Top 40 Affordable Online Master’s in School Counseling

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School Counselors are necessary for every academic grade setting to ensure student success. Fortunately, pre-professionals have the option of earning their Master’s degree in College Counseling and Personnel Services entirely online and without breaking the bank. Outside of noting tuition, student costs of living, and academic expenses, the following list of affordable online degrees are ranked by the type of opportunities they offer to online students. Residential internships, professional networking, accreditation, and certification options are critical factors to consider when choosing which online program is right for you.

Most online master’s degrees in school counseling require students to complete an internship and practicum experience. Practicum and internship experiences provide students with valuable hands-on learning and direct supervision, in a school setting, allowing students to develop strong clinical and professional skills. The practicum and internship experiences frequently provide strong references on the graduates resume to support future employment.

Many of the online school counseling programs listed here have a residency requirement, which enables students to interact with the counseling program’s community members personally. Residential time lengths will be different for every program, but usually, lasts about a week and occur once or twice during the academic school year.

The final, and possibly most important, factor we consider is whether or not the online degree program provides licensure and accreditation. Every degree listed below is accredited by the Council for Accreditation and Related Educational Programs, so you won’t need to doubt if one of the online degrees can help you achieve your long-term career goals.

Regardless of the program you choose, all applicants 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 for school counseling.

We are confident you will find the best and most affordable, online master’s degree in school counseling to meet your academic and career goals here!

Methodology

We have done the research so you don’t have to! We have looked at colleges and universities offering counseling programs across the country. We have evaluated and ranked counseling programs on numerous points of interest. This ranking is organized by the cost per credit.

Top 10 Affordable Online Master’s in School Counseling

Rank School Location
1 Fort Hays State University Hays, KS
2 Southeastern Oklahoma State University Durant, OK
3 Liberty University Lynchburg, VA
4 University of West Alabama Livingston, AL
5 University of Missouri – Columbia Columbia, MO
6 Adams State University Alamosa, CO
7 Walden University Minneapolis, MN
8 North Carolina State University Raleigh, NC
9 Southern Arkansas University Magnolia, AR
10 Chadron State College Chadron, NE
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  1. Fort Hays State University
    Location

    Hays, KS

    Fort Hays State University offers a Master of Science in Counseling in School Counseling. The majority of the coursework for this program can be completed online with three of the courses requiring some on-campus class time. Students of FHSU work closely with their faculty advisor to determine a comprehensive plan of study which efficiently leads to graduation.

    Students will learn through coursework, practicum, and internship experiences how to best support youth development in the K-12 setting. Graduates are equipped to pursue school counseling licensure within the state of Kansas. Students planning to establish careers outside of Kansas are encouraged to consult their home state licensing board for specific educational requirements.

    Courses Include:

    • Counseling Skills Development
    • Appraisal in Counseling
    • Theories of Counseling
    • Management of Counseling Programs
  2. Southeastern Oklahoma State University
    Location

    Durant, OK

    Online students can earn their Master of Education in School Counseling from Southeastern Oklahoma State University in as few as 12 months! SOSU students are required to complete 42 credits in addition to two clinical practicum experiences. Successful graduates are prepared to work with learners of all ages, learning styles, and educational backgrounds. The degree program strives to be accommodating and flexible for working students who plan to continue to be fully employed while working towards their master's degree in school counseling.

    Courses Include:

    • School Counseling Orientation and Ethical Practice
    • Human Growth and Development in Counseling
    • Assessment in Counseling
  3. Liberty University
    Location

    Lynchburg, VA

    Liberty University offers a Master of Education in School Counseling completely online. This CACREP accredited online degree can be completed with 48 credits in two years. Graduate students can choose to participate in on-campus courses to develop counseling skills best learned in-person and with the support of peers and faculty.

    Liberty's online degree aims to support students in developing the educational foundation and the practical skills to work successfully in K-12 Christian, private, and public schools. Liberty's program is the best fit for anyone interested in earning a CACREP-accredited graduate degree taught from a Biblical perspective.

    Courses Include:

    • Understanding Educational Research and Assessment
    • Foundations of Exceptionality
    • Human Development Across the Lifespan
    • Professional, Ethical, and Legal Issues in Counseling
  4. University of West Alabama
    Location

    Livingston, AL

    A Master of Education in School Counseling is provided online at the University of West Alabama. This online master's degree is designed for students with an established career in education and who want to complete additional coursework to become a school counselor. The 48-credit fully online program offers eight-week courses can all be completed within a year. Students who are interested in applying to UWA are encouraged to consult their home state licensure board to determine if program requirements are in line with their state licensing and credentialing requirements.

    Courses Include:

    • Techniques of Educational Research
    • Educational Statistics
    • Advanced Educational Psychology
    • Life-Span Development and Learning
  5. University of Missouri – Columbia
    Location

    Columbia, MO

    The University of Missouri offers an online Master of Education in Mental Health Practices in Schools. This 34 credit program can be completed 100 percent online. This program is not designed to lead to professional licensure or certification but rather to support professionals in further understanding and to meet the complex mental health needs in elementary, middle, and high schools. To provide an affordable education, the University of Missouri provides all distance education graduate students with in-state tuition rates.

    Courses Include:

    • Developmental Aspects of Human Learning
    • Foundations of School Mental Health
    • Overview of Research Methods
    • Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Disorders in Youth
  6. Adams State University
    Location

    Alamosa, CO

    Adams State University offers online students an opportunity to earn their Master’s of Arts in School Counseling. Students in the online program will complete the same school counseling program coursework as students attending courses on-campus at Adams State University. Online students will complete a one-week session on campus during each of the two summers they are in the program. The on-campus sessions support students in developing counseling skills best learned in person with the support of peers and faculty.

    Courses Include:

    • Introduction to Research
    • Multicultural and Diversity Issues
    • Lifespan Development
    • Counseling Theories and Helping Relationships
  7. Walden University
    Location

    Minneapolis, MN

    Walden University offers a Master of Science in School Counseling online. This online graduate degree is CACREP accredited and designed to support graduates in successfully obtaining credentialing and licensure as a professional school counselor. The School Counseling Program offers a General Program of study as well as specializations in Addiction Counseling; Crisis and Trauma; and Military Families and Culture.

    Students in this online program will complete two in-person residencies during which they will have the opportunity to collaborate with peers and faculty on counseling skill development. The program offers an accelerated track option for students who can commit to full-time study and are motivated to complete the program as quickly as possible.

    Courses Include:

    • Crisis, Trauma, and Disaster Response
    • Assessment in Counseling and Education
    • Academic and Career Counseling
    • Research and School Counseling Program Evaluation
  8. North Carolina State University
    Location

    Raleigh, NC

    An Online Master of Education in School Counseling is available at North Carolina State University. The CACREP accredited degree program is committed to promoting multicultural diversity in the student and faculty community with efforts to recruit students from culturally diverse backgrounds.

    The online program is offered as a part-time cohort program completable within three years. With the cohort model students have the opportunity to build connections with peers for support during the program often lasting long after graduation. Graduates are prepared to support the academic and social growth of students in K-12 schools.

    Courses Include:

    • Theories of Counseling
    • Cross-Cultural Counseling
    • Introduction to School Counseling
  9. Southern Arkansas University
    Location

    Magnolia, AR

    Southern Arkansas University offers a Master of Education in School Counseling. This is an online 48 credit program where students can choose to complete the program through the hybrid format or the online format of study. Graduates will have the capacity to work professionally as licensed school counselors in K-12 schools in Arkansas and many other states. Students planning to practice outside the state of Arkansas should consult their home state licensure board for more information.

    Courses Include:

    • Foundations of School Counseling
    • Introduction to the Counseling Profession
    • Ethical, Legal, and Professional Issues in Counseling
  10. Chadron State College
    Location

    Chadron, NE

    A Master of Arts in School Counseling is available at Chadron State College, where most of the degree is completable online and with minimal campus requirements. The program offers three different programs of study to provide an education best suited for each student's previous experience and future goals. Students in the program who would also like to work towards a Clinical Mental Health Practitioner license have the opportunity to complete additional coursework including classes in Diagnosis and the DSM; Treatment Issues in Addiction; and Family Counseling.

    Courses Include:

    • Counseling and Communication Skills
    • Counseling Ethics and Professional Identity
    • Fundamentals of Assessment

Methodology:

Best Counseling Degrees’ list of the 40 Most Affordable Online Master’s in School Counseling is based on research reported by the National Center for Education Statistics, the Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs, and the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education.

BCD consistently searches for new and successful online degrees within the mental health industries. The best degrees available are ranked first by reputation, prospects, and academics before receiving a final grade based on tuition. We hope you enjoy!

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