Best Online Master’s in School Counseling 2021

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Masters in school counseling

School counselors help K-12 students plan for the future and overcome problems. They also help students engage with learning. Aspiring school counselors can enroll in a master’s in school counseling online. Most programs require a bachelor’s degree and GRE scores. Some master’s in education programs only accept licensed teachers.

Online school counseling programs cover many topics, including counseling theories. Learners also study advanced counseling processes. Students complete professional seminars and practica at different schools. States require these experiences for licensing purposes.

This page features the best master’s in school counseling online programs. Read on for common courses and costs.

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Frequently Asked Questions About School Counseling

true Q. How long does it take to become a school counselor?

Full-time students can finish a master’s in school counseling online program in two years.

true Q. Are school counselors in demand?

Yes. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects jobs for school and career counselors to grow 11% between 2020 and 2030.

true Q. What skills does a school counselor need to have?

Successful school counselors need strong analytical, interpersonal, and communication skills. They also need compassion for students and their families.

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Find a program that meets your affordability, flexibility, and education needs through an accredited, online school.

Why Get a School Counseling Degree?

School counselors can make a lasting impact on students’ lives. These professionals can also advance within a school or district. The highest-earning school counselors make nearly six figures annually. The median annual salary for all occupations is $41,950, according to the BLS.

Online school counseling programs make earning a degree easier for many students. Asynchronous programs allow learners to complete coursework around work or family responsibilities. Online programs sometimes charge lower tuition than on-campus programs. Learners can attend the most affordable master’s in school counseling online program without relocating.

How Much Does a School Counseling Degree Cost?

The cost of a school counseling degree varies by school and program. In-state, public schools charge the most affordable tuition. Online learners do not incur expenses for campus parking or housing.

Financial aid such as scholarships and grants can help learners pay for their degree. These awards do not require repayment.

Additional Online Student Fees

For online students, tuition comprises the highest portion of a degree’s total cost. However, they should plan for added expenses, like a reliable computer and upgraded internet. Learners may also need to buy specialized software. Students in a hybrid program should plan for commuting costs.

Some schools charge distance learning or graduation fees. Aspiring school counselors should also set aside money for state licensure fees.

How Much Do School Counseling Majors Make?

School counselors earn a median annual salary of $58,120, according to the BLS. Pay varies by geographic location, employer, and experience. Counselors working in California, New Jersey, and Virginia earn the most. School counselors in these states earn $73,590-$81,350. Professionals employed by private or public K-12 schools make more than their peers working at junior colleges.

School counselors can increase their salary potential by exploring related careers. Examples include working as a high school teacher, social service manager, or psychologist. These positions require a master’s degree or a doctorate. Some counselors do not want to return to school. They can boost their salary by working for promotions or changing employers.

Courses in School Counseling

Master’s in school counseling online courses prepare enrollees to create many positive learning outcomes. Degree-seekers learn how to recognize students in need and provide the best interventions. Learners also explore how to collaborate with teachers and administrators. Students supplement coursework with in-person practica and internships at K-12 schools. Some programs require a thesis.

See below for common courses in school counseling programs. Keep in mind that not every school offers these exact courses.

  • Counseling Skills

    Students gain a broad overview of counseling best practices and techniques. They learn how to connect with students, apply interventions, and recognize when learners no longer need counseling services. Aspiring school counselors may take this course alongside peers.
  • Counseling and Culturally Diverse

    School counselors must know how to work with students from different cultural backgrounds. This course focuses on how race, religion, sexual orientation, and other factors influence learners’ development. Degree-seekers analyze the latest trends and issues, such as the rising number of refugees living in the United States.
  • Lifespan and Development

    School counselors must understand how children and adolescents develop physically and mentally. Coursework focuses on different development theories. Learners study family interaction and significant life transitions. Enrollees learn how to identify students not developing normally and apply ethical standards when doing their job.

How to Become a School Counselor

School counselors need a master’s degree to practice in most states. Approved graduate programs meet one or more states’ licensure requirements. Aspiring counselors can increase their job prospects by specializing in an in-demand subfield, such as career counseling. Some employers only hire applicants with prior teaching experience or national board certification.

Licensure for School Counseling

Licensure requirements vary by state. Most school counselors need a master’s degree with coursework in human growth and development, program evaluation, and group counseling. Candidates must also complete a supervised practicum and internship lasting at least 500 contact hours.

Some states charge counselors applying for initial licensure a processing fee. Licensed counselors should expect to pay more fees when they renew or upgrade their license. School counselors may also need to pay for background checks. If they move, counselors may need to pay to transfer a license to a new state. Some states waive the latter fee for professionals relocating due to military service obligations.

Licensure renewal requirements include continuing education (CE) from an approved provider. School counselors should keep track of CE paperwork and submit it with a renewal form every 1-5 years, depending on their state.

Best Online Master’s in School Counseling 2021

  1. University of Louisiana at Monroe
    Location

    Monroe, LA

    Tuition

    $9455

    Located in Monroe, ULM offers an online master of counseling with a concentration in school counseling. Students take courses 100% online with no residency requirements. Graduates may also qualify to sit for school counselor and LPC licensure.

    The 60-credit curriculum includes foundation courses such as introduction to professional counseling, counseling theories, lifespan development, and diagnostics in counseling. School-specific courses include principles of administration of school counseling programs, as well as a two-part internship within an approved K-12 setting near the student to receive hands-on training and mentorship. Students may also focus electives on a further concentration, such as a pediatric focus.

    Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree with a minimum GPA of 2.75 to qualify for admission. Students must also submit GRE scores. ULM is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The school also boasts programmatic accreditation from the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs.

  2. Morehead State University
    Location

    Morehead, KY

    Tuition

    $12528

    A public university located in Morehead, Kentucky, MSU offers an online master of arts in counseling with a concentration in school counseling. Students earn provisional counseling certification for preK-12.

    The 36-credit curriculum includes counseling core such as psycho-social and multicultural factors in counseling, philosophy and practice of school counseling, legal and ethical issues in counseling, and counseling theories. Three professional education courses prepare students for scholarly work: research methods in education, advanced human growth and development, and measurement principles and techniques. Students must also complete a practicum for hands-on skills and mentoring in the field.

    Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.75 to qualify for admission. Students must also possess a minimum GRE score of 286, with a minimum verbal score of 143. Students may also submit MAT scores (minimum raw score of 33).

    MSU is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  3. Southeastern Oklahoma State University
    Location

    Durant, OK

    Tuition

    $8490

    Located in Durant, SOSU offers an online master of education in school counseling. Students can complete the 42-credit program in as few as 12 months, not including practicum experiences, in their local area.

    Students complete 15 courses and a practicum, which requires a minimum of 100 hours of counseling-related services. The core curriculum includes school counseling orientation and ethical practice, human growth and development counseling, and social and cultural issues in counseling. The counseling practicum allows students to develop hands-on experience in a real school setting.

    Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.75 or a GPA of 3.0 on the last 60 credits of coursework. The school does not require GRE scores to apply for the program.

    SOSU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. The school also boasts programmatic accreditation from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation.

  4. Arkansas State University
    Location

    Jonesboro, AR

    Tuition

    $13459

    Based in Jonesboro, A-State offers an online master of science in education with a concentration in school counseling. Students complete 16 courses for a total of 48 credits.

    Students begin the curriculum with a core series in counseling. Notable courses include foundational knowledge of professional school counseling and professional practice, theories of professional school counseling, data-informed professional school counseling, and social and cultural foundations of counseling.

    School counseling students also take a three-part concentration series: introduction to crisis and trauma in children and adolescents, school-based crisis counseling, and multicultural issues in crisis and trauma. A counseling practicum at an approved location near the student provides hands-on training and mentoring.

    Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0 to qualify for admission. The school does not require a teaching certificate, current licensure, or GRE scores. A-State is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. The school also boasts programmatic accreditation from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation.

  5. Regent University
    Location

    Virginia Beach, VA

    Tuition

    Unconfirmed

    A private school located in Virginia Beach, Virginia, Regent offers an online master of arts in school counseling. Students complete 60 credits mostly online, with two week-long residencies required.

    Students begin core courses outlining the theory and practice of counseling. These courses include theories of counseling, orientation to the counseling profession, assessment techniques in counseling, and counseling and Christian thought. Students must also take three program-specific courses: counseling children and adolescents, principles of school counseling, and program development and evaluation for school counselors. A two-part internship allows learners to gain hands-on experience in the field and receive mentoring from experts.

    Applicants must hold an undergraduate degree with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 to qualify for admission. Students must also submit GRE or MAT scores.

    Regent is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The school also boasts programmatic accreditation from the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs.

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