Top 10 Best Online Masters in Counseling Degree Programs

Masters in CounselingAn online master’s degree in counseling is designed for students to gain educational and practical experience to become licensed counselors. Students, who earn their degree from an accredited program, are eligible to take the appropriate examination required for licensure in their area of counseling. These programs are ideal for students who have an undergraduate degree in psychology, or a related field, and are interested in general counseling or counseling individuals in a specialized setting. A master’s degree in counseling may be appealing to individuals who want a program that is more applied than clinical psychology, and has a broader application than mental health. Online programs emphasize flexibility, and they are suitable to individuals who are employed or have family obligations. Furthermore, they are less thesis and research driven than traditional brick-and-mortar programs. Many programs are recognized by familiar rankings systems for their program quality and student outcomes.

10 Best Masters in Counseling Degree Programs Online

The top ten schools offering online or hybrid counseling programs at the master’s level are listed below. Tuition rates are for 2012-2013 unless specified.

Wake Forest University

Executive Summary: WFU’s online M.A. in Counseling is available to students located in most states and meets the requirements to sit for examination and become a certified counselor. WFU is considered one of the best national universities by U.S. News and World Report. There are many areas of specialization with a strong emphasis on encouraging the development of competent and respected professionals.
Tuition: $1,222 per credit hour.
Concentrations: Clinical Mental Health; School Counseling. Sub-specializations within each concentration include: Mental Health and Suicide; Career Counseling; Disaster and Crisis; Children’s Advocacy.

University of the Southwest

Executive Summary: USW’s masters in counseling program is offered through their M.S. in Education. The program meets the licensure requirements for students located in New Mexico, but students located in other states are welcomed and should check their local requirements for licensure before applying. The M.S. is geared toward individuals who have not obtained a graduate degree. Students, who have earned a graduate degree in another field, can pursue a Post-Masters Licensure track to become a counselor.
Tuition: $544 per credit hour.
Concentrations: Mental Health Counseling; School Counseling.

Seton Hall University

Executive Summary: SHU offers a unique opportunity for students who want to pursue a M.A. in Counseling. Students nearing the completion of the online masters in counseling program have the opportunity to apply to an online Education Specialist (Ed.S.) degree in Professional Counseling. Completion of the Ed.S. only requires an additional 12 credit hours. This combination of programs can be completed by returning for an additional semester and give students the opportunity to pursue counseling careers in various settings.
Tuition: $35,500 for the M.A. program; $44, 340 for the combined M.A. and Ed.S. programs.
Concentrations: Mental Health Counseling.

Regis University

Executive Summary: At RU students can earn one of two M.A. degrees in a modified on-campus program. Course offerings are arranged in five or eight week terms, and classes typically meet once per week. This format allows the student to enjoy traditional instruction, while leaving time for other commitments and practical experience. Students also have the option of pursuing one of four post-graduate certificates. RU is also ranked as one of the best universities in the west by U.S. News and World Report.
Tuition: $550 per credit hour.
Concentrations: Counseling; Marriage and Family Therapy. Available post-graduate certificates include: Counseling Children and Adolescents; Marriage and Family Therapy; Transformative Counseling; Counseling Military Families.

Campbellsville University

Executive Summary: CU offers a hybrid program to help students become professional counselors. Classes are offered online and in the evening, on-campus. Depending on the student’s interest or career goals, they can choose to pursue a general counseling track or become specialized practitioners.
Tuition: $355 per credit hour.
Concentrations: Generalist; Marriage and Family; Clinical.

UMass Online

Executive Summary: UM’s online programs are a M.S. and Master of Education (M.E.) degree geared toward individuals who are interested in pursuing counseling careers. These programs prepare students to become licensed counselors in Massachusetts and many other states. All M.S. programs only allow students to be admitted in the summer term.
Tuition: $475 per credit hour.
Concentrations: School Counseling (M.E.); Family Therapy; Mental Health Counseling; Rehabilitation Counseling.

LeTourneau University

Executive Summary: LU provides students with an online education that prepares them for licensure as a counselor, and may be especially appealing to students who would prefer a faith-based education. These programs meet the licensure requirements for the state of Texas and may meet licensure requirements for other states.
Tuition: $540-$575 per credit hour, depending on the program.
Concentrations: School Counseling; Marriage and Family Counseling; Professional Counseling; Dual-Licensure (MFC and LC).

Walden University

Executive Summary: WU has an extensive number of M.S. programs designed for students to become licensed counselors or clinicians, by studying exclusively online. Students can pursue a generalized education or have numerous opportunities for specialized studies, with further opportunities for sub-specialization.
Tuition: $440-$470 per credit hour, depending on the program (2013-2014).
Concentrations: Addition Counseling; Career Counseling; Clinical Psychology (with a specialization in counseling); Mental Health Counseling; Marriage, Couple and Family Counseling.

Marriage, Couple and Family Counseling and Mental Health Counseling concentrations have sub-specializations in Forensic Counseling and Trauma and Crisis Counseling. Sub-specializations in Addiction Counseling include: Addictions and Public Health; Child and Adolescent Counseling; Family Studies and Interventions; Forensic Counseling; Trauma and Crisis Counseling.

Capella University

Executive Summary: Students can earn their M.S. degree at CU and pursue various specializations in counseling. The programs are completely online and prepare students for licensure in their area of expertise.
Tuition: $458 per credit hour.
Concentrations: Counseling Psychology; Addiction Counseling; Marriage and Family Counseling/Therapy; Mental Health Counseling; School Counseling.

Brandman University

Executive Summary: Students can pursue their counseling education through BU’s M.A. in Psychology program, with various counseling tracks. Although the program has more traditional course structures, it functions much like a hybrid program with many courses available online.
Tuition: $600 per credit hour.
Concentrations: Counseling; Marriage and Family Therapy and Professional Clinical Counseling; Professional Clinical Counseling.

Related Resource: Top 10 Best Online Masters in Psychology Degree Programs