1. Home
  2. »
  3. Degrees
  4. »
  5. Counseling Programs

Top Online Counseling Degrees & Programs

The Best Online Counseling Degrees and Programs

badge-ranking Bedge
Get Seal Methodology 2-Year Schools

Online counseling degrees translate well to the virtual classroom by allowing students to utilize the latest area-specific technology as they receive the core knowledge needed to enter or advance their understanding in the field. The best programs allow students to learn counseling techniques through real-world scenarios while maintaining affordability, accreditation and other criteria. We’ve ranked the top online counseling degrees and programs by using a wide range of metrics. Find out who made the cut for our 2016-2017 list here.

Filters
Save this list:
Download
Save this list:
Download
Rank School Name Location Tuition Financial Aid Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate # of Online Programs Credit for Experience Placement Services Counseling Services University Information
1 Dummy - Washburn University City, Kansas $6,038 58% 34% 34% 9 No Yes Yes

The bachelor's degree in psychology at Washburn University in Kansas can be completed 100% online, and is designed specifically for students who either plan to pursue a graduate degree in psychology or a career in a field other than psychology. Students who are accepted into and enroll in the BA-MA program will be automatically admitted to the master's program without having to take part in the competitive admissions process. Students are assigned a personal advisor to help navigate the suggested list of courses and will receive academic and personal support throughout the program. In the last two years of the program, curriculum will focus on upper division courses along with field work and internships. In the BA-MA program, there will be an added emphasis on research prior to graduation.

School website
2 Dummy - Colorado Christian University City, Colorado $20,935 97% 40% 40% 5 Yes Yes Yes

The Colorado Christian University (CCU) BS in Psychology program is offered in an accelerated format, with classes typically offered in 5-week blocks. Students can finish the program in just five semesters, with weeknight or fully online attendance. Once enrolled, students can pursue a specialty in one of three areas: biblical studies, clinical counseling or criminal justice. Although these specialties are offered in the bachelor's program, coursework is actually at the graduate level, which means credits may be applied to a master's degree at CCU if a student wants to apply and is accepted. For example, if a student is pursuing a BS in psychology with an emphasis in criminal justice, 12 graduate level credits are earned. If the student applies to and is accepted into the MS in criminal justice program, only 24 credits will be need to earn the degree, instead of 36. There is also a potential to earn prior learning credits for personal and professional experiences such as relevant military training and work experience.

School website
3 Dummy - Brescia University City, Kentucky $19,990 89% 46% 46% 4 No Yes Yes

Brescia University (BU) is located in Kentucky, but for students interested in pursuing a psychology degree and can't make it to campus, the school offers an online BA in psychology with a specialty option in addictions counseling. The psychology program provides students with a path to psychology-related careers while also creating a foundation for further graduate studies in the field. BUonline programs are designed for adult learners needing maximum flexibility due to outside obligations and time constraints such as family and work. With that in mind, the psychology program is in an accelerated format, allowing students to complete the program in as little as two years. Classes are offered in 8-week blocks, and all BUonline students are required to participate in an online live chat session with classmates and their professors once a week. Students can also connect through online discussion boards and e-mail. To help with tuition costs, BU has frozen undergraduate online tuition rates and fees until 2022, which means tuition rates will remain the same until Spring of that year.

School website
4 Dummy - Lesley University City, Massachusetts $24,375 99% 46% 46% 3 Yes Yes Yes

Lesley University, based in Cambridge, offers more than 20 online degree programs, including its popular BA degree program in psychology. The psychology curriculum at Lesley combines theory and practice, and internship opportunities are available in a variety of settings. Students often use this degree for work in an entry-level psychology-related field or for a graduate degree. Psychology students planning to pursue an online degree through Lesley can work with online counselors to help transition to distance learning and for program advisement. Admission counselors are also available to help with the financial component. Online students can apply for the same type of financial aid as on-campus students, which includes federal loans, private loans, state aid and both in-house and outside scholarships. Lesley offers an interest-free payment plan, which is a great option for students who need to pay as they go.

School website
5 Dummy - The University of Texas of the Permian Basin City, Texas $5,250 86% 37% 37% 2 No Yes Yes

Students can earn a BA in Psychology on-campus or completely online at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin (UTPB). The university, located in Odessa, is part of the University of Texas System, and offers its online degree programs through the collaborative University of Texas Online Consortium. The psychology program is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and its courses are taught by the same professors as the on-campus option. Curriculum consists of 120 credit hours, and is made up of general education, minor courses, electives and psychology courses, with an independent study course during the senior year. For transfer students, at least 30 psychology credits must be taken at UTPB, and a GPA of at least 2.0 must be maintained throughout the program. The program is also offered in an accelerated, 8-week format, for those looking to finish as quickly as possible. Once accepted into UTPB's psychology program, students will work with an assigned advisor to create a degree plan.

School website
6 Dummy - Judson College City, Alabama $16,258 95% 37% 37% 2 Yes Yes Yes

Judson College, founded in 1838, is one of the oldest women's colleges in the U.S. While the campus in Marion is still considered a women's college, the online programs are open to everyone. If you're interested in pursuing an online psychology degree in equine-facilitated mental health, Judson College has you covered. For psychology students looking for a more traditional degree, such as a BA or BS in psychology that's fully online, Judson has that, too, through its Distance Learning programs. Online students follow a course structure called a learning contract, and depending on the contract, have 2-4 months to complete online courses. In addition, students will have the opportunity to work one-on-one with instructors. Students also have plenty of opportunities for research in this program, which provides a solid foundation for future graduate work in psychology or professional schools such as law, medical, business and seminary.

School website
7 Dummy - The University of Alabama City, Alabama $9,826 53% 67% 67% 7 Yes Yes Yes

The University of Alabama offers psychology degrees at both the undergraduate and graduate level, ranging from bachelor's to PhD degrees. Students planning graduate work in psychology can apply to the research-centered psychology department honors program, which is a two-year program that culminates in a thesis-like research project. This requires a GPA of 3.5 in psychology classes, with an overall cumulative GPA of 3.3. An MA in educational psychology with specialization in Learning and Assessment is also available fully online, which is for both education and non-education career paths. This is a 30-credit hour program that requires a capstone project rather than a comprehensive exam during the final year. Another psychology-related degree option is the master's in Educational Psychology School Psychometry/EdS in Educational Psychology, which is in a blended format, with weekend and online courses. It can be completed in four years with part-time study. Teaching certification is required; however, students can work towards this during the master's portion of the program.

School website
8 Dummy - Tiffin University City, Ohio $21,535 92% 33% 33% 6 Yes Yes Yes

A BA in psychology degree at Tiffin University is considered a general psychology degree and is ideal for those who plan to go on to graduate or research work. Students planning careers in other fields such as business and communications can also benefit from earning this degree. The program typically takes about four years to complete, with the option of either two 7-week terms per online semester or a 15-week semester for on-campus classes. Students can choose from addictions counseling, cross-cultural and international psychology, or human services for concentrated areas of study, with the human services concentration offered fully online. Tiffin students planning a major in psychology may be eligible for a tuition discount based on factors such as active military or employment at a corporate partnership and may also qualify for an endowment scholarship through the university, along with outside scholarships, grants and loans.

School website
9 Dummy - Mercy College City, New York $17,766 88% 34% 34% 9 Yes Yes Yes

Through Mercy College's School of Social and Behavioral Sciences, students can earn a bachelor's degree in psychology at one of several campus locations in and around the New York City area. Those not in the area - or those who need more flexibility - have the option of completing the degree completely online or can combine on-campus and online courses to fit their schedules. The 120-credit program mixes general education with psychology and open elective courses. It can be completed in four years of full-time enrollment. Students can transfer up to 18 previous psychology credits and may be able to use psychology transfer courses earned elsewhere towards electives. Students are required to do an 18-credit residency and will have opportunities for cooperative education and internship placements. Also available to psychology students is a dual degree program in which students can earn a BS in psychology and a master's degree in education at the same time. Mercy also offers a Four Plus One degree, which is a four-year bachelor's degree program with an accelerated master's degree.

School website
10 Dummy - University of Alaska Fairbanks City, Alaska $6,466 43% 33% 33% 3 Yes Yes Yes

Founded in 1917, the University of Alaska Fairbanks enrolls 8,720 students hailing from 50 states and 50 countries abroad. Academic programs feature small class sizes, with a student to faculty ratio of 11:1. Psychology undergraduates can pursue B.A. or B.S. degrees. Both degree options feature a minimum graduation requirement of 120 credits. In addition to classes, psychology students can take advantage of research and community service opportunities. Baccalaureate students are prepared to continue on to grad school or assume entry-level human services and business roles after graduation. Particular emphasis is placed upon training Native Americans for counseling positions in underserved communities throughout Alaska. The Department of Psychology distinguishes the B.S. in Psychology degree in requiring more mathematics than the B.A. program. Both psychology degrees are offered online at UAF.

School website
11 Dummy - Washington State University City, Washington $12,428 51% 67% 67% 5 No Yes Yes

Washington State University was founded in Pullman in 1890 as the Evergreen State's first land-grant institution of higher learning. Today's undergraduates can choose among 95 majors, 86 minors, or more than 100 specializations within the major. WSU's online B.S. in Psychology degree program prepares graduates for entry jobs in health and human services, research and development, business, sales, and management. Students can also go on to graduate school in psychology, education, social work, law and business. Online programs for psychology baccalaureate degree students are offered through the WSU Global Campus. Graduation requirements include completion of common core classes (14 credits), psychology coursework (35 credits), and electives in Neuroscience/Cognition; Social/Motivational Psychology; Clinical/Counseling; and General Psychology. Time to online degree completion varies based on course availability. Courses are delivered by the Blackboard Learn class management system. Students receive virtual mentoring and advising.

School website
12 Dummy - Utah State University City, Utah $6,384 51% 50% 50% 3 No Yes Yes

Utah State University was created as a land-grant agricultural college in Logan in 1888. Today's nearly 28,000 combined campus and online students attend classes with an average size of 20-29 learners. Psychology is second among the university's 10 most-popular declared majors. The Psychology Department – part of the College of Education and Human Services – offers an undergraduate major that includes 28 credits of required courses. This program is recognized internationally for conducting innovative research and for its scholarship programs. Studies include lifespan development, behavior (lecture and lab), research methodology (statistical software), and an undergraduate apprenticeship. B.A. degree students must also gain proficiency in a foreign language.

School website
13 Dummy - Southwestern Assemblies of God University City, Texas $19,450 73% 38% 38% 7 Yes Yes Yes

Established in 1927 in Enid, OK as the Southwestern Bible School, Southwestern Assemblies of God University was officially created in 1994 to reflect the bible school's growth in enrollment and academic programs. Today's degree programs are administered by the university's College of Bible of Church Ministries, the College of Music & Communication Art, and the College of Business & Education. The Bachelor's Degree in Psychology is a pre-professional program, focused on the relationship between Christian faith and psychology. The degree program is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Distance students of can complete their psychology degree online. Online SAGU undergrads receive a 15% tuition grant when they enroll and can save up to $6,000 during the span of their degree program. While coursework is offered 100% online, distance students must complete a supervised field experience.

School website
14 Dummy - Chaminade University of Honolulu City, Hawaii $20,940 100% 36% 36% 2 Yes Yes Yes

Chaminade University of Honolulu was originally founded by Marists in 1955 as a two-year Roman Catholic college. In In 1977, the institution added graduate degree programs and formally became a university. Today, the university is distinguished by its small class sizes, offering a student/faculty ratio of 11:1. More than 97% of all students receive some form of financial aid. Undergraduate programs in The Chaminade Division of Behavioral Sciences require an element of hands-on experience. The B.S. degree program in Psychology offers service-learning opportunities, includes studies in Asian thought, and inquiries in the whole person: behavioral, emotional, and spiritual. Students complete 42 hours of courses in the major as a party of the 122 hours required for graduation. The B.S. in Psychology may also be completed online through the Office of Professional and Continuing Education.

School website
15 Dummy - Southwestern Adventist University City, Texas $19,460 99% 36% 36% 2 Yes Yes Yes

Seventh-day Adventists living in the Dallas area met in 1892 to buy acreage in Keane to establish a school serving 56 students. The school became Southwestern Adventist University in 1987 with the creation of graduate degree programs. The university is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and is the only Seventh-day Adventist school offering a combined education and psychology degree. Students who earn a Bachelor of Science in Psychology will be prepared for continued studies in counseling or clinical psychology. Psychology students may complete an internship in a mental health facility or perform another field experience. The degree is comprised of 42 core credits and 13 credits of concentration courses in general psychology, case management, or marriage and family counseling. The online B.S. in Psychology degree program offers the same faculty, course content, and outcomes as the on-campus equivalent. Applicants must have a 3.0 high-school GPA, an ACT composite score of 23, or a 1140 SAT score in evidence-based reading and writing, and math.

School website
16 Dummy - Thomas University City, Georgia $15,750 86% 14% 14% 4 Yes Yes Yes

In 1950, the Primitive Baptist Church founded Birdwood Junior College in the town of Thomasville, GA. The school became Thomas University in 1988 when it began offering graduate degrees. Today's residential and online students can pursue one of 17 bachelor's degree programs. Full time online students make up nearly 20% of the undergraduate population. Class sizes are small and offer students an advantageous student-to-faculty ratio of 11:1. The university's B.S. in Psychology degree is offered as a campus-based program, wholly online, or in a hybrid format that combines online and campus learning. Students gain a working familiarity with psychology history, research methods (including research design, software, data analysis, and interpretation), the APA code of ethics, and communication skills. Students are required to complete 48 hours of the university core curriculum, 45 hours of upper division psychology courses, and 15 hours of electives. Thomas University's Psychology Club hosts speakers, social events, and community service.

School website
17 Dummy - Northwestern State University of Louisiana City, Louisiana $6,786 48% 36% 36% 3 Yes Yes Yes

Northwestern State University of Louisiana was founded near the banks of Sibley Lake in Natchitoches, LA in 1884. Over more than 130 years it has grown to add satellite campuses in Alexandria, Shreveport, and Fort Polk. It is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Its 10,000 students can enroll in one of more than 50 degree programs. As part of the first university in Louisiana to offer a graduate degree in psychology, the NSU Department of Psychology & Addiction Studies today hosts two baccalaureate programs: The B.S. in Addiction Studies and the B.S. in Psychology. A Bachelor's in Psychology student can choose a concentration in Substance Abuse or Prevention as well. The B.S. in Psychology can be completed entirely online. The 120-credit degree is made up of 48 credits in psychology, 30 credits in electives, and the university requirement of 42 credits in general education courses.

School website
18 Dummy - Fort Hays State University City, Kansas $4,469 72% 41% 41% 4 No Yes Yes

The fastest-growing school in Kansas, Fort Hays State University was founded in 1902 in the prairie dog town that eventually become Hays, KS. FHSU currently enrolls 15,100 students and boasts a 95% job placement rate upon graduation. More than 6,800 students pursue online degrees. Students enrolled in academic programs offered by the Department of Psychology can complete the 120-hour Bachelor of Arts or 120-hour Bachelor of Science degree online through the Virtual College. B.A. psychology students must complete 20-credit hours of courses outside the department along with a foreign language. B.S. psychology students are required to pass 20 hours of coursework in natural science and/or mathematics. All baccalaureate candidates in psychology must complete four electives totaling 12 hours in fields including sexuality, drugs & behavior, psychology of aging, or testing and psychological measurement.

School website
19 Dummy - Oregon State University City, Oregon $9,122 55% 61% 61% 4 No Yes Yes

Oregon State University, founded in Corvallis in 1868, has grown to encompass two campuses and 15 colleges, offering more than 200 academic programs to its 32,000 students. The university secured $441 million in research funding—an OSU record—in 2017. Its School of Social and Behavioral Health Sciences offers psychology programs and partners with the greater Oregon community through the Youth and Family Mental Health Initiative. The Human Development and Family Sciences Undergraduate Program enables psychology students to complete a bachelor's degree in one of three professional pathways: General Human Services, Child Development, or Human Development and Family Sciences. Online students can earn their degree within the Human Development and Family Sciences option, a 180-credit program that begins at the Ecampus four times a year. Online students receive the same diploma as their OSU on-campus peers. The Ecampus program focuses on research, communication and critical thinking. Graduates are prepared to undertake graduate work or take roles in psychology, counseling, education and social work.

School website
20 Dummy - University of North Dakota City, North Dakota $7,741 30% 52% 52% 10 No Yes Yes

More than 11,300 undergraduate students attend the University of North Dakota, founded in Grand Forks in 1883. The university offers more than 200 fields of study, with an average class size of 25 students, and psychology is cited first among the institution's Top 10 degrees. The Department of Psychology offers a Bachelor of Science or a Bachelor of Arts degree with a special focus on research, class lectures and hands-on opportunities. Students can select a psychology subplan in Clinical Science and Learning or in Social and Cultural Psychology. More than 90 percent of psychology courses at UND are led by Ph.D.-level professors. Distance students may choose to pursue a 120-credit Bachelor of Arts in Psychology degree fully online while still taking advantage of in-state tuition. The online program features semester-based courses that culminate a degree in four years. Online students may also earn credits for volunteer efforts or employment in psychology-related research and practice environments.

School website
21 Dummy - SUNY Empire State College City, New York $6,665 75% 17% 17% 4 Yes No Yes

Founded in 1971, SUNY Empire State College offers non-traditional baccalaureate degree designed for each student to work closely with college faculty mentors. Empire's distance education program also began in 1971 and today offers over 400 online courses. Undergraduate students can earn a Bachelor of Science in Human Development with a concentration in psychology. The 124-credit psychology program combines 60 hours of general education with coursework that focuses on psychology fields including research methodology, statistics and child/adolescent development. Special emphasis is placed on areas such as biological bases of development, research issues in human development, ethical issues in human development and professional development. For students who are unable to attend class at any of the 30 campus locations in New York State, an extensive selection of distance learning courses in psychology and human development as well as in general education studies is available. The Bachelor of Science in Human Development degree is designed to prepare students for graduate school or for careers in psychology, social services and counseling.

School website
22 Dummy - Troy University City, Alabama $7,564 45% 35% 35% 2 Yes Yes Yes

Although Troy University was founded as a teacher's college in Alabama in 1887, it has since added other degree options for students. Troy's Department of Psychology is structured so that students can complete their baccalaureate psychology degree on campus, wholly online or through a hybrid program that combines online learning with a campus component. The 120-credit psychology major is comprised of six credit hours in general psychology, 24 credit hours of psychology core classes, and 18 credit hours in a minor concentration in applied behavior analysis, psychological research or substance addiction education. Students receive personal attention, benefitting from a student-to-faculty ratio of 15:1. Psychology students can receive credit for prior learning and/or professional experience. Troy Online is host to courses within the psychology major, enabling students to take part in online discussions, online assessments, and virtual collaborations with faculty and other students. Troy's academic programs are accredited by The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commissions on Colleges (SACSCOC).

School website
23 Dummy - University of the Southwest City, New Mexico $14,616 98% 22% 22% 4 No No Yes

University of the Southwest, located in Hobbs, New Mexico, was founded as a two-year Baptist college in 1956. Today, this non-denominational, four-year liberal arts college has grown to encompass a 21,000-square-mile service area in parts of New Mexico and Texas. More than 80 percent of the University of the Southwest students receive financial aid. The School of Arts and Sciences provides a campus-based Bachelor of Science in Psychology degree program. Declared one of the most popular majors at USW, this program offers students three distinct academic pathways based upon their educational and career objectives. The first option, the psychology degree, includes a wide survey in the history of the field, basic research methods and data analysis, and theoretical perspectives. The family studies degree option examines family systems, counseling, research and parent-child relationships. The third option, the forensic psychology degree, introduces students to the skills required to work in civil and criminal justice systems. Students must complete 45 credit hours in the core curriculum and 48 credit hours in psychology major requirements.

School website
24 Dummy - Pennsylvania State University-Penn State Brandywine City, Pennsylvania $13,942 61% 35% 35% 4 No Yes Yes

Pennsylvania State University-Penn State Brandywine was established in Media, 20 miles west of Philadelphia, in 1967. Today, it serves its 1,400 students with 12 baccalaureate degrees and an average class size of 24. The study of psychology is a component of the multidisciplinary Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS) bachelor's degree. One of the first of its kind nationwide, the HDFS program allows students to choose between a Life Span Human Services Option or the Life Span Developmental Science Option. The human services option focuses on family development and psychological functions, while the developmental science option is for students who wish to “develop, implement and evaluate interventions.” Psychology is one of the approved minors in the HDFS program and includes 18 credits of coursework. Students are encouraged to complete a full-time internship that integrates learning with service opportunities in public or private sectors. Individual online courses are offered each summer to accelerate students' time to complete their programs. Recent online psychology course offerings include Introductory Psychology, Introduction to the Psychology of Gender, and Human Sexuality.

School website
25 Dummy - University of Northern Colorado City, Colorado $7,733 79% 45% 45% 4 No Yes Yes

The University of Northern Colorado was founded in Greeley in 1890. Today, it offers more than 200 degree and certificate programs on-campus and online to more than 12,200 students. Undergraduate psychology majors participate in a collaborative learning environment led by subject-matter experts and psychology researchers. UNC features a unique Accelerated (4 + 1) B. A. in Psychology and M. A. in Educational Psychology degree program where students can complete the fast-track 141-credit program leading to two combined degrees in as little as five years. One of the university's most-popular online undergraduate programs is its Psychology Bachelor of Arts degree-completion program. The online program is specifically designed for adult learners and features three open-entry semesters a year, eight- and 16-week courses, and classes led by the same faculty who teach on campus. Graduates are prepared to enter the psychology professions or continue on to graduate studies. Core skills include research design and analysis, the understanding of human behavior and critical thinking. Students are also required to complete an internship in a professional setting.

School website
26 Dummy - Chadron State College City, Nebraska $5,737 66% 42% 42% 3 Yes Yes Yes

Founded in Chadron, Nebraska, in 1911, Chadron State College currently offers 52 undergraduate programs with average class sizes of 14 students. The Psychological Sciences Program at Chadron State College is structured around the educational goals established by the American Psychological Association (APA). The Bachelor of Arts in Psychological Sciences degree is comprised of 36 credits in the major along with a 21-credit minor in another subject matter. Outcomes of the psychology bachelor's program include a thorough understanding of key concepts, principles and applications of psychology. The comprehensive program focuses on communication, scientific inquiry and critical thinking, professional development, and ethical and social responsibility. Distance students can elect to undertake the online Bachelor's Degree Completion Program in Psychological Sciences, which offers eight-week courses and a 24/7 helpline. In addition, CSU has a flat rate for online degrees and does not charge additional fees for out-of-state tuition.

School website
27 Dummy - Central Washington University City, Washington $9,017 71% 53% 53% 2 No Yes Yes

Located in Ellensburg, Washington, Central Washington University was founded as a normal school for teachers in 1891. The university graduates 2,000 students each year and currently offers 135 majors. More than 2,800 students receive State Need Grants. The College of the Sciences administers the campus-based and online undergraduate psychology degree programs. The faculty of the on-campus and online Bachelor of Arts in Psychology programs place an emphasis on teaching and providing students with individualized attention. The online Bachelor of Arts in Psychology program allows students to pursue a 45-credit major, which is designed for those who wish to pursue psychology careers in areas such as social work, family studies, primate behavior, forensics and business. A minimum of 180 quarter credits is required, along with the completion of a minor or a double major and one year of foreign language. Students are encouraged to present their research results at a regional or national conference.

School website
28 Dummy - Penn State World Campus City, Pennsylvania $17,502 37% 86% 86% 8 Yes Yes Yes

Opened to serve distance students in 1998, Penn State World Campus is the second largest institution in the Pennsylvania State University system, serving an enrollment of 18,000. It offers online programs representing 150 degrees and certificates, all equivalent in academic quality to Penn State's campus-based programs. Online students complete their courses using chat tools, video conferencing, email, phone calls, bulletin boards and social media. The 123-credit online Bachelor of Arts in Psychology program includes 50 credits in the major, 39 general education credits, 13 elective credits, and 21 credits for the arts portion of the degree. Graduates are prepared to continue their education in master's or doctoral degree programs or assume entry roles in human service agencies, laboratories or industrial settings. Some continue on to law or medical schools. Students don't need to attend professors' on-campus office hours since they can confer online or over the telephone. Online students looking to connect with other psychology students can participate in the fully online Psychology Club, which connects members via Facebook, video conferencing and a newsletter.

School website
29 Dummy - Northern Arizona University City, Arizona $8,728 66% 49% 49% 5 No Yes Yes

The four-year bachelor's in psychology degree at Northern Arizona University (NAU) is offered in a flexible, online or blended format with classes at the Yuma campus. Through a degree plan, students will meet the university's bachelor's degree requirements of courses in liberal studies, diversity, junior-level writing and capstone along with the required courses for the psychology degree. In addition, students pursuing a BS will take 12 science units, and BA students will take at least 12 units of foreign language, with both requiring communication courses and credits from a minor or certificate program. Students can also transfer in up to 64 credits toward this degree, and transfer plans from area community colleges are available. The university offers several other ways for psychology students to reduce the cost of tuition, including NAU general and psychology-specific scholarships. Students may also qualify for reduced tuition rates through partnerships such as the Western Undergraduate Exchange Program and Good Neighbor Policy, plus reduced rates are available to military students, veterans and NAU employees and family members.

School website
30 Dummy - University of Maine at Augusta City, Maine $7,448 26% 13% 13% 5 Yes Yes Yes

Psychology students at the University of Maine at Augusta (UMA) can earn a BA in social science degree with a concentration in psychology, which is offered fully online through the Augusta campus. Other concentrations under the social science umbrella include gerontology and administrative and organizational behavior. The program is typically completed in four years, with 30 credits a year, and courses range from general education degree requirements to specialty courses in psychology with research opportunities and a senior project. This well-rounded program provides students with many career options in the field of social sciences along with a pathway to graduate work, depending on a student's goals and personal needs. The university encourages transfer students and has a generous transfer policy, plus several transfer agreements with community colleges and universities in Maine and other states. Students at UMA may receive credits from the American Council on Education (ACE) training and military training. Students may also qualify for UMA's Pine Tree State Pledge, which is a tuition-free program for eligible in-state transfer and first-time students.

School website
31 Dummy - Indiana Wesleyan University City, Indiana $24,102 50% 70% 70% 7 Yes Yes Yes

Indiana Wesleyan University is a non-profit, Christian university that combines a liberal arts learning environment with professional education programs. Students interested in an online psychology major can earn a BS in psychology of human relations degree, which emphasizes the study of relationships and the use of psychological principles in everyday life. Theory, research, organizational psychology, spiritual formation and counseling techniques are just a few topics covered in this program. This is considered a core degree program, so the required core courses are taken in a sequential format, one at a time until program completion. At least 60 transferable credits are required prior to starting these core classes, and all students will undergo a Prior Learning Placement (PLA) assessment prior to admission to determine a degree plan. A capstone project is also required for this program, with four capstone courses in various subjects to account for a student's career goals, personal interests and life calling.

School website
32 Dummy - Pennsylvania State University-Penn State Altoona City, Pennsylvania $14,588 56% 67% 67% 3 No Yes Yes

When it comes to psychology degrees, Pennsylvania State University-Penn State Altoona has several options, which can be tailored to fit students' individual needs and educational goals. Students can earn a BA in psychology degree, which is broadly based with extra general education and foreign language requirements, or a BS in psychology with a concentration in business or science, which has a more career-focused curriculum. Prior to graduating, senior students must complete and present their capstone projects in the form of extra coursework on the history of psychology, a senior thesis, a research project or independent study. During sophomore year, students looking to explore interests through fieldwork can participate in the Psychology Field Experience. Students unable to attend classes at Altoona or other Penn State campuses can earn a psychology degree completely online through Penn State's World Campus. Coincidentally, World Campus students formed the world's first fully online psychology club, with the main goal of supporting World Campus undergraduate psychology students.

School website
33 Dummy - Union College City, Kentucky $22,980 100% 36% 36% 3 No Yes Yes

Union College in Barbourville, Kentucky, has several psychology and related degree options, with undergraduate degrees being offered on-campus and graduate degrees online or in hybrid format. Undergraduate psychology students planning to continue with graduate work along with students planning a career after earning their bachelor's degrees can benefit from the general psychology degree plan, which is offered as an on-campus program. Also available is a BS degree in substance abuse counseling, which is a four-year, 120-credit program that includes liberal arts general education core classes plus concentration courses and an internship. A master's degree in psychology, a bachelor's degree in substance abuse counseling, and an undergraduate certificate in chemical dependency are all offered completely online, and an MA degree in clinical psychology is offered in hybrid format. Union College offers its students free counseling, including individual therapy, family or couples counseling and group therapy, staffed by professionals and graduate students.

School website
34 Dummy - Lee University City, Tennessee $14,280 71% 49% 49% 2 No Yes Yes

Lee University is an independent, Christ-centered university located in Cleveland, Tennessee, with accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Admission to this university has typical college entrance requirements, plus students are required to have three years of life experience beyond high school. Students pursuing a bachelor's degree in psychology in preparation for a career as school counselors have the option of earning teacher licensure. This degree is also a great fit for students going into career fields such as public relations, pastoral care and personnel work, as well as those headed to graduate school. This is a 120-credit hour program, with general education, psychology courses and 6 credit hours of intermediate foreign language. Psychology students at Lee have access to numerous student resources, such as on-campus health care, counseling, the Center for Calling and Career, and family enrichment and parenting resources. Chapel services at Lee are available on-campus or in a downloadable format.

School website
35 Dummy - University of Arkansas at Little Rock City, Arkansas $7,432 50% 19% 19% 3 No Yes Yes

The University of Arkansas Little Rock offers hundreds of online courses and several fully online degree programs at both the undergraduate and graduate level, including a BA in psychology degree. For this degree, students will have to declare a minor, show at least an intermediate level of proficiency in a foreign language and must maintain a “C” average or higher in psychology courses for graduation. For students planning to continue to graduate school, it is recommended that they complete internship, practicum and independent study courses to gain working knowledge and experience. Psychology students can check in with faculty throughout the program to develop a degree plan based on individual career goals. Students who plan to complete their degrees completely online through UA Little Rock Online will benefit from reduced, standardized tuition rates, and military and veterans may qualify for further reductions. Employees of UA, their spouses and dependents may be eligible for tuition waivers.

School website
36 Dummy - Ohio Christian University City, Ohio $17,720 53% 36% 36% 3 Yes No Yes

Ohio Christian University (OCU), with several locations in Ohio and Georgia, offers a BA in psychology fully online along with a variety of other degrees at the certificate, associate and graduate level. The BA in psychology degree at OCU is a 120-credit program, with 45 credits being program requirements, and the remainder being general education and general elective courses. Psychology courses here integrate Christian principles and a Biblical worldview into theory, statistics and research. A capstone project is required prior to graduation, which will involve advanced research and writing, and students will prepare for this through seminar courses. The program is useful for students planning a career in a related field or in ministry and for those planning to continue to graduate school. For online students who want optional community learning and involvement through experiences such as internships, bible study and summer academic camps, OCU Online Plus is available. High school students can also take online courses through the dual enrollment Trailblazer Academy.

School website
37 Dummy - University of Louisiana at Monroe City, Louisiana $6,963 56% 37% 37% 7 No Yes Yes

With accelerated courses and shorter sessions, University of Louisiana at Monroe's (ULM) online programs are designed for working adults. With this in mind, students pursuing an online BA in psychology through eULM can complete their degrees in two years with full-time study and can then begin a career in a related field, advance in current positions or move on to graduate school. The psychology department offers some cutting-edge courses not often available, such as Evolutionary Psychology and Positive Psychology, along with a solid liberal arts education. The university is committed to the success of online learners, and students can get assistance every step of the way through the Office of eULM, which is available to address the specific needs of online students and can also work with eULM advisors through the Student Success Center. Online psychology students with previous college experience should check in with the admissions department regarding transfer credits, Prior Learning Assessment through testing and portfolio assessment.

School website
38 Dummy - Union Institute & University City, Ohio $11,904 15% 27% 27% 6 Yes No Yes

Union Institute & University is a non-profit, accredited university with locations in Ohio, Florida and California and has a large selection of online programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. The online BA degree in psychology is a 120-credit-hour program with full and part-time options, and transfer students may be able to transfer up to 90 credit hours into this program. The program offers concentrations in addiction studies, forensic psychology and holistic psychology. Many types of students can benefit from this program, and those planning a career in clinical psychology or counseling have the added benefit of being able to make a natural transition into Union's fully online MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program. This bridge program provides an accelerated route to the master's program by allowing students to earn credits toward the MA while earning their bachelor's degree. Students who plan to go into a non-psychology graduate program can also transition easily to all of Union's online MA programs.

School website
39 Dummy - Granite State College City, New Hampshire $7,065 N/A 50% 50% 2 Yes Yes Yes

Granite State College programs are all about flexibility. Classes are offered as on-campus, online, hybrid, blended, online blended, online hybrid and as intensives or field-based formats. Psychology students have many options, including earning a BS in psychology completely online. In addition, an accelerated BS completion degree in psychology is available to transfer students from the New Hampshire Community College System. These students can complete the program in about 18 months with full-time enrollment. Completion degree students will follow a pre-set schedule, with three courses per term and one in the summer. To help even more with cost, specific scholarships will be given to qualifying students of this program. Along with transfer credits, Granite State College also offers college credit for military training, on-the-job experience and volunteer work. Students can apply for outside loans and scholarships and may also qualify for tuition discounts and waivers the college has in place for specific types of students.

School website
40 Dummy - University of Providence City, Montana $21,556 99% 22% 22% 3 Yes Yes Yes

Located in Great Falls, Montana, the University of Providence (UP) is a Catholic, liberal arts school that offers several online degrees, including a bachelor's degree in psychology. This program follows the American Psychological Association Guidelines for Undergraduate Psychology Major programs, which prepares students for graduate school as well as several interesting occupations. Students will take general education and core psychology courses that cover a wide range of topics and can choose an area of specialization, such as helping skills, social services, forensic psychology or physiological psychology. Students already holding a bachelor's degree can earn a certificate in addictions counseling. These undergraduate degrees typically take four years to complete, and if for some reason a student doesn't complete their degree in the allotted time, the cost of the remaining courses may be covered at no additional charge by UP. Through UP's IMPACT program, students struggling to find work can get extra support with career readiness, such as counseling and tuition-free courses.

School website
41 Dummy - University of Cincinnati-Main Campus City, Ohio $11,010 54% 62% 62% 7 Yes Yes Yes

University of Cincinnati students can earn either a BA or BS in psychology on campus, and students interested in an online degree can complete the BA in psychology transfer-completer program fully online, with 61 transferable semester hours or 92 quarter hours and a GPA of at least 2.0. These undergraduate psychology degrees are often completed in three years with options such as opting for summer courses, taking a higher number of credit hours per semester, transferring in the maximum amount of credits and testing to have a course requirement waived. A minor in psychology is also available fully online, and a four-plus-one psychology bachelor's/master's program is available for those planning to earn a graduate degree in psychology. Qualifying psychology students are automatically invited to participate in the honors program, which supports student internships, fieldwork, student teaching and preparation for completion of an independent research project. Students are also encouraged to join UC's student run Psychology Club for additional support, research opportunities and related activities.

School website
42 Dummy - Saint Leo University City, Florida $20,110 99% 43% 43% 3 Yes Yes Yes

Saint Leo University's online programs are offered through Saint Leo Worldwide and are geared for adult learners. Students planning to pursue a bachelor's degree in psychology online can choose from the general BA in psychology or the BA in clinical/counseling degrees. Both are 120-credit, four-year programs that provide a solid liberal arts and sciences foundation, are made up of psychology core and elective courses, and require 42 credits of University Explorations, which is Saint Leo's general education program. Either of these degrees prepare students for graduate school or entrance into careers in areas such as human services and mental health. Saint Leo's online students have access to several important student resources offered online through Worldwide Student Services, such as tutoring, library services, career services, academic advisement and easy communication with professors and classmates. Students can stay connected through social media and the online Student Life Department, which gives online students opportunities for networking, participation in online activities, sharing resources and involvement with virtual clubs and associations.

School website
43 Dummy - Bellevue University City, Nebraska $6,450 51% 31% 31% 3 Yes No Yes

Bellevue University in Bellevue, Nebraska, is a private, non-profit college that focuses on adult education at the undergraduate and graduate degree level. Psychology bachelor's degree-seeking students can earn either a BA or BS in psychology on campus or online. The curriculum follows the American Psychological Association guidelines, and coursework is similar for both, with more math and science for the BS degree and a language component for the BA degree. Another online option is the BS in professional psychology degree, which offers concentrations in industrial and organizational psychology, lifespan transitions or foundations of counseling. Students interested in a career in education can also choose the secondary teacher education degree path with endorsements in psychology or psychology and physical education. All bachelor's degree students at Bellevue are required to incorporate nine credit hours of Kirkpatrick Signature Series courses into their degrees. This is a capstone program that is the “intellectual linchpin” of the university and focuses on topics such as Western Civilization successes and issues, active citizenship and American values.

School website
44 Dummy - Viterbo University City, Wisconsin $23,790 100% 53% 53% 2 Yes Yes Yes

While the bachelor's degree in psychology program at Viterbo University is an on-campus program typically taking four years to complete, students may be able to shorten their graduation time frame by transferring in credits previously earned online at another institution, or credits earned through other colleges, including several Wisconsin community colleges. The program is a great stepping stone to psychology-related careers and graduate school, especially for those interested in pursuing a career in counseling. There are several opportunities for hands-on experience, such as interview and counseling training via the college's digital video lab and the advanced experience courses, in which students can choose between an internship or research project. The degree goes well with Viterbo's MS degree in mental health counseling, which is offered as a bachelor's-to-master's program, with four years allotted for the BS or BA and two years for the MS degree. Psychology majors can also complete coursework leading to substance abuse counseling certification, as the college offers this as a minor.

School website
45 Dummy - Indiana State University City, Indiana $8,416 75% 43% 43% 4 Yes Yes Yes

Indiana State University in Terre Haute offers an online bachelor's degree in psychology, which is open to first-time incoming freshman students and transfer students. The program has part-time and full-time options and typically takes four years to complete with full-time enrollment. This is a 120-credit program with a combination of foundational studies and psychology core courses as well as electives in a student's area of interest. Students will also choose from three credits of fieldwork, research or a thesis project for their culminating experiences. For the online program, at least 18 psychology credits must be taken from Indiana State University, but no campus visits are required. Transfer students have a lot of options with this program as the transfer policy is liberal. Students can transfer in up to 90 credits, and if a qualifying bachelor's degree from another institution is transferred in, the University's foundational studies requirements will be waived.

School website
46 Dummy - Western New Mexico University City, New Mexico $5,346 26% 16% 16% 4 No Yes Yes

Western New Mexico University was established in 1893, and its main campus is in Silver City. The bachelor's degree in psychology here can be earned on campus or entirely online with either a BA or BS degree plan. This degree gives a well-rounded, general overview of psychology and covers a wide range of topics while also focusing on subfields and concentrated areas of psychology. The degree options offered at the university are great for those planning to start a career after graduation or continue with graduate work. A capstone experience is part of this degree and can be in the form of elective courses, internships or a research project with a faculty member. Students pursuing this degree must also choose a minor, which is 18 credits toward the degree. Some popular areas of study WNMU psychology students choose are chemical dependency, sociology criminal justice, political science and coaching. Online students can take advantage of the Psychology Advising Center (PAC), which provides advising assistance specific to psychology students.

School website
47 Dummy - University of Maryland-University College City, Maryland $6,744 3% 4% 4% 6 Yes No Yes

University of Maryland-University College (UMUC) offers online psychology students a lot of flexibility when it comes to degree planning. The bachelor's degree program is 120 credits, and up to 90 transferable credits are allowed. Courses are eight-week sessions in an asynchronous format with specific due dates, but students are allowed to log on whenever it is convenient for them. Depending on a student's needs, courses are offered entirely online or in a hybrid format, which means students will meet on campus once a week. For students choosing to complete this degree online, no campus visits are required, but there are plenty of opportunities for online connection and involvement. Some classes are in a cohort format, so students will work with specific groups of students and faculty during their undergraduate time. In addition to student loans, there are several scholarships available to online psychology students, and UMUC offers an interest-free tuition payment plan. Military students may also be eligible for reduced tuition rates.

School website
48 Dummy - University of Memphis City, Tennessee $8,619 40% 40% 40% 3 Yes Yes Yes

University of Memphis (UM) offers a wide variety of degree options online at both the undergraduate and graduate level. Through UM's online campus, UofM Global, psychology students can earn their bachelor's degrees completely online. This is a 120-credit-hour program with a lot of opportunities for affordable degree plans. Students may be eligible to transfer in credits from another institution or receive Experiential Learning Credit for work, life experience and military training. Students may also test out of certain courses or qualify for advance placement or for portfolio assessment. Students with prior UM college credits who had to quit pursuing a degree part way through for reasons such as outside obligations and finances can get help finding cost-effective ways to complete their degrees through the university's Finish Line program. To further ensure success, psychology students can access psychology-specific resources and academic advising through the Academic Advising and Research Center.

School website
Filters
Save this list:
Download
Save this list:
Download
Rank School Name Location Tuition Financial Aid Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate # of Online Programs Credit for Experience Placement Services Counseling Services University Information
1 Dummy - East Mississippi Community College City, Mississippi $2,600 78% 27% 27% 6 Yes Yes Yes School website
2 Dummy - Western Wyoming Community College City, Wyoming $2,400 39% 53% 53% 3 Yes Yes Yes School website
3 Dummy - Allen County Community College City, Kansas $2,784 68% 23% 23% 4 No No Yes School website
4 Dummy - Central Texas College City, Texas $2,790 13% 14% 14% 6 Yes Yes Yes School website
5 Dummy - Holmes Community College City, Mississippi $2,288 37% 25% 25% 2 No Yes Yes School website
6 Dummy - Navarro College City, Texas $3,388 26% 16% 16% 3 No Yes Yes School website
7 Dummy - Odessa College City, Texas $3,900 32% 20% 20% 3 No Yes Yes School website
8 Dummy - Northwest Mississippi Community College City, Mississippi $2,550 26% 18% 18% 2 Yes Yes Yes School website
9 Dummy - Sinclair College City, Ohio $3,511 28% 17% 17% 2 Yes Yes Yes School website
10 Dummy - Kansas City Kansas Community College City, Kansas $2,640 22% 20% 20% 2 Yes Yes Yes School website
11 Dummy - Coastline Community College City, California $1,136 N/A 16% 16% 3 Yes Yes Yes School website
12 Dummy - Amarillo College City, Texas $2,898 17% 15% 15% 2 No Yes Yes School website
13 Dummy - Cochise College City, Arizona $1,800 22% 18% 18% 2 Yes No Yes School website
14 Dummy - Tyler Junior College City, Texas $3,762 17% 15% 15% 2 No Yes Yes School website
15 Dummy - Foothill College City, California $1,551 6% 62% 62% 2 No Yes Yes School website
16 Dummy - Colorado Northwestern Community College City, Colorado $3,682 62% 33% 33% 2 Yes No Yes School website
17 Dummy - West Hills College-Coalinga City, California $1,380 12% 22% 22% 2 No No Yes School website
18 Dummy - Madisonville Community College City, Kentucky $3,624 22% 30% 30% 2 No Yes Yes School website
19 Dummy - Barton County Community College City, Kansas $3,008 71% 30% 30% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
20 Dummy - West Hills College-Lemoore City, California $1,380 11% 19% 19% 2 No No Yes School website
21 Dummy - Western Oklahoma State College City, Oklahoma $3,096 63% 20% 20% 1 Yes No Yes School website
22 Dummy - Santa Rosa Junior College City, California $1,280 21% 33% 33% 1 No Yes Yes School website
23 Dummy - Truckee Meadows Community College City, Nevada $2,700 22% 21% 21% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
24 Dummy - Carl Albert State College City, Oklahoma $3,003 32% 23% 23% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
25 Dummy - Dakota College at Bottineau City, North Dakota $4,098 40% 28% 28% 2 Yes No Yes School website
26 Dummy - Cleveland State Community College City, Tennessee $3,811 21% 13% 13% 2 Yes Yes Yes School website
27 Dummy - Hazard Community and Technical College City, Kentucky $3,624 19% 28% 28% 2 Yes No Yes School website
28 Dummy - Alvin Community College City, Texas $2,566 11% 12% 12% 1 No Yes Yes School website
29 Dummy - Barstow Community College City, California $1,104 N/A 17% 17% 2 Yes No Yes School website
30 Dummy - Williston State College City, North Dakota $4,445 74% 37% 37% 2 Yes No Yes School website
31 Dummy - Hopkinsville Community College City, Kentucky $3,624 10% 19% 19% 2 Yes Yes Yes School website
32 Dummy - North Central State College City, Ohio $3,591 9% 13% 13% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
33 Dummy - Thomas Nelson Community College City, Virginia $4,169 5% 16% 16% 2 Yes Yes Yes School website
34 Dummy - Spokane Falls Community College City, Washington $3,512 14% 23% 23% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
35 Dummy - Iowa Central Community College City, Iowa $4,710 60% 34% 34% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
36 Dummy - Gateway Community and Technical College City, Kentucky $3,704 9% 34% 34% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
37 Dummy - Citrus College City, California $1,176 1% 30% 30% 1 No Yes Yes School website
38 Dummy - Diablo Valley College City, California $1,298 N/A 39% 39% 1 No Yes Yes School website
39 Dummy - Somerset Community College City, Kentucky $3,624 8% 25% 25% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
40 Dummy - Pellissippi State Community College City, Tennessee $3,868 3% 22% 22% 2 Yes Yes Yes School website
41 Dummy - Bunker Hill Community College City, Massachusetts $3,384 1% 11% 11% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
42 Dummy - Chemeketa Community College City, Oregon $4,230 5% 12% 12% 2 Yes Yes Yes School website
43 Dummy - Northeast State Community College City, Tennessee $3,816 14% 13% 13% 1 No Yes Yes School website
44 Dummy - West Valley College City, California $1,186 2% 28% 28% 1 Yes No Yes School website
45 Dummy - Mt San Jacinto Community College District City, California $1,386 5% 22% 22% 1 Yes No Yes School website
46 Dummy - Columbia State Community College City, Tennessee $3,799 12% 18% 18% 1 Yes No Yes School website
47 Dummy - Northern Virginia Community College City, Virginia $4,853 10% 23% 23% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
48 Dummy - Northcentral Technical College City, Wisconsin $4,148 N/A 36% 36% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website

Guide to Online Counseling Degrees and Programs

Counseling can appear to be a complex, esoteric career to describe. The American Counseling Association (ACA), a group of 31 counseling organizations, gathered to develop the following definition:

Professional counseling is a professional relationship that empowers diverse individuals, families, and groups to accomplish mental health, wellness, education, and career goals.

This apt statement has been adopted and integrated into the curriculum of counseling degree programs across the country. For the prospective student, making sense of the various educational options available while in the pursuit of a counseling degree and the intricacies and requirements of online programs is challenging. The high-level overview provided on this page will explain everything from the degrees themselves to an interview with a current online counseling student.

Counseling Degree Search Tool

Educational paths to a counseling degree are nearly as varied as the myriad positions within the field. With so many options when it comes to degree level and area of specialization, students can sometimes feel overwhelmed while narrowing their options. When factoring in other needs such as flexibility, internship opportunities, student support, or financial aid, the decisions only get tougher. The search tool below can help alleviate some of these concerns by separating out the best online counseling programs based on the individual needs of each student.

Counseling Is a Diverse, Growing Field

The career opportunities in counseling are as varied and diverse as the profession itself. Overall, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects solid employment gains nationally between 2012 and 2022. Some counseling areas, such as clinical mental health and substance abuse counseling, are expected to increase by 29% and 31% respectively. However, becoming a counselor requires a specific and, in most cases, advanced degree, clinical experience, examinations and licenses.

Specializations in Counseling

Counseling can be distilled into four types, according to the ACA:

  • Individual counseling

    Provided in a one-on-one setting, counselors help individuals cope and deal with personal issues and problems, from substance abuse, to depression, anxiety and anger issues.

  • Couples counseling

    Couples, married and unmarried, can work with a licensed counselor to resolve conflicts and establish and work toward healthy relationship goals.

  • Family counseling

    Family counseling addresses a range of issues, such as sibling conflict, changes to the family environment, impending family additions and more.

  • Group counseling

    Counseling in a group setting typically includes a leader and several participants, and covers topics such as self-esteem, substance abuse recovery or anger management.

Under the umbrella of the four major categories exist subsets of specialized counseling practices. These specializations allow counselors to develop and apply an advanced set of theoretical and practical skills to the treatment, care and counseling of the specific population groups mentioned above.

Below are some examples of concentration areas that are accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP):

  • Marriage and family

    A distinct mental health discipline marriage and family counseling is typically available through advanced online graduate programs, including master’s and PhD degrees. Through study in these programs, graduates are equipped to work with couples, families and individuals within a larger family system. These counselors treat an array of issues from communication to emotional disorders.

  • Substance abuse

    Addiction and substance abuse counseling educational programs prepare students to work with both individuals and families dealing with and affected by drugs, gambling, alcohol and other addictive behaviors and disorders. Typically offered at the master’s degree level, these programs require approximately 60 credit hours of study to complete and focus instruction on prevention, treatment models and relapse prevention.

  • School counseling

    Degree programs in school counseling prepare their graduates to work with students in the K-12 educational system. Working in three areas, academic, career preparation, and personal and social development, school counselors may assist students through individual counseling, family counseling or group counseling settings.

  • Clinical mental health counseling

    In these programs, students learn how to work with individuals suffering from a host of emotional, behavioral and mental disorders. Curriculum focuses on the core principles of clinical mental health counseling, such as diagnosis and treatment, and provides students with the opportunity to hone those skills in clinical settings.

  • Career and employment counseling

    Career counselors, also known as vocational counselors, are tasked with helping individuals design, plan, and execute career paths by employing a range of assessment tools to assist in decision making.

Outside of these central specializations, students may also choose to concentrate their studies in other areas, such as adult development and aging, or professional counseling.

A Complete Guide to Online Counseling Degrees

Online Bachelor’s Degree in Counseling

The professional major in counseling is designed to prepare undergraduates for entry-level positions in a variety of counseling settings or pave the way for future entry into a graduate level degree program. Often, undergraduate studies in counseling may be intertwined with psychology, offering students a broad, preparatory education in both areas.

Online undergraduate counseling degrees are grounded in current research and established practices in the field. Expansive in scope, these programs introduce students to theoretical approaches in counseling, and help them to build a foundational knowledge in individual and group counseling. Students may also choose an area of concentration for their degree, based on their future professional or graduate educational goals, including marriage and family counseling, substance abuse counseling, mental health counseling and family counseling.

Designed to be completed in four years of full-time study, bachelor’s in counseling programs typically require between 120 and 136 credit hours of instruction to graduate. Students may complete their entire program of study online, but it is important to note there is a clinical requirement for a majority of online undergraduate counseling degrees. Depending on the university and department, students may be asked to complete in-person internships, residencies or practicums.

The most common undergraduate educational focus is the Bachelor of Science in Counseling. However, other options are available, including:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Addiction Counseling
  • Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Health Counseling
  • Bachelor of Science in Community Counseling
  • Bachelor of Science in Substance Abuse Counseling
Liberty University
  • Enrollment: 63,128
  • Tuition: $20,768
  • College Type: Private
  • State: Virginia
  • Bachelor of Science in Psychology - Christian Counseling
  • Bachelor of Science in Psychology - Crisis Counseling
Indiana Wesleyan University
  • Enrollment: 15,890
  • Tuition: $23,628
  • College Type: Private
  • State: Indiana
  • Bachelor of Science in Addictions Counseling

Online PhD in Counseling

The highest level of education available in counseling is the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). The PhD is designed to prepare counseling educators, practicing counselors and clinical supervisors for leadership and research-based positions in both clinical and academic settings. A master’s degree in counseling is the most common educational requirement for admission to an online PhD program in counseling.

Curriculum doctoral counseling programs typically concentrates on three areas: counselor education, advanced counseling practice and counselor supervision. Within that framework, students receive instruction in areas including:

  • Assessment
  • Supervision
  • Career counseling
  • Diversity
  • Advanced theory and practice

Depending on the university, completing a PhD in counseling may take between three and four years of instruction (between 60 and 72 credits) and requires a dissertation in order to graduate.

Although there are some online PhD programs in counseling that exist entirely online, most are offered through a hybrid learning format, requiring students to complete a series of courses through on campus instruction and others through online learning. For example, the PhD program at Oregon State requires students to attend their on campus program for the first two years of study, while the remainder may be completed online.

Internships are usually completed where the student lives. Because PhD students are generally employed as counselors, they can often use their work settings as their internship sites as well.

Liberty University
  • Enrollment: 32,511
  • Tuition: $9,170
  • College Type: Private
  • State: Virginia
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Counseling - Options: Counselor Education and Supervision - Advanced Clinical Skills - General
Amridge University
  • Enrollment: 619
  • Tuition: $12,140
  • College Type: Private
  • State: Alabama
  • Doctor of Philosophy (Phd) in Professional Counseling
  • Doctor of Ministry (Dmin) in Family Therapy I

Dual or Joint Degrees in Counseling

Sometimes students wish to complete more than one graduate degree at a time, in this case a master’s degree in addition to a PhD in counseling. Some universities offer joint degree options, which allow students to bridge their online master’s degree counseling into a PhD program in the field.

Five questions to ask before choosing an online counseling degree program…

There are numerous factors that impact the quality of undergraduate degree programs, from tuition to faculty, and from job placement rates to internship opportunities. Here are five questions students should ask to determine if the program is a good fit to meet their educational and professional needs and goals:

1. Is the program CACREP accredited?

One of the most important items to review before selecting a program is making sure it is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). It is the central accrediting body for both master’s and doctoral programs (and specialties) in counseling in the United States. This accreditation is significant because state licensing requirements and voluntary certifications and credentials typically require students graduate from a CACREP accredited program.

2. What are the acceptance rates and test scores for the program?

A low acceptance rate at a school is indicative of quality; entrance becomes competitive as they are receiving applications from top students. Secondly, what are the minimum test scores for admission? How do they stack up to other similar institutions? The higher the average test score, the more competitive, and better the program.

3. What is the student-to-faculty ratio?

The size of the program can directly impact the learning experience. Students should be sure to investigate the average class size and cohort (students admitted to the same class).

4. Does the program offer additional clinical experience?

In most programs, students are asked to complete a practica placement to build hands-on, clinical skills in the field. For those desiring additional training, the prospective student should check if the program offers an advanced practicum to develop their practical experience.

5. What is the faculty mix in the program?

Often overlooked, the faculty determine the overall quality of a degree program. Students should concern themselves with who is teaching their classes, especially in online learning settings. Are the faculty members licensed, practicing counselors? What type of real-world experience do they have? What is the percentage of doctoral to non-doctoral faculty?

Four Tips: Choosing a Counseling Degree Online

1
Speak with professors

Students thinking about a master’s degree or master’s degree students pursuing a PhD should talk to their counseling professors at their current institutions. Most professors have networks of other professors and practicing counselors that can recommend programs or provide advice.

2
Speak to students

The counseling program or admissions department can connect students with individuals currently in their course of study. Getting input from someone in the program can help shed light into the quality of instruction.

3
Speak to professionals

Students should seek out interviews with counselors in their area of study (e.g., marriage and family therapy) to get a better understanding of the profession and the rigors of qualifying to practice in the field.

4
Review counseling programs online

Students should take the time to review each program’s website before making a decision. Information about the curriculum, cost, learning format and faculty can usually be found on each university’s website.

License vs. Certification

It is important for prospective counseling students to understand the difference between national certification and state licensing:

National counselor certification: National certification is granted by organizations such as the National Board for Certified Counselors. A certification is not a license to practice, but a voluntarily earned credential demonstrating advanced training, experience, and knowledge of the counseling practice.

State licensing: A license allows a counselor to legally practice in the state in which they are employed. Licensing requirements are determined on a state-by-state basis but usually include meeting educational, examination, clinical practice and ethics requirements to be granted a license.

  • Education. Possession of a master’s or doctorate degree from an accredited (CACREP) program.
  • Examination. Successful completion of the National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification (NCE) from the National Board of Certified Counselors. A 200-question examination, the NCE tests a candidate’s knowledge, skills and abilities in counseling.
  • Clinical experience. Prospective counselors are generally required to complete at least 3,000 hours of clinical practice and experience beyond the master’s degree to qualify for a license.
  • Ethics. Counselors must adhere to the counseling Code of Ethics as established by their state board of counselor licensure.

The American Counseling Association provides a list of state counseling licensure boards for more information.

Counseling Certifications

Graduates of counseling degree programs online may select from numerous voluntary certifications, including the National Certified Counselor (NCC) credential from the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC). The standard bearer for counselor certifications, the NCC requires applicants to hold an accredited master’s degree and successfully pass the NCE.

The NBCC also offers three additional specialty certifications:

  • Certified Clinical Mental Health Counselor (CCMHC)
  • Master Addictions Counselor (MAC)
  • National Certified School Counselor (NCSC)

Other counseling organizations offer voluntary certifications as well, across a spectrum of specialty and practice areas:

Interview with an Online Counseling Student

Maggie S. is a third year master’s student who is completing her internship in substance abuse counseling. We spoke with Maggie about her experiences and to asked her to share advice to students thinking about a career in counseling.

1. How is your counseling education preparing you for a career?

Great question. At this level, it’s about effort. What you put into your education is what you get out. Counseling is about talking to and listening to other people, and textbooks can only take you so far. Getting out of the books and into an internship or clinical setting is where the real education takes place. When you’re working with clients and see progress—both in them and in your own approach—then you know you’re on the right track.

2. What are the benefits, in your mind, of online counseling degrees?

Most students considering an online degree program should really think about their clinical rotation before anything else. Can you complete an internship through a school placement where you live? For me, I actually chose a school close to home for that exact purpose. The learning experience [in my program] has been wonderful. I work part-time, so being able to complete coursework on my own time has been the biggest benefit.

3. Do you have any advice for students thinking about taking online courses?

[Laughs] Yes! I have two. Don’t procrastinate. And, don’t procrastinate. It is so easy to get caught up in other things when going to school online that you forget an assignment here or there. Stay on top of your assignments!

4. What advice do you have for students considering a graduate program in counseling?

My biggest piece of advice is to really think about why you want to be a counselor. Is this truly something you want to do? You don’t get to leave your work [once you're] at home and the emotional toll can be grueling. Find an area you want to study and commit. My other thoughts as to graduate programs are to get an understanding of the faculty. You want to study with professors you want to study with…meaning they are individuals with experience in the field and a research-focus that matches your desires.

5. What has been your favorite part of the educational experience so far?

As I said before, working with clients. There is absolutely nothing better!

Online Counseling Programs & Info