberty’s generous transfer credit policy allows students to transfer up to 50% of credits earned through other accredited institutions. Students need to complete 30-60 credit hours depending on the degree specialty and generally graduate within two years. While most counseling specialities occur entirely online, some include on-campus intensives. Liberty’s tuition rates have remained the same for the past three years, and the university offers special scholarships to online students to help with degree affordability.

#12 Huntington University

Huntington, IN

Online Master of Arts in Counseling

Founded in 1897, Huntington University offers more than 70 programs of study, including a master of arts in counseling. Online classes last seven weeks, with sessions occurring one time each week. In addition to coursework, students must complete a practicum and 700 hours of clinical coursework under the supervision of a certified counselor. The Personal Development Skills Group kicks off the program by allowing students to attend an on-campus, three-day event with intensive teaching sessions and group discussions. Students can take 10-12 credits each semester and earn their counseling master’s degree in two years.

#11 Palo Alto University

Palo Alto, CA

Online Master of Arts in Counseling

The master’s degree in counseling offered by Palo Alto University provides scheduling flexibility that meets the needs of working students, with both online and hybrid options available. All classwork takes place in the evenings, using a synchronous delivery model that allows students to interact with faculty and peers. Learners take two classes each quarter and generally graduate in under three years. Counseling students can choose between two areas of emphasis that will prepare them for licensure: marriage, family, and child emphasis and clinical mental health emphasis. Prospective students can sign up for a live video conference to meet faculty and staff in order to learn more about the counseling programs at Palo Alto.

#10 Northcentral University

Prescott Valley, AZ

Online Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy

Northcentral University’s master of arts in marriage and family therapy program offers six unique specializations to students: couple therapy, LGBTQ couple and family therapy, military family therapy, child and adolescent family therapy, general family therapy, and medical family therapy. The 45-60-credit hour requirement roughly translates to 20 classes, allowing students to graduate in 33 months. Faculty closely supervises students’ online coursework, and a local professional counselor must supervise 100 hours of field experience, pending faculty approval. Students use an asynchronous model to complete coursework at their convenience.

#9 Lock Haven University

Lock Haven, PA

Online Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

As the only online mental health counseling degree available in Pennsylvania, Lock Haven University’s master of clinical mental health counseling comprises 60 credit hours and requires no on-campus visits. The programs synchronous coursework delivery allows students the opportunity to interact with professors and classmates from the comfort of their own home. The mental health counseling track requires both a practicum of 100 hours and a 600-hour internship that can be completed at a location most convenient to the student. For transfer students, this program accepts up to 12 credits, as long as the student earned at least a B in previous coursework. Students also receive the opportunity to take part in mentorship programs to help faculty with research and counseling publications.

#8 University of Louisiana at Monroe

Monroe, LA

Online Master of Science in Counseling

Master of science in counseling students at the University of Louisiana at Monroe may specialize in school counseling or clinical mental health counseling. Choosing a more general track allows learners to choose both concentrations if interested. ULM accepts transfer credits from other accredited universities and offers the Prior Learning Assessment where students can prove expertise in subject areas to earn credit toward their degrees. ULM recommends that students take two to three classes per each eight-week session and charges $500 per each credit hour. Students must take the GRE for admissions consideration, unless they already possess another master’s or doctoral degree.

#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
The University of the Cumberlands offers degrees in both master’s in addiction counseling and master’s in clinical and mental health counseling. The degree in clinical mental health counseling includes specializations in four areas: private practice and clinical supervision, marriage and family counseling, child and adolescent counseling, and advanced counseling theories and techniques. The master’s in addiction counseling also offers four concentrations: psychopharmacology and addictions, motivation and change, family therapy in addiction treatment, and spirituality and values in counseling. Prospective students must take an English language test and need at least a 3.0 GPA from previous studies for admissions consideration. Students may only take two classes at a time during the eight-week bi-term.

#6 Colorado Christian University

Lakewood, CO

Online Master of Arts in Counseling

The CACREP-accredited Colorado Christian University offers a counseling master’s degree that can be completed in just under three years with intense study. Online coursework comes in blocks of seven and fourteen weeks, with a residency requirement of five-days on campus at three different times throughout studies. CCU allows for 12 transfer credits to apply toward the program’s total credit requirements, with tuition costs currently at $681 per credit. Faculty regularly evaluates program coursework and test scores to determine the best education for counseling students and to keep current with effective counseling practices.

#5 Grace College and Theological Seminary

Winona Lake, IN

Online Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Grace College and Theological Seminary incorporates scripture into each offered program, including the master of arts in clinical mental health counseling. This 60-credit hour program is offered fully online in addition to the on-campus experience but requires a brief residency for face-to-face coursework annually at its Winona Lake campus. Courses focus on interpersonal development and communication to prepare students for future counseling careers. The mental health counseling program follows the cohort model of learning, where students maintain the same classmates through all courses to help develop relationships and study networks. Within this model, students can expect to complete their degree in three years.

#4 Adams State University

Alamosa, CO

Online Master of Arts in Counseling

Fully accredited, Adams State University offers two master of arts degrees in counseling: clinical mental health counseling and school counseling. Students may attend class on campus or entirely online, with the exception of a two-week residency on campus in June. Each program consists of 60 coursework hours and meets Colorado’s state licensure requirements for counseling. Students must complete an internship for each program. Both online and on-campus students can access the detailed Degree Plan that outlines exact coursework needed for these master of arts in counseling degrees.

#3 Walden University

Minneapolis, MN

Online Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Online Master of Science in Marriage Couple and Family Counseling

Through Walden University’s counseling programs, students can take general program coursework or choose specializations to tailor their education to meet career goals. These programs remain current on models and methods used in counseling today and offers online simulation scenarios to give students practical experience with counseling clients. Walden offers a fast track option for students who want to complete their degrees more quickly, though this option best suits students who can commit a majority of their time to their studies. Students may also transfer up to 37 credits toward their counseling master’s degree to decrease degree length and overall cost.

#2 Lamar University

Beaumont, TX

Online Master of Education in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

At Lamar University, students can earn a master of education degree in both counseling and development and clinical mental health counseling. With coursework offered fully online or in on-campus classrooms, students can choose the educational path that best suits their needs and availability. In the counseling and development program, students choose between two concentrations: professional school counselor or marriage and family counseling. Each program includes 60 hours of coursework, with the counseling and development track requiring the completion of a five-day residency. Students interested in school counseling can also obtain licensure by taking a five-week accelerated online course if they possess two years of teaching experience.

#1 Capella University

Minneapolis, MN

Online Master of Science in Marriage and Family Counseling/Therapy

Online Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling

Online MS School Counseling

Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, Capella University offers three online master of science in counseling/therapy degrees fully online: school counseling, marriage and family therapy, and clinical mental health counseling. Each degree offers a unique learning experience tailored to students’ interests while offering convenient scheduling flexibility for both online and on-campus coursework. Students can choose areas of specialization in addition to taking core classes. Each counseling degree includes a practicum and internship requirement prior to graduation that prepares students for counseling licensure. Capella accepts transfer credits for previous higher education studies and grants many opportunities for students to earn financial aid, such as military discounts and scholarships specifically for counseling students.
 

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.

 

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