Why This Matters


    The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that school and career counselors make an average of $58,120 per year, or just under $28 per hour.


    Job growth in this field is anticipated to be much faster than average. The 8% projected growth will lead to 26,800 jobs that need to be filled by 2029.


    The states with the highest employment rates for school counselors are California, Texas, New York, Florida, and Illinois.

Our Research

The largest expense associated with an online master’s in school counseling is tuition for the required classes. Most schools charge tuition on a per-credit basis, and we’ve only included accredited colleges that had the lowest cost per credit hour. We’ve also broken down pricing by in-state and out-of-state tuition.

Accreditations to look for when it comes to school counseling programs include the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), and the National Council on Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).

  • 78 hours to write this article
  • 150 universities and colleges we assessed
  • 297 education programs we compared

The Top 50 Affordable Online Master’s in School Counseling Programs

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What You Should Know About This Degree

When you’re trying to decide on the best program for you, it’s important to consider overall tuition costs as well as any extra expenses you might incur. You can estimate the overall tuition charge by multiplying the charge per credit by the number of credits you need. Other expenses may relate to general fees, books, and supplies you need to complete labs or other practicums. Online degree programs also usually require a fairly modern computer system with high-speed internet, and you may also need a webcam for synchronous classes or virtual proctoring during exams.

If you’re carrying loans from your undergraduate program, it’s important to factor those into your overall financial picture. Once you’re enrolled in a master’s program, your loans will likely be eligible for deferment, but they may continue accruing interest, depending on the type of loan you have. There are likely scholarships and loan options for those pursuing a master’s degree — the school’s financial aid office can give you more information.

If you’re planning to work while attending an online master’s in school counseling program, you’ll need to consider things like whether you have the technological proficiency for an online program and how you’ll stay on track during the program. It’s easy to fall behind if you’re not scheduling specific times for when you’ll read your textbooks, complete assignments, and study for exams.

What’s Next?

Here are some questions to ask when researching online master’s in school counseling programs.

  • Am I eligible for this program? To be eligible for an online master’s degree in school counseling, you will need to have successfully completed an undergraduate program with at least a 2.7 GPA. Some schools require a 3.0 GPA for major-specific courses, and the more competitive the program, the higher your GPA will likely need to be. You may also be required to submit letters of recommendation and a personal statement on your interest in the field.
  • Are courses offered synchronously or asynchronously? The programs on our list offer both synchronous and asynchronous classes. The format of the class is often dependent on the school, program, and the instructor’s preference. Even if you are in an asynchronous program, you may still be required to do in-person supervised counseling hours.
  • How long does it take to complete an online master’s in school counseling? Most of the programs on our list require 48 credits to graduate, and for the average full-time student, that takes about two to three years. Programs that require more credits or students who need to go part-time might take four to six years. You’ll also need to consider the time it takes to complete your required supervision hours and get licensed before you’ll be able to practice.
  • What tests are required for an online master’s in school counseling program? It’s common for master’s programs to require students to submit GRE scores, but this varies by college and major. Contact the prospective school’s admissions office to find out about any specific requirements.