An online master’s degree in educational counseling or school counseling can provide current education professionals with the skills they need to move into a new position in the field. Teachers and administrators who decide that they would like to work as guidance counselors, educational psychologists, academic advisors, or in educational assessment will almost certainly need an advanced degree in a relevant field.
Online schools provide a great resource for busy adult learners who don’t have the time to spend four or five days a week on campus. By choosing distance education, working professionals can keep their jobs, complete classes on their own time, graduate faster, and save money. Speaking of saving money, many schools offer online degrees at a significantly reduced price compared to traditional programs – and certainly less than the more established private schools in the country.
As evidence, take a look at the list below of the ten cheapest graduate programs in educational counseling. Even the most expensive school (listed first) still costs less than $13,000 in basic tuition fees. (Tuition figures are based on data from the U.S. Department of Education’s College Navigator database.) As you move down the list, you’ll notice that the prices drop significantly, and one school offers classes for just $6,400 annually! Fortunately, you’ll also recognize that these affordable schools also offer some of the best online master’s degrees in school counseling. Publications like U.S. News, the Online Education Database, and Washington Monthly all confirm their high quality.
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10. National University
Online Master of Science in Educational Counseling
The online master’s degree in Educational Counseling at National University gives students the skills and opportunities necessary to succeed in the field of school counseling. The degree is designed to prepare students for certification in California, though the knowledge students gain from the program is useful no matter where they plan to teach. Its completion leads to a California Pupil Personnel School Counseling credential recommendation, which can make a significant difference in a counselor’s career. The program curriculum emphasizes the implementation of analysis and interpretative skills to create successful counseling programs. In 2009, the Online Education Database ranked National University in the top 20 of all online universities for its academic merit.
9. Lamar University
Master of Education in School Counseling Online
Lamar University offers an affordable online master’s degree in School Counseling that is well suited for students with past military experience. G.I. Jobs and Military Advanced Education both named Lamar a Military Friendly School in 2013 for its excellent opportunities for active duty and veteran students. The university’s affordable School Counseling degree serves to prepare graduates for careers in the educational field of their choice, and the courses are designed to lead to counselor certification in Texas. The curriculum is laid out in a predetermined order; students take one class at a time and finish the degree in a little over two years.
Tuition: $7,429/yr (In-state) $15,925/yr (Out-of-state)
8. Walden University
Online MS in School Counseling
Walden University’s online master’s degree in School Counseling is dedicated to helping graduates become the best counselors possible. In 2012, U.S. News ranked the university #9 in the nation for the high level of engagement of its students, making it a great choice for driven individuals. The School Counseling program emphasizes the skills counselors use day in and day out and works to mold graduates who have an advanced knowledge of technology and can prepare their students for success. Graduates practice their counseling through an online simulator called the Virtual School and two in-person residencies. Students can also adapt their degree by choosing from four specializations, including Addiction Counseling, Career Counseling, Crisis and Trauma, and Military Family and Culture.
7. Bridgewater State University
Online Counseling, School Counseling (PreK-8, 5-12) Concentration, MEd
The accredited online master’s degree in School Counseling at Bridgewater State University focuses exclusively on elementary and secondary school counseling, making it an excellent choice for those who want to work with younger students. Graduates can choose between a specialization in preschool through 8th grade and a specialization in 5th grade through 12th grade, depending on their individual career goals. The curriculum includes a course in Special Education Issues along with two practicum courses and a culminating experience. In 2012, Best Colleges ranked Bridgewater as a Tier 2 Regional University in the North among 40 other top quality schools.
Tuition: $8,053/yr (In-state) $14,193/yr (Out-of-state)
6. North Carolina A&T State University
Online Master of Science Degree in School Counseling
North Carolina A&T State University provides a top online master’s degree in School Counseling that heavily emphasizes practical experience. The program is focused on elementary and secondary school counseling and requires 700 total hours of combined practicum and internship time. The curriculum features several lab courses and up to six electives, giving students both real world experience and the freedom to shape their studies. The university as a whole is a research institution, making it an excellent choice for any students considering their own research subjects in the counseling field. In 2012, Washington Monthly ranked NCA&T as the 33rd Best National University based on its social mobility and academic quality.
Tuition: $5,422/yr (In-state) $16,503/yr
5. University of West Alabama
Online Master of Education: School Counseling Certification
The University of West Alabama’s online master’s degree in School Counseling is a selective program that provides an excellent grounding in primary, secondary, and postsecondary counseling. In 2015, U.S. News named the school a top Regional University of the South in recognition of its academic standards. Applicants to the School Counseling program are required to have a BA in a teaching field or a Masters certification in another instruction-related field and must pass a background test before being considered. Students who are accepted take advantage of a high-quality education, with courses in Educational Research, Educational Statistics, and Diagnostic Techniques for School Counselors.
Tuition: $7,660/yr (In-state) $14,170/yr (Out-of-state)
4. Angelo State University
Online Master of Education in Guidance and Counseling
The Master of Education in Guidance and Counseling at Angelo State University stands out for its focus on counseling in colleges and universities. The curriculum, which typically takes two years to complete, includes courses such as Social and Cultural Influences, Legal and Ethical Principles, and Lifespan Development. This master’s degree in educational counseling online prepares graduates for certification as a school counselor in Texas, making it ideal for those who live or work in the state. However, the broad applicability of the subjects means that students could likely get certified in other states as a result of the program as well. U.S. News recently ranked Angelo State among the Best Regional Universities of the West for the high quality of its educational programs.
Tuition: $6,559/yr (In-state) $15,055/yr (Out-of-state)
3. University of Phoenix
Online Master of Science in Counseling: School Counseling Specialization
The University of Phoenix offers an online master’s degree in Educational Counseling that focuses on current trends in the counseling world, ensuring that graduates have the most up to date knowledge in their field. Several military organizations, including G.I. Jobs and CivilianJobs.com, have recognized the University of Phoenix as a Military Friendly School, which makes it a great choice for active duty and veteran students interested in counseling. The Counseling program emphasizes adaptability and self-awareness and teaches students to be aware of their own strengths and weaknesses as clinicians. The specialization in School Counseling prepares graduates for licensure, though they can also choose from specializations in Mental Health Counseling, Marriage, Family, & Child Therapy, and Clinical Mental Health Counseling as well.
2. Fort Hays State University
Online Master of Science in Counseling
Fort Hays State University’s cheap online master’s degree in School Counseling is a flexible degree that allows graduates to customize their education depending on their personal needs. Although the degree is listed as a generalized graduate program in counseling, students can choose between a focus in School or the Community; the School Counseling focus includes two practical experience courses in elementary or secondary school counseling. However, both degree options share a significant portion of their curriculum, meaning that graduates who want to stand out in their field could double major with very little extra effort. U.S. News recognized FHSU’s online master’s degrees in education as the 20th best in the country for their high levels of student engagement, technology standards, and faculty experience.
Tuition: $4,358/yr (In-state) $12,821/yr (Out-of-state)
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About the Author:
Iris Stone began her writing career when she started working as a freelance writer and researcher in 2011. Her freelance business soon took off and she now owns and operates a writing and editing firm that works with clients all across the country. Despite the time it takes to run a business she still does much of the writing herself, and her work has included a variety of content related to education policy, colleges and universities, academic programs, and graduates’ careers. Her interests actually span far beyond writing, and she is currently studying to be a physicist! Check out her Google+ Profile.