Best 15 Master’s in School Counseling Programs in 2021

    April 30, 2021 | Staff Writers

    Masters in School Counseling
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    A masters in school counseling prepares you for a future helping children managing the stresses of academics, relationships, and family dynamics. While it is possible to become a school counselor with a general counseling degree, those programs may not delve deep enough into the specific needs of matriculating elementary and secondary school-aged children.

    Are All Master’s in School Counseling Program Curriculum the Same?

    Unlike many advanced degree programs, school counseling degree programs will vary from place to place. More often than not, these graduate degree programs are customized to meet state-specific requirements.

    Pursuing a master’s in counseling is an admirable pursuit. If your goal is to become a school counselor, you will need a graduate degree to satisfy most state and local school system requirements. With hundreds of quality programs to choose from, narrowing down your options can be a challenging task.

    To assist you in your endeavor, we have compiled a list of schools in various locations that make the grade for providing top-notch preparation for a career in school counseling.

    Interested in finding the right college or university grad program? We can help you find the best school based on your specific criteria.

    15 Top Picks for a Master’s in School Counseling


    University of Akron – Akron, OH

    • Akron, Ohio
    • Graduation Rate: 38%

    The University of Akron’s Master’s in School Counseling program has an impressive 90% completion rate and an equally impressive 98% licensure exam pass rate. With a curriculum designed using the standards of both the Ohio Department of Education and the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Professions (CACREP), this program allows for 85% post-graduate job placement.

    School Overview

    Yearly tuition: $9595
    Admission Rate: 68%
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    University of Arkansas – Fayetteville, AR

    • Fayetteville, Arkansas
    • Graduation Rate: 64%

    A Master’s of Science in Counseling with an emphasis in School Counseling offered by the University of Arkansas prepares students for certification as a P-12 school counselor in Arkansas. Students wishing to work outside of Arkansas after graduation will have to contact the school district in their desired location to ensure the program curriculum satisfies their requirements.

    School Overview

    Yearly tuition: $10,336
    Admission rate: 90%
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    Alabama A&M University – Huntsville, AL

    • Huntsville, Alabama
    • Graduation Rate: 29%

    Alabama A&M offers graduate students interested in becoming school counselors a Master’s of Science in Counseling Psychology. Several concentrations are available within the degree program, including that for school counseling. Upon completing the academic program, internships, practicum, and comprehensive exam, graduates will have a Class A counseling certification.

    School Overview

    Yearly tuition: $9565
    Admission rate: 64%
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    McNeese State University – Lake Charles, LA

    • Lake Charles, Louisiana
    • Graduation Rate: 41%

    A Master’s in School Counseling from McNeese State University prepares graduate students for a career in school counseling, with the added benefit of earning 48 of the 60 hours required by the State of Louisiana to become a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC). This added benefit gives students a leg up when it comes to potential moves into the private sector.

    School Overview

    Yearly tuition: $2316
    Admission rate: 57%
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    Adams State University – Alamosa, CO

    • Alamosa, Colorado
    • Graduation Rate: 39%

    Completing the Master’s in School Counseling program at Adam’s State University satisfies Colorado’s school counselor licensure requirements. This CACREP program, certified by The Colorado Department of Education, is offered on-campus and online.

    School Overview

    Yearly tuition: $7650
    Admission rate: 57%
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    Wilmington University – New Castle, DE

    • New Castle, Delaware
    • Graduation Rate: 50%

    Wilmington University offers a Master’s of Education in Elementary and Secondary School Counseling. The program, approved by the State of Delaware, ensures that students are eligible for licensure by the state upon completion.

    School Overview

    Yearly tuition: $14,640
    Admission rate: 67%
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    Bridgewater State University – Bridgewater, MA

    • Bridgewater, Massachusetts
    • Graduation Rate: 58%

    Bridgewater State University offers advanced school counseling (PreK-8, 5-12) programs as Master’s and post-master’s licensure. Low student/professor ratio and access to several graduate funding opportunities give this program high grades for completion and affordability relative to schools in the surrounding area.

    School Overview

    Yearly tuition: ~$11,400 ($475 per credit)
    Admission rate: 60%
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    Florida Atlantic University – Boca Raton, FL

    • Boca Raton, Florida
    • Graduation Rate: 75%

    Florida Atlantic University offers graduate students a Master’s Degree in Education with a School Counseling Specialization.  Upon completion of the program, graduates are eligible to receive a school counselor certification from the State of Florida. Required fieldwork gives students the hands-on training vital to a successful career and leads to an impressive post-graduate job placement rate.

    School Overview

    Tuition: $371.82 per credit hour; 60 credit hour program
    Admission Rate: N/A
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    Concordia University Wisconsin

    • Mequon, Wisconsin
    • Graduation Rate: 77%

    Many students choose the Master’s in School Counseling program at Concordia University Wisconsin because they are interested in having a choice between courses with an integrated faith-based emphasis and traditional secular coursework. The program offers rolling admissions and an 8-week accelerated format to optimize student efficiency. All adjuncts are actively working in or recently retired from extensive careers in the school counseling field.

    School Overview

    Yearly tuition: $18,900
    Admission rate: 64%
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    Houston Baptist University – Houston, TX

    • Houston, Texas
    • Graduation Rate: 44%

    A Master’s of Education in Professional School Counseling from Houston Baptist University has a prerequisite of two years of teaching at a Texas Education Association accredited school (P-12). Additionally, completion of the program requires 400 practical and internship hours.

    School Overview

    Yearly tuition: $10,350
    Admission rate: 47%
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    Spalding University – Louisville, KY

    • Louisville, Kentucky
    • Graduation Rate: 51%

    At Spalding University, the Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling aligns with CACREP and offers varying specialties based on students’ career goals, including school counseling. Practical experience is even available at the University’s Center for Behavioral Health.

    School Overview

    Yearly tuition: $19, 500 (3)
    Admission rate: 57% (7)
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    College of William and Mary – Williamsburg, VA

    • Williamsburg, Virginia
    • Graduation Rate: 91%

    Attaining a Master’s of Education degree with a school counseling concentration at the College of William and Mary requires a significant amount of fieldwork. Sixty credit hours of course work is enhanced with over 700 additional hours of practicum and internship. Additionally, the school’s Project Empower gives students further opportunity to engage with and support a local school district.

    School Overview

    Yearly tuition: $15,780
    Admission rate: 46%
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    Emporia University – Emporia Kansas

    • Emporia, Kansas
    • Graduation Rate: 43%

    Unlike most school counselor graduate programs, Emporia University does not require a teaching certificate or experience to enroll if accepted. This Direct Entry program gives candidates with undergrad degrees in other disciplines a more direct avenue of entry into education and counseling.

    School Overview

    Yearly tuition: $17,545
    Acceptance rate: 51%
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    Clark Atlanta University – Atlanta, GA

    • Atlanta, Georgia
    • Graduation Rate: 37%

    A Master’s of Arts in School Counseling from Clark Atlanta University satisfies the requirements for certification from the State of Georgia. This highly competitive program has a curriculum that meets all of the standards set by CACREP and the Georgia Professional Standards Commission.

    School Overview

    Yearly tuition: $27,050
    Admission rate: 52%
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    University of Southern California – Los Angeles, CA

    • Los Angeles, California
    • Graduation Rate: 92%

    Undoubtedly, the most competitive program on our list, the USC Rossier School of Education, is a top-notch institution for educators, administrators, and counselors. The Master of Education in School Counseling online degree from USC prepares students to become school counselors in K–12 settings. Also, USC Rossier has a Master of Education in Educational Counseling program for individuals interested in academic counseling at colleges and universities.

    School Overview

    Yearly tuition: $97,755 total for the 2-year program
    Acceptance Rate: N/A
    Visit School Website

    Ranking Methodology

    Several factors go into deciding which graduate school will be right for you. To help make your decision easier we collected the data on yearly tuition (in-state/exclusive of fees) and acceptance rates. A point system was attributed based on a scale of 1-15 and each school received an overall score based on those points and was then ranked accordingly.

    We welcome representatives from any of the schools listed above to contact us with corrections or inquiries. Also, if you’re representing a school and would like the school or a particular program reviewed please reach out to us as well.

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