An online Master’s Degree in School Counseling can lead to a rewarding job in which you help students find the best educational and vocational paths to suit their needs, interests, and talents.
Besides focusing on academics, school counselors also help students with personal, social, and parental concerns. School counselors work at all educational levels, from elementary school to college.
Most school counselors spend more than a third of their time consulting with students and parents. They also spend their time administering and evaluating tests. In addition, school counselors ensure that students with special needs receive proper education and care.
Master’s in School Counseling degree programs provide essential knowledge and skills in the following areas:
- human services
- counseling techniques
- human development
These programs typically include an internship, which provides students with the opportunity to apply the concepts and theories they learned in the classroom to real-world counseling situations.
In most states, individuals seeking licensure and a school counselor position need at least a master’s degree in school counseling or in a related field. Prospective students should check if a specific Master in School Counseling degree meets their state’s requirements.
See also: What can I do with an Education degree?
Online Master in School Counseling Degree Programs Ranking Guidelines
We selected the degree programs based on academic excellence, range of courses provided, faculty strength, awards, rankings, and reputation.
The Best Online Masters in School Counseling Degree Programs
1. Seton Hall University
(South Orange, NJ)
Seton Hall University, a private Catholic university, is the oldest diocesan university in the United States.
Seton Hall’s College of Education and Human Services offers an online Master’s in School Counseling degree program which prepares students to work in geographically, ethnically, and socially diverse K-12 educational environments. The program—which requires 48 credits, including a nine-credit school field internship, to obtain the master’s degree—also prepares students for school counselor certification.
Students belong to a learning team, which means that they progress through the Master in School Counseling program together. The program takes from two to two and a half years to complete.
The program includes counseling core courses such as:
- Career Development and Counseling
- Counseling Theories
- Counseling Skills
- Abnormal Psychology
- Group Counseling
The College of Education and Human Services received accreditation from the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).
U.S. News & World Report ranked Seton Hall University #128 in the 2014 edition of Best Colleges in National Universities.
2. Wake Forest University
Wake Forest University, a private, nonprofit, liberal arts university, consistently ranks in the top 30 undergraduate programs in the nation.
Wake Forest’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Department of Counseling provides an online Master of Arts in Counseling degree program. Students in the program learn to create and conduct developmental guidance and counseling programs for schools, kindergarten through the 12th grade.
The Master in Counseling degree program received accreditation from the Council on Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).
Wake Forest University as a whole has received accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
U.S. News & World Report ranked Wake Forest University #23 in the 2014 edition of Best Colleges in National Universities.
The University of Texas at Tyler, a public university, is part of the University of Texas System.
The university designed the Master in School Counseling degree program for teachers seeking a school counselor position. The online Master’s degree in School Counseling covers the organization, planning, and management of school counseling programs. Students in the program gain experience counseling students via a supervised practicum in a school environment.
Students learn to use current educational and psychological research findings in school counseling. Students also learn to apply counseling skills to respect cultural differences.
Students, who will need 36 credits to graduate, can complete the program in one and a half years.
The Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools provides accreditation.
4. Gwynedd Mercy University
(Gwynedd Valley, PA)
Gwynedd Mercy University, a private Catholic university, has a strong foundation in the liberal arts.
The Master’s in School Counseling degree program consists of three sequences, incorporating research and theory with field experiences in the competency areas. Students gain experience in supervised practicum settings with children and adolescents.
The curriculum aligns with the components of the American School Counselors Association National Model. Students need 48 credits to graduate.
The Master in School Counseling program includes courses such as:
- Foundations of Counseling
- Theories of Counseling
- Intervention Techniques in Guidance & Counseling
- Assessment Techniques in Counseling
- Social Justice, Multicultural & Diversity Issues in Counseling
- Organization of School Counseling
- Group Counseling & Facilitation Skills
Gwynedd Mercy University received accreditation from the Middle States Association Commission on Higher Education.
Liberty University, which has been training champions for Christ since 1971, is the largest private Christian University in the world. Instructors teach the classes from a Christian worldview. Liberty University Online has been pioneering distance education since 1985.
Liberty University Online’s Master of Education with a cognate in School Counselor degree prepares students for school counselor jobs in Christian, secular private, and public schools. The program emphasizes ethnicity and family counseling; ethics and techniques; and career guidance.
The classes prepare students seeking credentials for a K–12 school position and for students seeking to further their education with an Ed.S. or an Ed.D.
The Master of Education with a cognate in School Counselor degree includes classes such as:
- Career Development & Counseling
- Counseling Theories & Techniques
- Professional, Ethical & Legal Issues in Counseling
- School Counseling Program Development & Eval.
- Social & Cultural Foundations in Counseling
- Structured Groups
- Principles of School Counseling
- Child & Adolescent Counseling in the Schools
Students need 48 credit hours to complete the degree program, which includes a three-credit-hour internship.
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges provides accreditation for the university as a whole. The Master in Education with a cognate in School Counselor received approval from the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).
6. University of Central Arkansas
University of Central Arkansas, a public institution comprising six colleges, offers an array of degree programs.
The Master of Science in School Counseling degree emphasizes leadership. The program incorporates ethical principles and theoretical concepts with practical applications. The degree program prepares students for school counseling programs in P–12 settings.
Students are also prepared to become members of school leadership teams. The degree requires 48 semester credit hours.
The School Counseling Master’s degree provides courses such as:
- Multicultural Counseling in Schools
- Research Methods in Counseling
- Group Counseling in Schools
- School Counselor as Consultant
- Investigating of Leadership and Development through Multiple Contexts
- Educational Assessment and Measurement
- Advanced Developmental Psychology
Students must complete practicum and internship courses.
The University of Central Arkansas received accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission. The Master’s in School Counseling degree received accreditation from NCATE.
7. Angelo State University
(San Angelo, TX)
Angelo State University, a public institution that is a member of the Texas Tech University System, offers a variety of degrees from five colleges.
The school designed the Master of Education in Guidance and Counseling degree for individuals interested in jobs such as public school counselor, college counselor, university counselor, and other counseling jobs.
The program includes courses such as:
- Tests and Measurements
- Curriculum Development
- Legal and Ethical Principles
- Applied Research
- Individual Counseling Skills
- Group Counseling Skills
- Theories of Counseling
Angelo State University received accreditation from the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
8. Lamar University
Lamar University, a public research university, offers a variety of degree programs. The Carnegie Commission of Higher Education has classified Lamar University as a Doctoral Research University.
The university designed the Master’s in Education in School Counseling specifically for certified teachers with at least a bachelor’s degree, seeking to become part of a school’s professional support services team.
Students need to complete 36 hours of coursework specifically related to school counseling. Students can complete the degree program in 18 months.
The Master in Education in School Counseling degree program includes classes such as:
- Introduction to School Counseling
- Individual Counseling Theories & Techniques
- Group Counseling Theories & Techniques
- Developmental Guidance & Counseling
- Multicultural Counseling
- Measurement and Assessment
- Research and Program Evaluation
The degree program also provides a school counseling practicum.
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges provides accreditation.
9. Our Lady of the Lake University
(San Antonio, TX)
Our Lady of the Lake University, a private Catholic university, is a liberal arts and sciences institution providing pre-professional and professional programs.
The Online Master of Education in School Counseling degree prepares students for school counseling jobs at the primary and secondary levels. The program follows the standards set by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Education Programs.
Students need 48 credit hours to obtain the degree.
The Master in Education in School Counseling degree includes classes such as:
- Vocational and Aptitude Assessment
- Guidance and Counseling Services
- Multicultural Issues
- Ethical Issues in Schools
- Counseling Theories: Methods and Techniques
- Psychological Development
Our Lady of the Lake University received accreditation from the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Capella University, a for-profit university, provides most of its education online. Capella University provides an array of undergraduate and graduate degree programs.
The online Master’s in School Counseling degree covers applying brief counseling and child/adolescent development theories and research to school practice.
Students need 72 credits to graduate. The program uses academic quarters.
The school counseling degree includes the following core classes:
- Group Counseling and Psychotherapy
- Survey of Research in Human Development for Professional Counselors
- Survey of Research and Methodology
- Ethical and Legal Issues in Professional Counseling
- Counseling and Advocacy with Diverse Populations
- Life Planning and Career Development
- Assessment, Tests, and Measures
Capella University received accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.