This is a ranking of the top 15 accelerated online master’s in school counseling degree programs for 2017. These programs can take many forms, including master of education degrees, master of arts, and master of science degrees in counseling. School counselors fulfill a very specific role in the counseling world. They provide guidance to primary and secondary students and their parents. School counselors work with students on college plans and help to identify risk factors in students, from mental health risks to learning disabilities, and in some unfortunate circumstances abuse and trauma counseling. School counseling graduate degrees generally consist of anywhere from 42 to 60+ credit hours of study. Many online programs take three to four years to complete considering the extensive internship requirements for licensure. For all of the accelerated programs ranked here, coursework not including internships (which are essentially the beginning of any school counselor’s career) can be completed in under two years. All of these programs are offered by nonprofit, regionally accredited colleges and universities.
Methodology: More information on the sources and methodology of this ranking article can be found at the bottom of the page.
#15. Eastern Washington University
Educational Specialist in School Psychology Respecialization
This two-year program was designed specifically for educators and education professionals who wish to respecialize in school psychology. The program is open to those in the education profession with a master’s degree or an undergraduate degree and three years of full-time teaching. The program does require some in-person sessions as well as some synchronous sessions during the online classes.
#14. University of Tennessee–Martin
Online Master of Science in Education with a Major in School Counseling
The coursework for the University of Tennessee Martin can be completed in less than 18 months of full time study, and the internships in one year. Students in this program will take classes on professional, ethical and legal issues in counseling, multicultural issues in education and counseling, growth and development across the lifespan, and group dynamics.
#13. Seton Hall University
Online Master of Arts in Counseling
Seton Hall University’s accelerated online master of arts in school counseling can be completed in just two years including the internships. Students will take classes like principles of learning and behavior modification, counseling and supervision in school settings, multicultural counseling and psychology, psychology of human development, and career development and counseling.
#12. University of Louisiana–Monroe
Online Master of Science in Counseling
Students who double specialize in school counseling and clinical mental health counseling double their career opportunities and can work as mental health counselor, school counselor, school administrator, career counseling, addictions counselor, play therapist, life coach, and consultant. Even students who double specialize can complete their degree in just 2.5-3 years.
#11. Mercy College
Online Master of Science in Bilingual School Counseling
Completing Mercy College’s online master of science in counseling with a concentration in school counseling often earns students a provisional certificate as a school counselor upon graduation. Full time students can complete the coursework in 12-18 months and the internship over the course of another two semesters. Students will take courses like counseling and ethics, and career development and counseling.
#10. Our Lady of the Lake University
Online Master of Education in School Counseling
The online master of education in school counseling degree at Our Lady of the Lake University can be completed in just two years including the internships. Students will take courses like guidance and counseling services, ethical issues in schools, multicultural issues, disability issues, multicultural issues, and child and juvenile psychological development.
#9. University of Houston–Victoria
Online Master’s in School Counseling
Full time students can complete the coursework for the University of Houston Victoria’s accelerated online school counseling program in just 12 to 18 months. Students will take classes like professional orientation to counseling, group counseling: theories and techniques, career education: the counselor’s role, foundations of educational research, and addiction counseling: theory and techniques.
#8. University of the Southwest
Online Master of Science in Education–School Counseling
The coursework for the accelerated online MSED in school counseling program from the University of the Southwest can be completed in 12 to 18 months. Students will study courses like child and adolescent counseling, psycho-educational assessment, program development and management, crisis and trauma interventions, introduction to play therapy, and human sexuality.
#7. University of Texas at Tyler
Online Master of Arts in School Counseling
Students in the University of Texas at Tyler’s accelerated online master of arts in school counseling program can graduate in just 18 months. The tradeoff of the fast program is that while the program meets Texas requirements for certification, it may not meet the requirements of other states. Students with a master’s degree or an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher don’t need to submit GRE scores.
#6. Gwynedd Mercy University
Online Master of Science in School Counseling
The coursework for Gwynedd Mercy University’s accelerated online school counseling program can be completed within 18 months of full time study. The two required internships that cap off the program place the students in K-8 and 9-12 grades respectively. Students will take courses like theories of counseling, assessment techniques in counseling, intervention techniques in counseling, and organization of school counseling.
#5. Concordia University Wisconsin
Online Masters in Education–School Counseling
Students in Concordia’s online master’s in education school counseling program can start new courses every eight weeks. Taking two courses at a time every eight weeks means the student can finish the coursework in under 18 months. Students will take courses like addictions counseling, family development, trauma counseling, group counseling, and career counseling.
#4. Missouri Baptist University
Online Master of Arts in Counseling–School Counseling
The coursework for Missouri Baptist’s accelerated online master of arts in school counseling can be completed in just 18 months. This program is designed for students planning to seek licensure as guidance counselors in public K-12 settings. Students graduating from this program will find themselves qualified for numerous doctoral programs or a career as school counselor, mentor, or church staff.
#3. Indiana Wesleyan University
Online Master of Arts in Counseling–School Counseling
The coursework for Indiana Wesleyan’s online school counseling master’s can be completed in as little as a year and a half by full-time students. The program does require two weekend intensives on campus. This program is accredited by CACREP and CAEP. Students will take courses like theory and techniques in the helping relationship, multicultural counseling, and human growth and development.
#2. Fort Hays State University
Online Master of Science in Counseling–School Counseling
Students in the Fort Hays State University accelerated online master of science in counseling program in school counseling can complete the coursework in just one year. The three intensives can be completed on campus during the summer semester. Students will take courses like professional counseling in elementary schools, management of counseling programs, and lifestyle and career development.
The ranking methodology used here is simple. All degrees included can be completed at a faster than average pace, and they are ranked according to their affordability.
#1. Liberty University
Master of Education in School Counseling Online
The coursework for Liberty University’s 48-credit accelerated online master of education in school counseling program can be completed in 16 months. The program does require four on-campus intensives. No prior teaching license is required for this program. As of 2015, Liberty’s online school counseling program received an eight-year CACREP accreditation.
All information in this article was drawn either directly from each school’s website or from the National Center for Education Statistics’ College Navigator database.
By CVO Staff