Written By - Brandon Mario D'Souza

Edited By Arlene Ward

Review & Contribution By Dr. Emily Parker

For those drawn to a profession where they can directly impact individuals’ lives, Counseling Psychology is the perfect fit. These professionals enhance well-being, address emotional and mental health challenges, and navigate crises. With advancements in science and innovative approaches, Counseling Psychology has expanded significantly. A Master’s in Counseling Psychology equips students with comprehensive knowledge of the theories, methodologies, and practices of counseling psychology. This includes understanding various therapeutic approaches, psychological assessments, and intervention strategies. Engaging in such a degree leads to significant personal growth. Graduates gain self-awareness, empathy, and a deeper understanding of human behavior, which benefits their professional practice and enriches their personal lives.

Pursuing a master’s degree is a common pathway for those entering this rewarding career, including roles in private practice, mental health agencies, schools, hospitals, and community organizations. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 62,880[1] employment estimate and a mean annual wage of $102,740, outpacing the average for other professions. This guide will explore various aspects of online master’s programs in counseling psychology, including top program rankings in the country.

Masters in Counseling Psychology

Table Of Contents

Featured Online Programs

Southern New Hampshire University

PROGRAM: Online MS in Psychology

Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit, accredited institution with more than 3,000 on-campus students and over 60,000 online students, making us one of the fastest-growing universities in the country. Founded in 1932, we’ve been relentlessly reinventing higher education ever since and have gained national recognition for our dedication to helping students transform their lives and the lives of those around them.

We’re proud to provide affordable, accessible education that students can pursue on our 300-acre campus in Manchester, NH, over our innovative online platform or at our regional centers in Manchester, Nashua, Portsmouth and Salem, NH, and Brunswick, ME.

SNHU has earned the GetEducated.com Best Buy and Best of Business – Best Online Degree awards and is consistently ranked as a top Military Friendly® School by G.I Jobs®.

Best Master’s in Counseling Psychology Online Programs

Today, numerous universities offer a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology. But not all of them are considered the best. We have researched dozens of masters in counseling psychology online programs and created a list of the best based on several parameters like affordability, program quality, graduate rates, teacher-student ratio, etc. Here is a list of the best counseling psychology master’s programs offered online.

<a href="https://www.onlinemasterscolleges.com/masters-in-counseling-psychology-online/">Masters in Counseling Psychology Online</a>

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College Name & AddressTuitionGraduation Rate
Clarks Summit University
538 Venard Rd, Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania 18411
Creighton University
2500 California Plaza, Omaha, Nebraska 68178
Seton Hall University
400 S Orange Ave, South Orange, New Jersey 07079
Virginia Commonwealth University
910 W Franklin St, Richmond, Virginia 23284
Concordia University Wisconsin
12800 N Lake Shore Dr, Mequon, Wisconsin 53097
LeTourneau University
2100 S Mobberly Ave, Longview, Texas 75602
Concordia University Irvine
1530 Concordia West, Irvine, California 92612
California Baptist University
8432 Magnolia Ave, Riverside, California 92504
University of North Dakota
264 Centennial Drive, Stop 8193, Grand Forks, North Dakota 58202
Eastern University
1300 Eagle Rd, Saint Davids, Pennsylvania 19087
University of South Dakota
414 E Clark St, Vermillion, South Dakota 57069
Nova Southeastern University
3301 College Ave, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33314
Hope International University
2500 E Nutwood Ave, Fullerton, California 92831
Crown College
8700 College View Drive, Saint Bonifacius, Minnesota 55375
Liberty University
1971 University Blvd, Lynchburg, Virginia 24515
University of the Cumberlands
6191 College Station Drive, Williamsburg, Kentucky 40769
Lamar University
4400 MLK Blvd, Beaumont, Texas 77705
Prescott College
220 Grove Ave, Prescott, Arizona 86301
Ottawa University
1001 South Cedar, Ottawa, Kansas 66067

Source – Integrated Post Secondary Education Data System & University Data
*Tuition rates are for in-state and per year. Program specific rates may apply.
**NA – data not available

Understanding Master’s in Counseling Psychology Online Programs

Counseling Psychology covers many skills and knowledge, from understanding human behavior to applying therapeutic techniques. Students need to explore the diverse areas within the discipline, such as individual counseling, family therapy, and group interventions. This helps align career aspirations with specific interests and strengths. Ethical considerations play a significant role in Counseling Psychology. Students must know the profession’s ethical guidelines, emphasizing responsible and ethical care. This understanding is crucial for building trust and ensuring the well-being of clients. Hands-on experience is another crucial aspect. Many programs include practical components, providing students with real-world exposure. This improves clinical skills and gives insights into the challenges and rewards of working in different settings.

Keeping up with advancements is also essential. Counseling Psychology evolves with scientific developments, incorporating new research findings and innovative approaches. Staying informed ensures practitioners have the most effective tools for helping clients. This section will dig deeper into these various aspects of Counseling Psychology.

What is Counseling Psychology?

The term “counseling” originated in the United States, coined by Carl Rogers, who couldn’t use “psychotherapy” due to lacking a medical qualification. Counseling Psychology in the US began during World War II when there was a need for vocational placement and training in the military. The Veterans Administration created a specialty called “Counseling Psychology” in the 1940s, leading to the formation of Division 17 (now the Society for Counseling Psychology) within the American Psychological Association (APA) [2]. 

In simple terms, Counseling Psychology is a branch of professional psychology that focuses on how people function personally and in their relationships at all stages of life. It addresses individuals’ emotional, social, work, school, and physical health concerns. Counseling Psychology addresses typical life stresses and more severe issues, considering individuals within families, groups, and organizations.

Counseling involves one-on-one interactions to help individuals change their attitudes and behaviors. It’s a personal experience and isn’t conducted in group settings. Within psychology, Counseling Psychology includes research conducted by psychologists to study and analyze individual or group experiences and behaviors. This research can be applied in various areas, such as the counseling process and outcome, supervision and training, career development, and prevention and health.

Some key themes among Counseling Psychologists include a focus on strengths, person-environment interactions, educational and career development, brief interactions, and intact personalities. The Society of Counseling Psychology brings together psychologists, students, and professionals dedicated to promoting education, training, practice, scientific investigation, diversity, and public interest in professional psychology.

Curriculum and Skills Gained in Master’s in Counseling Psychology Online Programs

A Master’s in Counseling Psychology typically encompasses a comprehensive curriculum to equip students with the knowledge and skills needed for a successful career. Core counseling courses form the foundation, covering a broad spectrum from counseling theories and techniques to group counseling dynamics. Practical training is crucial, with practicum and internship experiences providing hands-on application of theoretical concepts in real-world counseling settings such as schools, clinics, or community organizations. Elective courses allow students to tailor their learning experience, exploring specific areas of interest or further specializing within the field. The curriculum often culminates in a capstone project, thesis, or comprehensive exam, allowing them to showcase their mastery of counseling psychology concepts.

Different colleges have different coursework; however, some typical courses that one can find across the Master in Counseling Psychology curriculum include:

Foundations of Counseling Psychology

This course is typically designed to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of the fundamental principles, historical context and critical theoretical frameworks underpinning the counseling psychology field. This foundational course introduces the core concepts and essential knowledge necessary to embark on their journey in the counseling psychology discipline.

Counseling Theories and Techniques

This course is designed to offer students a comprehensive exploration of the major theoretical frameworks and practical strategies that underpin the practice of counseling psychology. It is a foundational pillar providing a theoretical toolbox and practical skills necessary for effective counseling interventions. 


This course provides students with an in-depth understanding of mental health disorders, abnormal behavior, and the diagnostic processes employed in psychology. This course equips them with the knowledge and skills needed to recognize, assess, and understand the various psychological disorders that individuals may experience.

Lifespan Development

This course offers students a comprehensive exploration of human development across the entire lifespan. It is designed to provide an in-depth understanding of individuals’ psychological, emotional, cognitive, and social changes from infancy to late adulthood.

Ethical and Legal Issues in Counseling

This course is designed to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of the ethical principles and legal considerations that govern the practice of counseling. It equips future counseling psychologists with the knowledge and skills to navigate complex ethical dilemmas, maintain professional standards, and ensure clients’ well-being.

Some other additional courses one can find across different colleges include:

  • Counselling Skills and Strategies
  • Group Counselling
  • Addiction Counselling
  • Career Development and Counselling
  • Social Justice in Counselling
  • Psychological Assessments
  • Multicultural Counselling
  • Prevention and Health Psychology
  • Family Systems Theory
  • Trauma Counselling
  • Program Evaluation
  • Research Methods in Psychology

Upon completing a Master’s in Counseling Psychology, students can expect to acquire a diverse set of skills that prepare them for a successful and impactful career in the field, including:

  • Ability to apply a variety of counseling theories and techniques to address the psychological and emotional needs of individuals, groups, and families;
  • Proficient in conducting assessments, utilizing diagnostic tools, and formulating accurate diagnoses of mental health disorders;
  • Strong communication skills, both verbal and written, to facilitate clear and empathetic interaction with clients, colleagues, and other professionals;
  • Sensitivity and competence in working with diverse populations, considering cultural, ethnic, and social factors in the counseling process;
  • Understand and apply ethical principles and professional codes of conduct in navigating complex ethical dilemmas within counseling practice;
  • Cultivate empathetic and active listening skills to establish rapport, foster trust, and create a supportive therapeutic environment;
  • Proficient in conducting group therapy, facilitating discussions, and managing group dynamics for adequate collective support;
  • Develop individualized treatment plans, considering the unique needs, strengths, and goals of each client;
  • Identify and address conflicts within the counseling relationship and broader interpersonal contexts.

Masters in Counseling Psychology Online Degree Types

Many universities offering an online Master’s in Counseling Psychology Degree provide options such as a Master of Science (MS) program, a Master of Arts (MA) program, or coursework leading to a Master of Education (M.Ed). The MS curriculum focuses on the scientific foundations of counseling, while the MA program often emphasizes counseling techniques and practices. On the other hand, M.Ed coursework is designed for those aspiring to take the exam to become a Psychological Associate. Although both the MS and MA programs cover similar subject matter, they approach the material differently, and each program equips students with distinct career paths.

MA Counseling Psychology

Opting for a Master of Arts program is ideal for those with a Bachelor’s Degree in English, Arts, or a general field without a science focus. Tailored explicitly toward liberal arts, a Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology opens doors to careers in social work, counseling, or therapy. Unlike specialized programs, an MA doesn’t require choosing a particular focus. Instead, students engage in a broad curriculum. After completing the necessary general counseling courses, they will be expected to submit a thesis for graduation. Individuals graduating with an MA in counseling typically do not actively pursue licensing. While they can apply for a counseling license, many prefer teaching counseling or delving into research-focused roles after obtaining their degree.

MS Counseling Psychology

A Master of Science (MS) in Counseling degree equips graduates for licensure as professional counselors, with specialization options available. Ideal for those with a Bachelor’s Degree in psychology or related fields, the program allows for specialization during study, providing a head start on career-focused learning. Graduates typically fulfill clinical hours post-graduation to attain licensure, securing positions aligned with their chosen specialization.

M.Ed Counseling Psychology

The Master of Education (MEd) degree is similar to an MS in Education because it requires extensive research. Each university will have different requirements. The MEd, also called the EdM, may require a master’s thesis, may need the candidate to submit a portfolio, or may take a comprehensive exam instead. Also, the MEd in Counseling and Personnel Services, with a concentration in Counseling Psychology, fulfills the State Board of Psychology’s educational requirements to apply to take the exam to become a Psychological Associate.

Specializations in Masters in Counseling Psychology Online Programs

Students can specialize in a specific area in their chosen program, allowing them to focus their studies and expertise in a particular domain. Within the field of Counseling Psychology, two notable specializations include:

Area of FocusDescriptionCareers the Specialization Prepares For
Alcohol and Drug CounselingIn this concentration, students understand the complex issues regarding alcohol and drug addiction in American society. Theyl learn the biological, psychological, and sociological effects of short and long-term use of substances on the individual, family, and community. The concentration also focuses on assessing, diagnosing, and treating addictions using the latest and best practices. Students may also be able to apply credits toward earning their professional counseling licensure.  Substance Abuse Counselor, Rehabilitation Counselor, Prevention Specialist, Case Manager in Social Services, and more.
Clinical Mental Health CounselingThis concentration provides students with the conceptual, analytical, and operational knowledge they will need to begin or advance their career in clinical counseling. Online courses comprehensively study the issues of assessing, diagnosing, and treating various psychiatric disorders. Students also develop an in-depth understanding of the primary models, theories, and techniques in individual, group, and family counseling.Licensed Professional Counselor, Marriage and Family Therapist, Addiction Counselor, Clinical Supervisor, and more. 
School CounselingSchool counseling is a specialized field within counseling psychology that focuses on supporting and guiding students in academic, social, and personal development. They address various issues, including academic achievement, career development, and social-emotional well-being.School Counselor, College Counselor, Special Education Counselor, School-Based Mental Health Counselor, and more.
Clinical Mental Health CounselingClinical Mental Health Counseling is a specialized field within counseling psychology that focuses on assessing, diagnosing, and treating individuals experiencing various mental health challenges. They aim to enhance mental and emotional well-being, promote healthy coping mechanisms, and assist clients in overcoming personal and psychological difficulties.Correctional Facility Counselor, Hospital-Based Counselor, Integrative Healthcare Counselor, etc.
Career CounselingCareer Counselors assist clients in identifying their strengths, interests, and values, aligning them with suitable career options. They guide educational and vocational choices, facilitate career development, and help individuals overcome career-related challenges.Entrepreneurial Coach, Human Resources Career Development Specialist, Career Counseling Educator, etc. 
Trauma CounselingTrauma Counseling is a specialized field within counseling psychology that focuses on addressing the psychological and emotional impact of traumatic experiences on individuals. They work with clients who have experienced various forms of trauma, helping them process and cope with their emotions, manage symptoms, and work toward healing and recovery. Crisis Intervention Counselor, Medical Trauma Counselor, Correctional Facility Trauma Counselor, Researcher in Trauma studies, and more.

Timeline for graduation from Masters in Counseling Psychology Online Programs

Completing a Master’s in Counseling Psychology typically involves two years of coursework and practical requirements. Some online programs offer accelerated options for earlier graduation, while part-time students may take five years or more to finish their degrees. Before applying for a Master’s program, candidates must hold a Bachelor’s Degree. In contrast, aspiring Clinical Psychologists require an undergraduate degree (four to five years of college) and a doctorate (four to seven years of graduate school). For those specializing in Clinical Psychology, the educational journey often spans eight to 12 years.

Masters in Counseling Psychology Online Programs Admission Requirements

Admission requirements for a Master’s in Counseling Psychology align with many other master’s programs. These typically include:

  • A completed undergraduate degree is a fundamental prerequisite.
  • minimum GPA requirement, often around 2.5, in the undergraduate degree.
  • transcripts from the undergraduate degree to assess academic history.
  • comprehensive Personal Statement outlining the candidate’s purpose, goals, and reasons for pursuing a master’s in counseling psychology.
  • Letters of Recommendation from influential individuals in the applicant’s life who can vouch for their suitability for the program.
  • submission of GRE test scores as part of the application process.

While a Bachelor’s in Counseling Psychology can be earned, aspiring licensed counselors must pursue a Master’s Degree. Licensure requirements vary by state but generally include:

  • Graduate Degree: A graduate degree is a common requirement for licensure.
  • Continued Education: Ongoing professional development and continued education are often required to maintain licensure.
  • Work Experience: Providing proof of several thousand hours of supervised work under a licensed counselor is typically part of the licensure process.

Accreditation for Masters in Counseling Psychology Online Programs

To become a Counseling Psychologist, attending an accredited university is imperative. The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP)[3], a specialized accrediting body recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), is responsible for this accreditation[4]. Many states mandate CACREP accreditation as a requirement for licensure. The accredited counseling degree programs are dictated by CACREP, ensuring a standardized and recognized quality of education.

One-year Masters in Counseling Psychology Online Programs

A one-year Master’s in Counseling Psychology is a relatively accelerated program designed to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of counseling theories, techniques, and practical skills within a condensed timeframe. These programs are often intensive, requiring a full-time commitment.

While one-year programs offer a quicker route to earning a master’s degree, they are often demanding, requiring a focused and committed approach to coursework and practical experiences. Prospective students considering a one-year Master’s in Counseling Psychology should carefully review the program’s structure, curriculum, and requirements to ensure it aligns with their educational and career goals. Some institutions providing a one-year graduate degree in counseling psychology include:

No GRE Masters in Counseling Psychology Online Programs

Many Master’s in Counseling Psychology programs have started to waive the GRE (Graduate Record Examination) requirement as part of their admission process. The decision to eliminate the GRE requirement is often made to attract a more diverse pool of applicants and focus on holistic candidate assessments. Some institutions providing a no gre graduate degree in counseling psychology include:

How to Pay for Master’s in Counseling Psychology Online Programs

How to pay for a master’s degree is a question that many students struggle to answer. This applies to online master’s in counseling psychology graduates, too. Here are some sources using which they can pay for counseling psychology master’s degrees:

Employer Assistance

Many employers offer assistance programs to support their employees’ educational pursuits, including master’s degrees in Counseling Psychology. Some organizations provide tuition reimbursement or sponsorship for relevant courses. Employees interested in advancing their education should explore these opportunities and engage with their human resources department to understand the available assistance programs.

Student Loans

Student loans are a common financial resource for individuals pursuing higher education, including master’s degrees. Prospective students can explore federal and private student loan options to help cover tuition, fees, and other educational expenses. It’s essential to carefully review loan terms, interest rates, and repayment plans to make informed borrowing decisions.


Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is crucial in accessing various financial aid options, including federal grants, loans, and work-study programs [11]. The FAFSA determines eligibility for need-based financial assistance, making it an essential tool for students seeking financial support for their master’s in Counseling Psychology programs.


Grants are a form of financial aid that does not require repayment. Various governmental and private organizations offer grants to support students pursuing higher education. They can explore grant opportunities related to counseling psychology, including those specific to mental health and social sciences. Researching and applying for relevant grants can help offset educational costs.


Scholarships are merit-based financial awards that students do not need to repay. Numerous scholarships are available for individuals pursuing master’s degrees in Counseling Psychology. Universities, professional organizations, foundations, or private donors may offer these scholarships. Prospective graduates should actively search for scholarship opportunities, considering academic achievements, career goals, and personal attributes that align with specific scholarship criteria. Applying for multiple scholarships can increase the chances of receiving financial support for education.

Any general scholarship can be applied to a Master’s in Counseling Psychology. However, there may be additional resources available.

Scholarships for Masters in Counseling Psychology Online Students

Pursuing a master’s degree in Counseling Psychology can be financially supported through various scholarships for students in this field. Here are some avenues to explore for counseling psychology scholarships:

American Psychological Association (APA) Scholarships [12]The APA offers several scholarships and grants for graduate students, including those studying Counseling Psychology. These awards may focus on academic achievement, research, or contributions to the field.differsvaries
National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) Foundation Scholarships [13]The NBCC Foundation provides scholarships to individuals pursuing careers in professional counseling, including those specializing in Counseling Psychology. These scholarships often target students committed to serving underserved populations.not mentionedAugust-October, the year of application
The Melanie Foundation Scholarship [14]This scholarship is dedicated to supporting graduate students pursuing careers in mental health fields, including Counseling Psychology. It emphasizes academic excellence, extracurricular involvement, and a commitment to community service.$2,500March, annually
Minority Fellowship Program (MFP) for Mental Health Counselors[15]The MFP by the American Psychological Association aims to support underrepresented minority students pursuing careers in mental health counseling and related fields, including Counseling Psychology.$10,000-$20,000September, annually
Graduate Scholarships in Professional Psychology (GSPP) by the Psi Chi Foundation [16]Psi Chi Foundation’s GSPP provides financial support for graduate students studying professional psychology, which includes Counseling Psychology. The scholarship focuses on academic excellence, research potential, and leadership qualities.$3,000July, annually

Free Online Counseling Psychology Courses

Free courses are available for counseling psychology students that can help with additional insights or exam preparation. Here are a few to explore:

CourseIntroduction to Self-Determination Theory: An approach to motivation, development, and wellness  [17]
Provided byCoursera
DescriptionThis course offers a comprehensive exploration of Self-Determination Theory (SDT), providing students with a nuanced understanding of its fundamental principles. The curriculum is designed to empower them with the knowledge and skills necessary to navigate the complexities of human motivation and behavior, fostering a deeper appreciation for the practical applications of SDT across various interpersonal and societal settings.
CourseCounseling Practice and Research [18]
Provided byCoursesity
DescriptionThis course provides a comprehensive understanding of counseling practices by delving into critical elements such as stages and processes. It explores the multifaceted dimensions of counseling techniques, encompassing micro-skills, attitudes, relationships, and specific approaches.
CourseKULeuvenX: Existential Well-being Counseling: A Person-centered Experiential Approach [19]
Provided byedX
DescriptionThis course provides a comprehensive understanding of counseling practices by delving into critical elements such as stages and processes. It explores the multifaceted dimensions of counseling techniques, encompassing micro-skills, attitudes, relationships, and specific approaches.

Careers and Salary Outlook for Master’s in Counseling Psychology Graduates

Counseling Psychologists are employed in various settings depending on their services and the client populations. Some are employed in colleges and universities as teachers, supervisors, researchers, and service providers. Others are employed in independent practice, providing counseling, psychotherapy, assessment, and consultation services to individuals, couples/families, groups, and organizations. Additional settings in which Counseling Psychologists practice include community mental health centers, Veterans Administration medical centers and other facilities, family services, health maintenance organizations, rehabilitation agencies, business and industrial organizations, and consulting within firms.

Counseling Psychologists often work in schools, private offices of health practitioners, family services centers, and outpatient care centers. Of the many industries that employ counseling and clinical psychologists, home healthcare services, colleges, and outpatient care centers are some of the top-paying workplaces.

Counseling Psychologists earn a mean annual wage of $87,450. However, several factors influence earnings, including geographic location, employer, experience, and education. The top-paying states for Counseling Psychologists include Oregon ($112,010), California ($111,750), Washington, D.C. ($106,900), and New York ($96,170). California, New York, and Texas hold the highest employment levels for this profession [1].

Some roles that counseling psychology master students can take up include:

  • Clinical Counselor
  • School Counselor
  • Marriage and Family Therapist
  • Substance Abuse Counselor
  • Career Counselor
  • Rehabilitation Counselor
  • Child and Adolescent Counselor
  • Forensic Psychologist
  • Geriatric Counselor
  • Community Counselor

A few occupations are outlined below:

OccupationCounseling Psychologist [20]
SkillsAnalytical, integrity, interpersonal, observational, patience, and problem-solving skills.
Median Annual Salary$85,330
Job Growth (up to 2032)6% (faster than average)
Job DescriptionAs a counseling psychologist, individuals delve into scientific studies to investigate behavior and brain function, employing various research methods. This involves using observation, interviews, and surveys to collect data on psychological aspects. Their duties encompass identifying and diagnosing multiple psychological issues, while their rigorous research provides valuable insights into behavioral and emotional patterns.
OccupationSchool and Career Counselors and Advisors[21]
SkillsAnalytical, compassionate, interpersonal, listening, and speaking skills. 
Median Annual Salary$60,140
Job Growth (up to 2032)5% (faster than average)
Job DescriptionSchool counselors play a crucial role in helping students overcome social or behavioral challenges. They use data analysis to pinpoint factors affecting academic performance, such as frequent absences and offer guidance accordingly. By advising individuals and small groups based on their specific needs, counselors collaborate to improve learning skills like time management and effective study habits.
OccupationRehabilitation Counselors [22]
SkillsCompassion, critical thinking, interpersonal, listening, and patience skills. 
Median Annual Salary$39,990
Job Growth (up to 2032)2% (as fast as average)
Job DescriptionRehabilitation counselors help people with disabilities by ensuring they can access essential services like medical care and career training. They also teach employers about the needs and abilities of individuals with disabilities, including relevant laws and resources. Their responsibilities include keeping thorough records of clients, tracking their progress, and making changes to rehabilitation or treatment plans when needed.
OccupationSocial and Community Service Managers [23]
SkillsAnalytical, communication, managerial, problem-solving, and time-management skills. 
Median Annual Salary$74,240
Job Growth (up to 2032)5% (faster than average)
Job DescriptionSocial and community service managers oversee programs’ administrative aspects, ensuring they align with stakeholder objectives. They also plan and carry out outreach activities to increase awareness of the programs in the community.

Certifications and Licensing for Master’s in Counseling Psychology Online Graduates

Counseling psychologists can pursue various professional certifications to enhance their expertise and credibility. Some notable certifications include:

To work as a licensed Counseling Psychologist, one must meet specific requirements. Requirements vary by state but generally include:

  • A graduate degree in psychology from an accredited institution: Students should seek regionally accredited schools and APA-accredited psychology programs. Most states require a doctorate to earn clinical licensure as a psychologist, but some states may allow those with a master’s to work as a counselor.
  • An internship or practicum of supervised clinical experience: The American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP) requires a one-year, full-time, or two-year, part-time internship [28]. Through role-playing and case studies in class and at residencies, an individual is given opportunities to practice counseling skills and concepts. Then, through supervised fieldwork and a practicum, they further develop the skills necessary to become a Counseling Psychologist.
  • Passing the required exam: Administered by the ABPP, this exam features written and oral components.

Typically, education for a Counseling Psychology career begins with an undergraduate degree. Most students choose to start with a bachelor’s in psychology as this offers an excellent foundation for advanced education that will follow. Counseling Psychology concentrations are uncommon, but some graduate programs offer more options to dive further into this specialty.

Following their education, aspiring Counseling Psychologists must complete and pass an exam to obtain licensure to practice within their residing state. They’ll also need to meet requirements occasionally to ensure their knowledge of the field is current.

Completing an internship is integral to earning a Counseling Psychology license. The internship, or practicum, provides doctoral students clinical experience before earning a license and practicing independently. Generally, these internships must include a calendar year of full-time experience, at least 3,000 clock hours.

Internships serve as the final year of study for doctoral students. As learners approach this time, they must find and match with an accredited, approved internship site. Although psychology interns earn a salary, the pay tends to be low, as they are unlicensed and cannot bill for services.

The APA provides a comprehensive list of accredited internship programs, and individual university programs may help students match with an internship that meets their needs. Internships may occur in various clinical settings, including colleges and universities, community health centers, government agencies, and the military. Interns work with supervising licensed psychologists, interacting directly with patients, and providing care.

Additional Resources for Master’s in Counseling Psychology Online Professionals

Counseling psychologists can benefit from joining various professional organizations that provide resources, networking opportunities, and support for career development. Some notable organizations include:

In recent decades, Counseling Psychology has expanded and is now represented in numerous countries worldwide. Books describing the present international state of the field include:

Taken together, these volumes trace the global history of the field, explore divergent philosophical assumptions, counseling theories, processes, and trends in different countries, and review a variety of global counselor education programs. Moreover, traditional and indigenous treatment and healing methods that may predate modern counseling methods by hundreds of years remain significant in many non-Western and Western countries. In the United States, the premier scholarly journals of the profession are:

FAQs About Master’s in Counseling Psychology Online Programs

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an MA in Counseling Psychology?

An MA (Master of Arts) in Counseling Psychology is a graduate-level degree program that provides in-depth knowledge and practical skills for individuals aspiring to work as counseling psychologists. The curriculum typically covers various aspects of mental health, counseling theories, assessment techniques, and intervention strategies.

What do Counseling Psychologists do?

What can you do with a degree in Counseling Psychology?

What are the skills acquired in Counseling Psychology coursework?

What are the significant areas where Counseling Psychologists work?

Can I pursue a Master’s in Counseling Psychology online?


U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment and Wages Clinical and Counseling Psychologists

American Psychological Association

Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs

Council for Higher Education Accreditation

Northwestern University

Western Michigan University

NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development 

Nova Southeastern University

Auburn University 

California State University, Fullerton 

Free Application for Federal Student Aid

American Psychological Association (APA) Scholarships 

National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) Foundation Scholarships 

The Melanie Foundation Scholarship 

Minority Fellowship Program (MFP) for Mental Health Counselors

Graduate Scholarships in Professional Psychology (GSPP) by the Psi Chi Foundation 

Introduction to Self-Determination Theory: An approach to motivation, development, and wellness-Coursera  

Counseling Practice and Research-Coursesity 

KULeuvenX: Existential Well-being Counseling: A Person-centered Experiential Approach-edX

Counseling Psychologist 

School and Career Counselors and Advisors

Rehabilitation Counselors 

Social and Community Service Managers 

National Certified Counselor (NCC) 

Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) 

Certified Clinical Mental Health Counselor (CCMHC) 

Certified School Counselor (CSC)  

American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP)

American Psychological Association (APA) 

American Counseling Association (ACA) 

National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) 

Association for Psychological Science (APS) 

Society of Counseling Psychology (Division 17 – APA) 

Handbook of Counseling and Psychotherapy in an International Context

International Handbook of Cross-Cultural Counseling

Counseling Around the World: An International Handbook

Journal of Counseling Psychology

The Counseling Psychologist

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