The 17 Best Online Master of Counseling Graduate Schools in 2023

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Completing an online Master of Counseling degree will prepare graduates for rewarding opportunities in the field of counseling. It will prepare them to work with adults and children on the aspects of mental well-being. With online Master’s in Counseling programs, students explore advanced theories and concepts in sociology and psychology.


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Mental health counselors are responsible for providing insight and support to people suffering from mental illness, substance abuse, addictions, career choices, and other problems. They evaluate different mental challenges and cases, diagnose the problem, and help treat the patients. 

An online Master of Arts or Science in Counseling emphasizes the development of core competencies while expanding your knowledge of human development and psychology. They specialize in family therapy or marriage and family counseling, substance abuse counseling, addiction counseling, adolescent counseling, rehabilitation counseling, crisis counseling, college counseling, career counseling, and mental health counseling. 

The program will also include research and practical aspects to strengthen their skills and enhance their knowledge to start a career in the counseling field. After earning a graduate degree in counseling, graduates can pursue certification or licensure in the related field.

Best Master's Counseling fact 2

Since mental health is becoming more and more recognized, many people have sought counseling services without fear of judgment or stigma. The need for counseling professionals and therapists is projected to increase.

Marriage and Family Therapists have an employment outlook of 14% job growth between 2021 to 2031, while Mental Health Counselors have a career outlook of 22% growth rate in the same period, with both professions indicating much faster than average compared to other professions in the US.

Although online Master’s in Counseling programs have different requirements and curricula per school, most programs have common aspects. If you’re interested in venturing into a graduate study in counseling, here are the ten best online Master of Counseling programs to start your search.

We also include the essential information on what you can expect from an online graduate program in counseling.

Quick audio summary:


Choose an Online Program

Online education has the advantage of enabling individuals to obtain a degree while not disrupting other areas of their lives, such as work and family. Synchronous classes usually take place in the evening, while asynchronous classes allow students to access the course materials at a time that is convenient to them. 

Prospective students have a wider selection of educational options with online programs. Students can complete some of the best online counseling master’s programs in the country without having to worry about moving costs or leaving their families for months at a time.

Why Counselors are Important

Living a fulfilling life can be severely restricted by mental health issues. These issues can sabotage relationships, families, and careers. According to National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), almost 53 million people in the US suffered from mental issues in 2020, emphasizing the need for experts in the field who have earned an Online Master of Science in Counseling degree.

Educated and well-trained counselors help people deal with problems of everyday life, from school problems to physical or mental health issues. Professionals with Counseling master’s degrees receive highly specialized training in order to treat a specific subset of clients, like those with behavioral disorders or environmental stressors. 


What a Counselor Needs to Know

There are processes as well as outcome goals in effective counseling. Goals indicate what the counselor should accomplish. In order to achieve the desired outcomes, clinicians and clients must both set process goals. The first few sessions of counseling are crucial to forming a strong counseling relationship. 

To strengthen the clinician-client alliance, the clinician and client must agree on the goals, the methods by which the goals will be achieved, and the emotional bond between them. As a result, the clinician and the client form and facilitate an agreement on how to achieve those goals. Therapists and clients must be genuine, that is, they must be honest, open, and true to each other.

There is no doubt that therapy is at its core an intimate encounter that is shaped by mutual respect and trust. Clinicians should respect their patients by listening to them, learning about them as individuals, accepting and trusting them, caring for them, and viewing them as capable of making their own decisions.

Skills Every Counselor Should Possess

As a counselor, you will help people navigate social, psychological, medical, educational, and occupational difficulties. So it’s crucial to have the following skills in order to be an effective counselor: 

  • Patience – When working with your clients, you must be patient. Before substantial results can be seen, you will need to be patient. It may take several months or even years to see the results you expect.
  • Communication Skills – To effectively communicate with a wide range of people, you need excellent verbal communication skills.
  • Open-Mindedness – You should be tolerant and open-minded towards other people and situations.
  • Research Skills – In order to find and evaluate the information you need, you must know where and how to find it.
  • Empathy – In order to build a therapeutic alliance, the counselor must understand the client’s perspective and goals, as well as his or her unique personality style and preferences, and how to communicate effectively with him or her.


Because counseling is a field of study and a profession that is ultimately aimed at changing and improving lives, choosing an online master’s program and graduate school is a decision that should NOT be taken lightly!

A person of any age can suffer from depression or anxiety, including children. Criminal justice reforms, which emphasize the need for the intervention of clinical mental health counselors rather than jail time, underscore the need for counselors!

If you have a passion for helping others with their mental well-being, you can land a job as a counselor with a Counseling master’s degree that you must earn from online colleges with a reputation for exceptional quality. 

To help you make a sound educational decision, we used these point factors to put together the 10 Best MS in Counseling programs. These online master’s programs are offered by each of the public schools or private research universities on our list:

Enroll in top-tier universities in the US offering online Master of Counseling programs that mold students into highly qualified professionals. The 10 Best Online Master’s of Counseling Graduate Schools on our list exhibit these impressive features:

  • A fully or partially online counseling program that allows flexible and customized learning options to ensure that master’s degree students–most of whom are presumably juggling graduate education and career obligations–opt for convenient scheduling of classes,
  • Coursework that emphasizes the full spectrum of Counseling, allowing students and professional counselors an in-depth look at the core counseling courses featuring the many facets of the discipline and covering a wide range of counseling services,
  • A variety of Counseling concentrations to match the students’ requirements,
  • Ensures the use of up-to-date instructional techniques featuring the latest theories and principles of ethical Counseling practice,
  • Well-credentialed online instructors with Counseling experience and background,
  • A Learning Management System with easy-to-access virtual support, tools, and student resources to maximize the online graduate study experience, 
  • Accredited by academic bodies promoting top-quality online master’s programs,
  • Federal financial aid and reduced tuition fees for online graduate students who qualify,
  • Well regarded in the Counseling community, maintaining active memberships in organizations that uphold excellence in Counseling graduate school programs and promote Counseling as an important profession.

Best Online Master of Counseling Graduate Schools

University of the Southwest

University of the Southwest
Online Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

In order to apply for licensure as a school counselor, students complete 42 credits in the online Master’s in School Counseling program offered by the University of the Southwest. Some of the courses you’ll take in this online program are counseling ethics, counseling techniques and theories, and adult counseling.

  • The master’s program can be fully taken online or in-person on their New Mexico campus.
  • Schedule classes in your free time using a custom schedule.
  • You will have a strong background in educational counseling along with a liberal arts education.
  • The University of the Southwest holds regional accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
  • The curriculum emphasizes the interaction between students and their environments, thereby reducing the impact of institutional barriers and environmental barriers. If you don’t reside in New Mexico, you should contact your state’s education department to determine whether or not the University of the Southwest program meets your state’s requirements. 
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Electives include customizing on studying whichever electives you want like Human Sexuality, Christian Counseling, Addictions Counseling, and Psychopharmacology. They also offer complete practicum and internship hours under the supervision of licensed counselors in professional settings.

Wake Forest University


: 1834 Wake Forest Road, Winston-Salem, NC 27109
: 336 758 5000

Online Master of Arts in Counseling

Wake Forest University was founded in 1834. It is a private university headquartered in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. WFU is home to a diverse and vibrant community in which on-campus and online students pursue education in one or more of the 60 minors, 45 majors, and various programs within WFU’s six schools and colleges. Wake Forest has accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

  • WFU’s online Master of Arts in Counseling offers two kinds of graduate degrees: the Online Master in Counseling – Clinical Mental Health and the Online Master in Counseling – School Counseling.
  • The 100% online counseling programs will qualify students to take the National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification and the Nationally-Certified Counselor.
  • Both counseling programs will require 60 credits for degree completion.
  • The curriculum of the MAC program features core required courses to provide expertise in eight areas, namely professional orientation, research, and program evaluation, appraisal, career and lifestyle development, group work, social and cultural foundations, helping relationships, and human growth and development. 
  • Official GRE Writing score, three letters of recommendation, a personal statement, an $80 application fee, and a virtual interview will be required for admission.

The Wake Forest University – Master of Arts in Counseling programs have garnered accreditation from the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs. Students pursuing the graduate program in counseling can find and secure an internship program with the university’s network of industry partners.

They have also worked in 60+ different schools, mental facilities, and community agencies. MAC graduates of WFU have a 95% passing rate on the NCE or National Counselor Examination. 

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In 2020, the US News & World Report included Wake Forest University in its list of Top 30 National Universities for 25 years straight. WFU also lands in 24th place for Best Value Schools in the US.

Concordia University Irvine


: 1530 Concordia West, Irvine, CA 92612
: 949 854 8002

Online Master of Arts in Counseling

The Chronicle of Higher Education has described Concordia University Irvine as one of the rapidly growing private, not-for-profit universities. Considered a US News & World Report Top Tier Regional University, CUI’s program offerings are distinctive among universities in California due to its nationally recognized Enduring Questions & Ideas Core initiative. The university has a Lutheran heritage that offers a caring and thoughtful Christian community influenced by the theology of “Grace Alone. Faith Alone”

  • CUI’s online Master of Arts in Counseling program is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs.
  • The online MAC program includes a 4-day intensive at CUI at the beginning of the semester, where students will connect with their cohort in a guided-process learning experience.
  • Depending on the students’ availability, they can either start in the Fall or Spring semester.
  • Students will be taking 60 units of courses to complete the program, including six elective courses.
  • Students complete one or two 7-week courses at a time, with learning activities that involve 13 to 16 hours weekly.

The Concordia University Irvine – Master of Arts in Counseling online program is available through the Townsend Institute. Students learn from Dr. John Townsend, a highly regarded master clinician with decades of extensive experience.

Students participate in a 3-hour virtual classroom twice a month where Dr. Townsend and an Institute Fellow will personally conduct training. Each student can access exclusive podcasts and training videos made for each course.

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Concordia University Irvine is among the Best Colleges/Regional Universities in the West, according to the latest report of the US News & World Report. CUI is a proud member of the Concordia University System, consisting of nine universities and colleges affiliated with The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.

Although every institution is unique, all campuses approach education from a Lutheran perspective.

North Carolina State University

Online Master’s Degree in College Counseling and Student Development

This online master’s program prepares students for advising and counseling positions at universities and colleges. You can find these positions in advising offices, career services, counseling centers, and diversity offices.

  • Students in the online option attend courses year-round, including the summer, as part of a three-year, part-time cohort program.
  • There are some required on-campus classes (weekends) in the final year.

The school is particularly committed to recruiting students from culturally diverse backgrounds, given their commitment to multicultural diversity. More than 5% of their degree candidates are culturally diverse in the last few years, up from the previous years. Counseling theory, research, and practice are recognized as cross-cultural in the curriculum.

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NCSU Krispy Kreme Challenge is State’s annual charity event. The challenge of this event is to run a 4K to Krispy Kreme, eat a dozen donuts, and run back in less than an hour.

University of Louisiana Monroe


: 700 University Avenue, Monroe, LA 71209
: 318 342 3145

Online Master of Science in Counseling

Established in 1931, ULM is a comprehensive, state-funded institution of higher learning and is part of the University of Louisiana System. The University of Louisiana Monroe has had a variety of online programs for adult learning since 2003. ULM has 33 online undergraduate and graduate programs, ranging from 4-week, 8-week, or 16-week learning formats.

ULM also participates in the SREB or the Southern Regional Education Board’s Electronic campus.

  • ULM’s CACREP-accredited online Master of Science in Counseling program requires 60 credits for degree completion.
  • The 100% online graduate program in Counseling doesn’t include a residency program and features 30 elective courses that students can choose from.
  • The 60-hour program has four concentrations: the Combined Option, Addictions Counseling, School Counseling, and Clinical Mental Health Counseling.
  • Regardless of the chosen specialization, graduates will be qualified to pursue an LPC licensure.
  • Students pursuing the Combined Option must have 75 credit hours to earn their graduate degrees in two areas of counseling.

The Master of Science in Counseling program at ULM has received accreditations from the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation/National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education and the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs.

ULM also offers students a combined option of completing a Master of Science in Counseling degree to specialize in two areas of counseling. Should students pursue a School Counseling track, they will be eligible to sit for the LPC (Licensed Professional Counselor) credential.

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As a leader in nursing programs, The University of Louisiana Monroe offers the 1st Clinical Nurse Leader program in Louisiana. It is also a consistent school in the Best Colleges/Best National Universities of the US News & World Report ranking.

ULM is also recognized as an R3: Doctoral University in the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education.

University of the Cumberlands


: 6178 College Station Drive, Williamsburg, KY 40769
: 877 713 8767

Online Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling 

Headquartered in Kentucky, the University of the Cumberlands thrives on providing students with a broad-based liberal arts program integrated with Christian values. In 1888, a group of ministers built a small college in Kentucky and named Williamsburg Institute for educating young adults as servant leaders.

In 2005, the school became the University of the Cumberlands and expanded its reach beyond the Appalachian Mountains. Today, the university caters to more than 15,000 students worldwide through distance learning.

  • The online Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program offered at UC will provide you with the credentials to become qualified to pursue licensure.
  • 48 out of 60 credits are designated for the core coursework in counseling, including Human Growth and Development and Psychological Assessment In Clinical Practice.
  • The graduate program will include two 300-hour counseling internships and a 100-hour practicum requirement.
  • Students will also complete 12 additional credit hours of specialized courses in one out of four concentrations, namely Advanced Counseling Theories and Techniques, Child and Adolescent Counseling, Marriage and Family Counseling, and Private Practice and Clinical Supervision.
  • Upon enrollment, applicants can transfer a maximum of 18 semester hours and may be credited from a regionally accredited college or university.

The Department of Counseling – the University of the Cumberlands receives accreditation from The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs. Since the university is grounded in Christian leadership and principles through service, graduates with a Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling degree can demonstrate compassion and sound ethical values for humanity. They will be ready to pursue licensure and eventually become a counselor-leader.

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In 2018, the University of the Cumberlands launched the Cumberlands Commitment, which reduced tuition by 57% to make education accessible for students across all economic backgrounds. In 2019, the university expanded its commitment to include complementary books.

Students will no longer find a value like an offer anywhere else in Kentucky. Approximately 97% of students at the University of Cumberlands receive some form of financial assistance.

Indiana Wesleyan University


: 4201 S. Washington St., Marion IN 46953
: 866 468 6498

Online Master of Arts in Counseling

Formerly known as Marion College, Indiana Wesleyan University is one of the biggest employers in Grant County. It is a comprehensive Christian institution of higher learning of The Wesleyan Church. IWU-Marion has 80+ undergraduate degrees and a growing list of graduate degree programs representing ten foreign countries and over 80 Christian denominations.

The university is accredited by one of the oldest accrediting organizations in the US, the Higher Learning Commission.

  • IWU’s online Master of Arts in Counseling program is offered through the Division of Graduate Counseling.
  • Students pursuing the online MA in Counseling can choose one out of six specializations: Student Development Administration, School Counseling, Marriage and Family Counseling/Therapy, Community Care, Clinical Mental Health Counseling, or Clinical Addictions Counseling.
  • All counseling specializations are available on a full-time or part-time basis. However, students must complete their degrees within six years from the date of admission.
  • As part of the enrollment requirements, students must complete six credit hours of Bible course and six credit hours in Psychology before the core counseling program.
  • GRE taken within five years of enrollment in the program is required. Students must have a minimum Verbal score of 146.

Indiana Wesleyan University offers a diverse range of specializations under its online Master of Arts in Counseling program, with two programs accredited by The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs.

Since clinical experiences are the foundation of all graduate programs at IWU, the university has its Graduate Counseling Clinics featuring state-of-the-art facilities that provide counseling services to Indianapolis and Marion.

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Indiana Wesleyan University receives national recognition for its state-of-the-art IWU-National & Global Adult Education program in 1985. More than 8,000 non-traditional students attend classes through distance learning or education centers in Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana.

New York University

Online Master’s in Mental Health Counseling

This Online Master’s – Mental Health Counseling program provides learners the tools they need to become effective school mental health counselors. The classes focus on the well-being of students, including family and community issues. As a result of the program, graduates know how to design programs that address the students’ academic, developmental, and social needs.

  • The program comes with 60 graduate-level credits, a counseling lab, a 100-hour practicum, and a 600-hour internship.
  • The program, which prepares students for a wide range of fields, including counseling theory and practice, cross-cultural counseling, research, and application of data-driven and evidence-based practices, can be completed in five terms.
  • Courses offered as electives include substance use disorders, trauma counseling, and adolescent mental health. 
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The New York University startup ecosystem fosters collaboration across disciplines, accelerates innovation, and cultivates the next generation of leaders in startups.

Walden University


: 100 Washington Avenue South, Suite 1210, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55401
: 844 398 6158

Online Master of Science (MS) in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Walden University is one of the frontrunners in distance learning in Minnesota. Since 1970, the university has supported adult students in achieving their educational aspirations through online education. Walden is the 6th institution of higher learning authorized by the US government to provide a direct evaluation of competency-based learning.

The educational community hails this Higher Learning Commission-accredited school as a distinctly top-flight online university.

  • Walden University offers a General Program and five optional concentrations for its online Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program.
  • With a generous transfer policy, the university will accept a maximum of 45 credits as transfer credits from a regionally accredited school.
  • Aside from the General Program, students can either pursue a specialization in Trauma and Crisis Counseling, Military Families and Culture, Marriage, Couple and Family Counseling, Forensic Counseling, or Addiction Counseling.
  • Regardless of the chosen specializations, all students must complete a 9 to 15-credit Field Experience, consisting of a 600-hour Internship and a 100-hour Practicum.
  • Since 2009, the online MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program has received accreditation from The Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs.

Students pursuing an online Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program at Walden University will be educated and trained by faculty and former presidents of the American Counseling Association.

They also learn from instructors who are proactive in counseling and are proud members of the ACA. Walden’s Master of Clinical Mental Health Counseling program discovers the different tools for treating, diagnosing, and preventing mental health conditions, evidence-based research, and the latest counseling principles.

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From 2016 to 2019, Walden University won six Effective Practice Awards from the online Learning Consortium for its steadfast efforts in making high-quality online education more accessible to any student anytime, anywhere.

The university offers two ways to learn, namely Course-Based Learning and Tempo Learning®. With Tempo Learning®, students will have the option to customize and determine their respective programs’ pacing, cost, and length.

West Virginia University


: One Waterfront Place, Morgantown, WV 26506-6009
: 304 293 2121

Online Master of Science (MS) in Clinical Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling

West Virginia University is a land-grant, doctoral research university with a highly reputable medical school. It is also a space-grant institution of higher learning, a network developed for outer-space research.

Acknowledged by the Higher Learning Commission, WVU is one of the four universities that provide a joint natural gas and petroleum engineering ABET-accredited program.

  • WVU’s online Master of Science in Clinical Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling program requires 63 credit hours for degree completion.
  • Although the courses are completed 100% online, it is a low residency program that will require two site visits to the Morgantown campus.
  • The curriculum is created and taught by instructors from the College of Education and Human Services.
  • Students will attend a 1-day orientation session during their first week of class.
  • Depending on the students’ commitment, they can graduate within two years of full-time learning. Part-time students will complete their degrees in three years.

West Virginia University’s online Master of Science in Clinical Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling program is one of the only 23 programs of its kind in the US. It is a holistic graduate program that provides students with the skills and knowledge to work in diverse counseling settings.

It derives its programmatic accreditation from The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs.

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In 2018, West Virginia University was named the Research University with the Highest Research Activity R1 in the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. The National Council for Home Safety and Security ranks the university as one of the country’s Top 40 safest campuses.

The 2018 Center for World University Rankings ranked WVU in the Top 3% among 19,000 universities worldwide.

Clarks Summit University

Online Master of Science in Counseling

This online master of science in counseling curriculum is biblically and theologically grounded. For a license as a professional counselor, graduates can sit for the National Certified Counselor exam. Practicum hours are completed through work at the on-campus counseling center under the supervision of a credentialed co-counselor. Practicum sessions combine live counseling with biblical theory.

  • The program is offered online.
  • It integrates Biblical teachings allowing you to apply them with theories and practice for counseling.
  • You will gain the ability to provide wise biblical counsel in a variety of clinical settings, and you will also be prepared to serve in leadership roles in ministries.

Online MS in Counseling students at Clarks Summit has the opportunity to observe multiple real-life counseling sessions at the on-campus counseling center.

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Under the guidance and supervision of a credentialed co-counselor, Online MS in Counseling students gain invaluable experience working with real clients.

Eastern University


: 1300 Eagle Road, St. Davids, PA 19087-3696
: 610 341 5800

Online Master of Arts in Clinical Counseling

Eastern University was established in 1925 as Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary. It is a nationally recognized Christian university offering diverse online, seminary, professional, graduate, and undergraduate programs.

Eastern’s main headquarters is located in Pennsylvania, with other campuses in Harrisburg and Philadelphia. The university is affiliated with the American Baptist Churches USA and features a diverse Christian administration, faculty, and student community.

  • The Eastern University – College of Health and Sciences offers a 100% online Master of Arts in Clinical Counseling program.
  • The program features three concentrations: the Applied Behavior Analysis Certification, Trauma Studies, or the General Track.
  • Full-time learners can complete the program in three years, while part-time students can graduate in four years. A two-year accelerated track is also available for interested applicants.
  • Students must submit two letters of recommendation to apply to the graduate clinical counseling program, official transcripts, current resume, GRE scores, and a completed online application.
  • If selected, some students will attend a personal interview with a faculty member, complete an on-site writing task, and review the program of study.

Eastern University’s Master of Arts in Clinical Counseling program receives its programmatic accreditation from the Master’s in Psychology and Counseling Accreditation Council. The program’s curriculum meets the academic requirements for Licensed Professional Counselors in Pennsylvania.

The university also offers an accelerated track for students who prefer completing their degrees in a shortened period.

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Eastern University has more than 122 Partnerships and Alliances, including governmental sectors, non-profit organizations, and Fortune 500 companies, across the Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, and greater Philadelphia regions.

Many organizations that partner with Eastern University receive tuition discounts, making education more affordable for their employees and creating numerous opportunities for career advancement and continuing studies.

Lehigh University

Online Master’s in International School Counseling

Students enrolled in Lehigh’s hybrid master of education in international school counseling with state certification can complete the majority of their coursework online. However, there are some classes that require physical attendance. To help students navigate the challenges of living in multiple cultures, the curriculum prepares them to work with individuals and groups from diverse backgrounds.

  • The program requires 16 courses which are 48 credits in total.
  • The master’s degree online can be finished in two and a half years.
  • To enroll, you need two letters of recommendation, transcripts, and a GPA of 3.0.

If a slower pace is more suitable for the graduate student, the online master’s program may be completed at a slower pace. Students must complete at least 100 hours of fieldwork as part of their degree. An internship of 15-20 hours a week culminates the two semesters. It must take place at an institution outside the US. Students may stop studying while they secure an internship or volunteer position.

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Turkey Trot is one of the school’s oldest campus traditions where students dress up and participate in a 2.6-mile fun run inside the campus!

Northwestern University


: 633 Clark St., Evanston, IL 60208
: 844 684 6221

Online Master of Arts in Counseling

Northwestern University is a comprehensive research university with numerous interdisciplinary programs across multiple units and schools. It is a leading research institution that houses more than 90 school-based centers and 50+ University research facilities.

Northwestern’s research programs span various areas with an interdisciplinary tradition, including drug discovery, biotechnology, nanotechnology, and neuroscience.

  • The Master of Arts (MA) in Counseling online at Northwestern University is offered through The Family Institute, with accreditation from CACREP.
  • Students with professional experience in Psychology or a related field are suitable for the Standard program, while students with no psychology or counseling background must enroll in the Bridge To Counseling program.
  • Although the curriculum features 100% online courses, students must accomplish hands-on clinical training.
  • Hands-on clinical training includes the 600-hour Internship and the 200-hour Practicum.
  • In addition to clinical training and course completion, students will participate in-person immersions, requiring them to complete the Capstone Immersion Experience and the Group Dynamics Immersion.

Northwestern University has received accreditation from The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs, making it easier for graduates to pursue counselor licensure.

The university offers two counseling tracks to provide students with the opportunity to earn a master’s degree in counseling regardless of their counseling background and experience. Both Bridge and Standard Counseling programs will have an optional Child and Adolescent emphasis, preparing graduates to work effectively with young kids with mental health conditions.

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Northwestern University is one of the only four Top 10 universities in the US and is also ranked in the Top 20 in each of the five graduate studies categories. According to The Times Higher Education, Northwestern ranks in 24th spot in The World University Rankings in 2021.

The university has also received several rankings from the US News & World Report for its economics, chemistry, materials engineering, medical school, law school, education, and business school.

Liberty University Online

Online Master of Arts in Clinical Health Counseling

Two intensive face-to-face classes are required for the online master’s degree in counseling. However, the rest of the courses can be taken online. In addition, students must complete a 100-hour practicum worth three credits, which includes 40 direct client contact hours.

  • This is an award-winning online master’s program.
  • It’s possible for you to attend classes on campus to marvel at the beautiful sceneries at Liberty University located in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
  • Through the practicum and internship program, you will gain hands-on experience working with people in need directly in your community.
  • Professors with years of experience in the helping professions teach mental health at their institutions.

While completing a 2-semester internship, students observe professional counselors at work. 

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The university has over 12,500 on-campus students and 70,000 online students, making it the world’s largest Christian university.

Bradley University


: 1501 W. Bradley Avenue, Peoria, IL 61606
: 309 676 7611

Online Master of Arts (MA) in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Bradley University was established in 1897. This private, independent university located in Illinois consistently pursues excellence in service, scholarship, research, and education and advocates collaborative learning, diversity, integrity, and leadership.

Today, Bradley University offers more than 130 continuing education, graduate, and undergraduate programs across five colleges and The Graduate School.

  • Bradley’s Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling requires 60 credit hours for degree completion.
  • The 60-credit counseling program consists of coursework, two virtual residencies, two internships, and one practicum.
  • Students will complete the first residency during the 1st term, and the last will be in the 8th term.
  • Students choose their site supervisor when approved by the university.

Bradley University’s Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program is accredited by CACREP, providing graduates with a direct path to counselor licensure. The curriculum will train and educate students to help them prepare for the National Counselor Exam.

As one of the rare features of the program, Bradley’s graduate program in counseling will explore the cutting-edge principles of neuro-counseling.

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Prestigious publications, including Bloomberg Businessweek, The Wall Street Journal, The Princeton Review, and the US News & World Report, have recognized Bradley University for its student engagement, value, and academic rigor.

Bradley University is the top university in Illinois for four succeeding years, according to The Wall Street Journal and Times Higher Education.

LeTourneau University

Online Master of Arts in Mental Health Counseling

You’ll learn how to help people live a more fulfilling life through the Master of Arts in Mental Health Counseling program offered at LeTourneau University. We will surround you with a highly skilled and experienced team of professionals and educators focused on preparing you personally to make a positive impact on people.

  • The program comes with online coursework.
  • You will need to participate in a practicum of 15 weeks duration, accumulating 100 hours of clinical work. 
  • Students in Texas prepare for the National Counseling Exam by taking 66 credits for this program.
  • To ensure the program meets requirements, out-of-state students should contact their local state board of licensure.

You will graduate with all the coursework required to take state licensing exams with a master’s degree in counseling from LeTourneau University. 

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For more than two decades, U.S. News & World Report has consistently placed LETU among the top colleges in its category. Ninety-four percent of their graduates pass the National Counseling Exam (NCE)!

What can I expect from an online Master's in Counseling program?

Frequently Asked Questions

What can I expect from an online Master’s in Counseling program?

Students can choose between an online Master of Science in Counseling or an online Master of Arts in Counseling degree. The MA degree is primarily considered a terminal degree. On the contrary, the MS degree is a preliminary degree for a doctorate in the counseling field.

Program Requirements:

If you’re planning to attend an online Master’s in Counseling program, expect to fulfill coursework, electives, and clinical fieldwork requirements. Depending on the curriculum, students can also submit a performance evaluation or final research project as part of the culminating requirements of the counseling program.


Courses in an online Master’s in Counseling program can either have generalized or specific content depending on the specialization that students will choose. The types of courses may include psychometrics, psychology research issues, ethical counseling practice, and counseling techniques.

Although online Master’s in Counseling programs often have the same set of courses, other schools offer capstone experience and advanced coursework completion depending on the departmental emphasis and faculty. The majority of online Master’s in Counseling programs will also educate and prepare graduate students for state licensing and professional examination requirements. Students must also double-check with their chosen graduate school if their counseling program fits their preferences and needs.

How much will I make with a Master’s in Counseling online degree?

Online Master’s in Counseling degree graduates can have a salary within the minimum of $29,490 or higher annually, especially if they work in religious organizations, insurance carriers, or educational support services. However, many factors can affect the earning potential of counselors. Although fresh graduates starting new in their profession will earn lesser, the facilities and geographic location of their workplace will also matter.

Rural or remote areas may not have the best resources to offer high-level salaries as bigger metropolitan cities. The logic also applies the same to the size of the facilities. Bigger facilities will have the financial means to pay higher wages compared to smaller facilities with limited opportunities.

Another determining factor regarding salaries is the number of years of experience. The more years of professional experience you’ll have, the higher salaries you will receive, especially if you have pursued a specialty in forensics, pediatric, or dual diagnosis.

The majority of students pursuing an online Master’s in Counseling degree seek progress in their careers or shift to a different specialization. Graduates can explore more rewarding opportunities in their current roles or pursue a different position in another company that provides them with more opportunities, challenges, or responsibilities.

What licenses and certifications can an online Master’s in Counseling degree prepare?

Online Master’s in Counseling degree graduates can help prepare the following credentials:

National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination (NCMHCE)

Completing and passing the NCMHCE or National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination is crucial in obtaining the credentials to become a licensed mental health counselor in the US. The examination mandates students to diagnose and treat clinical issues in ten simulated mental health scenarios, with each scenario broken down into sections.

Each case will lead students to offer treatment and decision-making processes. To qualify for the NCMHCE, applicants must have a master’s degree and 3,360 hours of supervised post-graduate professional work experience.

National Counselor Examination (NCE)

Graduates must pass the National Counselor Examination to become licensed counselors in the United States. The exam comprises 200 multiple-choice questions, evaluating the applicant’s ability to offer efficient counseling and other related services.

To be qualified to sit for the NCE, applicants must have a traditional or online master’s in counseling degree and 3,000 hours of post-graduate field experience. 100 out of 3,000 hours must be from a supervised program.

What careers can I pursue with an online Master’s in Counseling degree?

The field of counseling involves a diverse range of professions. Many graduates work in academia as career counselors or in hospitals and other healthcare facilities as clinical counselors. They can also venture into their practices as marriage and family counselors.

By completing an online Master’s in Counseling degree and receiving the essential post-graduate credentials and experiences, graduates can pursue a career that is both fulfilling and lucrative.

Genetic Counselors

Genetic Counselors provide support and evaluation for families whose members are at risk of a hereditary condition, including genetic disorders and congenital disabilities. These professionals guide their patients through a series of testing and connect them with social support and healthcare services.

They can work in different settings, including laboratories, physicians’ offices, and hospitals. A graduate degree in Counseling is required for certified counselors. 

Behavioral Disorder, Substance Abuse, or Mental Health Counselors

Mental Health, Behavioral Disorder, and Substance Abuse Counselors can find employment in various organizations, including public treatment facilities and private hospitals. These professionals diagnose disorders and offer comprehensive one-on-one support to their patients suffering from mental health conditions and related issues like addiction.

Mental Health Counselors also connect patients to community services, including career opportunities and outpatient programs. To become a licensed mental health counselor, they must complete a Master’s in Counseling degree or higher.

School Counselors

School Counselors are dedicated to the personal well-being and academic success of their students. These professionals can work in any academic setting, from K-12 to institutions of higher learning, depending on the degree they’ve earned.

They provide career counseling, community support, and educational guidance. Many school counselors also have proficiencies to handle instances of child abuse or neglect.

How can I choose the best online Master’s in Counseling program suitable for me?

Like traditional graduate programs, choosing an online Master’s in Counseling program that best fits your preferences and needs is a personal choice. Students can either choose the degree program or graduate school. If you’re particular with the graduate school, find a college or university that offers a 100% online Master of Counseling program. The institution you’ve selected must provide high-quality coursework and electives. 

With counseling programs, it’s also an advantage to choose a school accredited by CACREP or The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs. By enrolling in an online Master’s in Counseling program with CACREP accreditation, students are ensured that the degree program they are enrolled in has a high-quality curriculum aligned with industry standards.

CACREP-accredited programs will also provide them with everything to prepare them as effective counselors. With CACREP accreditation, graduates can apply for almost any career they want to pursue. The program will give them the reputation and credentials they need when they ask for a promotion or salary increase.

If you’re choosing an online Master’s in Counseling program on its reputation, find a program with the set of courses and electives that you want to take. Returning to school to complete a graduate program in counseling indicates you already have completed many courses. It is recommended that you stay on track.

Although you can always pursue a specialty or branch off, you must have a baseline and keep the momentum.

What are the admission requirements for enrolling in an Online Master’s in Counseling program?

A bachelor’s degree is required for all online master’s in counseling programs. Undergraduate programs generally require GPAs between 2.7 and 3.0. Several professors or supervisors may recommend you for admission. You need to submit your transcripts and some schools prefer if you have professional experience.

What can graduates do with an online Master’s in Counseling in their belt?

After earning a master’s degree in counseling, students go on to specialize in addictions, mental health and behavioral disorders, trauma, education, marriage and family counseling, and more. Mental health counselors may specialize in treating older adults, children, or veterans. Upon receiving a Master’s degree in counseling, you may become a clinical supervisor, program director, or even open your own practice.

Is it difficult to acquire an online Master’s degree in Counseling?

Coursework and topics in a counseling master’s degree can be challenging and emotionally draining. Some of the topics are challenging and difficult. Students who dedicate themselves to graduate programs in counseling can succeed with hard work, good time management, and dedication.

Key Takeaways

  • Despite some bachelor’s level degrees that focus on counseling, you must complete a master’s program in Counseling to become a licensed professional counselor.
  • An online Master of Science in Counseling gives ambitious counselors the chance to rise through the ranks of the industry and practice professionally!
  • By studying in-depth the principles, ethics, and current techniques or emerging practices, as well as the challenges involving psychology, sociology, and health science, master’s degree holders can be well on their way to a rewarding counseling career. 

Related Information:

Online Master of Counselling - fact

Dr. Jared Goff
Chief Editor