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Top 20 Online Counseling Degree Programs in 2021

August 11, 2021 | Staff Writers

Online Counseling Degree
Degree Finder
BestValueSchools.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

If spending a day getting paid to help others, offering advice, and providing a listening ear to those who need support sounds like a great day on the job, pursuing a career in counseling may be in your future. Counseling is a broad field of study that includes coursework in the humanities, social sciences, psychology, and education. With such diverse coursework, many schools offer various degree programs with general or specialized concentrations. This leaves students a wide range of career options upon graduation. Many of the top schools in the U.S.  offer online counseling degree programs at the undergraduate, graduate, and doctorate levels.

What to do with an online counseling degree

Obtaining a counseling degree opens a wide range of career options. Without further education, those who receive a bachelor’s degree in counseling have completed coursework in humanities, psychology, and sociology courses, setting them up for several different career paths. For those wanting to become licensed counselors, a master’s degree may be required. Luckily, several schools on our list below provide the academic requirements needed to obtain licensure in several states, getting one step closer to becoming a clinical counselor in an educational, public, or private setting.

Licensed counselors specialize in different fields such as marriage and family counseling, school counseling, and addiction recovery counseling. Counselors work in several different places, from high schools to hospitals and government agencies. Other counselors choose to open private practices.

The job demand for counselors is high, as many organizations utilize counselors to help patients, students, and employees. In 2016, the average income for an independent Mental Health Counselor was $46,050.

Getting an online counseling degree

Undergraduates who wish to pursue a counseling degree will find that many schools offer counseling concentrations within broader majors such as a psychology degree and sociology degree. For those seeking post-graduate studies, many schools offer specialized courses of study in clinical counseling, marriage and family counseling, and addiction recovery. Some programs provide the academic requirements for graduate students to obtain their counseling licenses in states like California and beyond. Students pursuing an online degree of this nature benefit from the scheduling flexibility of online learning and are able to more efficiently handle family and full-time work commitments while furthering their education.

If you need help finding the right online school for you, we can help! Best Value Schools matches students with their dream school by providing resources for the top degree programs in the nation. Get started today!

Rank School Location
1Liberty UniversityLynchburg, Virginia
2Nova Southeastern University Fort Lauderdale, Florida
3Western New Mexico UniversitySilver City, New Mexico
4Oral Roberts UniversityTulsa, Oklahoma
5Fort Hays UniversityHays, Kansas

Top 20 Online Counseling Degree Programs

1

Liberty University

  • Lynchburg, Virginia
  • Graduation Rate: 34%

Liberty University has a wide range of degree options at the undergraduate and graduate level, making them our top choice for the best schools with online counseling degrees. Under their B.S. in Psychology umbrella, students can major in various counseling concentrations like Criminal Psychology, Life Coaching, Military Resilience, and Crisis Counseling. They offer nine online bachelor’s degrees within the counseling and psychology field, along with 40 different graduate-level masters and doctoral programs. Graduate students can pick specialized areas of study such as Human Services Counseling, Pastoral Counseling, and Addiction Counseling. Doctorates in Community Care and Counseling and Ministry Pastoral Counseling are also available.

School Overview

Estimated tuition: $22,747
Accreditation: Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools
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2

Nova Southeastern University

  • Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  • Graduation Rate: 62%

Nova Southeastern University offers several graduate-level counseling programs. Their clinical Mental Health Counseling degree, School Counseling/Substance Abuse Counseling degree, and Applied Behavior Analysis degrees are all offered online. Depending on the specific track chosen, the program is anywhere from 48 to 60 credit hours. The wide variety of degree options at Nova Southeastern University make it an excellent choice for those wishing to pursue a career in counseling.

School Overview

Estimated tuition: $19,665
Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
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3

Western New Mexico University

  • Silver City, New Mexico
  • Graduation Rate: 24%

The B.S. or B.A. Chemical Dependency Counseling degree program from Western New Mexico University is a unique online degree program that offers specialization even at the undergraduate level. Students with this degree have careers in the public and private sector as case managers, clinical directors, and program managers for both children and adult recovery programs. This degree is offered as a minor and a graduate concentration as well. For those wanting to pursue graduate studies, the university offers several graduate degree programs in Mental Health, Rehabilitation, and School Counseling.

School Overview

Estimated tuition: $6,306 in-state, $13,539 out-of-state
Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
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4

Oral Roberts University

  • Tulsa, Oklahoma
  • Graduation Rate: 44%

Located in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Oral Roberts University is a private Christian-based educational facility. They offer a modular graduate counseling program. Their modular format combines 100% online courses with blended courses. In a blended course, students will complete most of the course work online while attending either a half-week (2.5 days) or full-week of classes on the Tulsa campus.

Undergraduates can obtain a Bachelor of Arts in Christian Caregiving and Counseling, which blends the methods of philosophy and research to pursue a ministry-related career in Christian counseling. Courses include Crisis Intervention, Developmental Psychology, and Christian Leadership. For post-graduate studies, students can receive an M.A. in Professional Counseling. This in-depth program prepares students to obtain their professional counseling license in Professional Counseling, Marriage and Family Therapy, or Addictions Counseling; or dual licensure in any combination.

Their undergraduate degree in Christian Caregiving and Counseling is 100% online. The graduate program is low-residency, requiring one week per semester in Tulsa and making relocation unnecessary.

School Overview

Estimated tuition: $30,070
Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission; Association of Theological Schools
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5

Fort Hays University

  • Hays, Kansas
  • Graduation Rate: 71%

Fort Hays University offers both undergraduate and graduate online counseling degrees. Undergrads can pursue either a B.A. or B.S. degree in Sociology-Addictions Counseling. This track has coursework specifically designed to help students gain the knowledge needed to work with recovering addicts and their families. Graduates have several master’s degree options, including Master’s of Science in Counseling with tracks focusing on Clinical Mental Health, Student Affairs, and School Counseling.

School Overview

Estimated tuition: $5,280 in-state, $15,360 out-of-state
Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
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6

University of the Cumberlands

  • Williamsburg, Kentucky
  • Graduation Rate: 78%

The University of the Cumberlands offers three online post-graduate degree programs in the counseling field: Master’s in Addiction Counseling, Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, and a Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision. These programs offer both highly specialized and general coursework depending on the chosen field of study. For admission into the programs, applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher, submit official transcripts, complete a writing sample prompt, and provide two reference letters from colleagues.

School Overview

Estimated tuition: $5,670
Accreditation: Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (Masters in Addiction Counseling)
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7

North American University

  • Stafford, Texas
  • Graduation Rate: 75%

The Master’s in Education in School Counseling at North American University is geared towards professionals who want to work in public and private educational facilities as a guidance or academic counselor for students from kindergarten to twelfth grade. This online counseling degree is a 30-credit hour program that also requires a field experience practicum. The program offers students the option to complete a thesis or take on additional coursework instead of a thesis.

School Overview

Estimated tuition: $5,940
Accreditation: Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges & Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools.
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8

New York University

  • New York City, New York
  • Graduation Rate: 85%

The Master’s in Education in School Counseling at North American University is geared towards professionals who want to work in public and private educational facilities as a guidance or academic counselor for students from kindergarten to twelfth grade. This online counseling degree is a 30-credit hour program that also requires a field experience practicum. The program offers students the option to complete a thesis or take on additional coursework instead of a thesis.

School Overview

Estimated tuition: $5,940
Accreditation: Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges & Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools.
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9

University of Southern California

  • Los Angeles, California
  • Graduation Rate: 92%

The highly regarded Rossier School of Education at the University of Southern California offers an online Master of Education in School Counseling degree. This program helps students who want to pursue careers in school counseling get the foundation and academic coursework they need to receive their professional counseling license in California. This completely online program has full or part-time options and can be completed in two or three years. Coursework includes studying legal and ethical issues, human development, classroom management, and research methods.

School Overview

Estimated tuition: $97,755
Accreditation: WASC Senior College and University Commission
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10

Lamar University

  • Beaumont, Texas
  • Graduation Rate: 32%

Lamar University in Texas has two separate online master’s counseling degree program tracks through its Counseling and Development master’s degree. Both tracks fall under their general Masters in Counseling and Development. The Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling track allows students to work with children and families to support them through the various problems modern families face. The Professional School Counseling track focuses on a student’s healthy mental health habits, substance abuse and suicide prevention, and youth development. After completing coursework, students are set up to receive several different licensures depending on their desired course of study.

School Overview

Estimated tuition: $6,324 in-state, $13,920 out-of-state
Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
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11

Campbellsville University

  • Campbellsville, Kentucky
  • Graduation Rate: 34%

The M.A. Education-School Guidance Counseling (P-12) degree at Campbellsville University is an online degree program with 48 credit hours. The school is a private Christain university, so the degree focuses on applying biblical principles while guiding students to the paths that are right for them. Coursework dives into many of the modern challenges facing students, like preventing substance abuse, relational issues, and ethical dilemmas. Students must complete a series of three internships to obtain their degrees, giving real-world and practical application to the program’s coursework.

School Overview

Estimated tuition: $12,240
Accreditation: Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation
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12

University at Buffalo

  • Buffalo, New York
  • Graduation Rate: 73%

The University at Buffalo is located in upstate New York and offers an online Rehabilitation Counseling master’s degree and several advanced online certificates. The Rehabilitation Counseling degree gives students the opportunity to explore the specialized skills needed to counsel those who have mental, psychiatric, and sensory disabilities. The program boasts a high rate of employment after graduation and prepares students for careers in a variety of counseling situations.

School Overview

Estimated tuition: $11,310 in-state, $23,100 out-of-state
Accreditation: Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs
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13

Brandman University

  • Irvine, California
  • Graduation Rate: 81%

Located in Irvine, California, Brandman University offers a Master of Arts in Psychology, Professional Clinical Counseling with hybrid and online learning options. This degree is specialized to help potential counselors meet the educational and licensing requirements needed to obtain a professional clinical counselor license in California and other states. For this reason, this degree program may not be offered in every state. The program involves coursework that is both theory and practically based, giving students a comprehensive understanding of the clinical counseling field.

School Overview

Estimated tuition: $11,880
Accreditation: WASC Senior College and University Commission
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14

Touro University Worldwide

  • Los Alamitos, California
  • Graduation Rate: 78%

Touro University Worldwide offers an online counseling degree in Marriage and Family therapy. This master’s program helps students understand the relational intricacies of modern family life and helps families become stronger together. Students can choose between a clinical or non-clinical track. The non-clinical track doesn’t require a practicum or clinical hour requirement. Each track is about 54 credits. The Marriage and Family Therapy program makes students eligible for the MFT license in California and other states without additional education or coursework.

School Overview

Estimated tuition: $9,000
Accreditation: Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education
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15

Houghton College

  • Caneadea, New York
  • Graduation Rate: 71%

Houghton College offers an online or on-campus Bachelors in Psychology program with a specialized track in Clinical/Counseling Psychology. This program’s coursework includes classes in experimental methods, behavior analysis, and abnormal psychology. Students must also complete an internship as part of their graduation requirements. This degree focuses on the general studies of psychology and how it relates to counseling, setting students up for a future career or post-graduate studies.

*The college announced a pricing reset last year that has reduced tuition by 53% to $15,900. The online Psychology program is priced competitively at $392/credit hour, which means that a student could pay as little as $15,680 in tuition costs to complete their degree, depending on the number of credits that they transfer to Houghton.

School Overview

Estimated tuition: $15,680*
Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
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16

Houston Baptist University

  • Houston, Texas
  • Graduation Rate: 44%

There are two options to obtain an online counseling degree from Houston Baptist University.  The University offers online graduate degrees which are an M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (leading to licensure as an LPC-A in Texas) and an M.A. in Marriage and Family Therapy (leading to licensure as an LMFT-A in Texas).  As a Christian University, HBU trains students from a Christian perspective, though admission is open to all regardless of faith.

School Overview

Estimated tuition: $33,450
Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
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17

Washington State University

  • Pullman, Washington
  • Graduation Rate: 66%

Students can pursue an undergraduate online bachelor’s degree in psychology with a focus area on Clinical Counseling at Washington State University. To graduate with the intended focus area, students must complete two courses from a list of area electives. Courses include Abnormal Psychology, Principles of Developmental Psychology, and Clinical/Community Psychology. The degree program is intended to give students a broad range of coursework within the psychology field, allowing them to pursue post-graduate studies or enter the workforce.

School Overview

Estimated tuition: $11,841 in-state, $26,419 out-of-state
Accreditation: Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
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18

Notre Dame College

  • South Euclid, Ohio
  • Graduation Rate: 34%

The B.A. program in Psychology at Norte Dame College has four tracks that students can specialize in to gain a more in-depth course of study within the broad field of psychology. Those who follow the Clinical and Counseling Psychology track must complete all the courses offered in the track, including Gender Psychology, Abnormal Psychology, and Multicultural Psychology.

School Overview

Estimated tuition: $30,160
Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
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19

University of Maine at Augusta

  • Augusta, Maine
  • Graduation Rate: 30%

The online Mental Health and Human Services Bachelors in Science degree at UMA offers students the opportunity to receive general mental health education while gearing studies towards specific concentrations, including addiction counseling and child and family services. This undergraduate degree meets the academic requirements for a conditional social worker credential, which sets students up for employment in the field upon graduation. The course program also offers students an associate’s degree as they move through this course of study.

School Overview

Estimated tuition: $8,168 in-state, $18,338 out-of-state
Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education
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20

University of Toledo

  • Toledo, Ohio
  • Graduation Rate: 41%

The University of Toledo provides a counseling track within their online B.A. in Liberal Studies degree. The liberal arts degree is for students who want to choose their own course of study and have a broad knowledge of various subjects. This propels them to work in the field after graduation or focus on a more specialized degree at the graduate or doctorate level. Coursework includes classes in the broad categories of humanities and social sciences.

School Overview

Estimated tuition: $10,650 in-state, $20,010 out-of-state
Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
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Methodology 

The school rankings methodology was conducted using ranking factors such as tuition, accreditation, and program relevancy. Special consideration was given to schools that had accreditations for specific counseling degree programs. Tuition and accreditation information was researched using the National Center for Educational Statistics. This list was made based on research, not by advertisers. Read more about our school ranking methodology on our website.

We help students discover the best colleges and universities based on their desired course of study, tuition rates, and school location. View other lists on our website to see the top schools in the nation for your desired degree program!

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