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Online Master's in School Counseling Hero

Compare online master’s in school counseling programs

Advocate for children and teens in school settings.

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Why earn a master’s in school counseling online?

Specialize in education

Shape the future of social justice through learning about school systems and how they care for children and adolescents.

Connect with likeminded peers

Study with peers and faculty at a university that aligns with your values and is conveniently accessible online.

Prepare for a diverse career

Study to teach a diverse set of learners how to navigate their careers, academics, and emotional needs.

Browse online school counseling programs New

What is an online master’s degree in school counseling?

An online master’s in school counseling is a degree that allows learners to ultimately work as a school counselor in private or public K-12 schools. They are generally expected to obtain licensure as well. The degree emphasizes advanced psychology and counseling skills, with a focus on group counseling, ethics, assessment, evaluation, and techniques. An online master’s degree in school counseling trains you to face real-life challenges while helping you to gain practical and theoretical knowledge. After earning your degree, you will be equipped to develop, plan, implement, and evaluate counseling programs in schools.

Admissions requirements for a master’s degree in school counseling online

Many universities have multiple start dates throughout the year for their online master’s degree programs. The admissions requirements for an online master’s in school counseling program varies by university. Most universities, however, will require the applicant to submit:

It is also beneficial to learn social justice, as many universities are placing a specific emphasis on equity and social justice. 

How to apply

After carefully reviewing each of the online master’s in school counseling programs offered, you can apply online to the school counseling programs that resonate with you. With the convenience of being online, you do not need to focus on location when picking a program for earning your advanced degree. Be sure to keep an eye out for admissions deadlines.

School counseling master’s online curriculum

With varying credit requirements, programs for an online master’s in school counseling can take as few as 18 months and as many as three years, studying full or part time. Courses required to learn counseling will vary, however, programs that are accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) cover the following core areas:

  • Research and program evaluation

  • Career development

  • Assessment and testing

  • Social and cultural diversity

  • Human growth and development

  • Counseling and helping relationships

  • Professional counseling orientation and ethical practice

  • Group counseling and group work

Additionally, many online master’s in counseling programs may include classes focused on:

  • Individual counseling

  • Social and cultural foundations

  • Group counseling in a school

  • Principles of human growth and psychological development

  • Counseling theories, methods, and techniques

  • Research methods

  • Social and cultural diversity

  • Lifespan development

  • Exceptionalities

  • Developmental application

  • Gender and sexuality

  • School counselor interventions

Many online master’s in counseling programs also include practicum hours, and an internship that takes place after the practicum. This is before your state’s licensure requirements are taken into consideration. 

Additionally, you can also explore programs where you can earn your online master’s in mental health counseling.

What can you do with a master’s in school counseling?

Whether helping elementary learners learn to socialize, nurturing middle schoolers, or helping high schoolers navigate their way into college or the workforce, there’s a great deal that can be done with a master’s in school counseling.

In addition to working in a school, you can also specialize in mental health and family counseling, or work at a college or university as a school counselor.

Master’s in school counseling jobs

There are many career opportunities available after completing a master’s in school counseling online program. As a school counselor, you can work to help learners in elementary, middle, and high schools, as well as at the college level. 

Some career paths that those with a master’s in school counseling take outside of being a school or career counselor include:

  • Juvenile justice counselor

  • Substance misuse counselor

  • Social worker

  • Mental health counselor

  • Community services manager

Master’s in school counseling salary

Having an online master’s in school counseling may affect your salary, but it depends on the field in which you work, where you work, and how much experience you have. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, school counselors with a master’s degree are expected to earn just over $60,140 a year.Footnote 1

School counselor job outlook

The school counselor job outlook is bright; the field is expected to increase by 5 percent between now and 2032, which is faster than average for all occupations. There will be an estimated 26,600 job openings, year over year, in the United States through 2032.Footnote 2

School counseling professional associations

There are many professional associations available for school counselors:

  • The National Board for Certified Counselors, Inc.: The premier credentialing body for counselors

  • American School Counselor Association: Supports school counselors’ efforts to help learners further their academic, career, and social-emotional development

  • American Counseling Association: A nonprofit organization that promotes the professional development of counselors 

  • The Association for Child and Adolescent Counseling: A support and information network for counselors who work with children and adolescents

  • International School Counselor Association: A nonprofit representing international counseling organizations and professionals

Frequently asked questions

Depending on the program and whether a learner attends full or part time, it can take up to three years to earn an online master’s degree in school counseling.

Program costs vary, but an online master’s degree in school counseling tuition may cost between $8,000 and $43,000. Be sure to check the cost of programs you are interested in for exact costs.

A master’s in school counseling is worth it if your goal is to become a school counselor.  Having a master’s in school counseling or similar degree is a requirement in that field, along with supervised training in a school environment. School counselors bring analytical, critical thinking, problem solving, and communication skills, as well as empathetic listening and cultural competency to a school environment.

School counselors focus on the entire school’s student body, while school psychologists focus on those students who qualify for special services and need more intensive interventions. School counselors focus on helping prepare learners for the future and establish goals, while school psychologists help learners with their social and emotional health. School counselors have at least a master’s degree in school counseling along with certifications and licensure, while school psychologists have advanced degrees, such as a master’s in psychology, along with licensure and certifications in school psychology.

A master of education focuses on educational psychology, with courses focusing on topics such as education law, academic advising, school counseling, and school administration. A master of arts tends to focus more on the research and academia side of the field, for those with little to no experience in counseling.

School counselors with a master’s degree earn a median salary of just over $60,140 a year, depending on experience and location.Footnote 3

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