Students seeking an online master's program in school counseling will find that these 23 colleges offer the best value based on affordability and alumni salaries. Graduates of the #1-ranked school, Texas A&M University-College Station, earn a median salary of $120,308 after earning their Master of Education in Educational Psychology - School Counseling. Seton Hall University, ranked #2 on the list overall, offers an annual tuition of only $30,240.
Alumni salaries were provided by PayScale. View our methodology for more details or learn more about OnlineU.
2020 Online Colleges Offering School Counseling Degrees - Ranking Details
#1 Texas A&M University-College Station
Annual Tuition: $17,064
Median Salary: $120,308
Locations: College Station (TX)
Accreditation: SACS COC
Texas A&M University-College Station offers an extensive selection of online graduate programs, including a Master of Education in Educational Psychology. This degree has an emphasis in school counseling. Students complete coursework via the Texas A&M online portal, which includes real-time classwork, discussion, and work that can be completed at the student’s convenience. Accepted applicants must complete 400 hours of onsite counseling activities with some supervision. The Texas Education Agency determines these placements. Graduates will be qualified for positions as counselors in a K-12 setting.
#2 Seton Hall University
Annual Tuition: $30,240
Median Salary: $120,504
Locations: South Orange (NJ)
The College of Education and Human Services at Seton Hall University hosts a Master of Arts in School Counseling. This program specializes in preparing students for positions as counselors in a K-12 school setting. Accepted candidates complete 48 credit hours, including a nine-credit counseling internship for direct experience in the field. The curriculum takes eight semesters to complete, requiring at least two years to meet graduation requirements. The fully online degree option shares the same faculty as its on-campus counterpart.
#3 North Carolina State University
Annual Tuition: $20,185
Median Salary: $115,059
Locations: Raleigh (NC)
Accreditation: SACS COC
North Carolina State University has a range of graduate-level online programs. Individuals interested in the field of counseling have two options: a Master of Education in College Counseling and Student Development and a Master of Education in School Counseling. The M.Ed. in College Counseling focuses on preparing individuals to work at the higher education level, while the M.Ed. in School Counseling specializes in the K-12 population. Both programs are available through the NC State College of Education; the onsite and online degrees follow the same curriculum. Interested applicants are required to submit either GRE or MAT scores.
#4 Kansas State University
Annual Tuition: $8,613
Median Salary: $104,640
Locations: Manhattan (KS)
Kansas State University’s online platform has more than 100 degree programs for students seeking the flexibility of virtual learning. Distance learners receive access to student resources, including advising, technology services, and career support. Candidates interested in the field of school counseling may consider the institution’s Master of Science in Academic Advising. This program is available fully online, with a total of 30 required credit hours. Students complete courses that focus on student development theory, multicultural perspectives toward advising, comprehensive projects, and some elective options.
#5 The University of Texas at Tyler
Annual Tuition: $19,104
Median Salary: $105,613
Locations: Tyler (TX)
Accreditation: SACS COC
Aspiring school counselors seeking an advanced degree online may consider the Master of Arts in School Counseling through the University of Texas at Tyler (UT Tyler). The curriculum emphasizes teaching, diversity, research, and creativity. The online platform encompasses new digital technologies and engaged discussion between students and faculty. Beyond the virtual learning coursework, students must complete 200 onsite hours of counseling experience in the field, which includes a supervisory component. Students must complete a total of 48 credit hours to complete the program. Interested applicants must submit GRE scores.
#6 University of Massachusetts-Boston
Annual Tuition: $18,975
Median Salary: $104,700
Locations: Boston (MA)
University of Massachusetts - Boston offers a 60-credit Master of Education in School Counseling. This online master’s in school counseling program is geared to those seeking a school counseling license in Massachusetts. Students are admitted to a cohort that advances through the program together. Classes are taught online except for two 2-week clinical courses that must be taken in the summer on the UMass campus. Students study counseling theories, life span development, ethical and legal issues, and research studies. Hands-on requirements include a 100-hour practicum, a 600-hour internship, a capstone project, and a portfolio of internship work. Admission to the program requires prerequisite social science classes, a minimum 3.0 GPA, GRE scores, passing Massachusetts Test of Educator Licensure literacy scores, three recommendation letters, statement of intent, group interview, and at least one year of relevant paid or volunteer work experience. Online course tutorials show students how to access course content, assignments, messages, and grades on the Blackboard learning management system. Students who complete the program are eligible for the Massachusetts Department of Education School Counseling Licensure. Available student support services include access to academic advising, online library resources, and 24/7 technical services.
#7 University of North Dakota
Annual Tuition: $11,136
Median Salary: $98,496
Locations: Grand Forks (ND)
The University of North Dakota offers a Master of Arts in Counseling: K–12 School Counseling Emphasis. This online school counseling program integrates counseling theory into the practice of school guidance. Students take several required core classes such as counseling theories and methods, life-span development, group theory, career counseling, and multicultural counseling. Other program requirements include a supervised 150-hour practicum and a 450- to 600-hour internship in a school setting. Many classes are synchronous, meaning that students meet in real-time and follow a set class schedule. The experience is like participating in an actual classroom. In addition to online instruction, students must visit the UND campus in Grand Forks for two 4-day sessions each summer of the two-year program. Applicants must submit a graduate school application, statement of goals, official transcripts showing a bachelor’s degree with a minimum 2.75 GPA, three recommendation letters, supplemental school counseling application form, and a resume. A web-conferencing personal interview with faculty is also required. Upon graduation, students may pursue credentialing through the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction and other states. Students have access to online academic advisors, tutoring, library resources, and career counselors.
#8 University of Missouri
Annual Tuition: $6,562
Median Salary: $96,083
Locations: Columbia (MO)
The University of Missouri offers two online school counseling programs. Students pursuing a 60-credit Master of Education in Educational, School, and Counseling Psychology can choose between a concentration in School Learning and Well-Being or Mental Health Practices in Schools. The program is 100 percent online, with no required campus visits. Courses are taught in convenient eight-week sessions allowing students to progress quickly. Core instruction covers school counseling theories, methods, and techniques. Also required is a supervised 12-credit hour practicum in a K–12 setting. Students who do not have a teaching license must take teacher preparation courses as part of their 60-credit plan of study. Admission entails submitting an online application, official transcripts, personal statement (1,000-word maximum), resume/CV, and three recommendation letters. The program helps prepare students for licensure as a school counselor in Missouri, as well as states with reciprocity. Student services include online academic advising, career guidance, library resources, NetTutor, and Online Writer resources.
#9 Lamar University
Annual Tuition: $6,600
Median Salary: $88,700
Locations: Beaumont (TX)
Accreditation: SACS COC
Lamar University has a Master of Education in Counseling and Development degree with a concentration in Professional School Counseling. This 60-credit online master’s in school counseling is best suited to licensed teachers in Texas. Students learn counseling theories and techniques for mental health promotion, early intervention, substance abuse prevention, and suicide prevention. Besides two short residencies on the Lamar campus, students take all their classes online in an accelerated and convenient five-week format. Examples of subjects taught in the major include counseling theories and techniques, multicultural counseling, group counseling, career development, and ethics. Hands-on experience is attained through a 100-hour practicum and a 600-hour internship. Admission requirements include an online application via ApplyTexas, and separate submission of official transcripts, teaching license, two years teaching experience, and employment in a Texas Education Agency-approved school. Students work with an advisor to develop a plan of student that aligns with the requirements for graduation and school counseling credentialing in Texas. Students are supported through access to online health tools, library resources, LU Learn Support, and career services.
#10 Concordia University-Irvine
Annual Tuition: $10,260
Median Salary: $89,500
Locations: Irvine (CA)
Concordia University - Irvine offers a 48-unit Master of Arts in Education Degree with an emphasis in School Counseling. Courses are taught in eight-week terms. Students can complete the program in 36 months by taking one class each term. Students study subjects, including counseling theories, human development, and psychopathology. In addition to coursework, students must complete a practicum and internship in a school setting. Students in the accelerated track finish in 26 months. Students meet online for synchronous discussions on alternating weeks. An internet connection, webcam, and microphone are required. Other weeks are asynchronous, allowing students to log in and finish assignments at their convenience. Admission to the program requires a completed bachelor’s degree, transcripts, 2.70 GPA or higher, teaching credential or certificate, and passing scores on the California Basic Educational Skills Test. This online master’s degree helps prepare students for the California pupil personnel services credential, which is required to work as a school counselor in California.
#11 Creighton University
Annual Tuition: $10,386
Median Salary: $86,800
Locations: Omaha (NE)
Aspiring school counselors can find four online master’s in school counseling degrees at Creighton University. The 36-credit Master of Science in School Counseling and Preventative Mental Health offers optional concentrations in Elementary Counseling, Pre-K–12 Guidance Counseling, and Secondary School Counseling. Licensed teachers can finish in about two years. Non-teachers must complete a practicum in addition to an internship and all other program requirements. The core curriculum focuses on topics related to child development, theoretical perspectives, counseling techniques, group counseling, and more. Also required is a 600-hour internship that meets the standards of the American School Counselor Association and the state of Nebraska. BlueLine is the Canvas course management system that gives students 24/7 access to online instructional materials, assignments, quizzes, and discussion boards. Prospective students must submit an application, personal statement, official transcripts with a 3.0 GPA or higher, three recommendation letters, resume/CV, background check, notarized felony convictions, and mental capacity statements.
#12 University of Louisiana-Monroe
Annual Tuition: $7,500
Median Salary: $85,600
Locations: Monroe (LA)
Accreditation: SACS COC
University of Louisiana - Monroe offers a Master of Science Degree in Counseling with a School Counseling concentration. The ULM online school counseling program trains students to work with students from diverse backgrounds in K–12 and other educational settings. The curriculum covers subjects such as counseling theories and methods, group counseling, lifespan development, career counseling, assessment, diagnostics, multicultural counseling, and research. In addition to coursework, students complete a supervised three-credit-hour practicum and six-credit-hour internship. Courses are delivered via Blackboard Collaborate, a learning management platform that gives students access to class materials, discussion, virtual classrooms, and web conferencing. Students seeking admission to the ULM online master’s in school counseling must submit an application, resume/CV, letters of interest, official transcripts, and three letters of recommendation. Applicants who do not have a 3.0 GPA can demonstrate academic preparedness requirements in other ways, such as a score of 290 on the GRE General Test. Earning this degree qualifies graduates to sit for national and state of Louisiana school counseling certification exams.
#13 New York University
Annual Tuition: $57,440
Median Salary: $104,870
Locations: New York (NY)
New York University offers a Master of Arts in Counseling and Guidance with two concentrations: School Counseling and Bilingual School Counseling. The Bilingual School Counseling concentration focuses on reaching out to ESL students and building resiliency. This 48-credit online school counseling program is both rigorous and flexible. Students can earn their degree in 18 months by taking classes over the course of six consecutive terms. Prospective students can choose to start in January, June, or September. Students study subjects such as counseling theory, cross-cultural counseling, human growth, group dynamics, career counseling, child language development, and trauma. Hands-on preparation includes a 100-hour practicum followed by a 600-hour internship at a local pre-K–12 school. Online classes are interactive with weekly class meetings simulating a virtual classroom experience. Students seeking admission should submit an online application, statement of purpose, resume/CV, official transcripts, two letters of recommendation, and English proficiency scores, if applicable. The program aims to prepare and qualify students for the New York state school counseling certification. Student support teams assist students with navigating technology, academic advising, internship placement, and job searches.
#14 Mercy College
Annual Tuition: $21,528
Median Salary: $89,850
Locations: Dobbs Ferry (NY)
Mercy College offers a Master of Science in Counseling with two concentrations: 48-credit School Counselor and the 54-credit School Counseling and Bilingual Extension program. Students may enroll on a part-time or full-time basis. Most students finish their degree in three to four years. The 30-credit core curriculum is comprised of three levels, from basic to advanced. Students study human development, ethics, research methodology, multicultural counseling, career development, and group dynamics. The School Counseling track also requires three internship courses. Those interested in attaining a bilingual extension to their school licensing certificate must complete additional coursework and internships that focus on bilingual education theory and practice. Online courses are accessible 24/7 on the Blackboard learning management system designed for convenience and flexibility. Admission decisions are based on a review of an online application, a personal statement, resume, essay, and official transcripts. After completing the program, including approved internships, students may seek New York State school counseling certification. Student support services include online access to offices such as career services and disability services.
#15 College of William and Mary
Annual Tuition: $13,300
Median Salary: $83,500
Locations: Williamsburg (VA)
Accreditation: SACS COC
The College of William and Mary offers a Master of Education Degree in Counseling with a School Counseling concentration. The flexible online master’s in school counseling program is designed to be completed in three years. The curriculum supports students in acquiring the skills and practice to counsel school-aged children, including those with developmental challenges. Along with required classes in school counseling theories, practices, and techniques, students must complete a 100-hour practicum and a 600-hour internship. Generally, students complete a practicum and intern at sites other than their current place of employment. Flexible online courses are accessible on the school’s learning management system, allowing students to actively engage with their instructors and one another. Students use a unique Social Justice dashboard that tracks learning and growth throughout the program. Admission to the online master’s in education requires an online application, bachelor’s degree, 3.0 GPA or higher, official transcripts, resume, GRE, personal essay, and three recommendations. Faculty in the program have experience in school counseling, violence prevention, legal issues in the counseling profession, and more.
#16 Vanderbilt University
Annual Tuition: $46,512
Median Salary: $95,029
Locations: Nashville (TN)
Accreditation: SACS COC
Vanderbilt University offers a Master of Education in Human Development Counseling – School Counseling degree. The curriculum focuses on theories of social and behavioral sciences, conflict resolution, counseling skills and techniques, assessment, research, and program evaluation. Students must complete three internships at elementary, middle, and secondary school sites near their homes. Internship placements must total 800 hours, of which 320 hours must be direct contact hours interacting with children and teens. This online master’s in school counseling holds synchronous live classes Monday through Thursday at designated times. Additionally, students must meet face-to-face in Nashville, Tennessee, with classmates and instructors on two separate occasions. Admission to the program involves the submission of an online application, official transcripts, 3.0 GPA or higher, GRE, or MAT taken within the last five years, statement of purpose, three recommendation letters, and an online admissions interview with program faculty. Admitted students may use the school’s career services office and LinkedIn Premium Career to network and search for internships or job opportunities.
#17 West Texas A&M University
Annual Tuition: $5,667
Median Salary: $74,914
Locations: Canyon (TX)
Accreditation: SACS COC
West Texas A & M offers a broad-based, interdisciplinary Master of Education in School Counseling. This 60-credit online master’s trains students to work as culturally competent counselors in diverse pre-K through grade 12 settings. Students take courses in counseling theories, group facilitation, crisis intervention, cross-cultural counseling, career counseling, legal and ethical issues, assessment, life span development, and more. Additional requirements include a 160-hour practicum and passing a comprehensive examination toward the end of the program. Online courses are accessible 24/7 via WTClass, the Learning Management System used at WTAMU. Students can view syllabi, course content, emails, and grades. Answers to many technical questions can be found in online tutorials and the online Student Technology Handbook. Prospective students must submit an online application supported by three recommendation letters, transcripts, 2.75 GPA in the last 60 hours of undergraduate work, and current teaching certificate, with one year of classroom experience preferred. The curriculum is designed for those seeking Texas licensure or credentialing in school counseling and may not align with the requirements of other states.
#18 Albany State University
Annual Tuition: $5,400
Median Salary: $73,200
Locations: Albany (GA)
Accreditation: SACS COC
Albany State University hosts a 63-credit Master of Education Degree with a School Counseling concentration. The curriculum entails 21 credit hours of core counseling courses, 15 credit hours of school counseling foundations, 21 credit hours of clinical skills, and six credit hours of research, including a thesis. Students study subjects such as counseling theories, multicultural counseling, crisis intervention, and lifespan development. Clinical skill requirements include a three-credit practicum and six-credit hours of internship in elementary, middle, or secondary school settings. Flexible online courses are accessible 24/7 via the Desire 2 Learn learning management platform. The ASU graduate school admission process starts with submitting an online application with verification of a bachelor’s degree or higher, and official transcripts for all institutions attended. In addition, applicants to the online master’s in school counseling program must provide three recommendations, GRE or MAT scores unless waived, GACE Program Admission Test Scores in Reading, Writing, Math or Georgia equivalency certification, and a personal interview with program faculty, plus a writing sample. The curriculum helps prepare students for the Georgia T-5 Certification in School Counseling and the National Certified School Counselor (NCSC) exam.
#19 Lubbock Christian University
Annual Tuition: $8,424
Median Salary: $73,100
Locations: Lubbock (TX)
Accreditation: SACS COC
Lubbock Christian University offers a 48-credit Master of Science in School Counseling grounded in a Christian worldview. The program is for licensed teachers in Texas interested in transitioning to a school counselor role. Students take classes that focus on school counseling foundations, lifespan development, counseling ethics, counseling theories and techniques, and research. Other requirements include completing a practicum in an elementary, middle school, or secondary school setting. The online school counseling program culminates in a comprehensive exam of material covered in the program. Teachers who already hold a master’s degree can qualify for school counseling certification by taking 18 credit hours in the school counseling track. Flexible, online courses are eight weeks in length. Courses are taught via Moodle, an online tool that gives students access to course content, class discussions, assignments, and grades. Admission criteria include a bachelor’s degree, a 3.0 GPA, acceptable scores on the GRE, MAT or equivalent aptitude test, teacher certification, and clear background check. Prospective students apply online to the School of Education.
#20 Gwynedd Mercy University
Annual Tuition: $18,000
Median Salary: $76,700
Locations: Gwynedd Valley (PA)
Gwynedd Mercy University offers a Master of Science in School Counseling and a Master of Science in College Counseling for those interested in assisting postsecondary students. Courses are taught in seven-week terms. The online school counseling program requires completion of 48 credits, including online classes, 100 hours of practicum, and two 210-hour internships at pre-K–8 and 9–12 school settings. Core courses cover topics like counseling foundations, counseling theories, multicultural counseling, research, and group facilitation. Courses are delivered in a convenient 24/7 asynchronous format with an opportunity for synchronous class discussions. Admission requirements include a bachelor’s degree, prerequisites in Psychology and Statistics, transcripts, 3.0 GPA or acceptable GRE scores, two letters of recommendation, personal interview, and a personal statement. The program is best suited for educators licensed in the State of Pennsylvania. The curriculum aligns with the American School Counseling Association’s Nation Model. Graduates of the program are eligible to seek certification as a K–12 counselor and work in Pennsylvania schools.
#21 Liberty University
Annual Tuition: $8,300
Median Salary: $71,865
Locations: Lynchburg (VA)
Accreditation: SACS COC
Liberty University offers a 48-credit Master of Education in School Counseling. Classes are taught in an accelerated, eight-week format with eight start dates throughout the year. Liberty University is a faith-based school, and the curriculum is grounded in biblical principles. Students typically complete their degree in 2.5 years. Emphasis is placed on culturally sensitive practices, social justice approaches, and effective intervention strategies. Students are taught to assist individual students and develop comprehensive school counseling programs. In addition to 12 credit hours of core courses and 27 credit hours of school counseling courses, students complete nine credit hours of practicum and internship classes to gain critical hands-on experience. Classes are asynchronous with flexible scheduling, which enables students to juggle work and family responsibilities with school assignments. Admission to Liberty University involves submitting an online application and providing official transcripts within 60 days of an admission offer. Liberty has a flexible and generous transfer credit policy that can save students time and money on a master’s degree. Faculty teach and mentor students from a Christian perspective. On top of that, student success is supported through online tutoring, study aids, IT help, library resources, and live webinars that facilitate degree completion.
#22 Southeastern Oklahoma State University
Annual Tuition: $11,130
Median Salary: $70,900
Locations: Durant (OK)
Southeastern Oklahoma State University offers a 42-credit Master of Education in School Counseling. Designed for full-time working professionals with a teaching credential, the degree can be earned at an accelerated pace. Multiple start dates are offered throughout the year, allowing students to begin their studies as soon as they feel ready. Students can earn a degree by completing 14 courses and 100 hours of practicum experience, of which 40 or more must be direct client hours. The plan of study allows students to finish the required courses in 12 months and then start their practicum. The curriculum covers content areas such as child development, assessment, diversity, and psychopathology. Admission requirements include a bachelor’s degree, 2.0 or higher GPA, and a teaching certificate. Prospective students must complete an online application and submit formal transcripts. The online school counseling program does not require GRE scores. The program helps train students for school and state school counselor certification exams. The program is for teachers in Oklahoma looking to apply their teaching and advising experience to the practice of school counseling.
#23 Missouri Baptist University
Annual Tuition: $10,829
Median Salary: $68,900
Locations: St. Louis (MO)
Missouri Baptist University offers a 60-credit Master of Arts in School Counseling Degree that is grounded in teachings of the Christian faith. Students spend 51 credit hours in classes related to school counseling theory and practice, group counseling, assessment and testing, substance abuse counseling, and multicultural counseling. Those seeking K–8 and 7–12 certifications must also complete certification courses and develop a professional portfolio. The academic calendar is divided into two 16-week terms in the fall and spring, followed by an eight-week summer session. This online school counseling program is designed for busy adults working full-time. Online classes are asynchronous, allowing students to study at their convenience while working toward a graduate degree that can be completed in three years. Prospective students start the admission process by completing a free online application and submitting formal transcripts. Graduate enrollment counselors assist students in meeting specific program requirements. Faculty teach and mentor from a Christian perspective.
Online Master's in School Counseling Overview
School counseling graduate programs require applicants to hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution. Some universities will also require letters of recommendation from professionals who can assess the applicant's eligibility for an education in counseling as well as an admissions essay written by the applicant.
Students who are enrolled in school counseling master's programs will typically complete 72 credit hours of coursework over the course of two years. Graduates will be well prepared to assist K-12 students by gaining the skills to make significant contributions to their well being as well as their educational and social needs. These specific skills are gained through courses such as Survey of Research in Human Development, Life Planning and Career Development, Counseling and Advocacy with Diverse Populations, Contemporary Issues in School Counseling, Crisis Intervention and Emergency Management, and school counseling internships. Graduates from a master's program often go on to work as counselors at the elementary, middle, and high school level, or become student life counselors, guidance counselors, and school counseling coordinators.
The Importance of an Accredited Online Degree in School Counseling
Before an applicant enrolls in a program at any institution of higher education it is important to research the school's accreditation. Accreditation is important because it measures the standards and quality of the institution. It is also always important to factor in the possibility of having to transfer credits in future academic plans. Accreditation can make the transferring process faster and easier for students interested in moving on to different schools or programs. This can also play a role in job searching post graduation, as many employers require degrees from accredited schools. The Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs (CACREP) is an organization that accredits masters and doctoral degree programs in counseling offered by both national and international colleges and universities. CACREP is dedicated to setting a standard for counselors and counselor educators that will ensure that students receive exceptional educational experiences. CACREP standards are organized into six sections including The Learning Environment, Professional Counseling Identity, Professional Practice, Evaluation in the Program, Entry-Level Specialty Areas, and Doctoral Standards for Counselor Education. School counseling programs and institutions are evaluated in each of these areas to ensure the highest of standards are being kept before being accredited by CACREP.
State Licensure and Certification for School Counselors
All states have different requirements for obtaining certification as a school counselor. Some require that school counselors pass a test in order to become certified, while others require a certain number of hours in an internship or practicum setting. Many states require that school counselors have a license, although licensure is not always necessary for positions outside of the K-12 school system. The American School Counselor Association provides more information about each state's specific requirements. States may also provide higher salaries or additional stipends to counselors who receive certification from the National Board for Certified Counselors and Affiliates Inc. (NBCC) or the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS).
School Counselor Jobs
There are a variety of different career options within the school counseling field. Key job titles include guidance counselor and school psychologist. Guidance counseling is needed at the elementary level as well as the junior/high school level. The primary function of a school guidance counselor is to provide students with counseling based on their learning, social, personal, career, and vocational needs. Some day-to-day tasks that a guidance counselor will perform are: scheduling students in appropriate courses, conducting career and educational planning activities, advocating on behalf of students and taking reasonable precautions to protect them, assisting students with college entrance as well as scholarship and financial aid applications, and submiting all required reports on time and with accuracy. Applicants for guidance counselor positions must possess a master's degree in school counseling as well as a current license based on the state requirements for the state they are applying in. Most employers also expect a minimum of three years experience in teaching or counseling.
This website offers school details to prospective students as an informational resource. The appearance of a school listing on this website should not be interpreted as an endorsement of the school by this site.