Best Online Master’s in Counseling

Best Online Master’s in Counseling

Find top-ranked online master’s in counseling degree programs to help students prepare for careers as hospital mental health program directors, marriage and family therapists, private practice counselors, or licensed school counselors.

Frequently Asked Questions About Counseling Degrees

Why get a master’s in counseling?

After earning a counseling-related undergraduate degree, most students continue on to earn a master’s degree in counseling either online or on campus.

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What areas of expertise are there?

Students will likely choose a focused path in areas such as substance abuse counseling, school counseling, mental health counseling, marriage and family therapy, or pastoral counseling. Depending on the chosen track, students can expect to explore areas such as abnormal psychology, mental health disorders, counseling techniques, and developmental psychology.

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What are the credentials for getting a master’s in counseling?

A master’s in counseling program is typically 60 credits, and students must also complete comprehensive exams.

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What can I do with a master’s in counseling?

Graduates can then go on to earn licensure and gain employment as hospital mental health program directors, marriage and family therapists, private practice counselors, or licensed school counselors.

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Best Online Master's in Counseling Degree Programs

50 Best Online Master’s in Counseling Degree Programs

  1. #3

    University at Buffalo

    Buffalo , NY
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    67%

    Graduation

    75%

    Student body

    28K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1250/26

    Online Degrees

    MS in Rehabilitation Counseling
    • Required Credits: 48
    • Completion time: 2.5-3.5 years
    • Format: Online
  2. #5

    University of Kentucky

    Lexington , KY
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $12K

    Acceptance

    96%

    Graduation

    66%

    Student body

    25K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1195/25

    Online Degrees

    MA in Counseling in Counselor Education

    Concentrations

    • Clinical Mental Health Counseling
    • Rehabilitation Counseling
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  3. Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Acceptance

    37%

    Graduation

    76%

    Student body

    34K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1215/25

    Online Degrees

    MS in Rehabilitation Counseling
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 3.5-4.5 years
    • Format: Hybrid
  4. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $15K

    Acceptance

    91%

    Graduation

    66%

    Student body

    26K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1165/24

    Online Degrees

    MS in Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  5. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    46%

    Graduation

    84%

    Student body

    31K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1335/29

    Online Degrees

    MEd in Clinical Mental Health Counseling
    • Required Credits: 12
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MEd in College Counseling and Student Development
    • Required Credits: 12
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  6. #9

    Wake Forest University

    Winston-Salem , NC
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $60K

    Acceptance

    32%

    Graduation

    89%

    Student body

    8K

    Online Degrees

    MC in Master’s in Counseling

    Concentrations

    • Clinical Mental Health
    • School Counseling
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  7. #10

    Naropa University

    Boulder , CO

    Tuition + fees

    $35K

    Acceptance

    100%

    Graduation

    31%

    Student body

    <1K

    Online Degrees

    MA in Mindfulness-Based Transpersonal Counseling
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 3 years
    • Format: Hybrid
  8. #11

    William James College

    Newton , MA

    Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Student body

    <1K

    Online Degrees

    MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 2.5 - 3 years
    • Format: Online
  9. #12

    Adler University

    Chicago , IL

    Student body

    1K

    Online Degrees

    MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling
    • Required Credits: None Reported
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  10. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    84%

    Graduation

    57%

    Student body

    35K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1155/24

    Online Degrees

    MS in Rehabilitation Counseling
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 3.5-4.5 years
    • Format: Online
  11. #15

    Nova Southeastern University

    Fort Lauderdale , FL

    Tuition + fees

    $35K

    Acceptance

    76%

    Graduation

    62%

    Student body

    14K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1175/24

    Online Degrees

    MS in Counseling

    Concentrations

    • Applied Behavior Analysis
    • Clinical Mental Health Counseling
    • School Counseling
    • Substance Abuse Counseling
    • Substance Abuse Counseling And Education
    • Required Credits: 33
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  12. #17

    Bradley University

    Peoria , IL

    Tuition + fees

    $36K

    Acceptance

    73%

    Graduation

    76%

    Student body

    5K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1170/25

    Online Degrees

    MA in Counseling

    Concentrations

    • Clinical Mental Health Counseling
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  13. Tuition + fees

    $17K

    Graduation

    38%

    Student body

    <1K

    Online Degrees

    MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  14. Tuition + fees

    $18K

    Graduation

    61%

    Student body

    9K

    Online Degrees

    MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

    Concentrations

    • Marriage And Family Therapy
    • Substance Use Disorders
    • Required Credits:60- 68
    • Completion time: 4 years
    • Format: Online
  15. #23

    Liberty University

    Lynchburg , VA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $23K

    Acceptance

    50%

    Graduation

    54%

    Student body

    75K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1150/24

    MA in Human Service Counseling
    • Required Credits: 30
    • Completion time: 1.5 years
    • Format: Online
    MA in Addiction Counseling
    • Required Credits: 48
    • Completion time: 2 years
    • Format: Online
    MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 2 years
    • Format: Online
  16. #24

    Regent University

    Virginia Beach , VA

    Tuition + fees

    $19K

    Acceptance

    50%

    Graduation

    61%

    Student body

    6K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1105/22

    Online Degrees

    MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 2 years
    • Format: Online
    MA in Marriage, Couple And Family Counseling
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 3 years
    • Format: Online
    MA in Human Services

    Concentrations

    • Counseling
    • Trauma And Crisis Counseling
    • Biblical Counseling
    • Grief Counseling
    • Required Credits: 30
    • Completion time: 2 years
    • Format: Online
    MA in Human Services-Addiction Counseling
    • Required Credits: 30
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  17. #25

    Hampton University

    Hampton , VA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $29K

    Acceptance

    36%

    Graduation

    57%

    Student body

    4K

    Online Degrees

    MA in Counseling

    Concentrations

    • General Counseling
    • Required Credits: 31
    • Completion time: 1.5 years
    • Format: Online
  18. #26

    Bellevue University

    Bellevue , NE
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Graduation

    23%

    Student body

    9K

    Online Degrees

    MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  19. #28

    Nyack College

    New York , NY

    Tuition + fees

    $27K

    Acceptance

    97%

    Graduation

    43%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    945/20

    Online Degrees

    MA in Mental Health Counseling
    • Required Credits: 63
    • Completion time: 3.5-4.5 years
    • Format: Online
  20. #30

    Amridge University

    Montgomery , AL

    Tuition + fees

    $10K

    Graduation

    25%

    Student body

    <1K

    Online Degrees

    MA in Professional Counseling
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MDiv in Professional Counseling
    • Required Credits: 96
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  21. #32

    Immaculata University

    Immaculata , PA

    Tuition + fees

    $28K

    Acceptance

    82%

    Graduation

    70%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1050/21

    Online Degrees

    MS in Nutrition Education and Counseling

    Concentrations

    • Tracks: Nutrition Education and Counseling
    • Clinical Nutrition
    • Required Credits: 63
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  22. Tuition + fees

    $37K

    Acceptance

    80%

    Graduation

    62%

    Student body

    11K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1100/21

    Online Degrees

    MS in Counseling Psychology
    • Required Credits: 62
    • Completion time: 3.5-4.5 years
    • Format: Online
  23. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $14K

    Acceptance

    89%

    Graduation

    58%

    Student body

    4K

    Online Degrees

    MEd in School Counseling
    • Required Credits: 48
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling
    • Required Credits: 63
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  24. #35

    Truman State University

    Kirksville , MO
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Acceptance

    72%

    Graduation

    75%

    Student body

    5K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1250/27

    Online Degrees

    MA in Counseling

    Concentrations

    • Mental Health
    • School Counseling
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  25. #36

    Baptist College of Florida

    Graceville , FL

    Tuition + fees

    $12K

    Acceptance

    76%

    Graduation

    50%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1006/18

    Online Degrees

    MA in Counseling
    • Required Credits: 30
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  26. #37

    Lamar University

    Beaumont , TX

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    83%

    Graduation

    37%

    Student body

    14K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1050/20

    Online Degrees

    MEd in Clinical Mental Health Counseling
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 3.5-4.5 years
    • Format: Online
    MEd in Counseling and Development

    Concentrations

    • Marriage Couple and Family Counseling
    • Professional School Counseling Online
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 3.5-4.5 years
    • Format: Online
  27. #38

    Lindsey Wilson College

    Columbia , KY

    Tuition + fees

    $26K

    Graduation

    40%

    Student body

    3K

    Online Degrees

    MEd in Counseling And Human Development
    • Required Credits: None Reported
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  28. #39

    Winston-Salem State University

    Winston-Salem , NC

    Tuition + fees

    $6K

    Acceptance

    73%

    Graduation

    50%

    Student body

    5K

    Median SAT/ACT

    960/17

    Online Degrees

    MSRC in in Rehabilitation Counseling
    • Required Credits: 63
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  29. #40

    St. Bonaventure University

    Saint Bonaventure , NY

    Tuition + fees

    $38K

    Acceptance

    76%

    Graduation

    74%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1135/22

    Online Degrees

    MSEd in Clinical Mental Health Counseling
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 3.5-4.5 years
    • Format: Online
    MSEd in School Counseling
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 3.5-4.5 years
    • Format: Online
  30. Tuition + fees

    $12K

    Acceptance

    95%

    Graduation

    8%

    Student body

    8K

    Online Degrees

    MA in Psychology: Counseling

    Concentrations

    • Counseling
    • Required Credits: 48
    • Completion time: 2.5-3.5 years
    • Format: Online
    MA in Psychology: Professioanl Clinical Counseling

    Concentrations

    • Professional Clinical Counseling
    • Required Credits: 63
    • Completion time: 3.5-4.5 years
    • Format: Online
  31. #42

    Hodges University

    Fort Myers , FL

    Tuition + fees

    $15K

    Acceptance

    61%

    Graduation

    28%

    Student body

    <1K

    Online Degrees

    MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  32. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $6K

    Graduation

    28%

    Student body

    3K

    Online Degrees

    MS in Rehabilitation And Mental Health Counseling
    • Required Credits: 51
    • Completion time: 2-3 years
    • Format: Hybrid
    MEd in School Counseling
    • Required Credits: 48
    • Completion time: 2-3 years
    • Format: Online
  33. #44

    Golden Gate University

    San Francisco , CA

    Tuition + fees

    $13K

    Student body

    1K

    Online Degrees

    MA in Counseling Psychology
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 3.5-4.5 years
    • Format: Online
  34. Student body

    1K

    Online Degrees

    MA in Mental Health Counseling
    • Required Credits: 75
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MA in Marriage And Family Counseling
    • Required Credits: 75
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MA in Pastoral Counseling
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  35. #46

    Medaille University

    Buffalo , NY

    Tuition + fees

    $33K

    Acceptance

    72%

    Graduation

    37%

    Student body

    3K

    Online Degrees

    MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 3.5-4.5 years
    • Format: Online
  36. #47

    University of New Haven

    West Haven , CT
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $43K

    Acceptance

    91%

    Graduation

    65%

    Student body

    6K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1125/24

    Online Degrees

    MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 3 years
    • Format: Online
  37. Tuition + fees

    $26K

    Acceptance

    56%

    Graduation

    54%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1050/20

    Online Degrees

    MS in Counseling Psychology
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 24-30 months
    • Format: Online
  38. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $44K

    Acceptance

    75%

    Graduation

    76%

    Student body

    3K

    Online Degrees

    MA in Holistic Clinical Mental Health Counseling
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 3 years
    • Format: Hybrid
    MA in Holistic Counseling
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 2-3 years
    • Format: Hybrid
    MA in Rehabilitation Counseling
    • Required Credits: 48
    • Completion time: 2 years
    • Format: Online
    MA in Clinical Rehabilitation And Mental Health Counseling
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 2.5 years
    • Format: Online
  39. Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Acceptance

    58%

    Graduation

    44%

    Student body

    8K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1040/20

    Online Degrees

    MA in Counseling
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 2-3 years
    • Format: Online
    MEd in Counseling
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 2-3 years
    • Format: Online
    MEd in School Counseling
    • Required Credits: 48
    • Completion time: 2-3 years
    • 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 some adjustment. While you’ll generally learn the same content and take the same exams as your on-campus peers, the medium will likely require you to manage much of this experience independently. You’ll be accountable for your own time management, your ability to harness the technology at your fingertips, and your ability to focus on the lectures, lessons, and assignments at hand. This means you’ll need to create a suitable workspace for yourself, maintain a realistic schedule, and take it upon yourself to build 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 is actually getting there. Taking the commute out of the equation means getting to class should be a lot more manageable. But that’s where it ends. In general, your online courses will incorporate the very same materials, concepts, and testing methods as would a traditional classroom.

And 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 or working with remote learning technology for the first time, online college may even be a little more challenging for you. For a few insights on how to manage this new 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 institutions and less-than-reputable for-profit schools. Accreditation gives you the power to differentiate between the two. Accreditation is a stamp of approval from an independent accrediting agency which indicates that a college or university is meeting standards of quality, credibility, and currency. 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 which is not regionally accredited could limit your opportunities. When seeking an online education, we strongly recommend that students 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.

As long as your online college degree is regionally accredited, 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. In many cases, you will be required to navigate a bureaucracy in which some of your credits will be transferred and others will be jettisoned. However, provided that you have attended an online school with the proper regional accreditation, you should have plenty of options for transfer.

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 resume 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.

While some employers may express concern about making the adjustment from online education to in-person workplace collaboration, many other employers will 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 require some adjustment.

While there is much that can be supplanted or simulated through the online medium, some students may find that there is nothing which can replace the conversation, collaboration, and motivation that occur in an actual classroom setting. As you make the adjustment to online education, one of the biggest challenges you will likely face is overcoming this difference in order to the get the most out of your classes. Fortunately, we’ve got some great Tips for Online Education Beginners.

The advantages of online classes are many. First and foremost, 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 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 Prospective Grad Students