This is a ranking of the top 30 online master’s in counseling programs for 2016-2017 ranked according to their affordability. Finalists were selected out of 75 schools currently offering online counseling programs. All of the schools ranked here are from non-profit, regionally accredited universities. Many of the universities listed here are accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), which is the foremost accreditor of graduate level counseling programs in the United States. For more on our ranking methodology, see the end of the article.

#30. Seton Hall University

Online Master of Arts in Professional Counseling

Rating: 2

Seton Hall University online master’s in counseling

Seton Hall’s online master’s in counseling is also an Ed.S. (Educational Specialist) degree.

Website

Seton Hall’s online program in professional counseling does require two short on-campus residencies. Some of the courses students will take include etiology and treatment of addictions, couple and family dynamics: systemic perspectives, appraisal and assessment in counseling, stat theory and computer applications, and multicultural counseling and psychology.

Tuition: $20,430

#29. Abilene Christian University

Online Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy

Rating: 4

Abilene Christian University online master’s in counseling

Abilene Christian University, an evangelical Christian school affiliated with the Churches of Christ, offers an affordable online master’s in counseling.

Website

Abilene Christian University offers both a master of marriage and family therapy and a postgraduate certificate in medical family therapy. The post-graduate certificate is intended to provide deeper professional development for counselors already holding a graduate degree in marriage and family therapy. Students will take courses like systematic diagnosis and assessment, couples therapy, sex therapy, professional ethics and the law, and theological perspectives on human behavior.

Tuition: $19,116
Standout Features: Postgraduate Certificate in Medical Family Therapy

#28. Medaille College

Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling Online

Rating: 4

Medaille College online master’s in counseling

All online students must visit the campus for five days once per year in order to complete some of the coursework.

Website

Graduates from the online master’s in clinical mental health counseling program at Medaille have worked as mental health clinic counselors, drug and alcohol program clinicians, hospital/psychiatric center therapists, college and university counselors, and private practice therapists. Students will take courses like psychopathologies, assessment and evaluation, personality theories and counseling, and human growth and development.

Tuition: $15,282

#27. University of Louisiana at Monroe

Online Master’s in Counseling

Rating: 5

University of Louisiana Monroe Best Online History Degrees online master’s in counseling

CACREP-accreditation means this program is not only affordable, but one of the best online master’s in counseling programs available.

Website

ULM’s CACREP-accredited online MS in Counseling program offers concentrations in clinical mental health and school counseling. Graduates of the clinical mental health concentration have worked as mental health counselors, group facilitators, vocational counselors, life coaches, art therapists, and rehabilitation counselors.

In-State Tuition: $6,106
Out of State Tuition: $18,206
Standout Features: CACREP-Accredited

#26. Nova Southeastern University

Online Master’s in Counseling

Rating: 5

Nova Southeastern University online master’s in counseling

Nova Southeastern University’s online MS in counseling program targets busy professionals who need the training to advance in their field.

Website

Nova Southeastern’s online counseling program offers students concentrations in mental health counseling, substance abuse counseling and education, applied behavior analysis, and advanced applied behavior analysis. The latter two concentrations are for professionals who already hold an advanced degree in psychology or education.

Tuition: $16,760
Standout Features: Four concentrations

#25. John Carroll University

Online Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Rating: 6

John Carroll University online master’s in counseling

John Carroll University is a Roman Catholic university in the Jesuit tradition offering an online master’s degree in counseling.

Website

Applicants to this online counseling graduate program must have an undergraduate degree in the social and behavioral sciences, a minimum GPA of 2.75, and submit an MAT or GRE score. Students will take courses like human growth and development, career development and vocational appraisal, counseling techniques and practice, and counseling children and adolescents.

Tuition: $14,377

#24. Washburn University

Online MA in Human Services and Addiction Counseling

Rating: 6

Washburn University online master’s in counseling

Washburn’s coursework is offered 100% online with fieldwork completed in your local community.

Website

The online MA in Human Services/Addiction Counseling program offered by Washburn is recognized by the Kansas Behavioral Science Regulatory Board for meeting the educational requirements for students to become licensed clinical addiction counselors. Students will take courses like clinical supervision, applied research, integrative human services, and diagnosing substance use disorders.

In-State Tuition: $6,426
Out of State Tuition: $13,086

#23. Amridge University

Online MA in Professional Counseling

Rating: 6

Amridge University online master’s in counseling

Amridge University’s online MA in Professional Counseling is designed for working professionals rather than new graduates.

Website

Graduates from Amridge University have found employment at inpatient facilities, employee assistance programs, health maintenance organizations, private practice, and courts and prisons. Students in this online master’s in counseling program will take courses like community and social systems, theories of personality development, and lifestyle and career development.

Tuition: $12,870

#22. Thomas University

Online Master of Science in Clinical Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling

Rating: 6

Thomas University online master’s in counseling

The employment rate for graduates from this online master’s degree in counseling is 90% within six months of graduation.

Website

Students who graduate from this program at Thomas will be prepared to pass the certified rehabilitation counselor exam and the exam to become a licensed professional counselor. Students will take courses like theories and techniques of group counseling, crisis counseling, human sexuality, addictions and alcoholism ethics, and medical aspects of disability.

Tuition: $11,430

#21. Friends University

Online Master of Science in Family Therapy

Rating: 6

Friends University online master’s in counseling

Friends University is a Christian school with Quaker roots offering an online master’s in counseling.

Website

Graduates from the Friends University online MS in Family Therapy program have found work at schools, hospitals, domestic violence facilities, bereavement agencies, churches, and elder facilities. Students will take courses like diagnostic assessment of psychopathology, postmodern theories of therapeutic intervention, classic theories of therapeutic intervention, and intergenerational family theories.

Tuition: $11,358

#20. California Baptist University

Online Master’s in Counseling

Rating: 6

California Baptist University online master’s in counseling

California Baptist University strives to apply faith to therapeutic approaches in its online master’s in counseling.

Website

The online MS in Counseling Psychology degree offered by California Baptist University will take students between 2 and 4 years to complete. Students in this online counseling program will take courses like MFT counseling theory, professional ethics and law, psychopharmacology, HIV and AIDS counseling, domestic violence, aging and mental health, and advanced psychopathology.

Tuition: $11,232

#19. Grace College and Theological Seminary

Online Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Rating: 6

Grace College and Theological Seminary online master’s in counseling

Grace College and Theological Seminary offers a very affordable online master’s in counseling.

Website

Grace College and Theological Seminary offers students a CACREP-accredited online MA in Clinical and Mental Health Counseling program. Students in this program will take courses like theological foundations in counseling, marriage and family counseling, personality/counseling theories, psychotherapy with children and adolescents, and addictions counseling.

Tuition: $10,404

#18. Southwestern Assemblies of God University

Online Master’s in Counseling Psychology

Rating: 6

Southwestern Assemblies of God University online master’s in counseling

SAGU offers a Christian approach to an online master’s in counseling.

Website

Students can expect that as a Christian university SAGU’s counseling courses are informed by a Christian worldview. Students in the online Master’s in Counseling Psychology program will take courses like counseling in a pluralistic society, theories of counseling and psychotherapy, personal lifestyle and career development, crisis intervention, and human growth and lifespan development.

Tuition: $10,350

#17. Southern California Seminary

Online Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology

Rating: 6

Southern California Seminary online master’s in counseling

This online MA in Counseling Psychology program satisfies the California Board of Behavioral Science, Business, and Professions requirements for licensure as a Marriage and Family Therapist.

Website

Southern California Seminary’s online MA in Counseling Psychology program offers both a licensure track and a non-licensure track. With one additional class graduates will also meet the requirements for licensure as a professional clinical counselor. The three courses in this program requiring an on-campus intensive session are counseling techniques, group counseling, and alcohol and substance abuse. Students must also take six biblical foundation courses.

Tuition: $10,260

#16. Huntington University

Online Master’s in Counseling

Rating: 6

Huntington University online master’s in counseling

Huntington University melds Christian values with counseling best practices in their online master’s degree in counseling.

Website

This online MA in counseling is designed to enable students to pursue licensure as a licensed mental health counselor in Indiana and other states. Huntington’s counseling program does require a 3-day intensive on campus. The program will prepare students to work in both secular and religious settings. Students take courses like human growth and development, legal, ethical, and professional issues, and foundations of spiritual formation and direction.

Tuition: $10,200

#15. Mid-America Christian University

Online Master’s in Counseling

Rating: 7

Mid-American Christian University online master’s in counseling

The online master’s in counseling from Mid-America Christian University is convenient and affordable.

Website

The online counseling program at Mid-America Christian University offers concentrations in clinical mental health counseling, marital and family therapy, pastoral and spiritual direction, clinical mental health and addictions counseling, and applied behavioral science. Students will take courses on theories of counseling and psychotherapy, marriage and family systems and treatment, and multicultural treatment planning for individuals and families.

Tuition: $13,560
Standout Features: Five specializations.

#14. Colorado Christian University

Online Master’s in Counseling

Rating: 7

Colorado Christian University online master’s in counseling

CCU offers an online master’s degree in counseling from an evangelical Christian perspective.

Website

This CACREP-accredited online MA in counseling can be completed in 30 months of full time study. Students can transfer up to 12 graduate credit hours into the 60-credit program. Students will take courses like theological foundations for counseling, psychopharmacology, human growth and development, neuroscience and clinical counseling, eating disorders, and spiritual formation.

Tuition: $13,360
Standout Features: CACREP-Accredited

#13. Lock Haven University

Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Rating: 7

Lock Haven University online master’s in counseling

Lock Haven’s online master’s in counseling program fulfills the educational requirements for licensure for the state of Pennsylvania.

Website

Lock Haven’s CACREP-accredited online MS in counseling program requires applicants to have a 3.0 GPA and an undergraduate degree in psychology or a related discipline such as education, sociology, or criminal justice. Students will take courses like theories of counseling and psychotherapy, clinical mental health counseling as a profession, and skills and techniques in mental health counseling.

In-State Tuition: $8,460
Out of State Tuition: $12,690
Standout Features:CACREP-accredited

#12. University of Houston-Victoria

Online Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Rating: 7

University of Houston-Victoria online master’s in counseling

The University of Houston-Victoria offers three distinct counseling programs.

Website

UHV offers CACREP-accredited online counseling programs in clinical mental health counseling, professional school counseling, and student affairs and college counseling. Students in the online clinical mental health counseling program will take courses like couples and family dynamics, assessment in counseling, abnormal human behavior, and advanced psychopathology and psychopharmacology.

In-State Tuition: $5,574
Out of State Tuition: $12,594
Standout Features: CACREP-accredited

#11. Adams State University

Online Master’s in Counseling

Rating: 7

Adams State University online master’s in counseling

Adams State’s online MA in counseling requires two summer intensives where online students meet on campus.

Website

This CACREP-accredited online counseling program meets the state requirements for licensure as a school counselor or licensed professional counselor in Colorado. Students in this online MA in counseling program will take courses like deaf studies, transpersonal psychology, communication issues with deaf children, philosophies and theories of counseling, and parenting.

In-State Tuition: $4,428
Out of State Tuition: $10,368
Standout Features: CACREP-Accredited

#10. Texas Woman’s University

Online Master of Science in Counseling and Development

Rating: 8

Texas Woman's University online master’s in counseling

Texas Woman’s University was founded in 1901 as a female-online college but is now co-educational.

Website

Texas Woman’s University’s CACREP-accredited online MS in Counseling and Development degree offers clinical mental health counseling and professional school counselor tracks. A dual degree program is available in counseling and music therapy. Students will take courses like play therapy, counseling children and adolescents, expressive arts, grief and bereavement, and counseling an aging population.

In-State Tuition: $4,380
Out of State Tuition: $11,400
Standout Features: CACREP-Accredited, dual degree.

#9. Concordia University-Wisconsin

Online Master of Science in Education Counseling

Rating: 8

Concordia University-Wisconsin online master’s in counseling

This online master’s in counseling program is designed to prepare students to become either school counselors, or professional counselors.

Website

This program offers two tracks, one for professional counseling, the other for school counseling. The primary difference between the two, however, is where the student does their practicum; the coursework is the same. Students will take courses like trauma counseling, psychopathology, psychopharmacology, theories of personality, career counseling foundations, and human development.

Tuition: $9,864

#8. Faulkner University

Online Master’s in Counseling

Rating: 8

Faulkner University online master’s in counseling

Faulkner’s MS in counseling online program blends the traditional academic approach with practical experiences.

Website

Two courses in Faulkner’s online master of science in counseling program, Clinical Training I and Clinical Training II, require students to meet on campus for a one week intensive. The practicum and internship in counseling courses are hands-on field experiences and can be done locally in most cases. Students will take courses like group counseling, measurement and assessment, marriage and family theory, and suicide intervention and counseling.

Tuition: $9,960

#7. Touro University Worldwide

Online MA in Marriage and Family Therapy

Rating: 8

Touro University online master’s in counseling

Touro University offers one of our most affordable online master’s degree in counseling programs.

Website

Touro offers students non-clinical, clinical, and licensed professional clinical counseling tracks for their online Marriage and Family Therapy program. Students will take courses on contemporary issues in marriage and family therapy, assessment and testing for the marriage and family therapist, aging, illness and long term care concerns, ethics and law for marriage, and family therapy.

Tuition: $9,000

#6. Northwestern Oklahoma State University

Online Master of Counseling Psychology

Rating: 8

Northwestern Oklahoma State University online master’s in counseling

Students applying for admission to this online program must have at least 18 undergraduate credits in psychology.

Website

The two tracks available in this online master of counseling psychology program prepare students for licensure as either professional counselors or alcohol and drug counselors. Students will take courses on social psychology, theory of psychological testing, motivation and emotion, biopsychology, substance abuse counseling, abnormal psychology, and human lifespan development.

In-State Tuition: $3,766
Out of State Tuition: $8,356

#5. University of Arkansas

Online Master’s in Counseling

Rating: 8

University of Arkansas online master’s in counseling

University of Arkansas’ online master’s in counseling is one of the most affordable.

Website

Applicants to the online MS in Counseling at the University of Arkansas must have maintained a 3.0 GPA on all undergraduate and previous graduate coursework, and must submit GRE scores. Students can choose between concentrations in clinical mental health counseling and school counseling. Courses students will take include counseling theory, psychopharmacology, and appraisal of individuals.

In-State Tuition: $4,375
Out of State Tuition: $8,749

#4. Lamar University

Online Master of Education in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Rating: 8

Lamar University online master’s in counseling

Tuition at Lamar is the same for online students regardless of residency.

Website

While this online program is a master’s in education with a concentration in clinical mental health counseling, it still meets all the educational requirements for licensure in Texas. Students will take courses like individual counseling theory and technique, counseling skills, professionalism ethics and law, substance abuse counseling, and crisis prevention intervention.

Tuition: $8,250

#3. Liberty University

Online MA in Professional Counseling

Rating: 8

Liberty University online master’s in counseling

Liberty’s online MA in professional counseling is designed to prepare students to become licensed professional counselors.

Website

This online MA in professional counseling program is designed for students who wish to work as counselors in mental health agencies, counseling centers, hospital programs, or private practice. Counseling students in this program will take courses like counseling techniques and the helping relationship, marriage and family counseling, crisis counseling, and substance abuse: diagnosis, treatment, and prevention.

Tuition: $7,781

#2. University of the Cumberlands

Online MA in Professional Counseling

Rating: 9

University of the Cumberlands online master’s in counseling

The online master’s in counseling program at the University of the Cumberlands is designed to serve both working professionals and students with a recent undergraduate degree.

Website

The University of the Cumberlands online master’s degree in counseling  is fully accredited by CACREP. Students can choose between concentrations in addiction counseling and clinical mental health counseling. Some of the courses offered in the program are legal and ethical issues in counseling, human growth and development, research methods in counseling, and counseling during grief and crisis.

Tuition: $5,670

#1. Marian University

Online Master’s in Counseling

Rating: 11

Marian University online master’s in counseling

Marian’s online master’s in counseling program is designed to meet the professional standards of CACREP.

Website

Students considering Marian’s online master’s in counseling can choose between school counseling and clinical mental health counseling tracks. Students will take courses like applied neuroscience, multicultural counseling, group counseling, counseling children and adolescents, advanced human growth and development, career and lifestyle counseling, and marriage and family counseling.

Tuition: $4,608
Standout Features: CACREP-Accredited

Sources

Tuition information was retrieved from College Navigator.

Ranking Methodology

Points were not awarded in a combined fashion but instead were awarded based on the category in which the school had the highest score (in-state or out-of-state). Bonus Points were then awarded for standout features at a rate of one point per standout feature.

Ranking System
In-State Tuition
Under $25k=1
Under $20=2
Under $15=3
Under $10=4
Under $5=5

Out-of-State Tuition
Under $25k=2
Under $20k=4
Under $15k=6
Under $10k=8
Under $5k=10

This concludes our ranking of the top 30 online master’s in counseling programs for 2016-2017 ranked according to affordability.

Sources:

Payscale.com
NCES College Navigator

CVO Staff
November 2016