Best Master’s In School Counseling Degrees 2022

School counseling master's programs can lead to new career opportunities. Here, we rank and review the five best programs to consider in 2021.

Best Master’s In School Counseling Degrees 2022

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Top School Counseling Graduate Programs

School counselors help K-12 and college students meet personal, professional, and academic goals. A master's in school counseling helps learners gain the skills and experience necessary for this field.

All master's in school counseling programs require applicants to hold a bachelor's degree. Some programs require a background in psychology or education. Others accept all undergraduate majors. Counseling programs usually focus on broad psychology and counseling concepts. Students pursuing a school counseling degree also take specialized classes in school counseling practice.

Our guide lists the best school counseling programs. Read on for information on degree costs, common classes, and how to become a school counselor.

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Questions About School Counseling

What does a school counselor do?

School counselors help students with academic and social problems. They also work with other educational professionals to improve students' school experience.

What are the requirements to be a school counselor?

All school counselors need at least a bachelor's degree. Some states require a master's degree. Counselors also need either national or state school counselor licensure.

Are school counselors in high demand?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects school counselor jobs to grow 11% from 2020-2030, which is higher than the national average.

Why Get a Degree in School Counseling?

A school counseling master's degree builds advanced skills in student counseling practices. Degree-seekers gain comprehensive knowledge of counseling theories and techniques. Most school counseling degrees also build the hands-on experience necessary to obtain counselor certification.

The BLS reports that school and career counselors earn an annual median salary of $58,120. The top 10% of school counselors earn more than $97,910 annually.

Many master's in school counseling programs run either fully or partially online. These programs help working students continue their careers while earning their degree.

How Much Does a School Counseling Degree Cost?

A master's degree costs an average of $66,340, according to EducationData.org. However, cost varies by school type, learners' residency status, and program length. Full-time enrollees can complete a master's in about two years. Part-time students may take longer. Students attending public, in-state schools typically pay the most affordable tuition.

Many colleges offer school counseling master's degrees online. An online format helps learners save money on relocating or commuting to school.

How Much Do School Counselors Make?

Graduates with a master's in school counseling often work as K-12 school counselors. They may also work as counselors at colleges and community colleges.

Counselors who work at K-12 schools earn a median salary of $64,960 annually, according to the BLS. Counselors at colleges and universities earn $51,660.

Most school counseling jobs only require a master's degree. However, earning a Ph.D. or Ed.D. can help counselors pursue more advanced careers. Doctoral graduates may find jobs in academia, educational psychology, or educational leadership.

Courses in School Counseling

Master's in school counseling programs include general counseling topics along with specialized classes in school counseling. Students build broad knowledge in psychology, counseling, and research. Specialized classes may cover topics such as career counseling and the psychology of learning.

Most programs also require candidates to complete an internship and practicum. These in-person hours build hands-on experience and may meet state requirements for counseling licensure.

See below for three common classes in master's in school counseling programs. Please note that not all schools offer the exact classes below. Students should check with their prospective schools to learn specific offerings.

  • Issues in School Counseling

    This class addresses the role of the counselor in school settings. Students explore the general framework for school counseling practice, including common issues and intervention strategies. This class may also focus on techniques for counseling program development. Learners gain the skills to collaborate with other educators in a K-12 school setting.
  • Legal and Ethical Issues in Counseling

    School counselors address sensitive problems and may encounter ethical issues. This class focuses on major ethical and legal regulations for counselors. Topics may cover confidentiality, student records, and communicating with families. Degree-seekers may also receive an overview of ethical standards from the American School Counselor Association (ASCA).
  • Multicultural Counseling

    School counselors serve a diverse body of students and families. This class explores the theories and practices of counseling diverse clients. Enrollees may learn about cultural assumptions, counselor credibility, and cultural values. Many classes now focus on a social justice framework for counseling.

How to Become a School Counselor

Most states require school counselors to hold a master's degree in a relevant field, such as counseling, school counseling, or psychology. Public school counselors also need state licensure or certification.

These professionals spend their workdays counseling students on social and academic problems. They may also work with teachers and administrators to create new school practices that better serve students.

School counselor duties vary by school level. At elementary schools, counselors may focus more on general social development. At high schools, they often focus more on preparing students for college or work.

Licensure for School Counselors

School counselors need licensure or certification to work at public schools. Specific licensure requirements vary by state. However, counselors generally need a master's degree in a relevant field. The degree must include approved coursework in counseling and education topics.

Counselors must also complete practicum and internship hours at an approved K-12 school. These required hours build hands-on experience under the supervision of licensed school counselors. Practicum requirements vary by state. Most states require candidates to complete a set number of hours.

After gaining education and experience, candidates must also complete a licensure exam. Some states administer their own tests, while others accept national exams such as the Professional School Counselor. The ASCA lists each state's licensure requirements.

Best Master's in School Counseling Degrees

#1

University of Florida

School Information
Location Gainesville, Florida
Admission Rate 37%
Graduation Rate 88%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 46% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

The school counseling master's degree at the University of Florida is one of 126 master's programs offered by the university. Students advance their training and increase their career opportunities in the master's in school counseling program. At the school, graduate programs offer flexible enrollment options, including schedules designed for working professionals.

The master's curriculum balances theoretical and practical approaches to educational counseling, emphasizing a comprehensive understanding of the field. Students complete internships and hands-on learning opportunities to complement their classroom knowledge and expand their professional networks. Learners choose concentrations and electives to build specialized skills in a specific area of educational counseling.

University of Florida at a Glance:

Location: Gainesville, Florida

School Type: Public

Admission Rate: 37%

Graduate Tuition In State: $10,770

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $27,335

Percent of Students Awarded Aid: 92%

Average Amount of Aid Awarded: $10,673

Average Price After Aid: $10,457

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#2

California State University-Long Beach

School Information
Location Long Beach, California
Admission Rate 39%
Graduation Rate 74%
Accreditation Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 30% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

The counseling master's program at California State University-Long Beach offers an affordable, rigorous option for graduate learners. The master's degree in counseling, with an option in school counseling, appeals to students seeking a graduate degree that will increase their career opportunities. Candidates benefit from flexible enrollment options, including schedules designed for full-time professionals.

During the program, learners take challenging courses that strengthen theoretical and practical educational counseling knowledge. Students can often complete internships and other hands-on learning opportunities, gaining varied experience while building professional connections. Learners can specialize their educational counseling education by choosing electives and concentrations.

California State University-Long Beach at a Glance:

Location: Long Beach, California

School Type: Public

Admission Rate: 39%

Graduate Tuition In State: $7,176

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $16,680

Percent of Students Awarded Aid: 81%

Average Amount of Aid Awarded: $9,098

Average Price After Aid: $9,903

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#3

San Diego State University

School Information
Location San Diego, California
Admission Rate 34%
Graduation Rate 73%
Accreditation Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 50% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

San Diego State University offers a top-ranked counseling program as one of its 82 master's degrees. The MS program offers a specialization in school counseling, strengthening subject-specific knowledge and allowing graduates to pursue advanced career opportunities. Flexible enrollment options help candidates balance graduate courses with work or other obligations.

During the program, learners complete a challenging curriculum that builds comprehensive knowledge of educational counseling. Internships and experiential learning opportunities build professional connections and provide real-world experience. Learners choose concentrations and electives to build specialized skills in a certain area of educational counseling.

San Diego State University at a Glance:

Location: San Diego, California

School Type: Public

Admission Rate: 34%

Graduate Tuition In State: $7,176

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $16,680

Percent of Students Awarded Aid: 60%

Average Amount of Aid Awarded: $8,233

Average Price After Aid: $14,499

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#4

Auburn University

School Information
Location Auburn, Alabama
Admission Rate 81%
Graduation Rate 79%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 27% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

For students looking to advance their career, Auburn University hosts a master of education in school counseling. From its campus in Auburn, Alabama, the public institution offers several enrollment options, including online programs designed for working professionals. In the master's program, the curriculum covers advanced topics in educational counseling.

Master's candidates rely on the school's support services to make progress toward their degree. Academic advisors recommend course selections, while financial aid counselors connect students with scholarship and grant opportunities. Master's degree-seekers can also take advantage of tutoring centers, library services, and service learning opportunities.

Auburn University at a Glance:

Total Master's Programs: 67

Total Online Master's Programs: 20

Admission Rate: 81%

Graduation Rate: 79%

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 20-to-1

Graduate Tuition In State: $9,828

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $29,484

Average Alumni Earnings After Six Years: $43,100

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#5

University of Georgia

School Information
Location Athens, Georgia
Admission Rate 45%
Graduation Rate 87%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 14% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

The University of Georgia stands out for its 116 master's programs, which include a school counseling program. Students advance their training and increase their career opportunities in the master's in professional counseling program. At the school, graduate programs offer flexible enrollment options, including schedules designed for working professionals.

The master's curriculum uses theoretical and practical approaches to encourage a comprehensive understanding of educational counseling. Students apply their training through internships and other hands-on learning opportunities, which strengthen career-ready skills. Learners choose concentrations and electives to build specialized skills in a specific area of educational counseling.

University of Georgia at a Glance:

Location: Athens, Georgia

School Type: Public

Admission Rate: 45%

Graduate Tuition In State: $8,878

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $25,186

Percent of Students Awarded Aid: 97%

Average Amount of Aid Awarded: $10,577

Average Price After Aid: $15,961

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