2020 Best Online Master's in Counseling Degrees

By OnlineU Staff | Updated March 9, 2020
2020 Best Online Master's in Counseling Badge

The 11 best value online master's in counseling programs can be found at these colleges and universities. Graduates of the #1 school, West Virginia University, report earning a median salary of $109,600. Tuition for West Virginia University's MS: Clinical Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling is $16,960 per year. Rutgers University ranks #2, with a median salary of $72,600 and an annual tuition rate of $11,040.

Alumni salaries were provided by PayScale. View our methodology for more details or learn more about OnlineU.

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2020 Online Colleges Offering Counseling Degrees - Ranking Details

Online Master's in Counseling Overview

Program Requirements

Before applying to an online graduate counseling degree program, students must first complete a bachelor's degree. Most graduate school admissions boards prefer that students major in sociology or psychology, but people with diverse backgrounds may pursue graduate degrees in counseling. Some master's degree programs in school counseling and psychology require applicants to prove that they have some related experience in education or counseling, while others accept all kinds of students, provided they have a bachelor's degree and can submit transcripts, letters of recommendation, a resume, and a personal statement. The personal statement of purpose is essentially an admissions essay that details how a person came to be interested in the field of counseling and declares what a person's postgraduation goals are. Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) scores are also requested by many schools. Online graduate counseling degrees generally take two to three years to complete.


Common course requirements in the master's curriculum include human development, communication skills, ethical counseling, human sexuality, group therapy, and psychological assessment. Students must also complete a significant amount of field experience hours while practicing client interviews and counseling. Graduates of master's programs may go on to complete the additional requirements to earn a state license or national certification; these usually include completing 2,000-4,000 hours of clinical experience and passing an exam.

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