2023 Best Online Master’s in School Counseling Education Programs
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Deciding which college to attend can be a daunting task. For many, it will be the most important decision that they make in their lives. To make an informed decision, you have to consider a lot of variables, such as cost of attendance, financial aid, student/teacher ratio, academics, student life, and more. These factors will either positively or negatively impact the quality of education that you receive.
Do you want to acquire an online master’s degree in school counseling education, but don’t know what institution you should attend? Well, if you are as ambitious as I was in my late teens, then you want to attend a top school, instead of an average or mediocre one. Fortunately, we have already done the legwork for you. To help you find the right school for your interests and goals, we’ve compiled a list of 2022’s best online master’s in school counseling education programs.
What institution did we forget? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.
- University of Missouri, Columbia, MO
The school also offers various online programs, including a master of education in educational, school, and counseling psychology with an emphasis in mental health practices in schools. This degree program trains candidates to assess, identify, and manage atypical behaviors in learners, building the skills needed to implement effective intervention programs, strategies, and learner resources and supports. Faculty members deliver all the coursework online with no required campus visits. The school also has in-state tuition for online learners, regardless of their location.
The coursework of this online school counseling degree requires candidates to complete a minimum of 34 credits, split among 25 core credits and nine credits of electives. The core coursework investigates foundational counseling concepts, including classes like school mental health policy and developmental aspects of human learning. The degree program concludes with an integrative capstone paper in which distance learners demonstrate mastery of key skills.
- University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, ND
UND has an online master of arts in counseling with an emphasis on K-12 school counseling. This degree program trains learners to promote individual, professional, academic, and social development among primary and secondary school learners. Consisting of 50 credits, the degree program takes full-time candidates around 2.5 years to finish. As one of the more reasonably priced online school counseling programs, UND charges in-state tuition for distance learners, regardless of their residency status.
The degree program uses a live format that enables learners to interact with classmates and faculty via video conferencing and other cooperative tools. All classwork can be finished online, except for two required summer residency sessions held on campus. Lasting four days each, these intensive residencies usually occur in either June or July and run from Wednesday to Saturday. These in-person sessions offer learners the chance to partake in an array of cooperative classroom activities and seminars. Candidates also finish a one-semester practicum and a two-semester internship in a K-12 school.
- Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR
OSU’s master of counseling with a choice in school counseling builds skills in group and individual counseling, leadership, action research, advocacy, and consultation and system alter. The 75-credit coursework prepares graduates to develop and deliver counseling programs to K-12 learners of all backgrounds, emphasizing methods to increase college enrollment rates, particularly among underrepresented populations. Classes begin in the summer and operate on a quarter system with four 11-week terms each year.
During their first year, candidates finish a conventional internship in an educational setting, spending four to six hours each week on this learning experience. In their second and third years, learners engage in online practicum and internship experiences. These synchronous classes occur in a live, online format, helping distance learners get professional expertise without needing to travel to a K-12 school to finish internship hours.
- Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN
The school’s master of education in human development counseling with a concentration in school counseling can be finished online, and the program integrates extensive research, hypothetical knowledge, and real-life skills to prepare graduates to assist learners, families, schools, and communities. The degree program stresses six key principles: social and cultural diversity, human growth, helping relationships, research and assessment, career development, and ethical practice. This online school counseling degree requires a minimum of 48 credits and normally takes two to three years to finish. The coursework comprises 33 credits of core classwork, six credits of electives, and nine credits of placement/practicum experiences.
The degree program uses a primarily online format, with live class meetings held weekly at set times. These virtual classroom sessions consist of group discussions, guided learning activities, and Q&A sessions with faculty. Learners also finish asynchronous classwork on their schedule across the week. Some of the degree program’s notable classes are exceptional education and the DSM for school counselors, counseling for college access, and fundamentals of counseling online.
- Liberty University Online, Lynchburg, VA
The school’s master of education in school counseling takes a biblical approach to counseling. Participants learn how to help their learners undergo individual, social, and professional development in school settings. This degree path readies graduates to manage school counseling programs. The online school counseling degree consists of 48 credits and has eight start dates across the year. Along with standard classwork, counseling learners finish a six-credit internship/practicum in a professional education environment; many individuals elect to carry out this prerequisite at their place of employment. This internship gives candidates the chance to connect class learning to their counseling practice while also building professional experience. Learners not employed in the education field can work with Liberty to arrange an internship within their community.
- Wake Forest University, Winston Salem, NC
The school’s master of arts in counseling with a concentration in school counseling can be finished online; the program centers on clinical skills and theoretical knowledge, training candidates to serve the needs of children and families. The 60-credit degree program comprises 12 credits of foundation classes, 18 credits of core school counseling classes, eight credits of beginning practice classes, and 22 credits of advanced practice classes. Some of the degree’s notable classes consist of lifespan development implications for counseling, cultures and counseling, and addiction counseling.
Along with standard classwork, this online master’s in school counseling contains a practicum and an internship prerequisite. The 200-hour practicum prepares candidates for the internship. The internship requires a minimum of 600 hours and gives candidates the chance to develop their counseling practice in a K-12 school under expert supervision. The degree program concludes with a two-credit professional identity capstone class where learners reflect on and develop their notions of professional counseling.
- Indiana Wesleyan University, Marion, IN
Associated with the Wesleyan Church, Indiana Wesleyan University is a private Christian school situated about 85 miles northeast of Indianapolis. With an enrollment of over 15,000 learners, IWU is rated as the largest Christian school in the state. The school features a sizeable online degree program that serves learners everywhere. IWU’s online master of arts in school counseling incorporates counseling practice and theory with Christian morals, training candidates to serve as professional school counselors who can address each learner’s academic and social needs.
The coursework for this online school counseling degree contains a 27-credit degree program core, nine credits of concentration classes, a three-credit elective class, a three-credit practicum, and a six-credit internship. Most classwork is delivered online, although IWU does require candidates to attend two intensive weekend sessions on campus. The practicum lasts one semester and enables learners to accrue 100 hours of a face-to-face experience in an institution of learning. The internship is for a duration of two semesters and features 600 hours of a face-to-face experience. Learners normally perform these experiences at their place of employment, but IWU can help arrange local placements for people not employed in the education field.
- New York University, New York, NY
Manhattan-based New York University has a master of arts in counseling and guidance that stresses social equity and social justice, focusing on counseling practice and research methods. This online master’s in school counseling has two concentrations: general school counseling and bilingual school counseling. The degree program also uses a rolling admissions system with start-dates in January, June, and September. Full-time learners can finish this degree program in as few as 18 months.
The coursework consists of 48 credits and takes 7 to 11 academic terms to finish. The degree program uses a cohort format where candidates move through most classes together in a set sequence, creating a cooperative environment and deeper professional connections. Some of NYU’s notable classes consist of career counseling, cross-cultural counseling, and degree program development and evaluation. Candidates also complete a six-credit, three-term internship in school counseling where they develop their professional practice in a K-12 school or a comparable education environment. The coursework readies all online learners to finish the Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Examination (CPCE), which is a sector standard that assesses learners’ psychological and counseling knowledge. Learners sit for the CPCE during their final academic term; this exam serves as the degree program’s culminating experience.
- Fort Hays State University, Hays, KS
Fort Hays State University enrolls about 15,000 learners, and more than a third of these candidates enroll in online classes. The school has three degree program options for candidates pursuing a master’s in school counseling online: a conventional degree program, a parallel pathways degree program, and a restricted license degree program. Candidates for the conventional 48-credit degree program must hold a teaching license, while the parallel pathways degree program does not require a license but contains six additional credits of classwork. The restricted license degree program is intended for licensed professional counselors who do not have a teaching license but want to work in the field of school counseling. Prerequisites vary based on a learner’s previous classwork. FHSU has an adaptable class rotation system that enables online learners to take most required classes in the fall or spring semesters.
- Creighton University, Omaha, NE
A religious school, Creighton University serves more than 8,000 learners. The school’s master of science in school counseling and preventative mental health gives learners a deep comprehension of child adolescence and development, preparing learners to offer effective leadership and guidance to primary and secondary learners. The degree program has three concentration paths: PK-12 guidance counseling, elementary school counseling, and secondary school counseling. Creighton has all classes entirely online, and most learners receive their degrees in around two years.
This online school counseling degree requires individuals to complete 36 to 39 credits, depending on their concentration. All candidates finish the same 30-credit degree program core. Candidates without teaching licensure must take nine additional credits of education classwork, including classes in school culture and coursework, instruction, and assessment. All learners finish a 600-hour internship, which helps them develop their professional skills in a school setting.
Creighton has a generous selection of scholarships to education and counseling learners, and the degree program automatically considers all candidates for these tuition awards. The institution awards scholarships based on experience, academics, individual recommendations, and individual statements.
- University of Louisiana at Monroe, Monroe, LA
The school’s master of science in counseling with a concentration in school counseling trains candidates to facilitate creative and cooperative learning environments for K-12 learners, developing the skills, knowledge, and attitudes essential for effective counseling practice. The degree program readies graduates to serve in an array of helping roles, including school counselors, school administrators, career counselors, vocation counselors, and education consultants. Most learners finish the degree program within two years of full-time study.
The coursework of this online school counseling degree consists of 60 credits, split among 48 credits of core counseling classes and 12 credits of specialty classwork. The school counseling concentration contains three key classes: school counseling, principles and administration of school counseling programs, and an internship in a school setting. Learners must finish a minimum of 600 supervised fieldwork hours in an endorsed educational environment.
Candidates to the degree program must hold a GPA of 3.0 or higher and a minimum combined score of 290 on the GRE.
- Emporia State University, Emporia, KS
Established in 1863, Emporia State University is one of the oldest institutions of higher education in Kansas. The school serves around 5,700 learners. ESU’s blended master of science in counseling degree has about half of its class materials online, with the remaining credits to be completed at ESU’s primary campus in Overland Park. The degree program has start dates in the summer, fall, and spring.
The conventional degree program requires learners to finish 48 credits, while the parallel pathways degree program may require as many as 54 credits (depending on a learner’s academic and professional experience). Some of ESU’s notable counseling classes consist of psychosocial development and disability, multicultural counseling, parenting and parent consultation, and group process in counseling. All pathways offer a thesis and non-thesis option. Learners must also perform an internship and a supervised practicum in counseling.
Certified teachers with two years of teaching experience can enter via the conventional admissions path. Candidates with counseling degrees can enter through the alternative route to a restricted licensure degree program. In contrast, those with bachelor’s degrees in any field can enroll via the parallel pathways degree program, which forgoes teaching licensure and experience prerequisites in favor of additional education and field experience classes.
- University of Tennessee – Martin, Martin, TN
UTM is a state institution that has a master of science in education in school counseling. This primarily online degree builds learners’ technical skills, individual awareness, cultural sensitivity, and empathy. UTM’s counselor education model centers on two major concepts: a commitment to diverse learners and the utilization of technology to improve communication and learner outcomes. This online school counseling degree comprises 48 credits, split among a graduate core, concentration classes, and a culminating experience. The concentration coursework also contains a three-credit practicum, which leads to the degree program’s culminating experience: a six-credit, two-semester counseling internship that requires individuals to engage in at least 600 hours of supervised practice.
Although UTM has all counseling classwork online, candidates must attend a four-day residency session on campus in either January or June. This residency gives classmates and faculty the chance to interact and collaborate via group and individual meetings and learning activities. Each residency centers on specific counseling concepts and contains presentations, discussions, and counseling role-playing activities.
- University of Central Arkansas, Conway, AR
The school’s master of science in professional school counseling degree program trains candidates to design, implement, sustain, and assess developmental counseling programs that adhere to national and state standards. The degree program’s coursework is aligned with the American School Counselor Association and the Arkansas Department of Higher Education Standards. Graduates serve as leaders, advocates, and collaborators in schools and communities at large. UCA has two degree pathways: initial licensure for candidates without an Arkansas teaching license and add-on licensure for candidates with an Arkansas teaching license who want to move into counseling.
The degree program uses a primarily online, synchronous format with virtual class meetings held at scheduled times. Some classes also feature asynchronous components. UCA requires counseling degree candidates to attend occasional face-to-face sessions held on campus in Conway, although these residencies normally occur during weekends to accommodate working adults. At most, learners may need to attend one or two Saturday sessions per semester.
This 48-credit online school counseling degree comprises 16 classes, covering concepts such as developmental guidance, school-based organizational leadership, and education programs for the mildly handicapped. All candidates also finish a one-semester practicum and a two-semester internship. These experiences allow learners to draw connections between classwork and counseling practice while developing their professional skills.
- University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Massachusetts
The school’s master of education in school counseling uses a cohort model that requires all learners to move through the same class sequence as a group. This format enables deeper connections and collaboration among learners. It also means that online learners can only enroll in the degree program full-time (by taking nine credits per semester). Part-time options may be available to learners who can enroll in some on-campus classes.
The degree program begins in the summer, kicking off with its only in-person prerequisite: a two-week residency session held in Boston. This intensive residency allows learners to meet with classmates and faculty and complete two clinical classes that build hands-on counseling experience. The school has housing accommodations for all candidates, although learners must make their own travel arrangements. This summer residency normally takes place from late June to early July.
This master’s in school counseling online degree program requires candidates to finish a minimum of 60 credits and normally takes about two years to finish. The coursework covers key concepts, featuring classes in career development facilitation and training, college readiness counseling, family therapy concepts, and cooperative consultation in schools. All candidates finish a three-credit practicum in school counseling and a six-credit advanced internship seminar.