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The 10 Best Online Masters in School Counseling

School counselors provide meaningful guidance at a pivotal time in life.

Students need your support. Are you ready to make a huge impact in the lives of children, youth, and young adults? Do you recognize the value that social and emotional support brings to the augmentation of a student’s learning experience. In today’s world where executive function, high demand curricula, and cookie cutter learning just don’t mesh with every learner, the added support of a school counselor is just as crucial as the academic components of the learner’s life. Success starts in the mind, and as a school counselor you will empower students and their family members as well to prepare their minds for success inside of the classroom. Our world presents harsh barriers for exceptional learners, individuals with attention issues, students whose social and economic background may hold them back. School counselors in tandem with their colleague help to provide that bridge and break down mental and emotional barriers that limit access to success. Each student is different which is why we have selected course that address the needs of all types of minds. Learn how to work in PK-12 settings and assist students and parents with education planning, set realistic goals, manage crisis, and teach students the life skills they need to not only deal with problems, but surpass them in ways that may not be present in other areas of their life. This is a crucial job. The following are our top 10 picks for the best Master’s in School Counseling. We selected these programs for their academic prestige, flexibility, and affordable tuition rates so that you too may gain access and have success advancing your career and changing not only the lives of others, but yours as well.


  • Academic Prestige (1/3): Each institution’s rank according to national data.
  • Flexibility (1/3): The range of flexible options in the program, including the ability to accelerate degree completion, work part-time, choose different concentrations, get credit for prior experience, and other unique degree options.
  • Affordability (1/3):Tuition per credit hour.

1.)University of Missouri Columbia

The University of Missouri (Mizzou) is a public land-grant research university located in Columbia, Missouri. There are 33,239 students enrolled and the student to faculty ratio is 19:1. The student body represents all 50 states and over 150 countries worldwide. The Higher Learning Commission accredits Mizzou to award bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees as well as professional certifications. Mizzou has over 300 degree offerings from 18 colleges and schools. It is one of the few universities in the U.S. with a law school, medical school, and veterinary medicine school in the country. U.S. News ranks Mizzou as the 111th best school in the nation, 51st top public school and 73rd best college for veterans. When it comes to online rankings Mizzou ranks as the 61st best school for online graduate education programming.

The University of Missouri (Mizzou) offers a M.Ed. in Mental Health Practices in Schools as well as a number of related programs. We selected Mizzou for their myriad flexible online offerings, their affordable in-state tuition rate offered to all students, and for their academic prestige. The M.Ed. requires 34 credit unites for completion and is broken into two component parts: required courses for 25 credits, and elective courses for 9 credits. The required courses cover developmental aspects of human learning, foundations of school mental health, overview of research methods, diversity issues and more. The elective courses available help you to tailor your educational preferences to match your specific areas of interest and include wellness management, maltreatment on child and adolescent development, immigrant issues in education, and much more. This affordable program cost just $360 per credit hour.

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  • Estimated Tuition Per Credit Hour: $360

2.)National University

National University (NU) is a private non profit university headquartered in Jolla, California. There are several campuses located across California, one in Nevada, and one online. There are 17,192 students enrolled and the student-to-faculty ratio is 19:1. The Western Association of Schools and Colleges accredits NU to award associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees as well as postbaccalaureate certificates. There are 6 colleges and schools including the College of Letters and Sciences, School of Business and Management, Sanford College of Education, School of Engineering and Computing, School of Health and Human Sciences, and the School of Professional Studies. When it comes to online offerings, NU offers a robust programmings. There are over 70 fully online degrees than range from the associate to master’s level as well as online professional certifications. The most popular programs are in business, health, and education.

Th Department of School Counseling at National University offers a M.S in Educational Counseling with an option to get credentialed as a Pupil Personnel School Counselor (PPSC). We selected this program flexibility and its affordable online tuition rate. When it comes to flexibility the M.S. in educational counseling at NU offers a wide-range of electives and intensives. Students may engage with topics like group counseling, multicultural counseling, instructional design, career and academic counseling and more. What this equates to is a diverse range of job opportunities for graduates. The program may be taken full time or part time and works well for non-traditional student professionals. The cost of this program is $416 per credit hour and requires 81 quarter units for completion. This program culminates with an internship

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  • Estimated Tuition Per Credit Hour: $416

3.)Walden University

​Walden University is a distance learning institution based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Walden is part of a global network of 80 universities located in 29 different countries and enrolls over 47,000 students world-wide. The student body represents over 150 nations. The Higher Learning Commission accredits Walden University to offer bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs. Walden’s stated mission wishes to supply programs that “reflect current market trends and promote positive change.” It does so by offering degrees in fields like business management, nursing, information technology, communication and new media, public health and education. There are over 163 degree programs offered in traditional and non traditional formats. Online learning is flexible and is designed to fit the schedule of the individual. We like Walden for its flexible relevant and career-oriented offerings.​ In fact, there are over 100 onilne degrees and certifications offered ranging from bachelor’s to doctoral degrees. The most popular programs are in health, education, and business.

Walden University offers a number of options for those seeking a master’s in school counseling. In fact, there are 5 online degree offerings including the following: M.S. in School Counseling general, M.S. in School Counseling with a specialization in Addiction Counseling, M.S. in School Counseling with a specialization in crisis trauma, M.S. in School Counseling with a specialization in Career Counseling, and a M.S. in School Counseling with a specialization in Military Families and Culture. Apart from the general counsel track which requires core course and field experience, all other programs require three component parts: core courses for 66 credits, specialization for 10 credits, and 9 credits of field experience. Core courses include foundations of graduate study in school counseling, counseling theory, ethical and legal issues, counseling techniques, lifespan development, multicultural counseling and more. Specialization classes are of course tailored to you preferred track. The cost for this program is $425 per credit hour and requires 75-85 credit hours for completion.

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  • Estimated Tuition Per Credit Hour: $425

4.)University of Central Arkansas

The University of Central Arkansas (UCA) s a public space-grant research university located in Conway, Arkansas. There are 11,487 students enrolled and the student-to-faculty ratio is 17:1. The Higher Learning Commission accredits UCA to award associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees as well as professional certifications. According to the U.S. News UCA ranks as the 72nd top regional school in the South, and 24th top public school. UCA offers a wide array of student support services including remedial services, academic and career counseling, employment services and placement for its graduates. There are 8 degree-awarding colleges and schools that offer programs in business, education, the fine arts, and more. Online offerings include 13 master’s degrees and professional certification programs in community health, education, advocacy and others.

The University of Central Arkansas offer a M.S. in Professional School Counseling. We selected this program for its academic prestige and incredibly affordable tuition rates. This program is divided into two main component parts: academic material and practicum and internship field experiences. The core course include foundations of school counseling, multicultural counseling, careers counseling, developmental guidance, assessment, interventions, research, counseling theory, individual and group therapy ads well as school based organizational leadership. Students will be required to engage with a practicum as well as an internship. The format of this program is both synchronous and asynchronous. Additionally, students may elect to do an initial licenser track and an add-on licenser track. The total credit hour requirement for his degree program is 48, and costs $325 per credit hour.

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  • Estimated Tuition Per Credit Hour: $325

5.)Salem College

Salem College is a private 4-year liberal arts women’s institution located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. There are 1,087 students enrolled who benefit from small classroom sizes and a student-to-faculty ratio of 11:1. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools accredits Salem College to award bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Salem College is the oldest continuously running women’s college in American and was founded in 1772. U.S. News ranks Salem College as the 122nd top national liberal arts college, and 154th for top high school counselor rankings. As a liberal arts college, Salem offers a vast range of degree programmings from accounting to women’s studies. Some of its best-known programs and centers include the “Women in Science and Math” program, “Center for Women Writers”, school of music, and “Center for Women in Business.” There is one program offered online, and that is the master’s in counselor education/school counseling and guidance services.

Salem College offers a M.Ed. in School Counseling (MEd-SC) for educators who wish to gain the skills and knowledge require for a school counselor position. The core of this program focuses on key points: advocacy, ethics, legal issues, assessment and evaluation, career counseling, personal development, action research and program management. We selected this program for its academic prestige and high value education. In addition to core programming students must complete a 100 hour practicum in school counseling as well as a 600 hour internship in school counseling. All students will engage with a research seminar. The total credit hour requirements are 48. This program costs $500 per credit hour.

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  • Estimated Tuition Per Credit Hour: $500

6.)University of North Dakota

The University of North Dakota (UND) is a flagship sea-grant university located in Grand Forks, North Dakota. There are 14,648 students enrolled, and the student-to-faculty ratio is 21:1. The Higher Learning Commission accredits UND to award bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees programs as well as postbaccalaurete certificates and post-master’s certificates. According to U.S. News UND ranks as the 202nd best school in the nation, 173rd top school for their high school counselor programs, and is the 110th top public school. There are 6 academic colleges and three professional schools including the John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences, College of Education and Human Development, and more. Degree offerings are vast and include unique programs like American Indian/Native American Studies, molecular biology, wildlife biology, classical languages and more. When it comes to online courses, UND offers over 20 degree and certification programs in a variety of fields. The most popular are in health, engineering, and education.

The University of North Dakota College of Education and Human Development offers a M.A. in Counseling with an emphasis in School Counseling. Participants will gain the knowledge and experience necessary to counsel elementary, middle, and high school students. This is a full-time degree program that will take 2.5 years to complete. We selected this program not only for its affordable online tuition rate- UND offers in-state tuition to all students- but also for the high quality of education you receive through this course. Course material includes ethics in counseling, methods of research, group therapy and process, career counseling, school-based family counseling, assessment in counseling and more. Additionally, UND offers post-master’s coursework that accommodates individuals who currently hold master’s degrees in related fields such as education, psychology, child development, and social work. This program requires 50 credit hours for completion and costs $485 per credit hour.

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  • Estimated Tuition Per Credit Hour: $485

7.)Fort Hays State University

Fort Hays State University is located in the rural town of Hays, Kansas and has an enrollment of 14,210 students where the student-to-faculty ratio remains small at just 16:1. IT is the fastest-growing Kansas Board of Regents University. Over 8,000 students elect to study online throughout the virtual campus. Fort Hays has a partnership with their China campus so that more international students may access affordable tuition rates. The Higher Learning Commission accredits FHSU to offer programs from the associate to master’s level. The virtual college is unique in that it offers realistic flexibility in that you can take programming part time or full-time and take breaks during semesters when needed. We like that Fort Hays wants to set you up for a realistic online learning experience.

For Hays State University offers 2 online master’s degrees in school counseling: M.S. in Counseling and a M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. The former requires 45 credit hours for completion and the latter requires 60 credit hours for completion. Students who select the M.S. in Counseling engage are required to complete the core course material in counseling as well as an internship in either secondary or elementary school counseling. The core course material includes educational research, counseling skills development, lifespan human development, theories in counseling, social and cultural foundations and more. Those who select the clinical path with be required to select from a number of election including child and adolescent counseling, premarital and couples counseling, advanced family counseling, addictions counseling, and more. The cost of these programs is $280 per credit hour- our most affordable pick.

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  • Estimated Tuition Per Credit Hour: $280

8.)Oregon State University

Oregon State University (OSU) is a public research university located in Corvallis, Oregon. There are 30,354 students enrolled, and the student-to-faculty ratio is 18:1. The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities accredits OSU to award bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs as well as postbaccalaureate certifications. U.S. News ranks OSU as the 143rd best school in the nation, 95th best college for veterans, and 141st for their high school counselor ranking. As a land,sea, space, and sun grant research university, OSU makes research a central component to their educational model including advancing sustainable Earth Ecosystems, promoting economic growth and social progress and much more. There are 10 academic colleges and one professional school- their school for veterinary medicine- that offers a vast range of degree programs including some very unique offerings like Puerto Rican studies, agronomy and crop science, water resources engineering and more. Online programming is robust and includes over 30 online degrees and professional certifications.

Oregon State University offers a Master of Counseling (M. Coun) for individuals who are looking to become excellent counselors in schools grades K-12. The program is comprehensive in that it includes a pre-practicum, practicum, and a versatile core curriculum. This exciting curriculum includes developmental perspectives in counseling, social and cultural perspectives, addictive behavior counseling, legal, ethical, and professional issues in counseling, leadership of school counseling program, special education issues, theory and techniques of counseling, matter of addiction, lifestyle and career development and much more! We selected this program for its first-rate academic prestige. This course requires a 600 hour practicum in addition to the 75-credit hours require for completion. The cost of the program is $521 per credit hour.

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  • Estimated Tuition Per Credit Hour: $521

9.)Capella University

Capella University is a private distance- learning institution headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota. There are 37,569 students enrolled and the student-to-faculty ratio is 22:1. The Higher Learning Commission accredits Capella University to award bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral degrees, as well as professional certifications. As a distance learning university, Capella provides all of its education online. There are hundreds of online courses offered in career-ready fields like business, health, information technology, and education. Students may select online degrees that range from the bachelor’s to doctoral level as well as professional certifications. Its military-friendly benefits include discounted tuition, transfer credits for military training, flexible military leave of absence policy, and military spousal support. Capella offers two paths to degree completion: the FlexPath which is self-paced and the GuidedPath where the pace is set by the university.

The Harold Abel School of Social and Behavioral Science at Capella University offers a M.S. in School Counseling. We selected this program for its current up-to-date relevant curriculum, and flexible delivery method. The course format uses Capella’s GuidePath which is based on a quarter system where students may elect to choose between 1 and 3 courses per quarter. All students will take core course like an introduction to school counseling, theories of counseling and guidance for children and adolescents, group counseling and psychotherapy, contemporary issues in school counseling, and school counseling and program development evaluation among others. Specialization classes include crisis intervention and emergency management, contemporary issues, and others. Students are require to fulfill practicum and internship requirements. The cost for this program is $487 and requires 72 credit hours for completion.

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  • Estimated Tuition Per Credit Hour: $487

10.)Chadron State College

Chadron State College is a public school located in Chadron, Nebraska and enrolls 3,000 students from across the U.S. Student-to-faculty ratio is 20:1 where 83% of faculty hold the highest degree in their field. The Higher Learning Commission accredits Chadron State to award bachelor’s and master’s degrees. The college is situated in the northern part of the Nebraska Panhandle and five of its colleges are listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Chadron is regularly listed as one of top 50 sports and outdoor towns. Chadron is more than a beautiful place to go to school, it offers 52 degree programs for undergraduate and graduate students and is very affordable offering a flat-rate for in-state and out-of-state tuition. In fact this affordable tuition rate is just $4,620- far below the national average for public schools.

Chadron State College offers a Master of Education (M.Ed) in School Counseling. We selected this program for its flexible online design and affordable price tag. This program prepares individuals for careers as school counselors in elementary, middle, and secondary schools. For entry into this program, students must have completed a bachelor’s degree in education or have completed some form of alternative education course. The degree program contains 4 main component parts: core course material, research and data analysis, a practicum, and an internship. Students who already hold a K-12 certification may be exempt from the internship. The core course material includes counseling and communication skills, counseling and ethics, fundamentals of assessment, multicultural counseling, family development/counseling children/crisis counseling, theories, group counseling and more. This program requires 39 credit hours for completion and costs $325 per credit hour.

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  • Estimated Tuition Per Credit Hour: $325