Best Online Masters in Counseling Programs

Accredited Online Masters in Counseling Programs

One of the most important factors to consider when reviewing the best online counseling masters programs for you is the accreditation of the program. Having a degree from an accredited program may be one of the requirements for licensure in most states, so selecting a properly-accredited program could be very important. The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) and the Masters in Psychology and Counseling Accreditation Council (MPCAC) are two entities that confer accreditation for some of the top online counseling programs in the United States. It is best to review the licensure requirements in the state where you intend to practice in order to understand the degree accreditations you need to look for.

Compare Online Masters in Counseling Degrees

Below is a list of the 28 schools offering the online counseling masters programs that could be the best for you within the United States. The schools are listed based on six factors we think are important to consider when selecting a counseling program.

Best Online Counseling Programs

Best Online Counseling Programs
School Name Degree Name Live Classes Mobile App (Offline Capable) Field Placement Services Class Size Under 15 GRE Required Campus Visit Required Number of Factors Met
University of Denver Master of Arts in School Counseling Live Offline Capable Services Available Less Than 15 No GRE Required No Visit Required
6/6
New York University - Master of Arts in Counseling and Guidance
- Master of Arts in Counseling for Mental Health and Wellness
Live Offline Capable Services Available Less Than 15 No GRE Required No Visit Required
6/6
University of Southern California Master of Arts in Counseling Live Offline Capable Services Available More Than 15 No GRE Required Visit Required
5/6
Northwestern University Master of Education in School Counseling Live Offline Capable Services Available More Than 15 GRE Required if undergrad GPA is below 2.75 Visit Required
5/6
Vanderbilt University Master of Education in School Counseling Live Offline Capable Services Available More Than 15 No GRE Required No Visit Required
5/6
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling Live and Not Live Connection Required Services Available More Than 15 No GRE Required Visit Required
4/6
Grace College Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling Live Connection Required Services Available Less Than 15 No GRE Required Visit Required
4/6
Malone University Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling Not Live Offline Capable Services Available More Than 15 No GRE Required Visit Required
4/6
Union Institute and University Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling Live and Not Live Connection Required Services Available Less Than 15 No GRE Required Visit Required
4/6
Antioch University Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling Live and Not Live Connection Required Services Available More Than 15 No GRE Required Visit Required
3/6
Bellevue University Master of Science in Clinical Counseling Not Live Connection Required Services Available Less Than 15 No GRE Required Visit Required
3/6
Cornerstone University Master of Arts in Counseling Live and Not Live Connection Required No Services Available Less Than 15 No GRE Required Visit Required
3/6
Lindsey Wilson College Master of Education in Mental Health Counseling Not Live Connection Required Services Available Less Than 15 No GRE Required Visit Required
3/6
Lock Haven University Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling Live and Not Live Connection Required Services Available More Than 15 GRE Required depending on GPA No Visits Required
3/6
Messiah College Master of Arts in Counseling Live and Not Live Connection Required No Services Available Less Than 15 No GRE Required Visit Required
3/6
North Carolina Central University Master of Arts in Counseling Live and Not Live Connection Required Services Available Less Than 15 GRE Required Visit Required
3/6
North Carolina State University Master of Education in Counseling Live N/A Services Available More Than 15 GRE Required No Visits Required
3/6
Palo Alto University Master of Arts in Counseling Live Connection Required Services Available More Than 15 No GRE Required Visit Required
3/6
University of Louisiana - Monroe Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health or School Counseling Live and Not Live Connection Required Services Available Less Than 15 GRE Required Visit Required
3/6
Wake Forest University Master of Arts in Counseling Live and Not Live Connection Required Services Available Less Than 15 GRE Required Visit Required
3/6
Bradley University Master of Arts in Counseling Live and Not Live Connection Required Services Available More Than 15 GRE Required if GPA is below 3.0 Visit Required
2/6
Edinboro University Master of Arts in Counseling Not Live Connection Required No Services Available More Than 15 No GRE Required No Visit Required
2/6
Hodges University Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling Not Live Connection Required No Services Available Less Than 15 No GRE Required Visit Required
2/6
Indiana Wesleyan University Master of Arts in Counseling Not Live Offline Capable No Services Available Less Than 15 GRE Required Visit Required
2/6
Lamar University Master of Education in Clinical Mental Health Counseling Live and Not Live Connection Required No Services Available Less Than 15 GRE Required Visit Required
2/6
University of Massachusetts - Boston - Master of Education in School Counseling - Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling - Master of Science in Rehabilitation Counseling Live and Not Live Connection Required Services Available More Than 15 GRE Required Visit Required
2/6
Adams State University Master of Arts in Counseling Not Live Connection Required No Services Available More Than 15 No GRE Required Visit Required
1/6
Regent University Master of Arts in Counseling Not Live Connection Required Services Available More Than 15 GRE Required Visit Required
1/6

All Online Masters in Counseling Programs - School Insights

University of Denver - 6/6 Factors

  • Social justice emphasis
  • Use data to build comprehensive school counseling plans
  • Mock counseling sessions and in-field experience requirements
Denver
Degree Name Graduation Rate Percent of Online Graduate Students Average Length of Program
Master of Arts in School Counseling 75% 22% As few as 24 months

Graduation rate and online student information retrieved from College Navigator - National Center for Education Statistics

New York University - 6/6 Factors

  • Pursue school counselor certification.
  • Apply for positions in public and private pre-K–12 schools.
  • Work with a field placement team to secure local field education placements.
NYU
Degree Name Graduation Rate Percent of Online Graduate Students Average Length of Program
- Master of Arts in Counseling and Guidance
- Master of Arts in Counseling for Mental Health and Wellness
84% 4% 1.5-2+ years

Graduation rate and online student information retrieved from College Navigator - National Center for Education Statistics

Northwestern University - 5/6 Factors

  • Develop the knowledge and skills to pursue licensure as a mental health counselor
  • A “learning-by-doing” curriculum model
  • Gain hands-on clinical experience
Northwestern
Degree Name Graduation Rate Percent of Online Graduate Students Average Length of Program
Master of Arts in Counseling 94% 10% 1.5-3.5 years

Graduation rate and online student information retrieved from College Navigator - National Center for Education Statistics

University of Southern California - 5/6 Factors

  • Field Experiences in your community
  • Curriculum developed by USC faculty
  • Live online classes
Learn more about USC Rossier

Sponsored Program

USC
Degree Name Graduation Rate Percent of Online Graduate Students Average Length of Program
Master of Education in School Counseling 92% 22% 2-3 years

Graduation rate and online student information retrieved from College Navigator - National Center for Education Statistics

Vanderbilt- 5/6 Factors

  • Ranked among best graduate schools of education by U.S. News & World Report for 2019
  • Pursue counseling licensure
  • Guided placements in local schools for hands-on field experience
Vanderbilt
Degree Name Graduation Rate Percent of Online Graduate Students Average Length of Program
Master of Education in Human Development Counseling 92% 2% 3-4 years

Graduation rate and online student information retrieved from College Navigator - National Center for Education Statistics

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology - 4/6 Factors

  • Program can be completed in 3 years part-time
  • Learn from practitioner faculty
  • 8 out of 9 students placed within 2 weeks of graduation

Visit Program Website

Chicago
Degree Name Graduation Rate Percent of Online Graduate Students Average Length of Program
Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling N/A N/A 3 years

Graduation rate and online student information retrieved from College Navigator - National Center for Education Statistics

Grace College - 4/6 Factors

  • Offering graduate degrees in counseling since 1995
  • Christian college applying biblical values and beliefs to its coursework
  • Six, seven, and eight semester plans of study

Visit Grace College Program Website

Grace
Degree Name Graduation Rate Percent of Online Graduate Students Average Length of Program
Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling 62% 47% 3 years

Graduation rate and online student information retrieved from College Navigator - National Center for Education Statistics

Malone University - 4/6 Factors

  • Applicants with any undergraduate degree are welcome
  • 99% placement rate after graduation
  • Program centered around Christian faith

Visit Malone University Program Website

Malone
Degree Name Graduation Rate Percent of Online Graduate Students Average Length of Program
Master of Education in Human Development Counseling 49% 32% 3-3.5 years

Graduation rate and online student information retrieved from College Navigator - National Center for Education Statistics

Union Institute & University - 4/6 Factors

  • January, May, and August start dates
  • Full-time & part-time plans of study available
  • Option to earn a Certificate in Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counseling

Visit Union Institute Program Website

Union
Degree Name Graduation Rate Percent of Online Graduate Students Average Length of Program
Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling N/A 32% 2-5 years

Graduation rate and online student information retrieved from College Navigator - National Center for Education Statistics

Antioch University - 3/6 Factors

  • Students with all undergraduate degrees welcome
  • Program features both synchronous and asynchronous courses
  • No application fee for the online program

Visit Antioch University Program Website

Antioch
Degree Name Graduation Rate Percent of Online Graduate Students Average Length of Program
Master of Education in Human Development Counseling N/A N/A 3 years

Graduation rate and online student information retrieved from College Navigator - National Center for Education Statistics

Bellevue University - 3/6 Factors

  • Program developed on national licensing standards
  • Transfer eligible credits from other schools
  • Master core content and foundational areas of knowledge in the counseling profession

Visit Bellevue University Program Website

Bellevue
Degree Name Graduation Rate Percent of Online Graduate Students Average Length of Program
Master of Science in Clinical Counseling 17% 86% 2-3 years

Graduation rate and online student information retrieved from College Navigator - National Center for Education Statistics

Cornerstone University - 3/6 Factors

  • 6 credits per semester part-time or a 9 credits per semester full-time study plan options
  • Program includes Bible and theology classes
  • 75% of financial aid applicants receive an institutional grant

Visit Cornerstone University Program Website

Cornerstone
Degree Name Graduation Rate Percent of Online Graduate Students Average Length of Program
Master of Education in Human Development Counseling 53% 45% 3-4 years

Graduation rate and online student information retrieved from College Navigator - National Center for Education Statistics

Lindsey Wilson College - 3/6 Factors

  • Curriculum features 8-week asynchronous courses
  • Program centered around ethics and multiculturalism as core values
  • Option to earn a Certificate in Substance Abuse Counseling concurrently

Visit Lindsey Wilson College Program Website

Lindsey Wilson
Degree Name Graduation Rate Percent of Online Graduate Students Average Length of Program
Master of Education in Mental Health Counseling 35% 19% 2 years

Graduation rate and online student information retrieved from College Navigator - National Center for Education Statistics

Lock Haven University - 3/6 Factors

  • Choose between full-time (three courses per semester) or part-time (two courses per semester) plan of study
  • The only Pennsylvania public university offering an online Clinical Mental Health Counseling CMHC program
  • Program includes synchronous and asynchronous classes

Visit Lock Haven University Program Website

Lock Haven
Degree Name Graduation Rate Percent of Online Graduate Students Average Length of Program
Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling 55% 49% 3-4 years

Graduation rate and online student information retrieved from College Navigator - National Center for Education Statistics

Messiah College - 3/6 Factors

  • Designed to help students to become competent school counselors capable of working with elementary and secondary school students
  • Two-, three- and four-year plans of study with flexible start dates
  • Christian faith-integrated curriculum

Visit Messiah College Program Website

Messiah
Degree Name Graduation Rate Percent of Online Graduate Students Average Length of Program
Master of Arts in Counseling 81% 86% 2-4 years

Graduation rate and online student information retrieved from College Navigator - National Center for Education Statistics

North Carolina Central University - 3/6 Factors

  • Program features synchronous and asynchronous classes
  • School promotes multiculturalism, ethical training, and theoretical development
  • Ten full-time counselor education faculty on staff

Visit North Carolina Central Program Website

North Carolina Central
Degree Name Graduation Rate Percent of Online Graduate Students Average Length of Program
Master of Education in Mental Health Counseling 44% 20% N/A

North Carolina State University - 3/6 Factors

  • Counselor education program established in 1946
  • Commitment to multicultural diversity with 37.5% ethnic minority presence in the master's programs
  • Three-year, part-time cohort program with year-round courses

Visit NC State University Program Website

North Carolina State
Degree Name Graduation Rate Percent of Online Graduate Students Average Length of Program
Master of Education in Counseling 79% 19% 3 Years

Graduation rate and online student information retrieved from College Navigator - National Center for Education Statistics

Palo Alto University - 3/6 Factors

  • Program start dates in fall and spring quarters
  • Offering graduate degrees in counseling since 1975
  • Classes taught by distinguished faculty

Visit Palo Alto University Program Website

Palo Alto
Degree Name Graduation Rate Percent of Online Graduate Students Average Length of Program
Master of Arts in Counseling 79% 22% 2.5 years

Graduation rate and online student information retrieved from College Navigator - National Center for Education Statistics

University of Louisiana - Monroe - 3/6 Factors

  • Online courses presented in 8-week sessions
  • Limited admission guarantees great student-faculty ratio
  • Job placement rate of nearly 100% in 2017

Visit University of Louisiana Program Website

UL Monroe
Degree Name Graduation Rate Percent of Online Graduate Students Average Length of Program
Master of Education in Mental Health Counseling 41% 30% 2 Years

Graduation rate and online student information retrieved from College Navigator - National Center for Education Statistics

Wake Forest University - 3/6 Factors

  • 95% pass rate on the National Counselor exam
  • 24/7 tutoring services and tech support available to online students
  • Learn from world-class thought leaders in the counseling field

Visit Wake Forest University Program Website

Wake Forest
Degree Name Graduation Rate Percent of Online Graduate Students Average Length of Program
Master of Education in Mental Health Counseling 88% 11% 2-3 Years

Graduation rate and online student information retrieved from College Navigator - National Center for Education Statistics

Bradley University - 2/6 Factors

  • Get ready for the National Counselor Exam
  • Select your site supervisor with assistance from the school
  • Learn how counseling affects brain function through an innovative approach called neurocounseling

Visit Bradley University Program Website

Bradley
Degree Name Graduation Rate Percent of Online Graduate Students Average Length of Program
Master of Arts in Counseling 73% 58% 2-3 Years

Graduation rate and online student information retrieved from College Navigator - National Center for Education Statistics

Edinboro University - 2/6 Factors

  • MA in Counseling program recognized nationally for excellence and affordability
  • Enter the Post-master’s certificate in Art Therapy program concurrently
  • Learn from distinguished faculty

Visit Edinboro University Program Website

Edinboro
Degree Name Graduation Rate Percent of Online Graduate Students Average Length of Program
Master of Arts in Counseling 43% 76% 2-3 Years

Graduation rate and online student information retrieved from College Navigator - National Center for Education Statistics

Hodges University - 2/6 Factors

  • Will prepare you for your licensing board exam in the field of mental health counseling
  • A pathway that will enable you to work in clinical practice, as a substance abuse counselor, or a life coach
  • 4-week mini-semesters with 1 class plan of study

Visit Hodges University Program Website

Hodges
Degree Name Graduation Rate Percent of Online Graduate Students Average Length of Program
Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling 27% 53% 3.5 Years

Graduation rate and online student information retrieved from College Navigator - National Center for Education Statistics

Indiana Wesleyan University - 2/6 Factors

  • Integrated professional counseling and faith studies
  • Counseling programs offered on a full-time and part-time basis
  • Assistantships, article publication and research opportunities available

Visit Indiana Wesleyan Univeristy Program Website

Indiana Wesleyan
Degree Name Graduation Rate Percent of Online Graduate Students Average Length of Program
Master of Arts in Counseling 52% 86% 2-3 Years

Graduation rate and online student information retrieved from College Navigator - National Center for Education Statistics

Lamar University - 2/6 Factors

  • Program completion in as few as 30 months
  • Multiple program start dates available
  • Classes taught by distinguished faculty

Visit Lamar University Program Website

Lamar
Degree Name Graduation Rate Percent of Online Graduate Students Average Length of Program
Master of Education in Clinical Mental Health Counseling 30% 83% 2.5 Years

Graduation rate and online student information retrieved from College Navigator - National Center for Education Statistics

University of Massachusetts, Boston - 2/6 Factors

  • Program based on a full-time, cohort model
  • Plan of study features both synchronous and asynchronous courses
  • Program begins in the summer semester

Visit University of Massachusetts, Boston Program Website

UMass Boston
Degree Name Graduation Rate Percent of Online Graduate Students Average Length of Program
- Master of Education in School Counseling
- Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling
- Master of Science in Rehabilitation Counseling
48% 22% 2-4 Years

Graduation rate and online student information retrieved from College Navigator - National Center for Education Statistics

Adams State University - 1/6 Factors

  • Program accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, CACREP, and the Colorado Department of Education
  • Learn from world-class faculty
  • Fall, spring, and summer semester start dates

Visit Adams State University Program Website

Adams
Degree Name Graduation Rate Percent of Online Graduate Students Average Length of Program
Master of Arts in Counseling 29% 91% 2.5 Years

Graduation rate and online student information retrieved from College Navigator - National Center for Education Statistics

Regent University - 1/6 Factors

  • Studies emphasizing Christian values and relationships
  • 100% full-time faculty with terminal degrees
  • 16-week course sessions available

Visit Regent University Program Website

Regent
Degree Name Graduation Rate Percent of Online Graduate Students Average Length of Program
Master of Arts in Counseling 61% 81% 2 Years

Graduation rate and online student information retrieved from College Navigator - National Center for Education Statistics

Best Online Counseling Program Factors

Online Class Format

Online masters in counseling programs may offer live (synchronous) or not live (asynchronous) classes. Synchronous classes require that all students and the instructor be online at a set time in order to participate in face-to-face, real-time training and discussions. Asynchronous classes, on the other hand, allow students the flexibility to access the class content at their convenience. While reading assignments and homework still have specific due dates, students have the freedom to complete the coursework at times of their choice.

Offline Capability

A program mobile application that is available offline allows students to continue learning at their own pace even when they don't have internet connection. Distance learners can benefit from flexibility so an offline-capable app would be a great asset to their learning process.

Small Class Size

In general, classes with smaller class sizes allow students more opportunities to participate in the learning process and interactions.

GRE Test Score Requirement

Most online counseling programs require successful passing of the Graduate Record Exam (or GRE). Some schools however, have waived the GRE test requirement.. Programs that waive the GRE requirement may focus on other criteria such as undergraduate GPA, professional references, essays and personal interviews when determining a candidate's acceptance in the program.

Campus Visit Requirements

Many online counseling programs require students to be present on campus for weeklong residencies or other in-person activities.

Field Placement Services

Online counseling program students need to complete clinical residencies at facilities such as hospitals and schools. Universities and colleges that have field placement teams have established relationships with many health and educational organizations across the country and are able to assist their students with placement within suitable facilities near their area of residency.

Why Choose an Online Counseling Program?

The most appealing facet of online education is the flexibility to obtain a degree without disrupting other aspects of your life such as family and career. Synchronous classes are usually scheduled in the evening, and asynchronous classes allow students to access the course assignments at times most convenient for them. They also allow students to complete any required residencies and internships at facilities near the student's home.

Online programs broaden widely the list of educational opportunities for prospective students. They can attend and receive a degree from some of the best online counseling masters programs in the country without having to worry about relocation and moving expenses or having to leave their family for months at a time.