Best Online Counseling Schools

Learn about top schools that offer students a chance to earn counseling degrees online. Find out the specialties offered in these programs and the schools' rankings. Schools offering Mental Health Counseling degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Should I Look for in a Quality Online Counseling School?

What type of counseling would you like to do? Make sure the specialty program you're considering treats online and on-campus candidates equally. Investigate the faculty's experience with educational technology, and ask how coursework is delivered. How will you access the resources you'll need to complete your program?

In counseling training, a clinical or internship experience may be required. Determine how these experiences will be arranged, and ask if the program will qualify you for professional licensing examinations.

What Are Three Top Online Counseling Schools?

Oregon State University in Corvallis, OR

Oregon State (OSU) was ranked 143rd among the top universities in the nation in 2016 by U.S. News & World Report. OSU's Extended Campus (Ecampus) program offers accredited bachelor's and master's degrees.

The Counselor Education and Supervision program in the OSU School of Education is the second oldest in the country, after Harvard's. The hybrid Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Counseling program, accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs (CACREP), has admitted nearly 60 cohorts.

A master's degree in counseling or a similar field is a prerequisite. You'll have to attend on-campus classes in Wilsonville, Oregon, on a Friday-Saturday schedule twice each quarter, but the rest of your coursework can be completed online. You'll be supported by the Student Services Center for Ecampus, providing special services for online students. The following degrees are offered:

  • Master of Counseling: School Counseling
  • Ph.D. in Counseling

University at Buffalo in Buffalo, NY

The University of Buffalo (UB) is a SUNY flagship school among its 68 campuses. UB achieved a 99th place position in U.S. News & World Report's national rankings of best colleges for 2016.

UB offers a Master of Science (M.S.) in Rehabilitation Counseling through its Graduate School of Education and the SUNY Learning Network, the online arm of the university system. Of degree recipients, 95% find related employment. They help people with substance abuse, behavioral disorder problems or vocational rehabilitation. The school also offers a couple of counseling focused Advanced Graduate Certificate (AGC) programs.

As a student in this Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE)-accredited master's program, you'll take the same courses as on-campus students and perform the required internships and fieldwork where you live. UB has three videoconferencing facilities for real-time video and cable. These facilities are equipped for audio and video 2-way communication, allowing distance learners the opportunity to participate in classes. The following degrees are offered:

  • M.S. in Rehabilitation Counseling
  • Advanced Graduate Certificate in Mental Health Counseling
  • Advanced Graduate Certificate in Rehabilitation Counseling

University of Massachusetts (UMass Online) in Boston, MA

The University of Massachusetts (UMass), ranked 75th by U.S. News & World Report in the national universities category in 2016, offers four hybrid master's degrees in counseling. UMass is the winner of Sloan Consortium online excellence awards. UMassOnline provides marketing and technology services for their over 96 virtual degree programs.

You can complete the majority of your coursework online, but you'll complete two weeks of clinical courses on campus during your first year. The mental health counseling program meets the academic standards for Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) certification.

Online students at UMass, including students abroad, report easy access to the same courses and material as on-site students through a growing library of ebooks and other technology resources. Students found professors to be accessible through threaded course site discussions or e-mail.

Hybrid counseling degrees offered by UMass Online:

  • Addictions Counselor Education Programs Certificate
  • Master of Education (M.Ed.) in School Counseling (Boston campus)
  • Master of Science (M.S.) in Mental Health Counseling (Boston campus)
  • M.S. in Rehabilitation Counseling (Boston Campus)

Ten Other Top Online Counseling Programs

College/UniversityInstitution TypeLocation
Wake Forest University4-year, PrivateWinston-Salem, NC
Liberty University4-year, PrivateLynchburg, VA
Seton Hall University4-year, PrivateSouth Orange, NJ
University of Texas Tyler4-year, PublicTyler, TX
Bellevue University4-year, PrivateBellevue, NE
Regent University4-year, PrivateVirginia Beach, VA
Colorado Christian University4-year, PrivateLakewood, CO
Missouri Baptist University4-year, PrivateSaint Louis, MO
Fort Hays State University4-year, PublicHays, KS
Adams State University4-year, PublicAlamosa, CO

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

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