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Top 20 Accelerated Master’s in School Counseling Online Programs 2019

In this article, we profile the top 20 accelerated online master’s in school counseling programs for 2019.

School counselors fulfill a very specific role in the counseling world. They provide guidance to primary and secondary students, as well as their parents. School counselors work with students on college plans and help to identify risk factors in students, from mental health issues to learning disabilities, and in some unfortunate circumstances, abuse and trauma counseling. Many online programs take three to four years to complete, considering the extensive internship requirements for licensure.

20 Accelerated Online Master’s in School Counseling Programs Methodology

We reviewed approximately 60 masters in school counseling online degree programs listed by various sites, such as NCES College Navigator. For most 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 regionally accredited colleges and universities. To narrow our original pool of schools, we selected programs that cost less than $24,000 per year. The programs on our list are ranked according to raw affordability.

Below is our list of the 20 online accelerated master’s in school counseling programs of 2019.

#20 – Seton Hall University

Online Master’s in School Counseling

South Orange, New Jersey

Website

Seton Hall University - 20 Accelerated Masters in School Counseling Online

Takes only two years to complete the master’s in school counseling online program at Seton Hall University.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $23,422

Seton Hall University’s accelerated master’s in school counseling online degree can be completed in just two years, including the internships. Students will take classes such as 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. The program consists of 48 credits and is CAEP-accredited. In addition to accreditation, Seton Hall ranks with U.S. News and World Report. In fact, U.S. News ranks Seton #119 in best national universities. With affordable tuition for in-state residents, Seton Hall earns a spot on our accelerated master’s in school counseling online programs.

#19 – Our Lady of the Lake University

Online Master’s in Counseling

San Antonio, Texas

Website

Our Lady of the Lake University - 20 Accelerated Master's in School Counseling Online

Two years, including internships. Our Lady of the Lake University’s master’s in school counseling online.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $17,142

The online master’s in school counseling degree at Our Lady of the Lake University can be completed in just two years, including the required internships. Students will take courses like child and juvenile psychological development, counseling services, ethical issues in schools, guidance and counseling services, and multicultural issues. Our Lady of the Lake ranks with major publications, such as U.S. News and World Report. In fact, the publication ranks the school #69 in best regional universities in the West. Affordability and acceleration earn Our Lady of the Lake University a top spot on our list of accelerated master’s in school counseling online programs.

#18 – Mercy College

Online Master’s in Counseling

Dobbs Ferry, New York

Website

Mercy College - 20 Accelerated Master's in School Counseling Online

Earn the master’s in school counseling online in just 12-18 months from Mercy College!

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $16,338

Completing Mercy College’s master’s in school counseling online degree 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, making Mercy’s online master’s degree one of the most accelerated programs on our list. Students will take courses like counseling and ethics, and career development and counseling. U.S. News and World Report recognizes Mercy College as a top regional university in the North. Also, the online graduate education programs, including school counseling, rank #228-#299 out of more than 1,200 surveyed programs.

#17 – Regent University

Online Master’s in School Counseling

Virginia Beach, Virginia

Website

Regent University - 20 Accelerated Master's in School Counseling Online

Accredited & ranked! Regent University – Ideal for master’s in school counseling online programs.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $16,179

Regent University’s online master’s in school counseling program offers sixteen-week courses that are delivered entirely online. A total of 60 credits are needed to complete the degree and gain preparation to work as school counselors in charter, K-12, private, and public schools. Online courses include assessment techniques in counseling, career and lifestyle development, counseling skills and techniques, and principles of school counseling. Regent ranks with U.S. News and World Report as the 201st best national university in the country. Also, several online graduate programs, including school counseling, rank among the top 100 programs out of more than 1,200 programs surveyed by U.S. News.

#16 – Oregon State University

Online Master of Counseling – School Counseling

Corvallis, Oregon

Website

Oregon State University - 20 Accelerated Master's in School Counseling Online

Oregon State University’s master’s in school counseling online degree follows a hybrid format.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $14,331

The Oregon State University Counseling Academic Unit offers online school counseling degree programs, such as the master’s in school counseling. Available through OSU’s Ecampus, the 75-credit master’s in school counseling can be completed as a hybrid program. Hybrid means the degree requires some weekend work on campus, though approximately half of the program takes place online. The average completion time for this degree is less than two years. OSU offers reputation, rankings for academic performance, and accreditation. In fact, U.S. News and World Report ranks OSU #140 in best national universities and #116 in best value schools.

#15 – Southeastern University

Online Master’s in Educational Therapy

Lakeland, Florida

Website

Southeastern University - 20 Accelerated Master's in School Counseling Online

Only 12-24 months! Southeastern University’s master’s in school counseling online program.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $13,155

Southeastern University’s online school counseling degree consists of a 36-credit M.Ed. in exceptional student education and educational therapy. The estimated time to completion is 12-24 months, as the program accepts up to nine transfer credits. The program also provides students with credentials needed to earn the NILD educational therapy certification. While most of the program is completed online, there are hybrid courses that take place during three consecutive summers. Southeastern is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the 107th-141st best regional university in the South. Also, the online graduate education programs, including the educational therapy program, rank #228-#299 out of more than 1,200 programs surveyed by U.S. News.

#14 – Eastern Washington University

Online Master’s in Educational Specialist – School Psychology

Cheney, Washington

Website

Eastern Washington University - 20 Accelerated Master's in School Counseling Online

Designed for educators! Eastern Washington University’s master’s in school counseling online.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $12,381

Eastern Washington University’s online master’s in school counseling is a two-year program designed specifically for educators and education professionals who wish to re-specialize 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 and calls for strong field-based supervision. EWU ranks with major publications. In fact, U.S. News and World Report ranks the school #77 in best regional universities and #24 in top public schools.

#13 – Indiana Wesleyan University

Online Master’s in School Counseling

Marion, Indiana

Website

Indiana Wesleyan University - 20 Accelerated Master's in School Counseling Online

Two weekend intensives required. Indiana Wesleyan’s master’s in school counseling online.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,563

The coursework for Indiana Wesleyan’s master’s in school counseling online program 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, though most of the coursework is completed online. This program is accredited by CACREP and CAEP, which adds peace of mind to enrolled students. Students will take courses like human growth and development, multicultural counseling, and theory and techniques in the helping and nurturing relationships. In addition to accredited master’s in school counseling online programs, the school offers a strong reputation with major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In fact, U.S. News ranks Indiana Wesleyan #32 in best regional universities in the Midwest.

#12 – Gwynedd Mercy University

Online Master’s in School Counseling

Gwynedd Valley, Pennsylvania

Website

Gwynedd Mercy University - 20 Accelerated Master's in School Counseling Online

18 months! The master’s in school counseling online degree from Gwynedd Mercy University.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,286

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 assessment techniques in counseling, intervention techniques in counseling, organization of school counseling, and theories of counseling. Gwynedd is a private institution that is both accredited and ranked by major publications. U.S. News and World Report ranks Gwynedd #142-#187 in best regional universities in the North. Also, several online graduate education programs, such as the online school counseling program, have earned top rankings.

#11 – University of Tennessee

Online Master’s in Counseling

Martin, Tennessee

Website

University of Tennessee - 20 Accelerated Master's in School Counseling Online

18 months of full-time study! Master’s in school counseling at University of Tennessee.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,364

The coursework for the University of Tennessee Martin online master’s in school counseling can be completed in less than 18 months of full-time study, and the internships in one year. This is a rigorous and fast-paced program open to educators and working students. Individuals 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. UT Martin ranks with U.S. News and World Report as the 42nd best regional university in the country. Also, UT ranks #44 in best value schools.

#10 – Missouri Baptist University

Online Master’s in School Counseling

Saint Louis, Missouri

Website

Missouri Baptist University - 20 Accelerated Master's in School Counseling Online

Ranked and affordable! It takes only 18 months to finish the master’s in school counseling online degree at Missouri Baptist.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,801

The coursework for Missouri Baptist’s accelerated online school counseling degree 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 a school counselor, mentor, or member of church staff. The program offers flexible schedules for individuals who work full-time. In addition to earning a degree at a quick rate, Missouri Baptist offers accreditation and reputation with major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In fact, the school ranks #128-#165 in best regional universities in the Midwest.

#9 – Liberty University

Online Master’s in School Counseling

Lynchburg, Virginia

Website

Liberty University - 20 Accelerated Master's in School Counseling Online

16 months! Liberty University offers an accelerated master’s in school counseling online programs.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,333

The coursework for Liberty University’s 48-credit accelerated online master’s in school counseling program can be completed in 16 months, making it one of the fastest school counseling programs on our list. The program does require four on-campus intensives, but no prior teaching license is required for this program. As of 2015, Liberty’s online school counseling program received an eight-year CACREP accreditation. Some of the required courses include child and adolescent counseling in schools, counseling theories and techniques, and school counseling program development and evaluation. Liberty ranks with U.S. News and World Report as the 230th-301st best national university in the country.

#8 – University of Louisiana

Online Master’s in Counseling

Monroe, Louisiana

Website

University of Louisiana - 20 Accelerated Master's in School Counseling Online

Double specialize in mental health counseling! University of Louisiana.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,068

The master’s in school counseling online program at University of Louisiana moves at an accelerated completion rate. Students may double specialize in school counseling and clinical mental health counseling. By doubling the degree, students also increase their career opportunities, as they will be qualified to work as mental health counselors, school counselors, school administrators, career counseling specialists, addictions counselors, play therapists, life coaches, and consultants. Even students who double specialize can complete their degree in just 2.5-3 years. U.S. News and World Report ranks University of Louisiana #230-#301 in best national universities. Also, many of the school’s online graduate programs have received top 100 and top 200 rankings.

#7 – University of Texas

Online Master’s in School Counseling

Tyler, Texas

Website

University of Texas - 20 Accelerated Master's in School Counseling Online

Only 18 months! University of Texas – Master’s in School Counseling online degree.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,126

Students in the University of Texas at Tyler’s accelerated online master’s 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. Certification may be needed if your residency is outside of Texas. Students with a master’s degree or an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher don’t need to submit GRE scores. The school is accredited and ranked with U.S. News and World Report as the 81st best regional university in the West. Also, UT ranks #27 in top public schools and offers highly affordable tuition for in-state residents earning a graduate degree.

#6 – University of West Alabama

Online Master’s in School Counseling

Livingston, Alabama

Website

University of West Alabama - 20 Accelerated Master's in School Counseling Online

Takes 1-2 years to earn the master’s in school counseling online degree from University of West Alabama.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $6,868

The University of West Alabama offers an online school counseling degree for current counselors seeking a master’s degree and master’s level certificate or current teachers seeking to become counselors. The 48-credit program takes 1-2 years to complete depending on enrollment level. Each course is eight weeks in length. Courses include career development and counseling, counseling children and adolescents, diagnostic techniques for school counselors, and strategies for crisis intervention. The program is accredited by several agencies including the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation and the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education. U.S. News and World Report ranks West Alabama #107 in regional universities South.

#5 – Angelo State University

Online Master’s in Guidance and Counseling

San Angelo, Texas

Website

Angelo State University - 20 Accelerated Master's in School Counseling Online

No GRE! Angelo State University’s master’s in school counseling online program.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $6,696

Angelo State University offers an online school counseling degree for current educators or those seeking a career change. Applicants from all academic and professional backgrounds are welcome and encouraged to apply. Admission requirements include bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution with a minimum of 2.75 GPA along with all college and university transcripts. The GRE is not required. The program is 100% online, making it an excellent choice for working professionals. Courses include career and occupational counseling, curriculum and methodology trends, legal and ethical principles, and professional writing for educators. U.S. News and World Report ranks Angelo State University #148 in best online graduate education programs.

#4 – Southern Arkansas University

Online Master’s in School Counseling

Magnolia, Arkansas

Website

Southern Arkansas University - 20 Accelerated Master's in School Counseling Online

Ranked and affordable! Southern Arkansas University – master’s in school counseling online.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $6,234

Southern Arkansas University’s online school counseling degree is designed for current or aspiring educators seeking to become K-12 school counselors. The program provides both initial and add-on licensure for an Arkansas teaching license. The program is specifically designed to fulfill licensure requirements in Arkansas and most other states. The 48-credit program takes 2.5-3 years to complete based upon taking two courses per term including summer. The program is administered through the College of Education and Department of Counseling and Professional Studies. U.S. News and World Report ranks Southern Arkansas University #228 in best online graduate education programs.

#3 – Chadron State College

Online Master’s in Education School Counseling

Chadron, Nebraska

Website

Chadron State College - 20 Accelerated Master's in School Counseling Online

Aspiring school counselors! Chadron State College – master’s in school counseling online degree.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $5,204

Chadron State College offers a master’s in school counseling online for current or aspiring school counselors. The program leads to job opportunities as school counselors in a K-12 setting. Candidates are required to hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution. The majority of the program is conducted online with the exception of a few courses and practicum experiences. Courses may include advanced human development, career and lifestyle development, counseling and communication skills, and counseling ethics and professional identity. As part of the application process, students are also required to conduct an interview with faculty. U.S. News and World Report recognizes Chadron State College in its cohort of regional universities Midwest.

#2 – Southeastern Oklahoma State University

Online Master’s in Education and School Counseling

Durant, Oklahoma

Website

Southeastern Oklahoma State University - 20 Accelerated Master's in School Counseling Online

No GRE and 12 months to complete! The master’s in school counseling online degree at Southeastern Oklahoma State University.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $5,022

Southeastern Oklahoma State University’s online master’s in school counseling is 42 credits and can be completed in as few as 12 months followed by the practicum experiences working in the field. The program is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). Admission requires a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution with a minimum of 2.75 GPA or a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution with a minimum 2.0 GPA, valid teacher’s license and two years of teaching experience. The GRE is not required to apply. Southeastern Oklahoma State University is ranked #96 in regional universities West by U.S. News and World Report.

#1 – Fort Hays State University

Online Master’s in School Counseling

Hays, Kansas

Website

Fort Hays State University - 20 Accelerated Master's in School Counseling Online

#1 most affordable master’s in school counseling online program – Fort Hays State University.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $4,266

Students in the Fort Hays State University accelerated master’s in school counseling online degree program can complete the coursework in just one year. The three intensives are structured to complete on campus during the summer semester, which adds to the flexibility of the program. Students will take courses like lifestyle and career development, management of counseling programs, and professional counseling in elementary schools. Fort Hays ranks among the top regional universities, according to U.S. News and World Report. In fact, U.S. News ranks Fort Hays #128-#165 in best regional universities in the Midwest. Also, many of the online graduate programs have earned top rankings.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What can I do with a master’s in school counseling online degree?

Individuals with a master’s in school counseling online have the opportunity to impact the lives of their clients and students across a wide variety of contexts and institutions. The majority of school counseling degree recipients work in public and private schools, helping students develop their academic, social, and career-related skills.

Elementary school counselors work with K-5 student populations on developing skills related to wise decision-making and academic skills. Additionally, school counselors work closely with classroom teachers and parents to address and mitigate behavioral issues and diagnose strengths and weaknesses of those they work with. Middle school counselors perform many of the same job duties that involve academic and social counseling in addition to holding classes and workshops related to academic and social skills.

High school counselors work with students on developing academic and social skills along with preparation for college admissions, job interviews, and post-high school life. These counselors assist students with navigating the postsecondary landscape that includes college selection, application process, financial aid, major selection, and more. Moreover, high school counselors may teach classes related to study skills, job interviewing, college preparation, and career choices.

While many school counseling professionals work in public and private schools, a large contingent may work for non-profit organizations, governmental agencies, and private organizations working with clients on a wide range of social, occupational, and academic skills.

What is the job outlook for individuals with a master’s in school counseling online degree?

According to the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, school counselor jobs are expected to increase by 13% through the ten-year period of 2016-2026. Compared to the 7% occupational job rate for all other types of jobs, individuals with a master’s in school counseling degree can expect far better than average opportunities to find employment. As with other occupations, applicants willing to move to regions with higher growth will have better opportunities to procure positions.

Rising demand for the job is mainly driven by student enrollment in public and private schools. As the population continues to increase, the need for skilled school counselors will only increase. As more governmental pressure is put on schools to perform, the role of school counselor will only increase as they play a vital role in the academic and social development of students. In a tight funding environment, public school funding is increasingly tied to student performance, which means school counselors will play an integral role in helping students do well academically. Additionally, students also rely on post high school plans including college, vocational training, military, and workforce entrance. As the economy becomes more stratified and complex, students will need the services of high school counselors to make appropriate decisions for their futures.

How much can I earn with a master’s in school counseling online degree?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for a school counselor as of May 2018 is $56,310. Despite the reputation of low pay in public and private K-12 institutions, the median salary of a school counselor is well above the national average salary for all other occupations, which comes in at $38,640. The lowest ten percent earn $33,610, while the highest ten percent make $94,690 per year.

As with other occupations, there are several variables that dictate annual pay including education level, geographic location, years of experience, and type of institution. According to salary research firm PayScale, late career school counselors earn an average of 29% higher salaries than other school counselors with less experience. Experienced school counselors earn an average of 16% more than mid-career, early career, and entry-level school counselors.

State, local, and private elementary and secondary schools pay the highest average salary of $63,280 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Post-secondary institutions including colleges, universities, and community colleges pay far less with an average salary of $50,050 per year. It should also be noted that some school counselors at all levels of the educational system do not work during the summer.

Counselors working in the healthcare and social services industries earn far less than their colleagues, with an average salary of $38,790. This level of pay is especially low considering most of the occupations in this sector require a master’s degree.

What are the admission requirements for master’s in school counseling online programs?

Admission requirements for a master’s in school counseling online vary according to program. Some programs are designed for current educators, while others welcome candidates from all academic backgrounds including those with no teaching experience or education. Some programs are a blend where they welcome students with teaching credentials along with individuals seeking a career change who aspire to become school counseling professionals.

Institutions designed for current educators will require the student have a degree in education at either the elementary or secondary level. Depending on the ranking of the program, students will be required to have a minimum GPA of anywhere between 2.0-3.0. The most prestigious programs require higher GPAs, especially in upper division education courses. Along with a degree in education, programs designed for current educators will likely require candidates have an unencumbered teaching license that is valid in the state of the institution’s program. Programs for aspiring educators will require students have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution in any discipline. Higher ranked programs will require the bachelor’s degree be from a regionally accredited institution. In regards to test scores, the vast majority of online master’s degree programs in school counseling do not require standardized tests such as the GRE or MAT. The programs that do require test scores often have waivers for students with a certain GPA or years of experience teaching.

How long does it take to earn a master’s in school counseling online degree?

The time to completion for most online master’s in school counseling is approximately two years. Programs for current educators with teaching credentials can be finished within 12-18 months due to less coursework and fewer hours needed to be spent in the field working with students.

Programs designed for non-educators can take significantly longer depending on the required classes and the number of hours needed in the field. Practicum experiences can often be done in the student’s own community and are generally completed towards the end of the program. For non-educators, students must take courses that familiarize them with the teaching and counseling profession as well as courses that lead to initial certification. Fortunately, most online programs for non-educators are designed to be completed in a relatively short amount of time, which is generally 2.5-3 years including practicum and field experiences.

In addition to program structure and academic background, enrollment level plays an integral role in how quickly a program can be completed. Most online students have obligations outside of their studies, including full-time work. Part-time students can still earn their degrees relatively quickly depending on their background, but most students taking one course per term take between 3-5 years to complete.

Sources

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.

CVO Staff
July 2019

This concludes our list of the top 20 accelerated online master’s in school counseling programs of 2019.

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