Top 10 Online Master’s in Counseling Degree Programs of 2015

Top Online SchoolsCounselors are in high demand. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment opportunities for licensed professional counselors in every area of specialty are expected to grow at a faster than average rate over the next several years as job openings exceed the number of students graduating from counseling degree programs. Opportunities in certain counseling specialties such as substance abuse and behavioral disorders are expected to grow at a much higher than average rate.

The Value of a Masters in Counseling Degree

A masters degree in counseling is a prerequisite for becoming a licensed counselor in almost every case. An accredited masters in counseling degree will prepare students to sit for the necessary licensing exams and provide them with the knowledge and skills they need to be successful in the field.

Advantages of Online Masters in Counseling Degree Programs

Online counseling degree programs are currently among the most popular online degree programs according to the latest online education statistics. Prospective students seeking an accredited online masters in counseling degree program now have several high quality options to choose from. A number of the top counseling programs in the country are now offered online. Among the advantages of earning a degree from a top online masters in counseling program is that students can maintain their employment and/or family responsibilities while earning their degree. Many of the best online masters in counseling degree programs can be completed entirely online, with practicums and internships arranged in the student’s home community.

How We Rank Online Masters in Counseling Degree Programs

Online colleges and online masters in counseling degree programs vary widely in terms of quality, name recognition, and value. To assist those looking for quality, accredited online masters in counseling programs we’ve put together this ranking of what we consider to be the very best online schools offering masters in counseling degrees online in 2015. Our rankings of the top online schools offering masters in counseling degrees are based on publicly available data evaluated according to several different criteria, including market reputation, accreditation, student satisfaction, ratio of students to instructors, and tuition. All schools in our rankings are regionally accredited, the highest form of accreditation a school can achieve. You can read more about our rankings philosophy and find a list of our other top college and degree rankings on our rankings page.


#1. Capella University

AssessmentAn accredited online university, Capella University offers bachelor’s, master’s/MBA, doctoral, and certificate programs designed to take you to the forefront of your profession.

Program: Mental health counseling is a field that can bring immense personal satisfaction as well as excellent career opportunities. This CACREP-accredited online Master’s program in Mental Health Counseling offers a rigorous curriculum of online course work, residencies, and field experiences designed to prepare you for state licensure eligibility. You will develop the theoretical knowledge and practical skills you need to assess and treat mental and emotional disorders and promote optimum mental health.

Regional Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

#2. Walden University Online

AssessmentA private university with an award-winning online division and a reputation for social justice oriented degree programs offers prospective students multiple online masters in counseling programs to choose from.

Program: Walden University offers a 70 quarter credit hour online Master of Science in Career Counseling, as well as 90 quarter credit hour online Master of Science degrees in Mental Health Counseling, and Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling. Further specializations are also available for some of the degree programs. All of the degrees require two 6-day residencies, practicums and an internship in which students learn how to put their theoretical knowledge into practice.

Regional Accreditation: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

Click here to learn more about online degree programs at Walden University

#3. Liberty University

AssessmentThe nation’s largest private not-for-profit university, Liberty University offers more than 200 programs of study at their campus and through the extensive Liberty University Online.

Program: Liberty University’s Master of Arts in Professional Counseling program provides you comprehensive training in professional counseling to prepare you for licensure and national certification. Our courses also provide you with a strong foundation based on biblical principles to supply the values, knowledge, and skills needed to effectively work as a professional counselor.

Regional Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools

#4. University of the Rockies

AssessmentUniversity of the Rockies provides high-quality, accessible learning opportunities globally for diverse groups of individuals seeking preparation for life goals, professional practice, service, and distinguished leadership.

Program: University of the Rockies faculty members all have earned doctorates and have recent experience practicing what they teach. At University of the Rockies, both the theory and its practical application are taught. Your instructors will enliven your discussions and enhance your feedback with real-world lessons from their workplace experience.

Regional Accreditation: University of the Rockies is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association.

Click here to learn more about online degree programs at The University of the Rockies

#5. University of the Southwest Online

AssessmentThis small, private New Mexico school offers an affordable online masters in counseling with intimate class sizes and a faith-oriented perspective.

Program: University of the Southwest’s online Master of Science in Education Mental Health Counseling is a 48 credit hour degree program designed for students interested in pursuing a career as a licensed professional clinical counselor (LPCC). Students will develop a thorough knowledge of basic counseling theories and techniques and how to apply them with a diverse range of clients and settings. Practicums and an internship are required and can be completed in a variety of mental health systems as arranged by the student with the approval of the school.

Regional Accreditation: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.


#6. Seton Hall University Online

AssessmentOne of the nation’s premier Catholic universities, Seton Hall is especially well known for its health related degrees and offers those seeking preparation for a career in mental health counseling one of the best online masters in counseling degree programs anywhere.

Program: Seton Hall’s online Master’s in Counseling is a combined Master’s and Education Specialist program. The 60 credit hour online degree program will prepare students with the background, knowledge and clinical experience they need for careers as professional mental health counselors. Two on-campus residencies are required for the completion of the program, allowing students the opportunity to meet and network with their professors and peers.

Regional Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education.


#7. Sacred Heart University Online

AssessmentRecognized as one of the top master’s level universities in the U.S., this private Catholic school offers a rigorous online masters in psychology with a concentration for those interested in counseling and rehabilitation.

Program: Sacred Heart University’s online Master of Science in Applied Psychology with a Concentration in Community Psychology is a 38 credit hour program designed to prepare students for careers in therapy and counseling or future doctoral work. The program is built on a research-driven core curriculum and takes a scientist-practitioner learning model. All courses are completed entirely online in a part-time format. Students are required to complete a Capstone Experience prior to graduation, composed either of a comprehensive exam or a final research project. No campus visits are required.

Regional Accreditation: New England Association of Schools and Colleges.


#8. University of North Dakota Online

AssessmentFor those interested in becoming professional school counselors, this established public university with an international reputation offers one of the best and most affordable online masters degree in counseling with a school counseling emphasis.

Program: The University of North Dakota’s online Master of Arts in Counseling with a K-12 School Emphasis is a 48-50 credit hour degree program designed for working people interested in becoming licensed school counselors. Students will learn through both theoretical inquiry and practical hands-on experience. The degree can be completed entirely online through live web classes offered on evenings and weekends. Two 4-day campus visits are required each summer (a total of four visits).

Regional Accreditation: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.


#9. Grace College Online

AssessmentThis small evangelical Christian school offers believing students a hybrid online master’s in counseling degree that integrates a biblical worldview with contemporary psychology.

Program: Grace College’s hybrid online Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health is a 62 credit hour program designed to be completed in three years. The program is very strongly religious in outlook with the goal of producing graduates who are scripturally grounded, clinically skilled, interpersonally competent and prepared to work in any number of secular and religious mental health environments. Though most coursework takes place online, some campus visits and an internship are required.

Regional Accreditation: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.


#10. LeTourneau University Online

AssessmentAn up and coming interdenominational Christian university in Texas offers a quality online master’s in counseling with small class sizes and a dual-track option.

Program: LeTourneau University’s online Master of Arts in Counseling is a 45-48 credit hour program designed to prepare working students to become a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and/or a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT). Students will learn how to think about and practice counseling and therapy from an explicitly Christian perspective. A practicum is required and can be completed in a student’s home community.

Regional Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

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