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School counselors impact the lives of students, educators, and parents. Counselors have empathy and the skills to intervene when students suffer. More School counselors are needed. The American School Counselor Association (ASCA) recommends a ratio of one counselor for every 250 students. But currently, the ratio is one counselor per 464 students. Earning an online Master’s in School Counseling can speed you toward America’s K-12 classrooms. Indeed.com currently lists more than 1,200 jobs for school counselors, and the US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts an 8% rise in school counselor jobs, 2018-2028.
www.onlinemasterscolleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.
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®.
There are many online Masters in School Counseling programs available. Our methodology for determining the top school counseling graduate programs included factors such as affordability, length of time, accreditations, graduate success rates, and faculty expertise. Here are the rankings:
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Any top-rated online master in School Counseling must also be affordable. To rate the most-affordable online school counseling degrees, we examined tuition and fee schedules,the availability of student financial aid, and enrollment policies for out-of-state or international students. Here are our choices for affordable online school counseling programs:
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Understanding Masters in School Counseling Programs
Prospective students of online Masters in School Counseling programs should evaluate their career goals while searching for programs. Degrees can vary based on their professional focus, curriculum, and graduation requirements. It’s time to do some homework and examine everything from course descriptions to details on internships. But first, which degree is right for you?
Online Masters in School Counseling Degree Types
Two online degrees prepare graduates for school counseling careers: the MA in School Counseling and the MS in School Counseling. Both types of degrees require a combination of theoretical studies and practical classroom experience. The choice depends on the student’s career aspirations and whether they plan on earning a doctoral degree.
MA in School Counseling
The MA in School Counseling degree may be best for students who have completed a bachelor of arts degree in the humanities. The MA focuses less on scientific study and concentrates on direct classroom experiences than its MS counterpart. It is considered a terminal degree, so it is not the most appropriate choice for students planning to earn a doctorate.
MS in School Counseling
The MS in School Counseling degree is best suited for students who have completed a BS degree, preferably in science, psychology, or a related field. The master of science focuses on contemporary research, program analysis, counseling methodologies, and interventions. The degree also prepares graduates to move ahead into doctoral studies.
Curriculum and Skills Gained in Masters in School Counseling Programs
Each program’s curriculum offering a Masters in School Counseling is designed to provide graduates with personal and career skills germane to educational settings. Key counseling skills include empathy, problem-solving, research aptitude, communication (parents, teachers, students), and multicultural understanding. Here are examples of courses and the knowledge you’ll gain from each:
Research Methods and Program Evaluation
Students learn statistical analysis, including current research methods, qualitative, quantitative, and outcome-based practices.
This is an advanced study of neurological, environmental, and cultural factors affecting developmental disabilities. Learn how to take measurements and create assessments.
School Counseling Program Organization and Administration
An overview of program organization and administration meets the American School Counseling Association (ASCA). They are designed for counseling professionals employed in a K-12 setting.
Childhood and Adolescent Trauma
The course provides diagnostic and treatment methodologies for a K-12 population. Traumas include neglect, domestic violence, substance, and sexual abuse.
School Counseling Practicum
Students undertake a 100-hour supervised practicum in an elementary, middle, or high school setting. Contact prospective universities to see how this requirement is handled under the Covid-19 virus.
Accreditation for Online Masters in School Counseling Programs
Accredited school counseling programs are respected throughout the nation’s schools and school districts. Accredited programs must continuously meet educational requirements for the profession. Each university and every department offering an online Masters in School Counseling participates in a voluntary assessment by national and regional councils and associations. There are disadvantages of attending a program with no accreditation: employers have no verification that you have the skills for the position, you won’t be eligible for financial aid, and you won’t qualify to attend a doctoral degree program. Learn more about accreditation.
The Higher Learning Commission. HLC is a national organization that accredits universities in their academic quality, faculty excellence, and support resources.
Middle States Commission on Higher Education. MSCHE is a regional accreditation organization that serves universities in Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.
Online Masters in School Counseling Programs Admission Requirements
Students seeking entry into the counseling field at K-12 classrooms set their own pace for completing their Masters in School Counseling online. The major variables for completing the degree include the student’s availability (full- or part-time), the number of total credits needed for graduation, and the student’s financial ability to pay for the tuition and fees. The number of required credits vary by program. They range from 40-60 hours, making the programs one to three years in length. Accelerated programs offer the Masters in School Counseling online, decreasing the total time it takes to earn the credential.
Curriculum and Skills Gained in Masters in Organizational Leadership Programs
Admission requirements for online Masters in School Counseling programs are established by each university and the department that hosts the degree. Each school requires applicants to hold a bachelor’s degree. The following list contains a breakdown of the more-common requirements :
Universities offering an online Masters in School Counseling provide digital registration at the university website. Complete the application by the due date along with the supporting documentation, including:
The university and graduate school require transcripts verifying all work done at the undergraduate level or from schools offering post-baccalaureate courses.
CV or Professional Resume
A professional resume is essential in the application process. It confirms the applicant’s paid work experience or volunteerism in the related counseling or education field.
Letters of Recommendation
The admissions department and program division evaluate two to three letters of recommendation from former professors or employers. They should address your academic aptitude, professional skills, and counseling/teaching experience
Official Test Scores
In and of itself, an applicant’s official test score is not insufficient to secure admission to an online Masters in School Counseling program. While the university may require GRE scores, they also grant waivers to applicants with strong academic potential.
Statement of Purpose
A personal statement identifies your career aspirations, educational goals, and why the particular program appeals to you.
Applicants identifying English as a second language must submit official scores from the TOEFL or PTE Academic Exam or provide English fluency documentation.
Online Masters in School Counseling No GRE Programs
Every university and counseling/psychology department establishes application requirements for the Masters in School Counseling program. Providing GRE test scores as part of your application is time-consuming, and you pay for the test. Some universities do not call for GRE scores, and those that do may grant GRE waivers based on the applicant’s employment and academic performance. For more information about the exam, visit our GRE Overview Page. A sampling of programs offering an online Masters in School Counseling no GRE required are listed below:
One Year Online Masters in School Counseling Programs
Accelerated, 1-year Masters in School Counseling programs are designed for students who can keep up the academic pace for completing classwork and required internships on schedule. Degree requirements cover the same course materials as the common 1-3 year programs but take half the time, reducing the overall tuition cost while preparing graduates for certifications and licensing. Because the online courses are rigorous, students must be committed to courses and study hours.
How to Pay for Online Master’s in School Counseling Programs
Tuition for an Online Masters in School Counseling can vary by the number of years it takes to complete the degree. There is help available through loans, which must be repaid, and scholarships and grants do not. While plenty of financial aid is available, students must budget carefully and use it prudently to avoid loan debt. Microsoft Money reported in late 2020 that the average student loan debt for MA and MS students was $66,000. We’ve outlined the major graduate financial aid programs for you. Be sure to visit our Best Financial Guide for detailed information.
Scholarships are awarded based on your academic achievement or financial need. See the section on scholarships below:
Grants are made by universities, counseling/psychological organizations, and state departments of education. The Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant is open to students pursuing courses toward a career in teaching. These grants range up to $4,000 a year and do not need to be paid back.
Student loans must be repaid and maybe a source of student debt. Loans are federal and private. Federal loans include the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan, Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan. Students may also take loans from private lenders, but interest rates will be higher.
Federal Work-Study (FWS) Program
Grad students can hold part-time jobs in a related field to earn money for tuition.
Scholarships for Masters in School Counseling Students
Scholarships are a boon for those who qualify for them. In addition to financing your Online Masters in School Counseling, scholarships do not need to be repaid to the professional association, private donor, or university that grants them. They are awarded to students on various factors, including degree concentration, financial need, and academic achievement. Here are a few examples of application requirements and amounts granted:
Graduate students engaged in a research project related to stigma in mental illness.
Amount : $1,000
FAQs about School Counseling Masters Programs
Frequently Asked Questions
There are many questions asked by people considering a degree and career in school counseling. Here are some of the most common ones, along with answers:
What is a Masters’s in School Counseling?
An online Master’s in School Counseling prepares graduates to meet state educational requirements to take certification exams. The programs take 2-3 years to complete.
What degree do I need to be a School Counselor?
School counselors are required to complete a master’s degree to practice in the field.
Is School Counseling a good career?
The US. The Bureau of Statistics predicts that school counselors’ jobs will increase by 8%, 2018-2028. It’s a great career for people who want to make a difference in students’ lives.
Do you need a license or certification to work in School Counseling?
Graduates of online Master’s in School Counseling programs must pass certification or licensing exams (depending on each state’s requirements). Check the requirements in the state where you plan to work
What can you do with a School Counseling degree?
In addition to working at the school or school district, you can take jobs with community mental health organizations, private counseling practice or continue earning a doctorate.
Careers and Salary Outlook for School Counseling Masters Graduates
Graduates enjoy a wide choice of jobs with a Master’s in School Counseling. In addition to classroom roles, related jobs are requiring a master’s degree to consider. Here are projected job growth percentages and current salaries for the professions:
Median annual salary
Job growth (2018-2028)
School and Career Counselors
School and career counselors follow students from K to 12. They test to determine learning issues and assist 12th graders in making decisions on careers and college.
Marriage and Family Therapists
Marriage and family therapists work with individuals or family units to identify and treat emotional problems.
Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors
Substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors offer diagnosis and treatment for drug addiction, alcoholism, or behavioral problems.
Genetic counselors evaluate inherited congenital disabilities or disorders to predict a course of action for physicians, children, and their parents.
Certifications and Licensing for School Counseling Masters Graduates
Every state requires practicing school counselors to hold licenses and/or certifications. Today graduates can apply for their school counselor certification online. To work in the schools, you may be required to hold teaching licenses before seeking counselor certifications. Certifications may be renewed at regular intervals based on classroom experience and continuing education. Be sure to contact your state or local boards of education to stay current on required certifications and licenses.
What advantages are there to hold licenses and certifications as a school counselor? The primary advantage is that you’ll be able to work in schools across the nation. Without them, you won’t get hired. They also show potential employers that you received an accredited education and are prepared for the workplace.
How do I receive licensure and certification? Independent associations award certifications and school counselor licenses voluntarily. Applicants must hold a graduate degree and pass an exam. The American Counseling Association maintains a listing of all states’ school counselor certification requirements and licensure agencies.
What are some examples of certifications and licenses I should consider? The National Board for Certified Counselors, Inc. and Affiliates (NBCC). The NBCC School Counselors Certification requires applicants to hold a master’s in education or degree as an educational specialist. Graduates must have a minimum of 100 hours of postgraduate counseling experience under direct supervision.
National Association of School Psychologists. To qualify for NASP certification, applicants are required to complete 60 graduate credit hours, a 1,200-hour internship, and relevant experience in field or laboratory settings.
Praxis Exam. To practice in school psychology in most states, applicants must have passed The Praxis School Psychologist exam. The exam tests for professional competency for psychologists beginning a career in schools, K-12.
Additional Resources for School Counseling Professionals
Students of the Masters in School Counseling degree and working professionals benefit from resources beyond those available at their university. The following resources provide in-depth detail of issues within the field, continuing education programs, professional conferences, publications, and research findings. Whether you’re just beginning career preparation or practicing in America’s schools, these resources assist in staying atop legislation and advocacy, and all about required certifications. These non-profit organizations can also be a source of scholarships, fellowships, and research grants.The counseling associations offer an exceptional opportunity to network for jobs and career growth.
The American School Counselor Association. Practicing school counselors, higher education faculty, and school counseling students make up the membership of the ASCA. Benefits include coaching and webinars, networking opportunities, and a directory of research grants.
The National Education Association (NEA). The NEA supports three million educators and members who have access to student engagement, positive student climate, leadership development, and professional training.
The rankings, average tuition (based on the degree type for in-state students), and average graduation rates are based on information from several sources, including Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), and may vary. All rankings and figures mentioned are subject to change. Based on our proprietary methodology, the rankings are purely Online Masters Colleges's (OMC's) opinions. They do not represent the thoughts and opinions of the institutions or organizations mentioned, nor any official government census or survey. Additionally, any views or opinions expressed on this page are those of OMC's researchers and teams. Unless specifically indicated, they do not represent the thoughts and opinions of the people, institutions, or organizations mentioned. This page's provided content is solely for informational purposes, with information drawn from several sources, including IPEDS. OMC or its employees make no guarantees of the accuracy or completeness of any information on this page or found by following any link. OMC will not be held liable for any mistakes or omissions in this material, nor will it be held liable for any losses, injuries, or damages resulting from the exposure or use of this information. Although the material on this page is/was correct at the time of publication, reader discretion is always advised because part or all the provided information may have changed over time, potentially leading to inaccuracies. Please read our Terms of Service for more information. Logos and trademarks are properties of their registered owners
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