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Why This Matters


    Around 93% of school counselors have master’s degrees, so you can set yourself apart with a doctorate.

  • THE U.S. NEEDS 26,800 MORE OF YOU BY 2029

    The growing student population and the rise of mental health awareness have contributed to an 8% increase in the need for school counselors in the next decade.


    The highest 10% of school counselors earn about $97,910 per year, which is $62,290 more than the lowest 10%.

Our Research

This list examines doctorate programs in school counseling. These programs typically award a Doctor of Philosophy or a Doctor of Education in Counselor Education and Supervision. They may also award a Ph.D. in School Psychology, Counseling Psychology, or Professional Counseling. We focused specifically on programs that are offered online. The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) provides this prestigious accreditation for high-quality counseling programs. CACREP certification is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. This list also includes programs that offer accreditation from the American Psychological Association (APA). This certification lets employers know that the program you participated in is of high value.

  • 63 hours to write this article
  • 64 universities and colleges we assessed
  • 90 education programs we compared

The Top 50 Online Doctorate in School Counseling Programs

Best Online Doctorate in School Counseling Programs Badge

Liberty University

University of West Georgia

University of the Cumberlands

Oregon State University

Adams State University

Hampton University

Regent University

Shippensburg University

Chicago School of Professional Psychology

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What You Should Know About This Degree

Fields similar to school counseling include psychology and teaching. While psychologists also learn about cognitive, emotional, and social development, they work with people of varying ages and are usually required to participate in a postdoctoral program. Like school counselors, teachers work in educational settings. However, they defer to counselors about academic, social, and emotional problems.
Students should look for CACREP-accredited or APA-accredited school counseling programs. These accreditations help validate the quality of your learning program.

There is a consistent need for more school counselors in the United States. The field has an above-average growth rate of 8%, and it is estimated that there will be over 360,000 school counselors employed by 2029.

The process to become a school counselor varies among states. In general, you should hold a master’s degree in counseling or a similar field and have a state-issued credential. Certain states may require you to obtain licensure or gain classroom teaching experience.

What’s Next?

Here are some questions to ask when researching online doctorate in school counseling programs:

  • How long does it take to complete this online degree? Most online doctorate programs in school counseling take two years to complete. However, programs can take up to four years if you are a part-time student.
  • Are courses offered synchronously or asynchronously? While all online programs let students meet remotely, they have different delivery options. Asynchronous courses allow students to access and complete coursework at times that are convenient to them, while synchronous courses have a set class schedule. Students with other time commitments may prefer the heightened flexibility of asynchronous programs.

As you look through the different online school counseling programs available, you should carefully monitor application deadlines and required materials. This information can generally be found on the school’s website.

Another factor to consider is cost. If you’re looking for financial assistance, take the time to research scholarships and employer tuition benefits. You should also be aware of application deadlines.

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