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Best 20 Masters in Counseling Online in 2021

August 6, 2021 | Staff Writers

masters in counseling online
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Earning a masters in counseling online/ affordable masters in counseling online degree prepares graduates for a rewarding career in counseling. Students that want to enhance their career in counseling or that want to start their career in counseling learn the skills and knowledge required for a rewarding career. Programs vary by length, by the career tracks available and other criteria to complete the program among different schools.

Choosing a Career Path in a Master’s in Counseling Program

Choosing a concentration in a master’s in counseling program is an important part of considering a career in counseling. Many colleges and universities offer only one option for the program, while other schools may offer several concentrations that guides students through the career path that best aligns with their interests.

Top 5 Masters in Counseling Online

Rank School Location
1University of Southern MainePortland, Maine
2University of Louisiana at MonroeMonroe, Louisiana
3West Texas A&M UniversityCanyon, Texas
4Edinboro University of PennsylvaniaEdinboro, Pennsylvania
5Montana State University BillingsBillings, Montana

Counseling Today, a publication of the American Counseling Association, cautions counselors to choose their career path wisely, and to consider the varied backgrounds available for professional counselors. Some counselors work in mental health agencies while others work in schools, local, state and federal government agencies, clinics, community health centers, or hospitals. The American Counseling Association expands this list further by listing other career paths, including addictions counseling, marriage, couples and family counseling, and other potential career paths.

Are you unsure about the path that is the ideal choice for your future career as a counselor? Consider these online master’s in counseling degree programs to help you start on your path to a rewarding career as a counselor, to enhance your career opportunities, or to change careers.

The need for counselors across many career paths is expected to increase ‘much faster than average’ compared to all other occupations. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates that there is an expected 25 percent job growth for substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors through 2029, and a 22 percent increase in jobs for marriage and family therapists. The BLS expects 8 percent job growth in the school and career counselors path, and 10 percent job growth in the rehabilitation counselor career path.

These programs are all accredited and affordable master’s in counseling programs. The tuition listed for each program is based on one credit hour of instruction, and does not cover the cost of fees or other expenses. Please remember that schools periodically change their tuition rates.

Best 20 Masters in Counseling Online

1

University of Southern Maine

  • Portland, Maine
  • Graduation Rate: 54%

The University of Southern Maine offers an online Master of Science in Counseling program as well as the traditional master’s in counseling program delivered in the classroom environment. There are three concentrations available, allowing students to choose the path that best meets their career goals and interests. Choose the Clinical Mental Health path, the Clinical and Vocational Rehabilitation concentration or the School Counseling concentration.

Some courses in the program include Orientation to the Counseling Profession, Research Methods and Techniques, Multicultural Counseling: Social and Cultural Foundations of Helping Diverse Families, and Counseling Children and Adolescents.

School Overview

Tuition: $432 per credit hour
Program length: 24-36 months
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2

University of Louisiana at Monroe

  • Monroe, Louisiana
  • Graduation Rate: 44%

The University of Louisiana at Monroe offers an online Master of Science in Counseling program with two tracks. Students choose either the Clinical Mental Health Counseling track or the School Counseling (Elementary, Secondary) track. The school explains that the mission of the clinical mental health counseling track is to create a supportive and collaborative learning environment for all students to acquire the knowledge, skills, and attitudes that are required in the practice of counseling. The school counseling track prepares graduates to provide supportive, educational, and counseling services to individuals from diverse backgrounds in a variety of settings, including in agencies and in K-12 schools.

School Overview

Tuition: $500 per credit hour
Program length: est. 24-36 months
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3

West Texas A&M University

  • Canyon, Texas
  • Graduation Rate: 43%

The Master of Arts in Counseling at West Texas A&M University is offered in a 100 percent online format, allowing for the flexibility that many students need in their counseling program. Students gain knowledge in professional, legal, and ethical issues in counseling, human growth and development, social and cultural foundations, and in helping relationships.

Students have the opportunity to complete internship requirements at approved locations in their own community. Approved settings for internships typically include mental health centers or agencies, facilities for clients with dual diagnosis disorders, or at multipurpose agencies.

A waiver is applied to eligible non-resident, out-of-state students that significantly reduces the cost of attendance.

School Overview

Tuition: $80 per credit hour
Program length: 36 months
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4

Edinboro University of Pennsylvania

  • Edinboro, Pennsylvania
  • Graduation Rate: 43%

Edinboro University of Pennsylvania offers its Master of Arts in Counseling program in an online format in addition to the traditional face-to-face learning format. The school emphasizes complete integration of theory, research and practice.

One concentration, the Master of Arts in Counseling – Art Therapy, was the first of its kind in the country to receive CAAHEP accreditation. Other options include Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling, School Counseling and College Counseling.

Faculty members are dedicated to providing sound academic and clinical experiences that allows future counselors to be effective leader-practitioners in their field.

School Overview

Tuition: $516 per credit hour
Program length: est. 36 months
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5

Montana State University Billings

  • Billings, Montana
  • Graduation Rate: 28%

Montana State University Billings offers just one online master’s degree program in counseling. The Master of Science in Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling program consists of rigorous curriculum that prepares graduates for their state licensure eligibility and national certification. The school does not require that students have a specific undergraduate degree for admission to the program.

Some courses in the nationally recognized program include Theories of Counseling, Group and Individual Evaluation, Multicultural/Gender Issues in Counseling, and Individual and Family Response to Disability.

Some fees are included in the cost of tuition.

School Overview

Tuition: est. $542.50 per credit hour
Program length: 24 months
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6

Fort Hays State University

  • Hays, Kansas
  • Graduation Rate: 71%

Fort Hays State University offers the Master of Science in Counseling – Clinical Mental Health Counseling program, and the Master of Science – School Counseling program in an online format. Some classes for the clinical mental health program are held on campus on weekends.

Students engage in intensive coursework while receiving strong mentorship from faculty members. The courses prepare students to gain the skills and knowledge to become counselors in their chosen area of interest. A few courses in the clinical mental health counseling program include Psychopathology and Diagnosis, Addictions Counseling, and Marriage and Family Counseling. Some courses in the school counseling program include Working with Exceptional and Diverse Learners, Understanding the Learner, and Theories of Counseling.

School Overview

Tuition: $290 per credit hour
Program length: 36 months
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7

Indiana Wesleyan University

  • Marion, Indiana
  • Graduation Rate: 64%

Indiana Wesleyan University offers six specializations in its Master of Arts in Counseling degree program. Students choose the Clinical Addictions Counseling, Clinical Mental Health specialization, Community Care, School Counseling, Marriage and Family Counseling/Therapy, or the Student Development Administration track.

Choose your preferred track that meets your career goals and interests to excel in a field with increasing need for highly-trained professionals. For instance, the Clinical Addictions track information points out that at least 5,000 new addictions counseling professionals are needed every year just to replace those that are leaving the field. As people retire or advance to new positions in counseling, new graduates likely have exceptional opportunities to find career employment.

School Overview

Tuition: $578 per credit hour
Program length: 24-36 months
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8

Freed-Hardeman University

  • Henderson, Tennessee
  • Graduation Rate: 57%

The Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program at Freed-Hardeman University prepares knowledgeable, skilled, competent, knowledgeable professionals to work in the field of clinical mental health counseling, providing services to individuals, couples, groups and families.

Students take courses in counseling theory, psychopathology, research, clinical intervention, diagnosis and treatment, and other areas that prepares students for a career in counseling.

School Overview

Tuition: $610 per credit hour
Program length: 24 months
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9

North Carolina State University

  • Raleigh, North Carolina
  • Graduation Rate: 77%

North Carolina State University offers an online Master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling that prepares students for a career working in clinical mental health capacities. The program focuses on developmental theory, design and implementation of preventive interventions, clinical counseling theory and practice and multicultural diversity.

Some topics covered in the course curriculum include career counseling and development, substance abuse counseling, gender issues in counseling, couples and family counseling.

School Overview

Tuition: $462 per credit hour
Program length: 36 months
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10

West Virginia University

  • Morgantown, West Virginia
  • Graduation Rate: 56%

West Virginia University offers an online Master of Science in Clinical Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling program that prepares students to help other people with physical disabilities, substance abuse and mental health disorders, and provides clients or patients with the tools to become productive members of society. The school notes that program graduates can also provide a comprehensive counseling approach for people that are in recovery from traumatic injuries.

Students gain the knowledge and skills required of counselors that work in a variety of settings, including mental health centers, hospitals, physical and vocational rehabilitation agencies and facilities, addictions and recovery centers, and government agencies.

School Overview

Tuition: $630 per credit hour
Program length: est. 36 months
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11

Ottawa University

  • Ottawa, Canada
  • Graduation Rate: 30%

The online Master of Arts in Counseling program at Ottawa University helps students gain a deeper knowledge and understanding in counseling, and particularly in the student’s choice of six concentrations.

The school offers 24-hour student support and access to the online portal. Students and faculty discuss the practical application of theory and other topics related to the success of each student in the program.

School Overview

Tuition: $635 per credit hour
Program length: est. 36 months
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12

Gwynedd Mercy College

  • Gwynedd Valley, Pennsylvania
  • Graduation Rate: 50%

Gwynedd Mercy College offers the Master of Science in Counseling degree online for students that either are unable to attend traditional classes or that prefer the flexibility to complete degree requirements on their own time. The concentrations, which includes the Master’s in School Counseling, and Clinical Mental Health Counseling are offered online, along with the Post-Master’s Certificate in School Counseling.

The central core curriculum includes courses such as Counseling Skills, Foundations of Counseling, Research Methods, Social Justice, Multicultural and Diversity Issues in Counseling, and Assessment Techniques in Counseling. Students also complete courses relative to their concentration.

School Overview

Tuition: $650 per credit hour
Program length: 36-42 months
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13

William & Mary

  • Williamsburg, Virginia
  • Graduation Rate: 91%

The online master’s in counseling program at the College of William & Mary, more commonly known as simply William & Mary, features three concentrations. The Clinical Mental Health Counseling concentration challenges students as they complete courses in psychopathology, multicultural counseling, ethics in counseling, and other courses. The curriculum places emphasis on diagnosis, treatment, referral, and prevention.

The Military and Veterans Counseling specialization is offered within the Clinical Mental Health Counseling concentration. The program is provided to help meet the urgent need for counselors with the expertise to provide high-quality mental health services for military personnel and veterans. The specialization focuses on training culturally responsive future counselors that have the training and unique expertise to address the behavioral health needs of active duty military personnel, veterans, and military-connected families.

The School Counseling concentration is a comprehensive, well-balanced program that prepares graduates to become effective leaders with the appropriate qualities required for counseling positions within elementary, middle and high schools. The curriculum, along with the 100-hour practicum, emphasizes the complete mental, emotional and physical development of children.

School Overview

Tuition: $665 per credit hour
Program length: est. 36 months
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14

University of North Dakota

  • Grand Forks, North Dakota
  • Graduation Rate: 55%

The University of North Dakota offers an online Master of Arts in Counseling program that trains graduates to make a positive change in their community, and to become skilled leaders in their field. Students that pursue the degree discover that the program emphasizes evidence-based practices and multicultural competence.

The school offers the same four tracks in the online program that are available to students that take courses in the on-campus program. The concentrations include Addictions Counseling, Rehabilitation Counseling, K-12 School Counseling, and Community Mental Health Counseling. Learn from faculty members with doctoral degrees that have considerable experience in educating students in the counseling program, no matter which track you choose to pursue as you look forward to a rewarding career in counseling.

School Overview

Tuition: $800 per credit hour
Program length: 24-36 months
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15

Eastern University

  • St. Davids, Pennsylvania
  • Graduation Rate: 56%

The online Master of Arts in Clinical Counseling at Eastern University guides students through a rigorous curriculum that prepares them to become academically prepared to seek credentialing as licensed professional counselors.

The school offers a general track in the clinical counseling program, an Applied Behavior Analysis Certification, or the unique Trauma Studies track. Some courses include Techniques of Counseling and Psychotherapy, Personality Dynamics and Psychosocial Assessment, and Ethics and Professional Development.

School Overview

Tuition: $743 per credit hour
Program length: 36-48 months
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16

Nova Southeastern University

  • Broward County, Florida
  • Graduation Rate: 62%

Nova Southeastern University invites prospective students to explore their five counseling concentrations when considering the school to earn your Master of Science in Counseling degree. Choose your preferred option from the Clinical Mental Health Counseling concentration, School Counseling, Applied Behavioral Analysis, Substance Abuse Counseling, or the Substance Abuse Counseling & Education concentration. The Substance Abuse Counseling & Education track includes an additional 12 credit hour education track concentration.

There is one three-day residency required for online students which is held on a weekend from Friday morning through Sunday afternoon.

School Overview

Tuition: $790 per credit hour
Program length: 36 months
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17

Rutgers University

  • New Brunswick, New Jersey

Rutgers University offers students the opportunity to complete the Master of Science in Rehabilitation Counseling – Clinical Mental Health Counseling track in an online format. This allows working professionals or those with other outside responsibilities to complete program requirements without having to come to campus to complete program requirements. Students in the online program follow the same rigorous program requirements expected of on-campus students.

Learn to counsel people with physical disabilities, sensory, developmental, or psychiatric disabilities. The cognitive behavioral counseling approach of the program is often used in real-life counseling settings. It helps clients develop strategies and skills to change problematic behaviors, to better cope with difficult situations, to better manage their disabilities, and to plan for the future. Some major areas of studies featured in the curriculum include human growth and development, personal identity, helping relationships, medical and psychosocial aspects of disability, and assessment.

School Overview

Tuition: $900 per credit hour
Program length: 24-36 months
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18

Bradley University

  • Peoria, Illinois
  • Graduation Rate: 74%

Bradley University invites prospective students to ‘turn your passion into your profession.’ The online Master of Arts in Counseling program features the Clinical Mental Health Counseling track or the Professional School Counseling track. The program combines academic theory with hands-on experiences that are demanded by the counseling profession.

The school offers a cutting-edge approach to counseling. Faculty members teach how counseling directly affects brain function through the groundbreaking approach known as neurocounseling. Other topics covered in the program may include loss and grief counseling, theories and techniques of counseling, psychopharmacology, professional school counseling and special education law.

School Overview

Tuition: $930 per credit hour
Program length: 30-36 months
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19

Saybrook University

  • Oakland, California

The online Master of Arts Counseling, Clinical Mental Health Counseling program at Saybrook University features the training area choice of Marriage and Family Therapy, Mental Health or Clinical Counseling. No matter which option that a student selects, the student learns to work with individuals and groups in settings such as private practice, non-profit or government agencies, clinics, or hospitals.

Faculty members have several years of experience in their respective field, and guide students through the program, and understanding licensing requirements in their state. Students participate in an approved practicum, internship programs in their own geographic area.

School Overview

Tuition: $1,200 per credit hour
Program length: est. 36-42 months
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20

Wake Forest University

  • Winston-Salem, North Carolina
  • Graduation Rate: 88%

Enroll at Wake Forest University and choose either the online Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling or the Master’s in School Counseling when you pursue a master’s degree in counseling.

The school offers the programs to professionals that want to advance their career, to individuals just starting their career or that want to change their career. The school boasts a 95 percent pass rate on the National Counselor Exam.

Work in a broad variety of settings including schools, as a career counselor, in mental health agencies and facilities, substance abuse treatment facilities and other types of agencies and organizations.

School Overview

Tuition: $1,510 per credit hour
Program length: 36 months
Visit School Website

Methodology

We took the difficulty out of your search for an affordable online master’s in counseling program by researching schools for you. We searched for schools across the country and ranked our top 22 schools, using select criteria, by assigning a score for the cost of tuition and program length. When a tie occurred, the school with the lower tuition received the higher score.

No school can pay us for a higher ranking. Any school that wishes to be sponsored is listed separately and labeled as a sponsored or featured school. We do our best to be honest and fair in all of our rankings.

Please contact us if you have any questions, would like to update your schools’ information, or if you would like to have your school included in our rankings.

Here’s All You Should Know About Masters in Counseling Online

Counselors are paid professionals who work in various social institutions, including schools, hospitals, mental health facilities, and businesses. The work of a counselor is to help people confront emotional and personal issues in their lives. Accordingly, some counselors have expert training to work with select groups of people, such as people with mental and physical disabilities. They can also be a group of professionals who offer therapy to people suffering from substance abuse.

Before you can pursue a master’s in counseling online, you first need to complete a bachelor’s degree in psychology, education, social work, or another related subject. Students must then apply to an online master’s program and complete all coursework and clinical requirements before qualifying as professional counselors.

A master’s degree in counseling online offers a flexible routine for working students. Online programs often follow similar thorough curricula as brick-and-mortar options and have the same academic and professional advancements for graduates. The choice for an online master’s degree in counseling also works perfectly for students with other commitments on top of their class and job schedules. This article offers a broad look into master’s in counseling online, intending to avail knowledge that can help prospective students make informed career choices. 

Differences Between A Master’s in Counseling and Other Online Psychology Master’s Degrees

If you are interested in the mental health service field, there are two options you can choose from to earn an advanced degree. Many people do not know the better choice for pursuing a master’s degree in this field. What are the benefits of pursuing an online master’s degree in counseling? How does a master’s in counseling online differ from a master’s degree in psychology? This section explores all possible answers to give you a clear overview of the differences to point you in the right direction.

Master’s in Psychology Specialties

Students must select a specialty focus if they are pursuing a master’s degree in psychology. Most credit hours are earned in subjects tailored to specific specializations once the main coursework is completed. Below are some common disciplines:

  • Psychopharmacology
  • School Psychology
  • Social Psychology
  • Behavioral Psychology
  • Health Psychology
  • Learning, Cognition, And Child Psychology
  • Military Psychology
  • Neurophysiology
  • Psychopathology 
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Consumer Psychology
  • Family Psychology
  • Forensic Psychology

These specializations are direct tickets to a career path for students. 

Master’s in Counseling Specialties

Similarly, an online master’s mental health counseling program is also paired with a specialization. Below are some disciplines you can consider:

  • Gerontology
  • Mental Health Counseling
  • Rehabilitation Counseling
  • Religious Counseling
  • Substance Abuse Counseling
  • Addiction Counseling
  • Career Counseling
  • Sexual Orientation Counseling
  • Crisis Counseling
  • Adolescent Therapy
  • Clinical Counseling
  • Expressive Arts Therapy
  • School Counseling

Most of these specializations are paired with employment prospects in mind, unlike a master’s degree in psychology that focuses more on the need for a doctoral degree. In other words, you need to consider a school that offers the best possible combination that is in line with your interests and career objectives before selecting a specialty in counseling course. 

More About Master’s Degree in Psychology

You can choose between pursuing a master’s of art in psychology or a master’s of science in psychology. The master’s of art option is mostly considered a terminal degree. In contrast, the master’s of science option is often considered a preliminary degree for a doctoral degree in the same field.

  • Degree Requirements: Masters in psychology programs vary significantly depending on the institution you choose. Credit requirements range between 50 and 90, translating into between two and four years of full-time study. Most degree programs require additional fieldwork experience and some kinds of projects.  
  • Course Topics Covered: Similarly, the course topics covered in a master’s degree in psychology vary according to the chosen combination and degree type. For instance, the Masters of Art option consists of many liberal art-focused courses, while the Masters of Science option focuses more on scientific and psychological research courses. However, you might find some overlapping courses, such as ethics. 

More About Master’s in Counseling

Equally, you can choose between a Master of Art in counseling and a Master of Science in counseling. The Master of Art option is mostly considered a terminal degree. In contrast, the Master of Science is often considered a preliminary degree for a doctoral degree in the same field.

  • Degree Requirements: If you decide to pursue a master’s in counseling, expect to complete the coursework, clinical fieldwork, and a unique final research project or a performance evaluation. 
  • Course Topics Covered: Courses covered in masters in counseling may have specific or generalized content depending on the counseling specialization you choose.  The types of courses you should expect include; counseling techniques, ethical counseling practice, psychology research issues, and psychometrics, among others. You can check the Bureau of Labor website for more differences between a master’s degree in counseling and a master’s in psychology.

Benefits of Getting A Master’s Degree in Counseling Online

Earning a master’s degree in counseling online offers graduates the education and credentials required to embark on an illustrious and rewarding career. The current job market has excellent employment opportunities, with many counselors not tied to a single career path. Counselors have a wide range of fields to choose from upon graduation, and they all offer distinct possibilities to engage in an enriching career. 

  • Employment: One of the most common concerns students have is a job prospect upon graduation. It is an essential concern. All students hope to graduate and gain knowledge, but landing a job is a more practical apprehension. Students working towards an online master’s degree in counseling have more excellent job prospects in the future. The Bureau of Labor Statistics outlines that counseling job positions exceed the number of graduates every year. This field is fast-growing, with a wide variety of counseling specialties available for graduates. 
  • Range of Career Paths: It is essential to consider specialties you can focus on upon graduation. There are many counseling career types you can choose from once you have completed your studies. This is always a bonus for all counseling students. You can decide between a wide variety of options, depending on your personality and strengths, and work in one of the many counseling job settings. Accordingly, you can choose from various types of patients to work with. For instance, you can choose to be a mental health counselor for armed forces veterans. This is a gratifying career path that allows you to help men and women returning to civilian life after years of service to the country. You can also choose to work with children and help them overcome awful and abusive ordeals. There are many counseling careers for students who graduate with a master’s degree in counseling. You can quickly figure out the type of specialty for you if you do your homework well and think about the kind of person you are. Besides, the average counseling salary is way north of many other career paths you’d consider. The Bureau of Labor Statistics suggests that this is mainly due to the ever-growing demand for counseling services in the United States and globally. 
  • A Sense of Accomplishment: Nothing beats the feeling that you have attained your master’s degree in counseling and set out on a career that involves helping other people live a better life. The sense of satisfaction and accomplishment that follows is the best benefit you can get from completing an online master’s degree in counseling. The fundamental reason for being a counselor is to help other people wade through their emotional and physical issues. Taking your patients through a one-on-one journey will help you see how much you contribute to humanity’s overall wellbeing. 

Importance of Accreditation for An Online Master’s Degree In Counseling

Attending an accredited master’s degree in counseling allows you to qualify for state licensure. Anyone wishing to become a licensed counselor must graduate with an accredited master’s degree from a counseling program and meet all state requirements as well as academic qualifications. 

What Does Accreditation Mean?

The U.S. Department of Education defines accreditation as a process that higher learning institutions go through to show that the types of educational programs they offer meet agreed quality mandates. Accordingly, accreditation shows that the institution provides an education that meets the highest level of quality, standards, and legitimate qualifications in various fields of study. 

Independent agencies determine accreditation. These agencies set guidelines for best practices for higher learning institutions and programs and assess these schools to ensure they adhere to the guidelines. The federal government may also have some influence on accreditation processes. The U.S. Department of Education recognizes these independent agencies as legitimate accreditation bodies. Accordingly, the government only distributes aid to schools accredited by a federally accepted agency, which means that the federal government under the U.S. Department of Education regulates the accreditation board to ensure that all higher learning institutions receive accreditation from trusted bodies. 

Types of Accreditation

The U.S. Department of Education categorizes accreditation into two groups; institutional and programmatic. Institutional accreditation is for the entire institution of higher learning. In this case, the accreditation agency assesses the whole educational establishment to ensure that all its programs, faculty, research facilities, and so on meet the specified quality levels and mandates. For instance, an accredited university is one that is recognized to offer quality education that meets all required qualifications and set mandates. On the other hand, programmatic accreditation is more specific in terms of the scope of the evaluation. The accreditation agency offering programmatic certification focuses on one particular area of study, educational department, or a program, such as a master’s degree in behavioral psychology counseling. The body then reviews the curriculum to ensure it meets agreed on educational standards. 

The Council for Higher Education Accreditation also has different ways of categorizing accreditation; regional, national, and specialized. Specialized accreditation offers approval for specific educational programs, as explained earlier. Regional accreditation is provided on an entire institution, which in most cases, is a non-profit organization offering graduate degree programs. National certification is almost similar to the regional accreditation type because it approves the entire institution of higher learning. However, the difference is that national accreditation agencies tend not to focus on the traditional, not for profit, degree-offering educational institutions. Instead, national accreditation agencies concentrate on for-profit institutions that do not offer conventional degree programs. Therefore, if you are looking to earn a master’s degree in counseling online, you must consider an institution with regional accreditation. 

Why Does Accreditation Matter?

The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) is one of the many nationally recognized accrediting agencies that approve that graduate counseling programs across the United States meet the highest learning standards. This body accredits almost all counseling programs offered in various higher learning institutions in the United States because the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) recognizes it as a legitimate accrediting body. 

CACREP is a national accrediting body that regulates more than 5,000 degree-offering institutions of higher learning. CACREP accreditation matters because it is proof that the program content and quality of education have been evaluated and verified to meet strict standards set by professionals in the industry. A CACREP-accredited program means that the curriculum offers the skills and knowledge required to obtain a professional state license. 

What are the Benefits of Accreditation?

Students whose counseling programs are accredited often find it easier to obtain a professional license required to practice and get employment opportunities. Additionally, proper accreditation makes it smoother and more straightforward to transfer and renew a license between states. Another advantage of an accredited program is seen when applying for a doctoral counseling program. 

Accordingly, CACREP-accredited counseling programs prepare students for the National Counselor Examination. Some new programs may not meet the CACREP guidelines because they are designed explicitly for licensing requirements in specific programs. For instance, master’s programs in counseling psychology may be specifically for marital and family therapy. Therefore, you should always check state requirements for counseling licensure before choosing a program. 

  • Accredited Degree Options
    CACREP accredited master’s degree programs in counseling in various fields of study. One such area includes addiction counseling programs that prepare students to work with patients with drug addiction problems and other types of addictions, such as gambling.  Additionally, career counseling programs help students prepare to work with clients looking for advice into making sound career choices, such as choosing the best and most suitable career paths or vocational training programs.

    CACREP also accredits clinical mental health counseling programs that help graduates prepare to work with clients with a wide range of mental health and emotional issues and pursue a mental health career line. Another common area is marriage, couple, and family counseling that involves every aspect of relationships, including emotional and communication problems. The last area is accreditation in school counseling programs. This scope teaches graduates how to enhance proper career, academic, and personal development in schools. 
  • Supervision Requirements
    Accredited masters in counseling programs online come with the requirements for an internship program. This is mainly because every state in the United States requires counseling students to work under a licensed professional counselor’s supervision for some time before obtaining state licensure. 

    Every state has its policy requirements for supervision, and some may ask students to obtain an associate’s license or register their supervision. People practicing counseling without credentials risk losing their license or facing criminal charges. Some states even require students to complete their internship under the supervision of an administrator at their workplace. 

    An accredited master’s degree in counseling online is essential for getting state licensure and employment. 

Choosing the Best Online Master’s Degree in Counseling 

There are many online master’s degree programs in counseling to choose from, which is good but certainly makes the selection process a bit overwhelming, especially to someone without any prior knowledge. This section has combined some of the frequently asked questions about choosing the best online master’s degree in counseling. The information will help point you in the right direction and make an informed choice. 

Does an Online Counseling Degree Program Offer the Required Skills for Career Advancements?

An online master’s degree in counseling covers all the requirements for a professional counseling career, just like the brick-and-mortar option. The courses cover topics like psychology, mental health, behavioral disorders, and ethics for licensed counselors. Internship and residency courses offer valuable practical skills acquired from supervised training.  

Does an Online Counseling Degree Work Well with Tight Schedules?

Online master’s degree programs offer a flexible learning option for students with other commitments on top of the class and work schedules. Students enrolled in an online master’s degree in counseling can access various academic material and lecture notes through the internet. Accordingly, you can take and submit written assignments online. Online counseling students can also communicate with course instructors and coordinate internships, residencies, and other onsite courses. 

What Jobs Can I Get with An Online Master’s Degree in Counseling?

A master’s degree in counseling can lead to a wide range of career options. You only need to qualify for state licensure before you can choose from various fields available. You are more likely to land jobs related to counseling in both the private and public sectors. The list of jobs available for a counselor is long, and the pay is excellent, depending on your qualification and education level. 

What Are the Best Online Masters in Counseling Programs?

Choosing a master’s degree program in counseling can be an uphill task for many. However, you can always evaluate your strength and personal interests against school qualifications and educational needs. The schools and programs listed in this article should be a good reference point in your search for the best online master’s degree in counseling.

In Summary  

A master’s degree in counseling is the minimum education level you need to start your licensed counseling career. All counselors who offer their services in the private and public sectors must fulfill all state requirements for licensure. However, the first step for anyone who inspires to start a career in counseling is attaining a bachelor’s degree in counseling. These programs often include specialization in various fields and internship options. 

With so many master’s in counseling online programs available, it can be challenging to choose the right one for you. This article has provided the information you need to make the right decision. Accordingly, every section contains a link that will direct you to a more detailed program website. You can learn more and determine whether an online master’s degree in counseling matches your career preferences. 

Today, many students opt for an online master’s degree in counseling theory because of the convenient scheduling and flexible options. An online master’s degree program follows a similar curriculum and offers a self-paced learning schedule for students with part-time jobs and other commitments that may deter them from a full-time campus-learning basis. 

Learn more about what you can do with an online master’s degree in counseling, and see how convenient and rewarding this learning mode can be. Also, seek advice from like-minded people who may help you make the right choice when choosing your master’s programs. 

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