Best Online Master’s in School Counseling

by TBS Staff

Updated January 4, 2023

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School counselors play an integral role in the educational support system by guiding students through critical turning points in their lives.

Common areas where counselors play a role include academic development, career and college development, and social development.

Nearly every state requires school counselors to hold a master's degree and a state license. The best candidates also hold a bachelor's degree in a relevant field. Students who pursue a master's in school counseling enter a growing field. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects an 8% increase in demand for this role through 2028. Students should note that wages and job availability vary by geographic location. Job availability also fluctuates by industry and target population.

This page provides information about the top online master's programs in school counseling, including how to select one, curricula and licenses, career trajectories, and professional organizations.

The Best Online Master’s in School Counseling Programs

#1 Best Online Master’s in School Counseling

Wake Forest University

  • Winston-Salem, NC
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Wake Forest University, located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, offers a flexible online master's in educational counseling. Graduates train for leadership roles in the field while earning their degree from the master of arts in counseling - school counseling program. With a master's degree, candidates advance their current career or move into new career paths.

The master's curriculum covers theoretical and practical approaches to educational counseling. Learners take specialized courses to stand out in a competitive job market. Applicants with a background in educational counseling typically meet the admission requirements.

Online enrollees coordinate with the program to complete internships at approved sites in their local area. The program hosts networking events and other professional development activities to help graduate students expand their professional connections.

Wake Forest University at a Glance:

Type of School: Private 

Admission Rate: 30%

Total Online Master's Programs: 4

Program Name: Master of Arts in Counseling

Graduate Tuition In State: $38,650

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $38,650

Average Tuition
In-state
$54,430
Out-of-state
$54,430
Retention Rate
94%
Admission Rate
30%
Students Enrolled
8,495
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
7% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#2 Best Online Master’s in School Counseling

North Carolina State University

  • Raleigh, NC
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Graduate students interested in a master's in student counseling can earn their degree from North Carolina State University, located in Raleigh. The master of education in counselor education program emphasizes specialized skills, preparing graduates for increased responsibilities and a higher earning potential. A master's degree can also prepare candidates for opportunities in new fields.

The master's curriculum examines advanced theories and practices in student counseling. Learners prepare for focused career paths by choosing electives and concentrations. The master's program recommends a background in student counseling or a related field when applying.

Online enrollees gain hands-on experience during professional internships in their local area. Internships and other practicum activities also provide professional networking opportunities.

North Carolina State University at a Glance:

Type of School: Public

Admission Rate: 45%

Total Online Master's Programs: 38

Program Name: Master of Education in Counselor Education

Graduate Tuition In State: $9,095

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $26,421

Average Tuition
In-state
$6,535
Out-of-state
$26,654
Retention Rate
94%
Admission Rate
45%
Students Enrolled
36,304
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
41% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#3 Best Online Master’s in School Counseling

The University of Southern California

  • Los Angeles, CA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The University of Southern California, located in Los Angeles, offers a flexible online master's in counseling. Graduates prepare for advanced roles in the field during the rigorous master of education in school counseling program. A master's degree can also prepare candidates for opportunities in new fields.

The master's curriculum incorporates theoretical and applied approaches. Learners take specialized courses to stand out in a competitive job market. Applicants with prior experience in counseling or a related field often meet the admission requirements.

Online enrollees gain real-world experience through internships offered in their local area. Graduate students grow their professional connections through internships and virtual networking events.

The University of Southern California at a Glance:

Type of School: Private 

Admission Rate: 11%

Total Online Master's Programs: 55

Program Name: Master of Education in School Counseling

Graduate Tuition In State: $46,272

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $46,272

Average Tuition
In-state
$57,256
Out-of-state
$57,256
Retention Rate
96%
Admission Rate
11%
Students Enrolled
48,321
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
17% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

#4 Best Online Master’s in School Counseling

Lehigh University

  • Bethlehem, PA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The master's in educational counseling program at Lehigh University, located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, offers a flexible online format. The master of education in international school counseling program encourages career training throughout its curriculum, preparing graduates for leadership positions. Earning a master's degree can help candidates advance in their current career or pursue a new career path entirely.

The master's curriculum emphasizes theory and practice in educational counseling. Learners specialize their course of study to prepare for the job market. The program recommends that applicants bring a background in educational counseling or a related field.

Online enrollees complete internships in their local community to gain real-world experience. The program encourages graduate students to expand their professional connections through internships and networking events.

Lehigh University at a Glance:

Type of School: Private 

Admission Rate: 32%

Total Online Master's Programs: 13

Program Name: Master of Education in International School Counseling

Graduate Tuition In State: $27,000

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $27,000

Average Tuition
In-state
$54,790
Out-of-state
$54,790
Retention Rate
93%
Admission Rate
32%
Students Enrolled
6,953
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
6% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#5 Best Online Master’s in School Counseling

The University of Louisiana Monroe

  • Monroe, LA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Graduate students seeking an online educational counseling degree can enroll in the master's program at the University of Louisiana Monroe. The master of science in counseling: school counseling program strengthens specialized skills, preparing graduates for leadership roles with a higher earning potential. Earning a master's degree can also help candidates pursue new career opportunities.

The master's curriculum examines theoretical and practical perspectives on educational counseling. Learners prepare for the job market by choosing a specialty through electives. Applicants who majored in educational counseling or a related field typically meet the admission requirements.

Online enrollees participate in internship programs at approved locations in their local area. Internships and other practicum activities also provide professional networking opportunities.

The University of Louisiana Monroe at a Glance:

Type of School: Public

Admission Rate: 80%

Total Online Master's Programs: 16

Program Name: Master of Science in Counseling: School Counseling

Graduate Tuition In State: $6,490

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $18,590

Average Tuition
In-state
$5,788
Out-of-state
$17,888
Retention Rate
73%
Admission Rate
80%
Students Enrolled
8,673
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
43% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#6 Best Online Master’s in School Counseling

Southeastern Oklahoma State University

  • Durant, OK
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Southeastern Oklahoma State University, located in Durant, offers a flexible online master's in educational counseling. The master of education in school counseling program strengthens industry-specific skills, preparing graduates for leadership responsibilities. After earning a master's degree, candidates also pursue careers in new industries.

The master's curriculum emphasizes both practical and theoretical approaches to educational counseling. Learners take specialized courses to stand out in a competitive job market. The program recommends that applicants bring a background in educational counseling or a related field.

Online enrollees complete internship programs in their local area to gain hands-on experience. Graduate students expand their professional network through internships and online events.

Southeastern Oklahoma State University at a Glance:

Type of School: Public

Admission Rate: 74%

Total Online Master's Programs: 11

Program Name: Master of Education in School Counseling

Graduate Tuition In State: $4,716

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $10,872

Average Tuition
In-state
$6,240
Out-of-state
$14,880
Retention Rate
62%
Admission Rate
74%
Students Enrolled
5,049
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
80% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#7 Best Online Master’s in School Counseling

Angelo State University

  • San Angelo, TX
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Graduate students seeking an online student counseling degree can enroll in the master's program at Angelo State University, located in San Angelo, Texas. The master of science in professional school counseling program helps graduates move into leadership roles and increase their earning potential. With a master's degree, candidates advance their current career or move into new career paths.

The master's curriculum examines advanced theories and practices in student counseling. Learners choose electives or a specialization to gain focused career training. The master's program recommends a background in student counseling before applying to the program.

Online enrollees complete internship programs in their local area to gain hands-on experience. Internships and other networking events help graduate students expand their professional network.

Angelo State University at a Glance:

Type of School: Public

Admission Rate: 77%

Total Online Master's Programs: 13

Program Name: Master of Science in Professional School Counseling

Graduate Tuition In State: $4,059

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $11,655

Average Tuition
In-state
$4,332
Out-of-state
$14,460
Retention Rate
69%
Admission Rate
77%
Students Enrolled
10,568
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
41% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#8 Best Online Master’s in School Counseling

University of the Southwest

  • Hobbs, NM
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The online master's in educational counseling program, offered by the University of the Southwest from its Hobbs, New Mexico, campus, ranks as a top program. The master of science in education in school counseling program emphasizes specialized skills, preparing graduates for increased responsibilities and a higher earning potential. A master's degree can also prepare candidates for opportunities in new fields.

The master's curriculum explores theoretical and practical perspectives in the field. Learners focus their training by choosing electives based on their interests and career goals. Applicants without an educational counseling background may need to complete prerequisite courses to enroll in the program.

Online enrollees complete internship requirements at approved sites in their own community. The program encourages professional development activities, including networking events, so graduate students can expand their professional connections.

University of the Southwest at a Glance:

Type of School: Private 

Admission Rate: 45%

Total Online Master's Programs: 19

Program Name: Master of Science in Education in School Counseling

Graduate Tuition In State: $22,500

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $22,500

Average Tuition
In-state
$16,000
Out-of-state
$16,000
Retention Rate
63%
Admission Rate
45%
Students Enrolled
875
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
100% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#9 Best Online Master’s in School Counseling

University of North Dakota

  • Grand Forks, ND
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

University of North Dakota, located in Grand Forks, offers a flexible online master's in educational counseling. The master of counseling in K-12 school counseling program helps graduates move into leadership roles and increase their earning potential. A master's degree can also prepare candidates for opportunities in new fields.

The master's curriculum examines advanced theories and practices in educational counseling. Learners prepare for the job market by choosing a specialty through electives. Applicants without a background in educational counseling may need to complete prerequisite courses before enrolling in the master's program.

Online enrollees work with the program to find internship opportunities in their local area. Internships and other practicum activities also provide professional networking opportunities.

University of North Dakota at a Glance:

Type of School: Public

Admission Rate: 81%

Total Online Master's Programs: 28

Program Name: Master of Counseling in K-12 School Counseling

Graduate Tuition In State: $10,534

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $18,434

Average Tuition
In-state
$8,212
Out-of-state
$14,371
Retention Rate
78%
Admission Rate
81%
Students Enrolled
13,581
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
45% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#10 Best Online Master’s in School Counseling

Arkansas State University-Main Campus

  • Jonesboro, AR
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The master's in educational counseling degree at Arkansas State University, located in Jonesboro, uses a flexible distance learning format. The master of science in education in school counseling – special populations program emphasizes advanced practice skills, training graduates for leadership roles and an increased earning potential. With a master's degree, candidates also pursue new career opportunities.

The master's curriculum covers theoretical and practical approaches to educational counseling. Learners focus the program with electives or a concentration. Applicants who majored in educational counseling or a related field typically meet the admission requirements.

Online enrollees gain hands-on experience during professional internships in their local area. Graduate students expand their professional connections by attending virtual networking events.

Arkansas State University at a Glance:

Type of School: Public

Admission Rate: 80%

Total Online Master's Programs: 19

Program Name: Master of Science in Education in School Counseling – Special Populations

Graduate Tuition In State: $4,986

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $9,972

Average Tuition
In-state
$6,540
Out-of-state
$13,500
Retention Rate
75%
Admission Rate
80%
Students Enrolled
13,356
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
59% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#11 Best Online Master’s in School Counseling

Southern Arkansas University-Main Campus

  • Magnolia, AR
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

From its campus in Magnolia, Arkansas, Southern Arkansas University hosts a top-ranked master's in educational counseling program. Graduates train for leadership roles in the field while earning their degree from the master of education in school counseling program. A master's degree can also train candidates for roles in new industries.

The master's curriculum explores theoretical and practical perspectives in the field. Learners prepare for focused career paths by choosing electives and concentrations. Applicants without a degree in educational counseling or a related field may need to meet prerequisite requirements to enroll in the program.

Online enrollees work with the program to find internship opportunities in their local area. Internships and other networking events help graduate students expand their professional network.

Southern Arkansas University at a Glance:

Type of School: Public

Admission Rate: 65%

Total Online Master's Programs: 13

Program Name: Master of Education in School Counseling

Graduate Tuition In State: $5,040

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $7,920

Average Tuition
In-state
$6,420
Out-of-state
$10,920
Retention Rate
67%
Admission Rate
65%
Students Enrolled
4,475
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
56% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#12 Best Online Master’s in School Counseling

East Carolina University

  • Greenville, NC
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Located in Greenville, North Carolina, East Carolina University enrolls master's students in its top-ranked online educational counseling program. The master of science in counselor education builds specialized skills for advanced practice, preparing graduates for leadership positions with increased salary potential. A master's degree can also prepare candidates for opportunities in new fields.

The master's curriculum emphasizes current research in educational counseling. Learners choose electives or a specialization to gain focused career training. The master's program recommends a background in educational counseling before applying to the program.

Online enrollees complete internships in their local community to gain real-world experience. The program encourages professional development activities, including networking events, so graduate students can expand their professional connections.

East Carolina University at a Glance:

Type of School: Public

Admission Rate: 79%

Total Online Master's Programs: 41

Program Name: Master of Science in Counselor Education

Graduate Tuition In State: $4,749

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $17,898

Average Tuition
In-state
$4,452
Out-of-state
$20,729
Retention Rate
82%
Admission Rate
79%
Students Enrolled
28,651
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
48% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#13 Best Online Master’s in School Counseling

The University of Missouri-Columbia

  • Columbia, MO
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The University of Missouri-Columbia hosts a top-rated online master's in educational counseling. The master of education in educational, school, and counseling psychology program encourages career training throughout its curriculum, preparing graduates for leadership positions. A master's degree helps candidates advance in their current field or pursue a new career path.

The master's curriculum examines advanced theories and practices in educational counseling. Learners choose electives or a specialization to stand out in a competitive job market. Applicants without a degree in educational counseling or a related field may need to meet prerequisite requirements to enroll in the program.

Online enrollees meet any in-person requirements, such as internships, at approved sites in their local area. The program encourages graduate students to participate in hands-on experiences and networking events to grow their professional connections.

The University of Missouri-Columbia at a Glance:

Type of School: Public

Admission Rate: 81%

Total Online Master's Programs: 21

Program Name: Master of Education in Educational, School, and Counseling Psychology

Graduate Tuition In State: $9,264

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $25,363

Average Tuition
In-state
$9,120
Out-of-state
$26,991
Retention Rate
88%
Admission Rate
81%
Students Enrolled
30,014
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
32% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#14 Best Online Master’s in School Counseling

Missouri Baptist University

  • Saint Louis, MO
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Missouri Baptist University, located in Saint Louis, offers a flexible online master's in educational counseling. The  master of arts in school counseling program helps graduates move into leadership roles and increase their earning potential. A master's degree can also lead candidates to new career paths.

The master's curriculum emphasizes both practical and theoretical approaches to educational counseling. Learners choose electives or a specialization to stand out in a competitive job market. The program encourages applicants to gain experience in educational counseling before applying to the program.

Online enrollees complement the classroom experience with internship opportunities in their local area. The program encourages graduate students to attend networking events to expand their professional connections.

Missouri Baptist University at a Glance:

Type of School: Private

Admission Rate: 61%

Total Online Master's Programs: 10

Program Name:  Master of Arts in School Counseling

Graduate Tuition In State: $10,197

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $10,197

Average Tuition
In-state
$26,860
Out-of-state
$26,860
Retention Rate
71%
Admission Rate
61%
Students Enrolled
5,309
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
34% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#15 Best Online Master’s in School Counseling

Oregon State University

  • Corvallis, OR
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

From its campus in Corvallis, Oregon State University hosts a top-ranked master's in educational counseling program. The master of counseling in school counseling program emphasizes specialized skills, preparing graduates for increased responsibilities and a higher earning potential. A master's degree allows candidates to move up the career ladder or pursue a new career path.

The master's curriculum examines advanced theories and practices in educational counseling. Learners specialize the program by choosing from a variety of electives. The admission requirements include a background in educational counseling or a related field.

Online enrollees complete internships in their local community to gain real-world experience. Graduate students expand their professional connections by attending virtual networking events.

Oregon State University at a Glance:

Type of School: Public

Admission Rate: 82%

Total Online Master's Programs: 13

Program Name: Master of Counseling in School Counseling

Graduate Tuition In State: $12,933

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $24,975

Average Tuition
In-state
$9,846
Out-of-state
$29,445
Retention Rate
85%
Admission Rate
82%
Students Enrolled
31,719
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
47% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

#16 Best Online Master’s in School Counseling

Regent University

  • Virginia Beach, VA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The online master's in educational counseling degree at Regent University, located in Virginia Beach, Virginia, prioritizes flexibility. The master of arts in school counseling program encourages career training throughout its curriculum, preparing graduates for leadership positions. With a master's degree, candidates advance their current career or move into new career paths.

The master's curriculum emphasizes both practical and theoretical approaches to educational counseling. Learners focus their training by choosing electives based on their interests and career goals. The master's program builds on undergraduate training or professional experience in educational counseling.

Online enrollees coordinate with the program to complete internships at approved sites in their local area. The program encourages graduate students to expand their professional connections through internships and networking events.

Regent University at a Glance:

Type of School: Private 

Admission Rate: 86%

Total Online Master's Programs: 37

Program Name: Master of Arts in School Counseling

Graduate Tuition In State: $15,552

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $15,552

Average Tuition
In-state
$17,220
Out-of-state
$17,220
Retention Rate
78%
Admission Rate
86%
Students Enrolled
10,365
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
92% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#17 Best Online Master’s in School Counseling

Liberty University

  • Lynchburg, VA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Located in Lynchburg, Virginia, Liberty University enrolls master's students in its top-ranked online counseling program. The master of education in school counseling program helps graduates move into leadership roles and increase their earning potential. A master's degree can also prepare candidates for opportunities in new fields.

The master's curriculum emphasizes research methods and analytical skills. Learners individualize the program to prepare for focused careers. Applicants without a degree in counseling or a related field may need to meet prerequisite requirements to enroll in the program.

Online enrollees participate in internship programs at approved locations in their local area. The program encourages graduate students to expand their professional connections through internships and networking events.

Liberty University at a Glance:

Type of School: Private 

Admission Rate: 51%

Total Online Master's Programs: 67

Program Name: Master of Education in School Counseling

Graduate Tuition In State: $7,980

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $7,980

Average Tuition
In-state
$15,417
Out-of-state
$15,417
Retention Rate
81%
Admission Rate
51%
Students Enrolled
85,586
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
92% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#18 Best Online Master’s in School Counseling

Salem College

  • Winston-Salem, NC
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Based in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Salem College hosts a top-rated online master's in educational counseling. The master of education in school counseling program uses a rigorous curriculum to prepare graduates for advanced roles in the field. With a master's degree, candidates also pursue new career opportunities.

The master's curriculum covers methodological and research perspectives. Learners take electives and other specialized courses to gain career-specific training. The master's program recommends that applicants bring a background in educational counseling or a related field.

Online enrollees complement the classroom experience with internship opportunities in their local area. Internships and other practicum activities build both hands-on experience and professional connections.

Salem College at a Glance:

Type of School: Private 

Admission Rate: 80%

Total Online Master's Programs: 1

Program Name: Master of Education in School Counseling

Graduate Tuition In State: $7,920

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $7,920

Average Tuition
In-state
$29,750
Out-of-state
$29,750
Retention Rate
76%
Admission Rate
80%
Students Enrolled
709
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
19% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#19 Best Online Master’s in School Counseling

Arkansas Tech University

  • Russellville, AR
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Graduate students seeking an online educational counseling degree can enroll in the master's program at Arkansas Tech University, located in Russellville. The master of education in school counseling and leadership program uses a rigorous curriculum to prepare graduates for advanced roles in the field. After completing a master's degree, candidates advance in their current field or pursue new opportunities.

The master's curriculum explores theoretical and practical perspectives in the field. Learners choose electives or a specialization to gain focused career training. The program encourages applicants to gain experience in educational counseling before applying to the program.

Online enrollees gain hands-on experience during professional internships in their local area. Graduate students also participate in networking events to expand their professional connections.

Arkansas Tech University at a Glance:

Type of School: Public

Admission Rate: 95%

Total Online Master's Programs: 9

Program Name: Master of Education in School Counseling and Leadership

Graduate Tuition In State: $5,256

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $10,512

Average Tuition
In-state
$5,568
Out-of-state
$11,136
Retention Rate
70%
Admission Rate
95%
Students Enrolled
11,829
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
50% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#20 Best Online Master’s in School Counseling

Concordia University, Nebraska

  • Seward, NE
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The online master's in educational counseling program, offered by Concordia University, Nebraska from its Seward campus, ranks as a top program. The master of arts in school counseling program encourages career training throughout its curriculum, preparing graduates for leadership positions. A master's degree also helps candidates pursue new career paths.

The master's curriculum emphasizes theory and practice in educational counseling. Learners specialize their course of study to prepare for the job market. Applicants with a background in educational counseling typically meet the admission requirements.

Online enrollees meet any in-person requirements, such as internships, at approved sites in their local area. Graduate students expand their professional connections by attending virtual networking events.

Concordia University, Nebraska at a Glance:

Type of School: Private 

Admission Rate: 78%

Total Online Master's Programs: 16

Program Name: Master of Arts in School Counseling

Graduate Tuition In State: $8,650

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $8,650

Average Tuition
In-state
$32,890
Out-of-state
$32,890
Retention Rate
82%
Admission Rate
78%
Students Enrolled
2,703
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
27% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

Online Master's in School Counseling Programs Ranking Guidelines

We ranked these degree programs based on quality, curricula, school awards, rankings, and reputation.

Our Methodology

Here at TheBestSchools.org, we take the trust and welfare of our readers very seriously. When making our school and program rankings, our top priority is ensuring that our readers get accurate, unbiased information that can help them make informed decisions about online education. That's why we've developed a rigorous ranking methodology that keeps the needs of our readers front and center.

Our proprietary, multi-criteria ranking algorithm analyzes key data indicators — as collected by the federal government — for each school or program. What data we use depends on the focus of each specific ranking, but in all cases, our ranking methodology is impartial: Schools cannot buy better rankings at TBS.

While specific criteria under consideration can vary by ranking, there are a few data points that we value most highly. They are affordability, academic quality, and online enrollment. Below, we break down our algorithm to help you understand what you're getting when you use one of our rankings.

  • Academics
  • Affordability
  • Online Enrollment

Data Sources

The data used in TBS rankings comes primarily from the federal government, and much of it is provided by the schools themselves. We aggregate and analyze this data to build our rankings.

The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) is our primary source. Its data comes from annual surveys conducted by the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Every college, university, or technical school with access to federal financial aid must participate in these surveys, which include questions about enrollment, graduation rates, finances, and faculty qualifications. This is publicly available data, which you can access yourself through the College Navigator.

Additionally, because we value a personal touch and the professional experience of our staff and Academic Advisory Board, we vet all results and adjust rankings as necessary based on our collected knowledge of schools and degree programs. Depending on the ranking, we may obtain additional input from AcademicInfluence.com, subject matter experts, prior TBS ranking lists, or other sources we deem relevant to a particular ranking.

Breakdown of Our Rankings Methodology

About Our Ranking Factors

Here at TBS, we value what you value: quality education, affordability, and the accessibility of online education. These factors guide all of our program rankings.

Each of these factors are further broken down into weighted subfactors. For example, retention rates are weighted more heavily than availability of program options because they are a better indicator of student success.

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Featured Master's in Counseling Programs

Choosing an Online Master's in School Counseling Program

Colleges and universities create their own curricula, so students pursuing an online master's in school counseling need to research prospective programs to determine if coursework satisfies local licensure requirements. Students should also consider other factors that may influence their own personal goals. Some factors to consider:

  • Program Cost: School counseling programs vary in cost. For instance, students may want to consider in-state programs over out-of-state programs, as out-of-state students often pay higher tuition rates.
  • Transfer Policies: Students who have transfer credits from previous graduate-level study should be sure to thoroughly research the transfer policy at any possible school. Being able to transfer credits can save you time and money in a master's program.
  • School Size and Type: When selecting a program, students should consider their learning style. The size and structure of a school can influence the student experience. For example, students who need more individualized attention may prefer a smaller school.
  • Program Length: Online school counseling programs vary in length. For instance, some institutions may follow traditional semesters, while others offer year-round accelerated programs.
  • On-Campus Requirements: While fully online programs do not require in-person attendance, except for internships and field experience, hybrid programs may require in-person attendance for coursework.
  • Thesis, Fellowship, and Work Requirements: An online master's in school counseling usually requires a thesis, and the best programs typically require field experiences to satisfy licensure requirements.

What Else Can I Expect From an Online Master's in School Counseling Program?

Each university creates unique programs based on its own core educational values, so school counseling master's programs often emphasize different aspects of the field. For instance, focus areas may include college and career readiness, restorative justice, or trauma-informed practice.

In addition to specialzations, accredited school counseling programs cover fundamental knowledge and skills students need to qualify for licensure. While actual titles vary, courses usually include legal and ethical issues in counseling, human development theory in school counseling, research methods and data analysis for counselors, and the counseling process.

Aspiring school counselors can earn certificates through organizations like the National Board for Certified Counselors, which reinforces their professional credibility and create a competitive advantage. National certification can also lead to higher wages and professional advancement.

Online Master's in School Counseling Curriculum

Child and Adolescent Counseling

This course explores counseling techniques and theories that apply to children and adolescents. Student outcomes include identifying common emotional and behavioral disorders, evidence-based interventions, cultural and environmental factors that impact treatment, and emerging trends. This course may include a final exam or special project. Students can use this opportunity to focus on their ideal target population.

Career Development

School counselors often provide career development. This course emphasizes development theories and strategies for decision-making. Topics include relationships between roles of life and career development, cultural influences, and relevant assessments. Course objectives include identifying a healthy work-life balance. This course often requires a comprehensive final exam.

Group Counseling

School counselors need to understand interpersonal influences on behavior, developmental stages of a group, and theoretical approaches for counseling groups. This course emphasizes group leadership skills. Learning outcomes include demonstrating knowledge and competence in both advanced and fundamental counseling skills. This course often includes a group project.

Ethics and Legal Issues in School Counseling

This course explores the relationship between ethical standards and legal regulations in counseling. Students also explore regulations for professional counseling practices, identify professional issues that impact counselors, and study ethical and legal standards in school counseling.

School Counseling Certifications and Licenses

An accredited master's in school counseling is required to earn a state license. Students must pass the National Counselor Examination (NCE) offered by the National Board for Certified Counselors, which includes 200 multiple-choice questions. Topics include social and cultural diversity, human growth and development, group counseling and group work, and research and program evaluation.

Requirements vary by state. Students should visit their local department of education website to determine specifics. Requirements typically include logged contact hours. For instance, states may demand a specified number of practicum hours acquired under a licensed practitioner, or two or more years of teaching or counseling experience.

Students should also consider reciprocity guidelines if their career goals include moving to a different state. Professionals may need to complete additional coursework for applied experiences before earning reciprocity. The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards also offers a voluntary certification that recognizes K-12 professionals who demonstrate skill with standards-based evidence.

Accreditation for Online Master's in School Counseling Degree Programs

Accrediting agencies establish a minimum standard of quality for educational institutions. Other universities, licensing boards, and employers use these standards to verify that students have been trained properly. Regional accrediting agencies are generally considered more prestigious than national accrediting agencies, which typically only accredit trade and specialty schools.

Transferring to another institution may prove difficult if your school is not regionally accredited, so it's important to check the accreditation status of your institution. There are six regional accrediting agencies. Additionally, students may want to compare state licensing requirements to ensure they qualify to take the exam upon graduating.

Students should also consider programmatic accrediting agencies to verify the quality of a particular school counseling master's degree. For school counselors, these agencies include the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs and the Master's in Psychology and Counseling Accreditation Council.

School Counseling Careers

Students who earn a master's in school counseling have multiple career options. For instance, this degree can prepare graduates for a career in school psychology, where they can address learning and behavioral disorders. Depending on the school, students may need to also earn a doctorate.

Similarly, a master's in school counseling can also prepare students for a career as a substance abuse counselor, especially when working with adolescents. These counselors may work in mental health treatment facilities, where their responsibilities include educating patients' families on intervention methods. A few more job options are explored below.

School Counselors

School counselors help students establish and reach academic goals. These professionals usually work in elementary and secondary schools. For instance, high school counselors may examine students' career interests to help them identify what they should study in college.

School counselors also help students apply for financial aid, write essays for scholarships, write resumes if they're immediately entering the workforce, and find internship opportunities. School counselors may also administer aptitude tests or collaborate with relevant stakeholders, including parents, teachers, and other team members. This role typically requires a master's degree and an unencumbered state license.

Median Annual Salary

$57,040

Projected Growth Rate

8%

Career Counselors

Career counselors primarily work with adolescents and young adults to make career or academic decisions that help students reach their career goals. Typical duties include small group or individual counseling, mock interviews, and classroom instruction. These professionals may also administer aptitude tests, advise clients on how to address conflict, or build professional networks.

Career counselors often work in high schools, colleges, or universities. However, placement firms or alternative schools also hire career counselors. This role requires a master's degree and an unencumbered license. Practitioners need to earn continuing education credits periodically to keep their licenses.

Median Annual Salary

$57,040

Projected Growth Rate

8%

School Counseling Professional Organizations

The counseling field demands ongoing research to solve modern problems. School counselors benefit from memberships in professional organizations, which provide active global networks and access to cutting-edge research and practices. Additionally, professional organizations allow graduates to collaborate with seasoned practitioners and receive mentorship.

ASCA outlines ethical standards for school counselors. Membership allows access to cutting-edge resources and statistical data, professional development opportunities, and annual conferences. Professional members also have voting power. However, students earning a master's or doctorate may apply as nonvoting members. ACA advocates for culturally diverse and ethical practices that improve counseling services. It also provides information regarding policy changes and government affairs. Members can access online publications, career advancement resources, continuing education credits, and job opportunities. ACAC advocates for equal access to mental health services for children. It also provides resources for professional counselors working with youth and helps develop innovative prevention and intervention methods. Membership perks include networking opportunities and research grants.
Top Counseling Degree Options Available by State
State Degree Level
California Bachelors, Masters, phD
Florida Bachelors, Masters, phD
Georgia Bachelors, Masters, phD
Illinois Bachelors, Masters, phD
New York Bachelors, Masters, phD
North Carolina Bachelors, Masters, phD
Pennsylvania Bachelors, Masters, phD
Texas Bachelors, Masters, phD
Virginia Bachelors, Masters, phD
Washington Bachelors, Masters, phD

FAQ's About Master's in School Counseling

What Can You Do With a Master's in School Counseling?

Earning a master's in school counseling prepares graduates to help students develop social and academic skills in school. Professionals often work in K-12 schools or postsecondary institutions.

How Much Does a School Counselor Make With a Master's Degree?

BLS data indicates that school counselors earn a median annual salary of $56,310. However, students should survey local rates to identify their true earning potential.

Do You Need a Master's for School Counseling?

Both K-12 and postsecondary schools typically require school counselors to hold an unencumbered state license, which requires applicants to earn a master's degree.

How Long Is a Master's in School Counseling?

Students can earn an online master's in school counseling in two years with full-time attendance. Part-time students should anticipate earning their degrees in four years.

Can You Be a School Counselor With a Master's in Education?

School counselors typically need to hold a master's in school counseling or education psychology. It is also often acceptable to earn a master of education with a school counseling specialization.

What Does It Take to Be a School Counselor?

Students need to earn a bachelor's degree in a relevant field from an accredited institution, then go on to earn a master's degree in school counseling. Most states also require specialized state licensure.

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