Top 10 Online CACREP Accredited School Counseling Degrees


Updated April 24, 2024

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The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) examines the quality of graduate counseling programs, ensuring students receive high-quality education that prepares them for licensure and professional practice.

Check out our rankings of the top CACREP-accredited online school counseling programs to learn about degree and licensing requirements, educational costs, and career prospects.

Popular Online Counseling Master's Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

Why Get a CACREP-Accredited Online School Counseling Degree?

Earning a graduate degree in school counseling from a CACREP-accredited online counseling program leads to a rewarding career in a growing profession.

Top 10 CACREP-Accredited Online School Counseling Programs

  1. Walden University

    Minneapolis, MN

    Walden University offers a low-cost online Master of Science in School Counseling degree. Students pursuing the master of science in school counseling can choose between a general program of study or one of four optional areas of specialization. The areas of specialization are: addiction counseling; career counseling; crisis trauma; and military families and culture. An area of specialization can give you an edge when entering the workforce and allow you to build your career focused on a particular population or issue that you are passionate about. Students in this CACREP accredited school counseling program will learn through online courses, two on-campus residencies, and fieldwork experiences. Graduates will be well prepared to work towards careers as professional school counselors with the ability to successfully support K-12 students and the issues and challenges they face in today's world.

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

  2. Adams State University

    Alamosa, CO

    A Master of Arts in School Counseling is available from Adams State University. This CACREP accredited program is available through an online learning format with the same curriculum offered to on-campus students. Students completing the online program of study will participate in a one week on-campus learning experience during each of the two summers of the program. Students in this program will receive training not only in counseling, but also in how to effectively consult and collaborate with teachers, administrators, parents, and community members. Additionally, as a school counselor one of your primary roles is to advocate for students, a skill that this program also emphasizes. Students will complete the program with a cohort with the opportunity to begin in the fall, spring, or summer terms.

    Courses include:multicultural and diversity issues; lifespan development; counseling theories and helping relationships; group counseling; career development; counseling the couple, family, and system; assessment in counseling; foundations of addiction counseling; ethics and professional issues; crisis disaster, and trauma; foundations of school counseling; comprehensive school counseling; introduction to student affairs; ethics/ professional issues; and professional school counseling issues.

  3. Capella University

    Minneapolis, MN

    Capella University offers a CACREP accredited Master of Science in School Counseling. This low-cost school counseling degree is available online along with two one-week residencies and internships. Students in this program will learn through the online courses, residencies, and internships to support K-12 students socially, emotionally, and academically. Graduates of Capella University will be prepared to pursue careers as professional school counselors with the skills to provide theoretically and ethically sound counseling and support services to diverse populations. Capella University offers a licensure support team to help graduates successfully navigate the licensure process in all 50 states.

    Courses include:survey of research in human development for professional counselors; 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; school counseling program development and evaluation; and crisis intervention and emergency management.

  4. University of Louisiana at Monroe

    Monroe, LA

    A Master of Science in Counseling with a concentration in School Counseling is available at the University of Louisiana at Monroe. This CACREP accredited counseling degree is low-cost and is available online. Program statistics for the school counseling program report a 100% completion rate as well as a 100% job placement rate over the last few years. Students in the program will learn a variety of skills critical to supporting students in the K-12 school setting. Graduates of the program will be prepared to pursue careers working with students in a variety of ways including as a: school counselor; administrator; career counselor; vocational counselor; and/or consultant.

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

  5. Liberty University

    Lynchburg, VA

    Liberty University offers an online Master of Education in School Counseling. This low-cost CACREP accredited school counseling degree can be completed for only 48 credits. Students in this online program will complete an internship as well as required on campus intensives. Liberty University works to prepare students for professional careers as school counselors with the ability to work effectively with students in the K-12 setting. Graduates of the program also may choose to continue their education in the pursuit of an Educational Specialist degree (Ed.S.) or a Doctorate of Education (Ed.D.).

    Courses include:understanding educational research and assessment; foundations of exceptionality; human development across the lifespan; foundations of education; educational assessment and intervention; professional, ethical, and legal issues in counseling; social and cultural foundations in counseling; counseling theories and techniques; career development and counseling; child and adolescent counseling in the schools; principles of school counseling; and school counseling program development and evaluation.

  6. Messiah College

    Mechanicsburg, PA

    A Master of Arts in Counseling with a School Counseling track of study is available online at Messiah College. This CACREP accredited degree prepares graduates to become a certified school counselor, as always students should consult their home state licensing board to determine specific state eligibility and requirements. Students in the graduate counseling program at Messiah take 30 core credits and then another 30 credits specific to their area of concentration. Courses are available online with enhanced learning and experiential opportunities through on-campus residencies and internship experiences. Messiah College works to make learning accessible and convenient for students with features such as multiple start dates throughout the year, small class sizes, and the opportunity to complete the program at the pace that works best for the student.

    Courses include:professional issues and ethics for counselors; lifespan development; multicultural issues for counseling professionals; counseling theories; career counseling across the lifespan; group counseling; spiritual formation and faith based counseling; counseling techniques; assessment techniques for individuals, couples, and families; research design and statistics; foundations of school counseling; effective practices of school counselors; organization and administration of school counseling programs; and effective practices for every learner.

  7. Gallaudet University

    Washington, DC

    Gallaudet University offers a graduate degree in school counseling through a hybrid format of study. The program is called the Summers and Online School Counseling Program because students will complete coursework on campus in the summers and online throughout the rest of the year. The program emphasizes multicultural competence, self-awareness, and social justice. This CACREP accredited program is designed for working professionals, particularly individuals working in education. Applicants with a degree in education and/or experience working with deaf and hard of hearing people are encouraged to apply.

    Courses include:orientation to the profession of school counseling; foundations in helping skills; social and cultural diversity foundations and multicultural counseling; theories and approaches in counseling and psychotherapy; lifespan development; introduction to research for counselors; psychopharmacology for counselors; principles of assessment in counseling; school based group counseling; counseling students with additional special needs; lifestyles and career development; substance prevention for children and youth; crisis and trauma counseling; play therapy; family therapy; and organization and administration of school programs.

  8. Regent University

    Virginia Beach, VA

    A Master of Arts in School Counseling is available online at Regent University. Students in this CACREP accredited online school counseling program will complete two residencies. Students earning their degree at Regent University will receive an education integrated with a biblical worldview. Graduates will be prepared to pursue careers as professional school counselors in K-12 settings or pursue a doctoral degree in an area of interest such as a Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision.

    Courses include:orientation to the counseling profession; counseling children and adolescents; principles of school counseling; research and statistics; program development and evaluation for school counselors; counseling skills and techniques; practicum and advanced skills; theories of counseling; assessment techniques in counseling; career and lifestyle development; psychopathology and diagnosis; human growth and development; concepts of family systems; ethics, professional orientation, and legal issues in counseling; multicultural counseling; and counseling and christian thought.

  9. Bradley University

    Peoria, IL

    Bradley University offers a Master of Arts in Counseling in Professional School Counseling. This CACREP accredited degree is available online including residencies. Graduates will be prepared to work in settings including: public and private K-12 schools; higher education institutions; education-based nonprofit organizations; and career centers. Graduates will be ready to use their training to pursue a career as a professional school counselor, college advisor, guidance counselor, and/or a career or vocational counselor.

    Courses include:loss and grief counseling; human growth and development; substance abuse counseling; counseling diverse populations; neuro counseling-bridging brain and behavior; intro to professional counseling; career and life planning across the lifespan; counseling ethics and the law; theories and techniques of counseling; principles of group counseling; crisis intervention counseling; consultation in the helping professions; couples and family counseling; school for non-teachers; brain based interventions; professional school counseling; and special education law.

  10. North Carolina State University

    Raleigh, NC

    A Master of Education in School Counseling is offered by North Carolina State University. This degree is available online and is accredited by the CACREP. Courses for the online Master of Education in School Counseling are offered through a synchronous format with all students engaging in coursework at the same time in order to have direct interaction with each other and faculty. This program emphasizes a strengths-based model designed to prepare graduates to work with K-12 students in being successful academically and socially in their school. Additionally, graduates will have the skills to collaborate with parents, educators, and administrators in optimizing student success.

    Courses include:career counseling and development; cross-cultural counseling; theories and techniques of counseling; group counseling; multicultural lifespan development in educational context; clinical assessment; special problems-substance abuse counseling; special problems-research in counseling; techniques of counseling; and introduction to school counseling.

Methodology: How We Rank Schools

At, we use data from reputable sources like the U.S. Department of Education to help you find the best school for your needs. The most important metric in our rankings -- affordability -- accounts for 60% of our formula. We also consider academic quality, program offerings, online enrollment, and graduation rates.

This ranking is from 2023. Learn more about our ranking methodology.

What to Expect from a CACREP-Accredited Online Counseling Program

A master's in school counseling prepares you for employment as a licensed school counselor in elementary, middle school, or high school settings. This degree trains graduates to create and deliver school counseling plans, provide individual education plans for students, conduct individual and group counseling sessions, and make referrals.

As part of their responsibilities, school counselors collaborate with families and school personnel and advocate on behalf of students. Most master's programs require 48-60 credits taken over 24 months. Some schools offer accelerated online programs that enable distance learners to earn their degree in approximately 18 months.

CACREP-accredited school counseling programs, whether offered on campus or online, require supervised field experiences in the form of a 100-hour practicum and a 600-hour internship. Online learners must complete these required field experiences in person, although some programs allow students to find placements near their home communities.

Popular School Counseling Courses

While each online counseling degree offers a distinctive curriculum, all programs share certain common features. All master's in counseling programs must meet state licensure requirements, including supervised experience hours. The degree trains students in data analysis, assessment, counseling theories and approaches, and multicultural competency.

This list describes some of the most common courses.

  • Theories Of Counseling

    This course explores the major theoretical approaches to counseling and their application in school counseling settings. The coursework emphasizes the relationship between counseling theories and evidence-based outcomes.
  • Counseling Intervention and Techniques

    This overview of foundational and advanced counseling skills and therapeutic interventions focuses on applications to school counseling. Students engage in role-playing to strengthen their counseling techniques and approaches.
  • Fundamentals of Assessment

    This course introduces testing and assessment procedures used in educational settings. Students learn statistical concepts, appropriate use of assessment tools, and ethical considerations in assessment and data analysis.
  • Social and Cultural Diversity In Counseling

    This introduction to multicultural competency addresses awareness of cultural assumptions, knowledge of cultural issues related to racial/ethnic, gender, and socioeconomic status, and counseling skills for diverse populations.

How Much Do CACREP-Accredited Online Counseling Degrees Cost?

The cost of a master's in school counseling depends on several factors. Some public institutions charge out-of-state students higher tuition than in-state residents, but many online programs charge the same rate regardless of residency status. Public colleges and universities generally cost less than private institutions.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, average master's degree tuition and fees for the 2021-2022 academic year cost $12,596 at a public school, compared to $29,931 at a private school. Choosing an online program may save you travel costs, room and board, and some student fees.

Prospective graduate students should check out opportunities for financial aid, including government and private loans, scholarships, grants, and assistantships. Be sure to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Career Outlook after an Online School Counseling Program

School counselors work in K-12 educational settings to improve student outcomes by creating academic achievement strategies and helping students manage emotions and interpersonal relationships. Using counseling techniques, testing, and assessment data, they identify students' issues and challenges and collaborate with families and school personnel.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the demand for school counselors to grow by 5% from 2022 to 2032, faster than the national average for all occupations. School counselors earned a median salary of $61,710 in May 2023.

After earning a master's in counseling from a CACREP-accredited program, and completing all required practicum and internship hours, aspiring school counselors must pass the state licensing exam and fulfill any additional state-specific requirements to practice.

Common Questions About CACREP-Accredited Online Counseling Programs

How can you tell if a program is CACREP-accredited?

CACREP accredits over 940 graduate programs in counseling, including the school counseling specialization. All the programs listed in our rankings hold CACREP accreditation. You can find the most up-to-date information on all currently accredited CACREP programs on the CACREP website.

Why should I attend a CACREP-accredited school counseling program?

Although graduating from a CACREP-accredited program does not guarantee licensure, it increases your chances of passing the licensure exam and meeting supervised experience requirements needed to practice. Attending an unaccredited program can affect your ability to transfer credits to another school and make you ineligible for federal financial aid.

What degree do you need to be a school counselor?

Before applying to a master's program in counseling, you must complete a bachelor's degree in psychology, counseling, social work, or a related field. You may apply for a state license to practice after graduating with a master of arts in counseling, a master of science in counseling, or a master of education in counseling from an accredited program.

Do online school counseling programs require in-person components?

All CACREP-accredited school counselor degrees require in-person supervised practicum and internship placements. Many programs help distance learners locate field experiences near their place of residence but may restrict placements to pre-approved sites. Some hybrid programs also require students to attend a specific number of in-person experiences on campus.

Why should I get my school counseling degree online?

Online programs work best for self-motivating students who work well independently. CACREP-accredited online counseling degrees provide more flexibility and convenient scheduling than campus-based programs, especially if you have work or personal responsibilities to manage while earning your degree. Online and on-campus programs offer the same curriculum and are equally respected by potential employers.

Page last reviewed on April 17, 2024

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