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.
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.
|1||University of Southern Maine||Portland, Maine|
|2||University of Louisiana at Monroe||Monroe, Louisiana|
|3||West Texas A&M University||Canyon, Texas|
|4||Edinboro University of Pennsylvania||Edinboro, Pennsylvania|
|5||Montana State University Billings||Billings, Montana|
University of Southern Maine
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.
University of Louisiana at Monroe
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.
West Texas A&M University
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.
Edinboro University of Pennsylvania
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.
Montana State University Billings
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.
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Fort Hays State University
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.
Indiana Wesleyan University
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.
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.
North Carolina State University
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.
West Virginia University
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.
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.
Gwynedd Mercy College
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.
William & Mary
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.
University of North Dakota
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.
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.
Nova Southeastern University
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.
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.
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.
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.
Wake Forest University
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.
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.
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