Best Online Bachelor’s in Counseling

Find top-ranked online bachelor’s in counseling degree programs to prepare students with patience, compassion, and the desire to help others to become professional counselors.

Best Online Bachelor’s in Counseling

Frequently Asked Questions About Counseling Degrees

A bachelor’s degree in counseling is an excellent program for those with patience, compassion, and the desire to help others.

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Whether students choose to earn their bachelor’s in counseling online or on campus, they can expect to take courses in psychology, sociology, human development, and psychotherapy.

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Earning a bachelor’s in counseling requires between 120-129 credits, which most students complete in four to five years.

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Though most counseling-related positions require a master’s degree in counseling and a few years of supervised clinical work, students with an undergraduate degree in counseling can gain experience as research or administrative assistants to psychologists. Those who earn their bachelor’s degree in counseling, however, typically go on to choose a specialty and earn their master’s.

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Best Online Bachelor's in Counseling Degree Programs

How do we determine the best online counseling bachelor's degree programs?

Methodology

Pursing your degree online doesn’t mean you need to settle for a inferior school. Today, most universities and colleges offer online degrees, and many respected schools are seeing significant growth in their numbers of online students.

The people affiliated with a school are ultimately what make it great. This is why influence — i.e., the academic impact of faculty and alumni associated with a school — gets at the heart of what is truly best in education. The combined influence score of a college or university’s top academic influencers is the best indicator of academic excellence. For our online degree rankings, we focus on the academic influence of faculty and alumni in the specific disciplines we’re ranking.

If you are serious about finding the best online colleges, you should be asking where the most influential professors are teaching, and whether their graduates themselves are advancing the school’s reputation for academic excellence. Most ranking sites rely on an opaque combination of reputation surveys and arbitrary performance metrics. Influence, as measured by our InfluenceRanking engine, provides a ranking that is free from bias, insulated from manipulation, and reflective of real-world educational outcomes.

Best Online Bachelor’s in Counseling Degree Programs

  1. #1

    University of Cincinnati

    #170 institution's historical influence
    #1179 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    76%

    Graduation

    73%

    Student body

    33K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1235/26

    Cincinnati, OH

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    Online Degrees

    BS in Substance Abuse Counseling
    • Required Credits: 60-120
    • Completion time: 2-4 years
    • Format: Online
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  2. #2

    Lipscomb University

    #1851 institution's historical influence
    #1338 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $35K

    Acceptance

    62%

    Graduation

    69%

    Student body

    4K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1185/26

    Nashville, TN

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    Online Degrees

    BA in Professional Studies in Psychology

    Concentrations

    • Licensed Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselor (LADAC)
    • Required Credits: 126
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA/BS in Psychology

    Concentrations

    • Licensed Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselor (LADAC)
    • Required Credits: 126
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
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  3. #3

    Bay Path University

    #3817 institution's historical influence
    #264 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $36K

    Acceptance

    78%

    Graduation

    60%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1065/22

    Longmeadow, MA

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    Online Degrees

    BA in Counseling Foundations
    • Required Credits: None Reported
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Foundations In Alcohol And Drug Abuse Counseling
    • Required Credits: None Reported
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  4. #4

    Colorado Christian University

    #3913 institution's historical influence

    Tuition + fees

    $25K

    Graduation

    61%

    Student body

    6K

    Lakewood, CO

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    Online Degrees

    BS in Applied Psychology

    Concentrations

    • Clinical Counseling
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: 4 years
    • Format: Online
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  5. #5

    Regent University

    #1722 institution's historical influence
    #554 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $19K

    Acceptance

    50%

    Graduation

    61%

    Student body

    6K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1105/22

    Virginia Beach, VA

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    Online Degrees

    BS in Psychology-Clinical And Counseling
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: 4 years
    • Format: Online
  6. #6

    Peru State College

    #4030 institution's historical influence

    Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Graduation

    36%

    Student body

    2K

    Peru, NE

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    Online Degrees

    BA in Criminal Justice

    Concentrations

    • Counseling
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  7. #7

    Lindsey Wilson College

    #6347 institution's historical influence

    Tuition + fees

    $26K

    Graduation

    40%

    Student body

    3K

    Columbia, KY

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    Online Degrees

    BS in Human Services And Counseling
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: 4 years
    • Format: Online
  8. #8

    Toccoa Falls College

    #5358 institution's historical influence
    #590 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $21K

    Acceptance

    58%

    Graduation

    49%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1035/19

    Toccoa Falls, GA

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    Online Degrees

    BS in Social Science

    Concentrations

    • Counseling Psychology
    • Required Credits: 126
    • Completion time: 48 months
    • Format: Online
  9. #9

    Faulkner University

    #2877 institution's historical influence
    #1032 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $23K

    Acceptance

    76%

    Graduation

    27%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1080/20

    Montgomery, AL

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    Online Degrees

    BS in Counseling Psychology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  10. #10

    Ohio Christian University

    #7218 institution's historical influence

    Tuition + fees

    $16K

    Graduation

    34%

    Student body

    1K

    Circleville, OH

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    Online Degrees

    BA in Substance Abuse Counseling
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  11. #11

    Union College

    #4468 institution's historical influence
    #895 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $28K

    Acceptance

    57%

    Graduation

    28%

    Student body

    1K

    Barbourville, KY

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    Online Degrees

    BS in Substance Abuse Counseling
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: 4 years
    • Format: Online
  12. #12

    Southwestern Assemblies of God University

    #3597 institution's historical influence
    #92 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $21K

    Acceptance

    89%

    Graduation

    49%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1010/19

    Waxahachie, TX

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    Online Degrees

    BA in Counseling
    • Required Credits: 126
    • Completion time: 4-5 years
    • Format: Online
    BS in Human Services Counseling

    Concentrations

    • Counseling
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: 4-5 years
    • Format: Online
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  13. #13

    East Central University

    #2417 institution's historical influence
    #158 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Acceptance

    96%

    Graduation

    39%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1035/20

    Online Degrees

    BA in Human Services Counseling

    Concentrations

    • Aging
    • Counseling
    • Rehabilitation
    • Required Credits: 124
    • Completion time: 2-4 years
    • Format: Online
  14. #14

    Kentucky Christian University

    #7594 institution's historical influence
    #138 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $21K

    Acceptance

    28%

    Graduation

    31%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    916/19

    Grayson, KY

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    Online Degrees

    BS in Counseling Psychology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  15. #15

    Columbia College

    #7542 institution's historical influence
    #249 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $19K

    Acceptance

    97%

    Graduation

    66%

    Student body

    1K

    Columbia, SC

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    Online Degrees

    BS in Human Services

    Concentrations

    • Counseling
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: 4 years
    • Format: Online
  16. #16

    Methodist University

    #7038 institution's historical influence
    #464 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $36K

    Acceptance

    76%

    Graduation

    39%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1045/19

    Fayetteville, NC

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    Online Degrees

    BS in Psychology

    Concentrations

    • Counseling/Clinical Psychology
    • Human Performance Psychology
    • Required Credits: 124
    • Completion time: 3.5-4.5 years
    • Format: Online
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  17. #17

    Paine College

    #4319 institution's historical influence
    #617 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $15K

    Acceptance

    75%

    Graduation

    8%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    870/15

    Augusta, GA

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    Online Degrees

    BA in Social Science

    Concentrations

    • Psychology - Counseling
    • Required Credits: 124
    • Completion time: 48 months
    • Format: Online
  18. #18

    Arizona Christian University

    #7303 institution's historical influence
    #225 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $29K

    Acceptance

    71%

    Graduation

    44%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    985/18

    Glendale, AZ

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    Online Degrees

    BA in Behavioral Health

    Concentrations

    • Counseling
    • Coaching
    • Required Credits: 30
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Family Studies

    Concentrations

    • Marriage and Family Practicum
    • Family Counseling
    • Human Sexuality
    • Psychology of Marriage
    • Required Credits: 30
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online

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Online Degree Frequently Asked Questions

If this is your first time taking an online course, the experience may require a time of adjustment. Although you’ll typically learn the same material and take the same exams as your on-campus peers, going online will require greater independence and responsibility than going in person. You’ll be accountable for your own time management, for harnessing the online educational technology that you’ll need to use, and for completing the course requirements, such as listening to lectures, learning lessons, reading texts, and handing in assignments. This means you’ll need to create a suitable workspace for yourself, maintain a realistic schedule, and take the initiative in building relationships with your instructors and classmates. With online college, your goal is to find a balance between independence and engagement.

No. The only part of online education that’s easier than campus-based education is ease of access: all you need is a computer and an internet connection for online education. But even this seeming advantage of online education can be misleading: what’s easier, studying online with your computer and internet connection from your home where you need to cook, clean, pay rent, and maintain a job? Or studying on campus in a dorm where all your living needs are handled by the school, and college staff are there to help you every step of the way?

If you take the commute to campus out of the equation, campus-based education is easier. All the support structures available on campus for students, especially with real people to help you in person, are not there online. The demands on you as an online student will largely be the same as for your campus-based counterpart, but without the same helps.

In general, your online courses will present the same material and test you in the same way as traditional in-person courses. In many cases, you’ll even have the same instructors as your on-campus counterparts. In fact, if you are adjusting to the experience of independent learning with remote educational technology for the first time, online college may be considerably more challenging than campus-based college. For a few insights on how to manage this new online experience, check out our 10 Tips for Adjusting to School Online.

Accreditation is especially important when it comes to online college. This is because the online education landscape is a mix of highly-reputable non-profit institutions on the one end and less-than-reputable for-profit institutions on the other end. Accreditation gives you the power to identify the more reputable actors in online education. Accreditation is a stamp of approval from an independent accrediting agency indicating that a college or university is meeting standards of quality and credibility. School-wide accreditation falls into two major categories: regional and national accreditation. Regional accreditors generally hold jurisdiction only over schools in the states comprising their region, whereas national accreditors hold jurisdiction over schools in all states. Regional accreditation is widely regarded as a more rigorous standard of quality and credibility than national accreditation.

Attending a college or university that is not regionally accredited could limit your opportunities. For students seeking an online education, we strongly recommend that they opt for regionally accredited schools. Regional accreditation ensures eligibility for federal loans and grants, ensures your college credits can be transferred between schools, and ensures that your degree credits can be accepted if you wish to earn an advanced degree. For more on this important topic, check out our What is Accreditation and Why Does It Matter? College & University Accreditation Guide.

As long as your online college degree is regionally accredited (see the previous point), you should have little difficulty transferring most of your credits or credentials to another regionally accredited undergraduate school. Every school carries its own standards and procedures for granting a transfer of credits. In many cases, you will encounter some bureaucratic haggling in which some of your credits will be transferred and others may be refused. However, provided that you have attended an online school with recognized regional accreditation, you should be in good shape in transferring your credits earned online.

In most cases, as long you graduate from a well-regarded, regionally-accredited online college, prospective employers won’t look sideways at your degree. In fact, unless you attend an exclusively online college or university, there will likely be no specific indicator on your degree, transcript, or resumé differentiating your school from its brick-and-mortar counterpart. This means that your employer will likely only differentiate between an online and in-person degree if you mention this distinction.

Some employers may express the concern that because you did your degree online, you may need to transition from an online education experience to in-person workplace experience. But in an age of Covid, that concern seems much diminished. The fact is that much employment these days is remote. And collaboration increasingly happens online over Zoom. Many employers will therefore view your online degree as evidence of valuable 21st century professional skills such as independence, self-motivation, time management, and tech savvy.

If you are a student who thrives on the dynamic energy of in-person discussion, who requires the physical surroundings of a classroom to feel engaged, or who considers the social aspects of education to be of equal importance to the actual content of your courses, online education will be less than ideal for you (though depending on your circumstances, it may also be the only viable option).

While there is much in traditional campus-based education that can be substituted or simulated through the online medium, some students may find that there is nothing that can replace the conversation, collaboration, and motivation that occur in an actual in-person classroom setting. As you transition to online education, one of the biggest challenges you will likely face in getting the most out of your online classes is overcoming this difference between “real reality” and “virtual reality.” Fortunately, we’ve got some great Tips for Online Education Beginners.

The advantages of online classes are many. Above all, online courses give you the freedom and flexibility to attend class from anywhere that works for you, whether you’re at home, in a coffee shop, or in a quiet conference room at work. In many cases, you’ll also enjoy the convenience of asynchronous learning opportunities—educational experiences that you can complete at your own pace and on your own schedule. This may include pre-taped lectures, ongoing chat-board discussions, and 24/7 access to digital materials. And of course, just as there are some learners who prefer the energy of a live classroom, there are those who learn best when working in their own personal space, free from distractions. If this sounds like you, you might find the solitude of online learning to be a major advantage.

Resources for Online College-Bound Students