Graduate programs for counseling are offered by a variety of institutions. Many of these institutions offer online counseling degree programs supplemented by two short (4-8 day) residency requirements. These requirements are not exclusive to traditional brick and mortar institutions, but are also common in many “online only” schools.
Ranking The Top 10 Counseling Programs Online
The graduate programs listed here and the schools offering them are all accredited regionally; other accreditations vary from school to school. The schools are ranked according to reputation first. While the online counseling degree only schools offer a wider array of degree programs available over the internet, the reputation of some of the traditional institutions outweighs the variety offered by some of their competitors.
#1. Wake Forest University
Master of Arts in Counseling-Clinical Mental Health
Summary: Wake Forest University is ranked #25 by U.S. News and World Report’s Annual Guide to America’s Best Colleges. Their commitment to excellence and their philosophy of pro humanitate (for humanity) is reflected in their reputation and the quality of their programs is top of the line. The online counseling degree program at Wake Forest is focused on producing caring counselors and human services professionals during a time when so many face difficulty and hardship. 2012-2013 is the program’s first year of existence and it’s exciting to see such a high profile school beginning to offer online programs.
#2. Seton Hall University
Master of Arts in Counseling
Summary: SHU is a regionally accredited Catholic school with a 150 year academic history as a brick and mortar institution. They have recently begun offering online programs, bringing their rich academic history to the world of online education. As is common with schools that have a traditional history, two on-site residencies are required to complete the program but the rest is completely online.
#3. University of North Dakota
Master of Arts in Counseling- K-12 School Emphasis
Summary: The University of North Dakota is a state university with a long heritage dating to 1883, before North Dakota became a state. The university is now launching online courses to bring the academic excellence of the University to a wider audience. The M.A. in School Counseling is a strong program designed to prepare students to effectively counsel students of all ages through all periods of development. Online students are charged the same rate as North Dakota residents with an additional per credit online fee. The online counseling degree program is one of the cheapest available and of the highest quality.
#4. University of Massachusetts
Master’s of Education in School Counseling
Summary: One of the top state schools in the country and also a pioneer of the brick and mortar adopting online distance education, The University of Massachusetts is one of the most recognizable names in higher education. Their M.Ed. in School Counseling is a strong program for those interested in the field from the educational standpoint. The program is affordable and one of the strongest options available to students looking for a quality institution with a great reputation.
#5. Post University
Master of Science in Human Services – Alcohol and Drug Counseling
Summary: Post is another example of brick and mortar institutions with a very strong reputation and long tradition of academic excellence entering the online market and is one of the only such institutions that does not require any residency periods. This particular program has a light credit load of 37 credits and the cost is lower than that of many competing institutions.
Tuition: $20,000/Whole Program
#6. Northcentral University
Master of Arts in Psychology – Industrial/Organizational Psychology
Summary: Northcentral is one of the top online universities and the industrial/organizational psychology program is very strong. This particular degree focuses on preparing students to evaluate the psychological status of employees for corporations, aid in the hiring process and perform many varied tasks involving the assessment of employee mental health, as well as in some cases providing counseling for employees.
#7. Sacred Heart University
Master of Science in Applied Psychology
Summary: This program offers concentrations in Organizational Psychology and Community Psychology. The focus of the Community Psychology concentration is on developing counselors that will understand the needs of community organizations such as schools and social services organizations. The focus of this degree is on working with the underprivileged, under served communities in need.
#8. Capella University
Master of Science in Counseling Psychology
Summary: A program focused on pure counseling for those that wish to practice as a licensed counselor. This program from Capella University (one of the most recognizable names in online education) is perfectly suited to the needs of somebody that doesn’t wish to focus on a specific subset of the counseling field. One of the benefits of obtaining a online counseling degree from online only schools like Capella is that they offer a wider array of degree programs online than more traditional brick and mortar universities.
#9. Walden University
M.S. in Marriage, Couple and Family Counseling
Summary: This is one of many strong offerings from Walden University. Walden is a very strong online school that offers an extremely wide array of programs to prospective counseling students. The Marriage, Couple and Family Counseling program is perfect for people wishing to focus on that particular field but it is not all the school offers.
Tuition: $420/quarter credit hour
#10. University of the Rockies
Master of Arts in Psychology – Career Management and Counseling Specialization
Summary: These days good Career Management Counselors are sorely needed. Now more than ever students need wise guidance in selecting degree programs that will give them a strong return on their investment and higher chances of employment. University of the Rockies is an up and coming name in online education and offers many strong programs like their online counseling degree program.