Best Online Masters in Counseling Degree Programs

As rewarding as helping others can be, it’s unfortunately rather difficult to get into counseling without a master’s degree to back it up. With that said, the job growth for counselors is expected to reach as much as 22% as of 2014. Even with a growing job market for counselors though, there’s still the problem of earning a master’s degree at the same time as trying to maintain a career. Luckily, online degree programs for counseling are widely available at a number of institutions and are a great way to move up in your career without losing any momentum. To help find the online master’s degree program in counseling that’s right for you, we’ve gone ahead and taken a look at some of the best schools in the country. We’ve sorted them by affordability, flexibility, and efficiency to create a list of the best schools for students seeking an online master’s degree in counseling.

Why Study Counseling Online?

Depending on where you are in your career, an online counseling program can fit nicely into your schedule and allow you to acquire further specializations without making any sacrifices in your current lifestyle. This is especially true for teachers that wish to earn their master’s degree in school counseling, as teaching is already a large time investment and night classes can be a hassle to work around. By contrast, online counseling programs offer an affordable alternative to traditional coursework and allow a student to earn a higher level degree at a pace that is suitable for them.

Is Earning an Online Counseling Degree Right for You?

If you desire a more affordable alternative to traditional tuition costs and wish to acquire your master’s degree without moving to a new campus or giving up a part of your job to make room for classes, then an online counseling degree is definitely right for you. In addition, certain careers also require a master’s degree in counseling before a graduate can apply for a license from the state. In that regard, the question of whether an online counseling degree is right for you ultimately comes down to the requirements of the state licensing examination and what your goals as a counselor are.

  • Total EnrollmentAcceptance RateGraduation RateRetention Rate
    703N/AN/A75%

    About This School

    Amridge University is a school that prides itself on being a Christian educational institution ‘where traditional and online education merge.’ True to its slogan, Amridge University offers students a comprehensive educational package that begins with a bachelor of science in human development and proceeds to a master’s degree program in a number of specialized counseling areas. Interested students can choose from pastoral counseling, professional counseling, and marriage and family therapy. Best of all, Amridge University is one of the few schools to offer doctoral programs in counseling that can be completed entirely online. As a matter of fact, all of its programs, from bachelor’s to master’s, are specifically designed for students that don’t have the time to visit traditional classrooms.

    Admissions Advisor

    Ora Davis
    Director of admissions
    oradavis@amridgeuniversity.edu
  • Apex School of Theology
    1701 T.W. Alexander Drive
    Durham, North Carolina 27703
    http://www.apexsot.edu/distanceeducation.html
    Total EnrollmentAcceptance RateGraduation RateRetention Rate
    873N/A100%90%

    About This School

    Founded in 1995, the Apex School of Theology has designed its online program primarily with students that have already acquired their bachelor’s degree in mind. As such, prospective students that are eager to earn their master’s degree in counseling can attend online classes to earn their Master of Arts degree in Christian Counseling. The Apex School of Technology understands the difficulties of getting an adequate education in modern times, whether it’s due to the steadily increasing costs of tuition or the steep time commitments required of traditional classrooms. As a result, the Apex School of Technology has specifically designed its online degree programs to serve as a flexible and affordable alternative to their contemporaries.

    Admissions Advisor

    Sandra Manning
    Admissions Coordinator
    smanning@apexsot.edu
  • Arkansas Tech University
    Administration Bldg 200; 1509 N Boulder Ave
    Russellville, Arkansas 72801-2222
    http://www.atu.edu/cll/counseling.php
    Total EnrollmentAcceptance RateGraduation RateRetention Rate
    10,9505300%41%67%

    About This School

    Instead of offering a general counseling degree, Arkansas Tech University guides its students through a number of specialized baccalaureate degree programs that will ultimately turn its students into knowledgeable graduates that can then put their skills to use in the ‘real’ world. Among the online programs offered entirely through the eTech branch of Arkansas Tech University are early childhood education, emergency management and administration, and a master’s program in college student personnel. Prospective students that know exactly what kind of field they wish to counsel in would do well to take a look at Arkansas Tech University’s online offerings.

    Admissions Advisor

    Shauna Donnell
    Assistant Vice President for Enrollment Management
    sdonnell@atu.edu
  • Total EnrollmentAcceptance RateGraduation RateRetention Rate
    1,10733%47%83%

    About This School

    As an accredited bible college of Pennsylvania, the Baptist Bible College and Seminary of Pennsylvania offers students plenty of options in not only what type of degree to pursue, but in what level as well. Students can earn their certification, associate’s degree, and bachelor’s degree entirely on the Internet through the Baptist Bible College online programs. Through the use of the Moodle learning management system, students can earn their bachelor degree in a number of diverse areas before moving on to specifically pursue a Master of Science in Counseling. Through a combination of online classes and several one-week modules, students are prepared for the hours of supervised field work they’ll need to earn their state-approved counseling license.

    Admissions Advisor

    Paul Golden
    Director of Enrollment Services
    pgolden@bbc.edu
  • Total EnrollmentAcceptance RateGraduation RateRetention Rate
    6,03143%59%78%

    About This School

    Ranked as one of the top ten online programs for veterans by US News, it should come as no surprise that California Baptist University takes great pride in the efforts made by its faculty to specifically design online programs for students that require a more flexible learning schedule. Through the use of the Blackboard learning management system, students can earn a bachelor’s degree in communication studies, psychology, or early childhood studies, before moving on to a master’s degree program in counseling psychology, education with a focus on early childhood studies, or communication. The reason that these programs are held in such high esteem is due in part to their diversity. Prospective students that wish to form a career out of counseling can be confident that they’ll have a number of options available to them through California Baptist University’s online degree programs.

    Admissions Advisor

    Allen Johnson
    Dean of Admissions
    ajohnson@calbaptist.edu
  • Campbellsville University
    1 University Dr
    Campbellsville, Kentucky 42718-2799
    http://www.campbellsville.edu/msc
    Total EnrollmentAcceptance RateGraduation RateRetention Rate
    3,66735%45%63%

    About This School

    Through Campbell’s University, students can earn a certification in Christian ministry or a Master of Science in Counseling with hybrid courses that incorporate online work and traditional coursework in a physical location on campus. Due to the nature of counseling and its intimacy, it should come as no surprise that Campbell University has designed its online program to incorporate actual interaction between its faculty and students. In this way, students will be better prepared for the future when they must take part in supervised counseling sessions in order to earn their license.

    Admissions Advisor

    Dave Walters
    Vice President for Admissions & Student Services
    dwalters@campbellsville.edu
  • Total EnrollmentAcceptance RateGraduation RateRetention Rate
    2,92231%56%70%

    Admissions Advisor

    James Shankel
    Director, Admissions
    jvshankel@carlow.edu
  • Total EnrollmentAcceptance RateGraduation RateRetention Rate
    7,75135%59%74%

    About This School

    Concordia University-Wisconsin has primarily designed its online counseling program around providing students with the skills they’ll need to succeed in an educational environment. As such, prospective students will be pleased to know that Concordia University-Wisconsin offers a fully online master’s program in education, with a specific focus on professional and school counseling. In addition to this, Concordia University-Wisconsin also has a program that caters to those interested in rehabilitation science. As a related field to counseling, rehabilitation science can be seen as an intriguing alternative for prospective students that are unsure of what career they wish to move towards after acquiring their master’s degree.

    Admissions Advisor

    Jeff Frosch
    Director of Admission
    jeff.frosch@cuw.edu
  • Total EnrollmentAcceptance RateGraduation RateRetention Rate
    1,82116%58%85%

    About This School

    Grace College’s department of online education specializes in guiding graduate students through their master’s degree program so that they can quickly put their skills to use in their career. Specifically, Grace College offers students a Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, ensuring that their graduates will go on to help people that are in desperate need of counseling. In fact, Grace College has had such success with their online program that they’ve enjoyed consecutive years of record enrollment. It’s also worth mentioning Grace College’s incredibly affordable degree completion program for adult students, which makes this university a great school for prospective students that are eager to earn their master’s degree.

    Admissions Advisor

    Mark Pohl
    Director of Admissions
    mark.pohl@grace.edu
  • Total EnrollmentAcceptance RateGraduation RateRetention Rate
    4,76516%59%65%

    About This School

    Through Hampton University’s Hampton Online program, graduate students can become a specialist in education in counseling. Alternatively, graduate student can also become a Doctor of Philosophy in Counselor Education and Supervision, ensuring that they move on to teach other counselors and enhance their craft. Regardless of which program students enroll in, they’ll quickly find that Hampton Online’s dedication to its students goes above and beyond what other universities normally offer. Accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, as well as the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education, this school is absolutely perfect for any student that is eager to move on to an educational position in their counseling career.

    Admissions Advisor

    Angela Boyd
    Director of Admission
    angela.boyd@hamptonu.edu
  • Total EnrollmentAcceptance RateGraduation RateRetention Rate
    1,308N/A25%55%

    About This School

    Luther Rice University and Seminary takes great pride in the quality of its online programs, so much so that it boasts that students can earn their degrees fully online without ever visiting the campus. As a Christian university, students can expect to earn their online bachelor’s degree in biblical counseling before moving on to a master’s degree program in biblical counseling as well. Prospective students that are interested in a religious education and are eager to earn their master’s degree in counseling with a religious focus would do well to look at Luther Rice University and Seminary’s offerings for further details.

    Admissions Advisor

    Admissions
    admissions@LRU.edu
  • Total EnrollmentAcceptance RateGraduation RateRetention Rate
    2,58745%46%66%

    About This School

    Medaille College has designed its online coursework to be a viable alternative to traditional universities. With competitively priced courses, including a discount to tuition for active military members, Medaille College is a great resource for students that are interested in earning a high quality education without getting deep into student loan debt. Through their online programs, students of Medaille College can earn their bachelor’s degree in health information administration or general studies before moving on to a Master of Arts in Mental Health Counseling. Additionally, it’s worth mentioning that prospective students can also pursue an advanced certification in mental health counseling entirely online. Students interested in online counseling programs that are as flexible as they are affordable would do well to look at Medaille College for further information.

    Admissions Advisor

    Karen McGrath
    Vice President for Enrollment Management and Undergraduate Admissions
    karen.p.mcgrath@medaille.edu
  • Total EnrollmentAcceptance RateGraduation RateRetention Rate
    2,606N/A27%57%

    About This School

    Mid-America Christian University has designed its master’s degree programs to offer a wide array of specializations to its students. As such, graduate level students can expect to choose from such diverse counseling topics as addiction and substance abuse, marital and family therapy, pastoral and spiritual direction, and professional counseling as their specific focus. Through each of these graduate degree programs, students will learn how to master research skills and build the analytical skills they’ll need to thrive in their counseling career. Students from all walks of life are welcome at Mid-America Christian University, regardless of whether they’re first-time students or returning adults that are eager to complete their degree. With Mid-America Christian University’s help and guidance, earning a degree online has never been easier.

    Admissions Advisor

    Mike Wilkinson
    Director of Admissions
    mwilkinson@macu.edu
  • Total EnrollmentAcceptance RateGraduation RateRetention Rate
    5,21247%39%62%

    About This School

    Missouri Baptist University uses the Blackboard learning management system to deliver its comprehensive online coursework directly to its students. Specifically, Missouri Baptist University has designed its master’s degree program in counseling to be completed entirely through the Internet. In fact, Missouri Baptist University considers its online coursework to be one of its greatest strengths, as it has been designed to be flexible, affordable, and innovative. Best of all, the Missouri Baptist University master’s degree program in counseling can be further specialized to incorporate coursework for elementary counseling, secondary counseling, or a combination of both. Each of these programs offers a certification in addition to the master’s degree. Prospective students that have already earned their bachelor’s degree and are eager to earn their master’s at an affordable price would do well to consider Missouri Baptist University as a viable option.

    Admissions Advisor

    Cynthia Sutton
    Director of Admissions
    suttonc@mobap.edu
  • Total EnrollmentAcceptance RateGraduation RateRetention Rate
    9,252N/AN/AN/A

    About This School

    Through its school of marriage and family sciences, Northcentral University teaches its students the skills they’ll need to thrive in a counseling career. Its online programs are designed with graduate students in mind, allowing them to move on in their field with a PhD in whatever specialization they choose for their program. Among the available options are child and adolescent therapy, couple therapy, general family therapy, medical family therapy, and therapy with military families. As an accredited institution by the Higher Learning Commission, as well as an institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council on Higher Education Accreditation, Northcentral University takes its duties towards its students very seriously. Students that are interested in a doctoral program that stresses accessibility, authority, and flexibility above all else should take a look at Northcentral University for further information.

    Admissions Advisor

    Brent Passey
    Executive Director of Enrollment / Chief Admissions Officer
    bpassey@ncu.edu
  • Total EnrollmentAcceptance RateGraduation RateRetention Rate
    49093%54%59%

    About This School

    Northland International University has designed its online programs to be asynchronous. This simply means that students are free to do their coursework at any time that suits their schedule, without fear of being required to be online at a specific time each week. Through this format, students can earn their Master of Arts in Biblical Counseling at a speed that is most comfortable for them individually. Northland International University understands the needs of its students, especially those that want to continue their education and are unable to move on campus to continue learning. As such, Northland International University provides all of its master’s degree coursework in counseling online for students to complete over sessions that typically last eight weeks.

    Admissions Advisor

    Admissions
    admissions@ni.edu
  • Total EnrollmentAcceptance RateGraduation RateRetention Rate
    1,16534%63%69%

    About This School

    Salem College has worked hard to build an online master’s degree program that specifically caters to educators that wish to improve the lives of their students. The result of this effort, the master of education in school counseling, is a fully online program that allows educators to earn their master’s degree on a schedule that fits in with their daily schoolwork. While the program is entirely online, it does have provisions for two seminars that take place on the weekends, in addition to various internship experiences that ensure each graduate student is acquiring the skills they need to be successful. Anyone that is serious about earning their master’s degree in counseling, with a specific focus on counseling in an educational institution, would do well to look further into Salem College and its online offerings.

    Admissions Advisor

    Katherine Watts
    Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid
    katherine.watts@salem.edu
  • Total EnrollmentAcceptance RateGraduation RateRetention Rate
    6580%50%100%

    About This School

    As its name implies, Shasta Bible College and Graduate School is specifically focused on integrating the teachings of Christianity into its academic programs. Through its distance education program, graduate students can pursue a master’s degree in biblical counseling. The Master of Arts in Biblical Counseling degree program guides students through interpersonal relationships and helps them to apply biblical truth to the most common problems associated with the life of a modern Christian. Of course, Shasta Bible College and Graduate School has designed its program to be as comprehensive as the traditional on-campus degree program, meaning its students are subjected to the same class schedule as those that are taking traditional classes. With that in mind, certain fees that are required of on-campus students are waived for those that intend to pursue a distance education online program.

    Admissions Advisor

    Bruce Woods
    Admissions
    bwood12@shasta.edu
  • Southern University and A & M College
    Southern Branch Post Office,
    Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70813
    http://www3.subr.edu/rehabilitation/
    Total EnrollmentAcceptance RateGraduation RateRetention Rate
    6,39768%28%69%

    About This School

    Southern University and A & M College has designed its Bachelor of Science in Psychology online degree program to give students the foundation from which to further build their burgeoning psychology career. Specializations within the degree program are offered for students that are specifically interested in developing a career out of counseling. While their bachelor’s degree in psychology is offered entirely online, it should be pleasing for students to learn that Southern University’s department of psychology has been approved as a site for substance abuse and prevention course credit. Put simply, Southern University and A & M College is a great place to start for students that are interested in earning their bachelor’s degree before moving on to a graduate program in counseling.

    Admissions Advisor

    Arthur Gillis
    Registrar/Director of Admission
    arthur_gillis@subr.edu
  • Total EnrollmentAcceptance RateGraduation RateRetention Rate
    7,42347%47%70%

    About This School

    The University of Tennessee at Martin specializes in delivering affordable undergraduate and graduate degree programs to its students. In fact, Princeton Review has named UT Martin among the nation’s “Best Value” colleges and universities in the book The Best Value Colleges: 2014 Edition. For the third consecutive year, UT Martin was one of two public Tennessee universities included in the listing. UT Martin offers more than 100 different academic areas involving undergraduate and graduate study. At the graduate level, students interested in counseling can work toward a Master of Science in Education degree, with a focus on school counseling. While the program can be completed online, UT Martin asks that its students attend a residency that lasts four days in order to be admitted to candidacy and continue in the program. Additionally, each student is required to complete a semester-long practicum that is supervised. These requirements help to build a student’s understanding of counseling and prepare them for their future career.

    Admissions Advisor

    Education Graduate Programs
    731-881-7128
    www.utm.edu
  • Total EnrollmentAcceptance RateGraduation RateRetention Rate
    1,12451%14%47%

    About This School

    Thomas University offers two distinct master’s degree programs in counseling online: community counseling and rehabilitation counseling. Additionally, students may pursue a hybrid program that has a balanced focus on online coursework and traditional coursework. In regards to its fully online programs, both the Master of Science in Community Counseling and the Master of Science in Rehabilitation Counseling are designed to guide students through the intricacies of counseling over the course of a 60 semester hour program. Each program is accredited by the Council of Rehabilitation Education and emphasizes the skills that are necessary for effective mental health counseling. Students that are interested in becoming professional counselors and desire guidance in their path towards licensing would do well to consider Thomas University first and foremost.

    Admissions Advisor

    Katelynn Knight
    Enrollment Management Assistant
    kvknight@thomasu.edu
  • Total EnrollmentAcceptance RateGraduation RateRetention Rate
    11,10763%41%70%

    About This School

    Through its UCA Online program, the University of Central Arkansas offers graduate level degree programs that can be completed entirely through the Internet. Students that are interested in furthering their career through specializing or wish to build a foundation from which their career can flourish should look at UCA Online’s diverse offerings. In particular, the University of Central Arkansas offers an online master’s degree program in school counseling, as well as a master’s degree program in mental health counseling. Interestingly, the master’s degree program in mental health counseling is a recent addition to the roster of programs available at UCA Online. Previously, students had to choose between specializing in community counseling or counseling psychology, but the two programs have combined into one to ensure that students acquire the experience they’ll need to be successful in their career.

    Admissions Advisor

    Ron Patterson
    Director of Admissions
    rpatterson@uca.edu
  • Total EnrollmentAcceptance RateGraduation RateRetention Rate
    28,03440%59%81%

    About This School

    Through the College of Education, students can earn their master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling entirely online at the University of Kentucky. In addition, graduate students can then move on to earn their doctorate in rehabilitation sciences. Through each of these programs, the primary emphasis is on providing students with the ability to empathize with others and help them to achieve their goals, whether it is in a personal, social, or vocational setting. As far as length is concerned, students can expect to complete the entirety of the comprehensive master’s program in as little as sixteen months. Prospective students that wish to earn both their master’s degree and their doctorate through a combination of online classes and traditional coursework would do well to look into the University of Kentucky and its online course offerings.

    Admissions Advisor

    Mike Shanks
    Director
    jmshan2@email.uky.edu
  • Total EnrollmentAcceptance RateGraduation RateRetention Rate
    4,29727%45%63%

    About This School

    University of the Cumberlands offers two programs for prospective students eager to earn their counseling degree online: a master’s degree in counseling and a doctorate in counselor education and supervision. Depending on what type of career a student is interested in pursuing, each option is sure to provide the skills necessary to thrive. Best of all, the University of Cumberlands offers students the ability to complete their degree entirely online or through a mix of hybrid classes that allow them to interact directly with other students and faculty. It’s also worth mentioning that the online master’s program is designed to accommodate both baccalaureate graduates and seasoned professionals that wish to expand their knowledge.

    Admissions Advisor

    Erica Harris
    Director
    erica.harris@ucumberlands.edu
  • Total EnrollmentAcceptance RateGraduation RateRetention Rate
    760N/A22%35%

    About This School

    The University of the Southwest has specifically designed both of its master’s degree programs in counseling to accommodate all of the needs of prospective students in their burgeoning counseling careers. As such, students can choose between mental health counseling and school counseling to further their specialization. While both programs are designed to be completed online, there are some internship and practicum requirements that accompany the school counseling program. Interested students should not be dissuaded though, as there are a variety of methods in which these additional requirements can be completed without being too much of a burden on a student’s schedule.

    Admissions Advisor

    Sara Dennis
    Director of Admissions/ Registrar Aide/Advisor
    sdennis@usw.edu
  • Total EnrollmentAcceptance RateGraduation RateRetention Rate
    4,94378%34%57%

    About This School

    Unlike some other educational institutions, the University of West Alabama holds the distinction of offering several different online degree programs for students that are interested in earning their master’s degree in counseling. In addition to school counseling, students can also pursue master’s degrees in counseling and psychology, family counseling, and guidance and counseling. With each program specifically designed to be completed entirely online, the University of West Alabama is a great school for students that wish to earn their master’s degree in a number of diverse fields from their comfort of their own home.

    Admissions Advisor

    Richard Hester
    Director of Student Life/ Director of Admissions
    rth@uwa.edu
  • Wake Forest University
    1834 Wake Forest Road
    Winston Salem, North Carolina 27106
    http://counseling.online.wfu.edu/
    Total EnrollmentAcceptance RateGraduation RateRetention Rate
    7,43232%87%94%

    About This School

    Wake Forest University has amassed some of the greatest scholars and leaders in the counseling profession so that they may pass on their knowledge to students through Wake Forest University’s online master’s degree programs. Specifically, the Master of Arts in Counseling degree offered at Wake Forest University is designed to be completed entirely online and is renowned for the academic excellence of its graduates. In addition to the general online master’s degree program, students can also choose between specializing in school counseling and clinical mental health counseling. Each of these specializations is designed to lead students towards licensing in North Carolina and may help students to earn their license in other states as well. Prospective students that wish to primarily work in North Carolina upon completion of their master’s degree program would do well to look into Wake Forest University for further details.

    Admissions Advisor

    Martha Allman
    Dean of Admissions
    allmanmb@wfu.edu
  • Total EnrollmentAcceptance RateGraduation RateRetention Rate
    24,59826%56%73%

    Admissions Advisor

    Penny Bundy
    Director
    penny.bundy@wmich.edu
  • Total EnrollmentAcceptance RateGraduation RateRetention Rate
    16,780N/A40%56%

    About This School

    Through its Department of Human Services, Wright State University has created a master’s program in rehabilitation counseling that contains aspects of several different specializations. As a result, graduate students engaged in the online master’s degree program can choose to further specialize into clinical mental health counseling, business and organizational management counseling, marriage and family counseling, severe disabilities or chemical dependency, and school counseling. It should be evident from this list of potential specializations that Wright State University takes its role as an educator quite seriously and that the quality of its online program is superior to many other educational institutions. Prospective students that are serious about their education and wish to be part of a program that demands hard work from them should heavily consider Wright State University above all others.

    Admissions Advisor

    Stephen Fortson
    Chair of Department of Human Services
    stephen.fortson@wright.edu