Are you interested in pursuing a career as a professional school counselor? We have put together a list of the Top 10 Online School Counseling Degrees accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). This is a list of the top schools offering education and training for future school counselors.
A master’s degree in school counseling will prepare graduates to work professionally as a certified school counselor with students in the K-12 setting. School counselors provide a safety net for students by providing critical advocacy, assessment, and evaluation services as well as personal, social, developmental, academic, and career counseling to students in grades K-12. Additionally, school counselors provide support by collaborating with parents, teachers, coaches, community members, school staff, teachers, and administrators.
Most online graduate programs in school counseling require the completion of an internship and practicum experience. Online students complete these supervised clinical training hours in their hometown. This training builds on coursework to support students in developing important professional skills. Students often report that the internship and practicum experiences serve as valuable professional development and provide students with important networking and professional contacts to support future employment. Additionally, many CACREP accredited online school counseling programs also require an in-person on-campus residency for one to two weeks during the program. At residencies, students will have the opportunity to build relationships with peers and faculty and to develop clinical skills.
All applicants are encouraged to consult their home state’s licensing board to determine if the program they wish to attend meets their home state’s licensing and certification requirements. All schools on this list are accredited by the CACREP. Students graduating from accredited programs have a competitive career advantage and often experience a more seamless process towards licensure and certification.
We are confident you will find the online program to help you reach your professional goal of becoming a school counselor here!
Featured Online Programs
Figuring out where to apply? These top, accredited schools offer a variety of online degrees. Consider one of these accredited programs, and discover their value today.
Top 10 Online CACREP Accredited School Counseling Degrees
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.
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.
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.
University of Louisiana at Monroe
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
North Carolina State University
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: This list was created using data from the Council for Accreditation of Counseling & related Educational Programs. We looked for programs offering master’s degrees in School Counseling. We retained schools that offered this degree in a distance education format. We evaluated each program's website and tuition (per credit hour) and ranked programs by tuition.
This concludes our list of the best Online CACREP Accredited School Counseling Degrees. You might also like: The Top 10 Online Master’s Degrees in Student Affairs and College Counseling