Best Online Master’s in School Counseling Degrees

Advertisement CollegeChoice.net is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Are you ready to find your fit?

Best Online Master's in School Counseling Degrees Badge

Whether you’re interested in working with young children or adolescents, whether you see yourself in a school’s halls and classrooms or in an administrator’s office, whether you’re passionate about child development or social and cultural issues, you’ve chosen a good career because school counseling is ranked first in the nation among best social services jobs.

It’s no surprise that school psychologists are so happy with their careers; they make a demonstrable difference every day in children’s lives, and therefore in the future of the country. Furthermore, their jobs are notably stable, recession-proof, and offer many opportunities for advancement and change.

On average, those with just an undergraduate degree in school counseling make around $34,000 annually, while those with a masters degree can start making over $55,000 with the potential of earning upwards of $120,000 (in an administrative role).

Moreover, the demand for school counselors is expected to rise another 8 percent in the next few years, ensuring this career as one that is stable with many opportunities to grow.

Thus, it is an ideal time to earn a graduate degree in school counseling and guarantee your own future, as well as the futures of all the children and adolescents you’ll work with throughout your career.

mini icon
Advertisement CollegeChoice.net is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Recommended Schools

Top 10 Best Online Master’s in School Counseling Degrees

Rank School Location
1 Liberty University Lynchburg, VA
2 University of The Southwest Hobbs, NM
3 Lakeland University Plymouth, WI
4 University of Massachusetts Amherst, MA
5 Adams State University Alamosa, CO
6 Our Lady of The Lake University San Antonio, TX
7 Missouri Baptist University St. Louis, MO
8 Lamar University Beaumont, TX
9 Capella University Minneapolis, MN
10 Creighton University Omaha, NE


Online degrees are an affordable, flexible, and convenient way to enhance your professional development and career opportunities.

These programs allow students to study from a distance, move through the program at a desired pace, and to continue working full time. Additionally, most programs offer the same curricular experience taught by the same on-campus faculty as “traditional” programs. Meaning, you’ll have access to a similar graduate school experience, but at a fraction of the cost and with far more freedom.

Meaning, you’ll have access to a similar graduate school experience, but at a fraction of the cost and with far more freedom.

What are the Best Online Master’s Programs in School Counseling?

Though some of the programs below emphasize elementary school counseling and others middle or high school counseling, they are all—hands down—the best online MS in School Counseling programs in the nation.

We’ve investigated discrete data sets from online school counseling programs across the country to arrive at the best—that is, those marked by reputation, retention, affordability, and return on investment.

While reputation refers to a school’s academic and research rankings, retention reflects student satisfaction.

Likewise, affordability represents low credit-hour costs and return on investment means we looked at the average early salaries of graduates from these programs to conclude which students made the most money after earning the degree. You can also check out our list of the most affordable master’s degree programs offered online.

What we arrive at is a thoroughly researched list providing empirical evidence of academic excellence.

Our figures and information come from the university and colleges’ websites, PayScale, and nationally recognized U.S. News & World Report and The National Center for Education Statistics.

 
 

Rankings

See our rankings methodology page.

  1. Liberty University
    Location

    Lynchburg, VA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Founded in 1971 by Jerry Falwell, Liberty University is the largest Evangelical Christian university in the world. Although its on-campus enrollment is just around 13,800 students, Liberty University has over 100,000 students enrolled in its online program. Though Liberty University educates people from all walks of life, Liberty tends to take a religiously conservative approach to their curriculum.

    Features

    Liberty University ranks number one on our list of Best Online Master’s degrees in School Counseling for a number of reasons: its affordability, its respectable early career payscale, its financial aid package, and its competitive acceptance rates. The 48-credit-hour online School Counseling program itself also has a number of stand-out features:

    • An online format with a few “intensive” courses on Liberty’s 7,000-acre campus
    • A flexible transfer policy (50% of program hours)
    • A 6-credit-hour internship at the end of the program

    Notables

    Liberty University’s online degree program stands out for its interactive format and its small class sizes (classes are capped at 25 students) so you can be guaranteed one-on-one attention. The Young America’s Foundation recently ranked Liberty University in the top ten most conservative colleges in the United States. Liberty also holds the 37th ranking in US News & World Report’s Best Colleges for Veterans.

  2. University of The Southwest
    Location

    Hobbs, NM

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Located in Hobbs, New Mexico, the University of the Southwest originally existed as a two-year junior college with Baptist roots. However, in 1961, it was renamed and relocated as a private university and now holds non-denominational affinity. This small school is home to just 1000 students, and offers both baccalaureate degrees (in Business, Education, and Arts & Sciences) and master’s degrees (through its MBA and Masters of Science in Education program).

    Features

    The fully online Master of Science in Education for School Counseling at the University of the Southwest prepares students to become licensed in primary, elementary, middle, and high schools. The 42-credit-hour program splits its curriculum into three categories:

    • Core Curriculum (e.g., Educational Research, Counseling Theories)
    • Major Requirements (e.g., Group Counseling, Crisis and Trauma Intervention)
    • Elective Requirements (e.g., Psychopathology for School Counselors, Human Sexuality)

    Notables

    University of the Southwest is home to twelve vibrant student organizations, including academic, cultural, and religious groups. Students enrolled in any of the online programs at USW stay connected to the school through technology support and helpful online tutoring resources. USW takes special interest in meeting the needs of US military, veterans, and families through its online services.

  3. Lakeland University
    Location

    Plymouth, WI

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    A small school located in Plymouth, Wisconsin, Lakeland University was founded by German immigrants in 1862 who were fleeing religious persecution. Now affiliated with the United Church of Christ, Lakeland offers 30 majors to its 850 traditional students and over 2600 evening, weekend, and online students.

    Features

    The online Master of Arts in Counseling at Lakeland allows students to focus in one of three areas: community counseling, higher education counseling, or school counseling. The 60-credit-hour school counseling program is completed in 14-week semesters. Through their coursework, practicums, and internships, students gain valuable experience in the following:

    • Individual student planning
    • Responsive services
    • Classroom interventions
    • Collaboration with parents and teachers

    Notables

    Though its roots are in the midwest, Lakeland University spreads its education to many corners of the world, with students from 24 different countries, a two-year international campus in Tokyo, and an online program that connects people from all over. The online format uses BlendEd, which allows students to choose to attend classes in person (at one of the 7 online centers around Wisconsin) or fully online.

  4. University of Massachusetts
    Location

    Amherst, MA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    The University of Massachusetts is a public university that enrolls 73,000 students across its five campuses—Amherst, Boston, Dartmouth, Lowell, and UMass Medical School. UMassOnline is known for the same rigorous standards as its on-campus counterpart. In fact, any diploma you receive from UMassOnline will show up as the same diploma as students who attend class in person. You’ll be taking the same courses taught by the same academically-acclaimed faculty—the only difference is that you’ll be learning from the comfort of your own home!

    Features

    Other than two weeks of required on-campus study at the beginning of your program, students enrolled in the Master of Education in School Counseling can complete their degree fully online. The 60-credit-hour program prepares students to be certified PreK-12 school counselors in the state of Massachusetts. The online program at UMass is beneficial for students who need the following:

    • Flexibility: The schedule of this online program lets you hold down a full-time job as you complete your masters. Do it on your own time!
    • Written Communication: Most of the information you learn is through written correspondence (emails or discussion boards), which lets you take time to form your ideas.
    • Time to Think: The flexibility of spacing out classes lets you soak in all the material thoroughly.
    • New Ideas: You’ll be using technology that isn’t always typical in a standard classroom like discussion boards and podcasts.

    Notables

    UMass enjoys a number of notable rankings and awards. Other than being the largest and one of the oldest universities in Massachusetts, UMass ranks as the number one public university in New England by the Times Higher Education. Its faculty are renowned in their field; in 2015, eight faculty members were named to the list of the World’s Most Scientific Minds.

  5. Adams State University
    Location

    Alamosa, CO

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Based in the heart of the San Luis Valley in Alamosa, Colorado, Adams State University is a small liberal arts school that was founded in 1921. Enrolling almost 4,000 students, the Adams State Grizzlies offer graduate degrees in art, history, business, and counselor education, among others. Most of its masters and doctoral programs are offered online.

    Features

    The 60-credit-hour online Master of Arts in Counseling gives students the choice of two tracks: Clinical Mental Health Counseling and School Counseling. All students begin by taking core counseling classes such as Introduction to Research, Assessment in Counseling, and Ethics and Professional Issues. Beyond that, some of the classes included in the School Counseling track include:

    • Professional School Counseling
    • Counseling Modalities in the School Setting
    • Group Counseling
    • Internship (two 3-hour courses)

    Notables

    Online Plus, the online educational platform used by Adams State University, is designed to meet the needs of students who require flexibility to their education. Students are required to attend two one-week intensive residencies (usually held during the summer) in Alamosa throughout their 7-semester program.

  6. Our Lady of The Lake University
    Location

    San Antonio, TX

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Founded in 1895 by the Sisters of Divine Providence—a Catholic institute based in Lorraine, France—Our Lady of the Lake University (OLLU) is a private university based in San Antonio, Texas. Originally started as a two-year college for women, the university expanded its curriculum in 1919 to admit women and men.

    Features

    As part of the online Master of Education in School Counseling at OLLU, students use classwork and practicums to analyze student behaviors and issues, implement career choices and planning in the high school setting, and learn the in’s and out’s of the profession. Some of the courses you can expect to take as a student in this program are:

    • Ethical Issues in Schools
    • Child and Juvenile Psychological Development
    • Disability Issues
    • Educational Theories

    Notables

    For as long as OLLU has offered the degree, 100 percent of graduates of the School Counseling program have passed the TExES (Texas Examinations for Educator Standards). Out of its almost 3,000 students, 76 percent are Hispanic or Latino and a core part of its mission and identity is Mexican American studies.

  7. Missouri Baptist University
    Location

    St. Louis, MO

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Missouri Baptist University is located on a beautiful, 80-acre campus in Creve Coeur, Missouri. Founded in 1957 as an evangelical Christian institution, MBU has since grown into a strong liberal arts university that offers almost 580 degrees to 4,800 students.

    Features

    Taking a specifically religious approach to school counseling, the Master of Arts in Counseling at Missouri Baptist University hirers exclusively Christian faculty. The program prepares graduate students for the following:

    • An estimated program length of 24-36 months
    • A career in school counseling, church staff membership, or church mentorship
    • The chance to pursue a doctoral program in mental health counseling or school counseling

    Notables

    If you choose Missouri Baptist University, you’re assured a tight-knit community; the average student to faculty ratio—for both on-campus students and online students—is 14:1. Even more, MBU gives out generous financial aid; on average, its student body only pays half of the full tuition.

  8. Lamar University
    Location

    Beaumont, TX

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Located in Beaumont, Texas and a member of the Texas State University System, Lamar University is a research institution that got its start in 1923. Though it’s most commonly praised for its strong engineering program, Lamar University offers 50 different reputable and affordable master’s programs (in addition to over 100 bachelor and doctoral degree programs).

    Features

    Their online Masters of Education in School Counseling program will train you in the full range of counseling requirements. Through classes like Multicultural Counseling, Crisis Prevention & Intervention, and Human Growth & Development, you’ll gain the tools to counsel students at any level. In addition, Lamar offers the following perks to their program:

    • Two 5-day residency seminars at the Beaumont campus
    • The chance to complete your degree in less than two years (22 months)
    • Two field-based internships in counseling in an agency or school setting

    Notables

    Lamar University is a small but mighty school; it consistently ranks high among schools in Texas and throughout the country. It recently received a coveted “A” rating from the American Council of Trustees and Alumni among colleges who offer both a well-rounded and a competitive education. The school is known primarily for its engineering program, which consistently ranks among the top 10 in the state.

  9. Capella University
    Location

    Minneapolis, MN

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Almost fully based online, Capella University is a for-profit university with a headquarters in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Started in 1993, Capella has since grown to enroll close to 36,000 students through over 1600 online courses. Students from all over the United States and all over the world (over 60 countries!) are enrolled in their programs—which range from certificates to bachelor to master’s to doctoral.

    Features

    The online Master of Science in School Counseling program at Capella emphasizes the importance of incorporating online coursework, residencies, and field experiences into the overall education, which is one of the reasons this program sticks out. Other reason include:

    • Hands-on clinical experiences to make sure you’re ready for licensure
    • Accreditations by both CACREP and NCATE, which builds on the American School Counselor Association national model
    • Well-educated and highly-experienced faculty members

    Notables

    Capella University offers an enormous range of programs, and is often recognized for its accessibility and affordability. Recently, the National Security Agency awarded Capella with a National Centers of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education designation.

  10. Creighton University
    Location

    Omaha, NE

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    The largest private religious university in Nebraska, Creighton University is located just outside of Omaha on an urban, 140-acre campus. Founded in 1878, Creighton has a long history of strong academics and teaching true to its Jesuit Roman Catholic faith.

    Features

    At Creighton University, you would earn a Master of Science in School Counseling and Preventative Mental Health. This 36-credit-hour program offers three different tracks:

    • Elementary School Guidance Counselors Track
    • Secondary School Guidance Counselors Track
    • PK-12 School Counseling Track

    All students must complete 24 hours of required courses before choosing their concentrations. Some of these core classes include Data-Driven Perspectives in School Counseling, Social Justice and Diversity in School Counseling, and Career Perspectives for Children and Adolescents.

    Notables

    As part of the school’s mission, students at Creighton are devoted to community service and local engagement. The Center for Service and Justice organizes weekly service projects, trips, and educational outreach on local social justice issues. This kind of passion and intentionality will certainly come through in your online education, too, if you choose Creighton University.

mini icon

Online College Resources

Helping you prepare and gain the most out of your educational experience.


Most Affordable Online Business Degrees 2021

Most Affordable Online Business Degrees 2021

April 19, 2021   |   Staff Writers

Accountants, cost estimators, and financial examiners work in the business and financial services sector. These professionals manage clients' money and ensure their employer's long-term success. The (BLS) projects employment for...

Best Online Mechanical Engineering Degrees

Best Online Mechanical Engineering Degrees

April 16, 2021   |   Staff Writers

Mechanical engineering degree grads can go on to work in various careers from manufacturing to aerospace, in an office or in the field. It’s virtually impossible to go through a...

Advertisement CollegeChoice.net is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Discover a program that is right for you.

Search schools to find the program that is right for you.