Most Affordable Online Master’s in Educational Counseling Degrees

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Counselor’s are an integral part of a student’s education.

Most Affordable Online Master's in Educational Counseling Degrees Badge

An educational counselor works alongside teachers and school administrators to provide students from K-12 with counseling needs. These needs may be educational such as early career planning or advice on what classes to take but can also be emotional such as when a student has experienced trauma. Because teachers must primarily deal with teaching and do not have the capacity to sit with each student individually, counselors are just as important to helping students along their educational path.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for school and career counselors is projected to experience a 13 percent growth from 2016 to 2026. This percentage growth is faster than the national average due to increased school enrollments around the country. School counselors may work in public, private, urban, or rural environments.

Top 10 Most Affordable Online Master’s in Educational Counseling Degrees

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What type of master’s in educational counseling should you get?

An online program versus a traditional on-campus one is preferable for those who are already working. Especially because most of these programs require some teaching experience, many applicants may prefer to continue their jobs while enrolled in school. Online programs are flexible, affordable, and can often be completed in as little as two years.

The most common degree for a Master’s in Educational Counseling is a Master’s in Education. Master of Arts degrees are the second most common. An Master’s is considered more of a practitioner’s degree for those who immediately want to gain licensure to work as a counselor. On the other hand, an MA may be more suitable for those who wish to do research.

How much money do people make with a master’s in educational counseling?

According to PayScale, the median salary for a school counselor with a master’s degree is $46,969. With added benefits, the average salary comes out to be $50,000. While a starting salary may be as low as $33,000, experienced counselors can earn almost six figures. Whether you work in private or public education, which school district you’re in, and years of experience all affect salary.

Added benefits for counselors can include retirement plans, paid vacation and sick days, transportation reimbursements, etc. New counselors should look into the long-term benefits and not just the starting salary when they first join a new school. Popular cities for school counseling include Philadelphia, New York, and Columbus.

What can you do with a master’s in educational counseling?

A master’s in educational counseling prepares graduates to take the appropriate state and national licensure tests to practice as a counselor in a particular area. These professionals are trained in counseling theory, child and adolescent psychology, career counseling, and personal evaluation. Upon completion of the degree, graduates will be able to perform counseling duties in K-12 settings.

Typical tasks of an educational counselor include: creating counseling programs, using assessment tools to evaluate individuals, meeting with students, and providing crisis intervention. Because most schools tend to only have a few counselors for a large population of students, counselors will be responsible for a large group of people.

What are the requirements for a master’s in educational counseling?

In order to apply for the program, applicants must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited school with a competitive GPA. GRE test scores, letters of recommendation, and supplemental essays are also required. In addition, documentation of teaching experience is also required for most programs.

Because a master’s in educational counseling will often have an internship or practicum component in actual schools, a background check may be required before admission into the program. Interested applicants should pay attention to important deadlines and get all the necessary documents to ensure a smooth application.

What are the best online master’s in educational counseling?

College Choice has compiled a list of the 30 most affordable online master’s in educational counseling. These schools were chosen and ranked based on institutional excellence and student success. Institutional excellence was decided based on a variety data points such as graduation rate, entering students’ test scores, and student-to-faculty ratio. Student success was based on tuition costs, financial aid, and average student indebtedness after graduating.

Our data comes from the National Center for Education Statistics’ IPEDS database, PayScale, individual college websites, and the U.S. News & World Report.

2018 Ranking

See our rankings methodology page.

  1. Southeastern Oklahoma State University
    Location

    Durant, OK

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    OverviewSoutheastern Oklahoma State University was originally founded with the goal of training the next generation of teachers for the state’s public schools. Beginning in the late 30s, the school began to expand and offer other degrees. Located in the southern city of Durant, SOSU’s main campus is only 15 miles from the Oklahoma-Texas border. With a population of only 15,000, this small agricultural city is rapidly becoming more diverse. SOSU currently has eight different campuses as well as online degrees.Program FeaturesIn SOSU’s online M.Ed. in School Counseling degree, students will be exposed to different disciplines such as diversity, child development, and psychopathology.

    • Completion Time: as little as 12 months
    • 2 Practicum/Clinical experiences
    • Start Dates: May, July, August, and October
    NotablesThis online program has the same rate for in-state and out-of-state residents. The pay-as-you-go system provides a convenient and affordable method for students.

  2. University of Louisiana at Monroe
    Location

    Monroe, LA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    OverviewThe University of Louisiana at Monroe is a public university that was established in 1931 as a junior college. The school became a four-year college in 1953 and later achieved university status in 1969. ULM is dedicated to providing higher education to a diverse set of students, including distance learners. ULM online courses are student-focused and affordable. In addition to financial aid options, students pay a flat tuition rate.Program FeaturesULM’s MS in Counseling with a concentration in School Counseling prepares graduates to work either in elementary or secondary education.

    • Completion Time: 2 years
    • Accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs
    • Licensure requirements met for the state of Louisiana
    NotablesThis program is only 60 credit-hours, or 20 courses. Students have the option of being full-time or part-time.

  3. The University of Tennessee-Martin
    Location

    Martin, TN

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    OverviewThe University of Tennessee – Martin is located in Northwest Tennessee, about 125 miles northeast of Memphis. Currently about 6,800 students are enrolled, with the school’s graduation rate being among the highest in the state. Over 100 degrees are offered at UT Martin, both at the undergraduate and graduate level. UT Martin online provides distance learning opportunities, particularly for non-traditional students. An education at UT Martin is affordable, with about 90 percent of its students receiving some form of financial aid.Program FeaturesA Master’s in Counseling with a concentration in School Counseling from UT Martin’s online program is a nationally recognized degree that creates professional educators.

    • Semester-long orientation experience in a preK-12 setting for state licensure
    • Ideal for those with experience in education
    • Sample Courses: Group Dynamics, Individual Appraisal, Theory and Techniques of Counseling
    NotablesIn 2018 the SR Education Group ranked this program among the Most Affordable Online Colleges list.

  4. North Carolina Central University
    Location

    Durham, NC

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    OverviewNorth Carolina Central University is the first public liberal arts institution for African-Americans in the nation. NCCU is recognized as an historically black college with over 75 percent of its students identifying as African-American. The university is also ranked by the Washington Monthly as one of the top 40 schools in the nation for contributions to the public good for its progressive initiatives. In addition to its strong commitment to diversity and community outreach, NCCU is a top 50 school for its value by Top Education Degrees.Program FeaturesAn online MA in School Counseling degree at NCCU is ideal for those who wish to be licensed within the state of North Carolina to practice as professional school counselors.

    • 51 credit-hours
    • Endorsed member of the International Registry of Counselor Education Programs
    • Networking opportunities with future employers
    NotablesThe SR Education group ranked NCCU’s online degrees among the Best Online Colleges for Value in 2018.

  5. Angelo State University
    Location

    San Angelo, TX

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    OverviewRanked among The Princeton Review’s “Best Colleges” list, Angelo State University is a vibrant campus that is part of the Texas Tech University System. Currently over 100 majors are offered throughout its six colleges. ASU is a Hispanic-serving institution as well as military friendly. Located in the city of San Angelo, students have the opportunity to experience the city’s small-town charm. ASU is also an affordable institution, with its scholarship program awarding more than $87 million to students since 1981.Program FeaturesASU’s online M.Ed. in Guidance and Counseling program is designed for those who wish to work in K-12 or college-level settings.

    • 8-week courses
    • Among the Top 15 Master’s in Counseling Degree Programs by the Best Master’s in Psychology
    • Sample Courses: Individual Counseling, Tests and Measurements, Social and Cultural Influences
    NotablesUpon completion of this degree, students will be able to take the Texas Examination of Educator Standards to receive the Professional Certificate for School Counselors.

  6. Southern Arkansas University
    Location

    Magnolia, AR

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    OverviewWith over 100 years of history, Southern Arkansas University – Main Campus is an active public university with the #1 highest return on investment among all schools within the state. SAU offers more than 80 degree programs, including those that are fully or partially online. Students at SAU can feel at home in the campus’s home-like feeling and welcoming spirit. SAU is also the #6 most affordable university in the US.Program FeaturesDuring SAU’s online M.Ed. in School Counseling program, students will be trained to address the development needs of children and adolescents.

    • Fulfills licensure requirements for K-12 counseling in Arkansas
    • Completion Time: 2.5-3 years
    • Hybrid classes available
    NotablesFor those who do not already have licensure, graduates can apply for the standard teaching license. An add-on licensure is available for those who already hold an Arkansas teaching license.

  7. Lamar University
    Location

    Beaumont, TX

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    OverviewLamar University was founded in 1923 and was named. after the “Father of Education” in Texas, the state’s second president. Today the university is among the fastest growing schools in the state. Over 14,000 students are currently enrolled among its 100 undergraduate and graduate programs. Lamar’s online education programs are ranked among the top ten according to the U.S. News & World Report.Program FeaturesLamar’s online M.Ed. in School Counseling degree pushes students to develop strong relational and community outreach skills.

    • Completion Time: as little as 22 months
    • $275 per credit-hour
    • Residency and practicum/internship component
    NotablesThis program offers three start dates: July, August, and October.

  8. University of Southern Mississippi
    Location

    Hattiesburg, MS

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    OverviewThe University of Southern Mississippi was originally opened in 1910 as a teachers training school. Throughout the early 20th century, the school rapidly developed and began to add other colleges and disciplines. As a prominent research institution, USM works closely with the community to seek out innovation and positive change. In 2014-2015, the university had an estimated impact of $135 million from its research activities. USM is also a highly diverse campus, with its student body being represented from all states, 72 countries, and every county in the state.Program FeaturesUSM’s online M.Ed. in School Counseling is great for those who have experience teaching, as well as those who are new to the field.

    • 48 credit-hours
    • Summer residency in Hattiesburg, MS
    • Ability to join the Child and family Studies Student Organization
    NotablesThe Board of Trustees offers the Graduate Teacher and Counseling and School Administration Loan/Scholarship Program. Students can apply between January and March of each year.

  9. University of Massachusetts Boston
    Location

    Boston, MA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    OverviewThe University of Massachusetts Boston is the city’s premier urban research institution. Located on the waterfront, the campus is close to several historic sites such as the John F. Kennedy Library. UMass Boston offers a big campus with a small-campus feel. Students are able to participate in meaningful on-campus organizations, research, and internships. In 2017, the U.S. News & World Report ranked their graduate education programs among the top 100 in the country.Program FeaturesUMass Boston’s online M.Ed. in School Counseling degree that is offered through the Department of Counseling and School Psychology is a state licensure program.

    • 60 credit-hours
    • Summer semester start date
    • Minimum 9 credit-hours per semester
    NotablesStudents will take two clinical courses on the UMass Dartmouth campus. Housing is provided at a reasonable rate.

  10. University of Texas at Tyler
    Location

    Tyler, TX

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    OverviewLocated in East Texas, the University of Texas at Tyler sits atop a beautiful 259-acre campus. UT Tyler is known for its professional development focus within its programs, with outstanding pass rates on several state licensure exams. The university is also flexible and affordable, offering several online programs at both the undergraduate and graduate level. Those at the graduate level are eligible for certain financial aid and scholarship programs.Program FeaturesCompletely offered online, UT Tyler’s MA in School Counseling degree provides students with the fundamentals of counseling and teaching in a diverse community.

    • 100 percent pass rate
    • Complete Time: 18 months
    • 200-hour internship program
    NotablesFull-time K-12 teachers are eligible for receiving $200 the first semester through the Teachers in Excellence scholarship.

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