Online CACREP-Accredited School Counseling Degrees

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Updated April 10, 2024

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Interested in becoming a school counselor? Find out what to look for in an online CACREP-accredited school counseling program.

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Earning an online CACREP-accredited school counseling degree can lead to a rewarding career helping K-12 students achieve their educational and personal goals. The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) evaluates the academic quality and professionalism of school counseling programs.

Explore this page to learn why CACREP accreditation matters and if an online accredited school counseling degree is the right choice for you.

Popular Online Counseling Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

The Best Online CACREP-Accredited School Counseling Degrees

#1 Online CACREP-Accredited School Counseling Degrees

Concordia University-Irvine

  • Irvine, CA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Degree-seekers can earn their master of arts in education with a concentration in school counseling online at Concordia University Irvine. The cohort-based program prepares K-12 school counselors for employment in California public and private schools.

The 48-unit program features eight-week terms with synchronous courses and on-site field practicums. Students also complete educational research and capstone projects. Course topics include crisis prevention and intervention; growth, development, and learning; and theory and practice of groups in schools. Completion time averages 26 months.

Admission requires a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited school; a 2.75 GPA; California Basic Skills Requirement completion; and a valid teaching credential of certificate of clearance. 

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$37,250
Out-of-state
$37,250
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$8,121
Out-of-state
$8,121
Retention Rate
68%
Acceptance Rate
78%
Students Enrolled
4,071
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
100% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

#2 Online CACREP-Accredited School Counseling Degrees

Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center

  • Lubbock, TX
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The online master of science in clinical mental health counseling at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center trains practitioners in clinical counseling and telehealth techniques. The program serves students with full-time employment and those who cannot attend graduate school in person. Graduates can apply for their licensed professional counselor credential in many states.

The 60-credit curriculum offers practicum and internship experiences, along with courses that include human growth and development; psycho-pharmacology for mental health; and treatment planning and case management.

Applicants submit official transcripts showing a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited school and a 3.0 GPA; a resume; an essay; and two letters of recommendation. 

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$6,665
Out-of-state
$19,344
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$6,360
Out-of-state
$16,176
Retention Rate
Not provided
Acceptance Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
5,274
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
62% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#3 Online CACREP-Accredited School Counseling Degrees

Catawba College

  • Salisbury, NC
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Catawba College's master of health science in clinical mental health counseling offers entirely online coursework. The 60-credit, two-year program prepares enrollees for the National Counselor Examination and North Carolina licensure. Graduates may also qualify for licensure in other states with equivalent requirements.

Courses include counseling couples and families, counseling theory, diagnosis and treatment of mental health disorders, and principles of addiction. Students also complete supervised experiential internships and practicums.

Admission requirements include a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution, a 3.0 GPA in the last 60 hours of undergraduate or graduate coursework, three recommendation letters, and a 500-word essay.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$31,436
Out-of-state
$31,436
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$3,594
Out-of-state
$3,594
Retention Rate
72%
Acceptance Rate
52%
Students Enrolled
1,371
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
71% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#4 Online CACREP-Accredited School Counseling Degrees

University of Louisiana at Monroe

  • Monroe, LA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The University of Louisiana at Monroe offers an online master of science in counseling with CACREP-accredited tracks in clinical mental health counseling and school counseling. Students take 60 credits of required courses, including introduction to professional counseling, law and ethics in counseling, and lifespan development, along with track-specific courses and electives.

The curriculum also includes practicums and internships at sites relevant to the student's chosen tracks.

Applicants submit undergraduate and graduate transcripts, a professional resume, three letters of recommendation, and a letter of intent. Those with an undergraduate GPAs below 2.75 or graduate GPAs under 3.5 must provide minimum GRE General Test scores of 300. 

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$5,788
Out-of-state
$17,888
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$6,490
Out-of-state
$18,590
Retention Rate
74%
Acceptance Rate
78%
Students Enrolled
8,888
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
70% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#5 Online CACREP-Accredited School Counseling Degrees

Colorado Christian University

  • Lakewood, CO
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

At Colorado Christian University, degree-seekers can earn their master of arts in clinical mental health counseling or school counseling. Online coursework combines with three on-campus residencies and on-site supervised field experiences. The 60-credit programs can be completed in 30 months, even while employed full- or part-time. 

Clinical mental health students can opt to concentrate in marriage and family therapy or substance abuse disorders.

Application materials include a program-specific essay, a resume or CV, and official transcripts showing a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited school with a 2.5 GPA (or between 2.0 and 2.49 for conditional admission).

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$24,160
Out-of-state
$24,160
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$13,474
Out-of-state
$13,474
Retention Rate
82%
Acceptance Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
7,839
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
57% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#6 Online CACREP-Accredited School Counseling Degrees

Bradley University

  • Peoria, IL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Bradley University's graduate online counseling degrees feature two virtual residencies, practicums and internships in students' local areas, and an emphasis on neurocounseling. The program offers two paths: clinical mental health counseling and school counseling.

The 60-credit curriculum includes foundation courses, such as neurocounseling: bridging brain and behavior; and professional counseling orientation and ethical practice. Core courses cover counseling theories, techniques, and research methodology and evaluation. Concentration courses focus on path-specific content.

Applicants need a bachelor's degree with a 3.0 GPA in the last 60 hours. Lower GPAs require GRE or MAT scores. Three reference letters, a personal essay, and a virtual interview are also required.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$35,060
Out-of-state
$35,060
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$16,740
Out-of-state
$16,740
Retention Rate
86%
Acceptance Rate
73%
Students Enrolled
5,855
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
97% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#7 Online CACREP-Accredited School Counseling Degrees

Prescott College

  • Prescott, AZ
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Prescott College offers a master of science in counseling with entirely online coursework, a three-day campus residency, and four optional areas of emphasis: human sexuality counseling; marriage, couple, and family counseling; somatic counseling, and social justice in counseling. 

The 60-credit curriculum includes supervised practicums and internships; core courses; and electives. The program also requires student participation in 20 therapy sessions with a licensed mental health practitioner. Graduates can opt to pursue certificates in adventure-based therapy, nature-based therapy, or expressive art therapy. 

Admission requires two references, a personal statement, a resume or CV, transcripts showing an earned bachelor's degree, and an interview.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$31,944
Out-of-state
$31,944
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$14,880
Out-of-state
$14,880
Retention Rate
59%
Acceptance Rate
98%
Students Enrolled
970
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
72% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#8 Online CACREP-Accredited School Counseling Degrees

Southern New Hampshire University

  • Manchester, NH
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The master of arts in clinical mental health counseling at Southern New Hampshire University prepares licensed counselors in most states with online coursework and two face-to-face residencies on campus. 

The curriculum focuses on client support and advocacy; evidence-based, data-driven approaches; and culturally appropriate practices. The virtual classroom is available 24/7, and students complete practicums and internships in their home communities. Core courses include career counseling, diversity in counseling, prevention and intervention of crisis and trauma, and treatment planning.

Admission criteria include a personal statement, two recommendation letters, and a form on which applicants acknowledge awareness of the program requirements and their applicable state licensure requirements. 

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$9,600
Out-of-state
$9,600
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$18,810
Out-of-state
$18,810
Retention Rate
67%
Acceptance Rate
94%
Students Enrolled
134,345
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
96% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes New England Commission on Higher Education

#9 Online CACREP-Accredited School Counseling Degrees

North Carolina Central University

  • Durham, NC
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

NCCU's graduate counseling programs comprise 60 credits and three residencies. The online master of arts in school counseling prepares graduates for careers as licensed K-12 counselors in North Carolina.

The online clinical mental health counseling program readies students to become licensed professional counselors in North Carolina. Graduates can qualify to become licensed clinical addictions counselors by completing three additional courses.

NCCU's online career counseling program trains graduates to work with students in colleges, universities, and other academic settings. 

Applicants need a bachelor's degree with a 2.7 GPA and must submit GRE scores, two recommendations, an application essay, and official transcripts.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$3,728
Out-of-state
$16,435
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$4,740
Out-of-state
$17,694
Retention Rate
78%
Acceptance Rate
87%
Students Enrolled
8,078
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
54% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#10 Online CACREP-Accredited School Counseling Degrees

Lock Haven University

  • Lock Haven, PA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Lock Haven University offers a 60-credit online master of science in clinical mental health counseling that students can complete in 2.5-3 years of full-time study, including 700 on-site internship and practicum hours. Course delivery is entirely online with no on-campus requirements.

The Pennsylvania-based program prepares graduates for their National Counselor Examinations, national certified counselor credentials, and professional counselor licenses in many states. Specialty tracks include counseling military veterans and their families and counseling children and adolescents.

Admission requires a bachelor's degree with a 3.0 GPA, three letters of recommendation, a professional goals statement, and an interview.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$7,716
Out-of-state
$17,290
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$9,288
Out-of-state
$13,932
Retention Rate
73%
Acceptance Rate
93%
Students Enrolled
3,163
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
97% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

What to Look for in an Online CACREP-Accredited School

A major consideration when choosing an online school counseling degree is CACREP accreditation. Accreditation demonstrates the program's overall quality. These accrediting bodies use key performance indicators to evaluate content and professional standards. State licensing boards and most employers require you to hold a degree from a CACREP-accredited program.

An online CACREP-accredited school counseling degree offers an appealing option if you need to keep working or manage personal responsibilities while attending classes. Keep in mind several factors when researching online programs. In addition to CACREP accreditation, find out if the program's curriculum aligns with the American School Counselor Association's National Model. Make yourself familiar with the program's online learning format, on-campus requirements, and internship placements for distance learners. You should also compare tuition costs and research the availability of financial aid for online learners.

Hybrid and Online Options

CACREP accreditation does not differentiate between online, on-campus, and hybrid programs. Programs that use fully online formats allow you to take classes remotely at a designated time or at your convenience. This model works best for self-motivated learners. Hybrid formats blend online classes with required on-campus components, offering students in-person contact and support.

While all CACREP-accredited degrees, whether fully online or hybrid, require in-person internship placements, students in a hybrid curriculum must also attend a specific number of on-campus classes. The required number of hybrid courses varies by program. While each hybrid program determines the threshold for the required in-person experiences, the generally accepted definition for a hybrid course is one that offers less than 80% of content online.

Practical Experience Requirements

Internships and other kinds of clinical experiences, conducted under the supervision of a licensed counselor, prepare you for professional practice. While regulations governing school counseling practice vary across the country, all states require practical clinical experiences for licensure and certification. Both campus-based and online CACREP-accredited school counselor programs require 100 hours of practicum and 600 hours of internship placements. Before enrolling in a master's program, you should investigate its practicum and internship requirements.

This is especially important for distance learners managing work and personal commitments while completing degree requirements. Investigate expected time commitments for fieldwork and the number of required in-person trainings. Most programs assist online students to find convenient placements near their homes, although some schools expect students to set up their own internships or restrict them to pre-approved clinical sites.

Our Ranking Methodology

Psychology.org ranks education programs using data from reputable sources like the U.S. Department of Education. Our vetting process also includes a quality assurance team that assesses datasets for accuracy.

Psychology.org reserves the right to exclude any schools that lack significant data from the rankings to ensure accurate calculations. This ranking is from 2023. For more about how Psychology.org evaluates and ranks education programs, read more about our full ranking methodology.

Frequently Asked Questions About Online CACREP-Accredited School Counseling Degrees

What types of programs does CACREP accredit?

CACREP accredits graduate programs in counseling and counseling specialties, including addiction counseling; career counseling; clinical mental health counseling; clinical rehabilitation counseling; marriage, couple, and family counseling; rehabilitation counseling; school counseling; college counseling and student affairs; and counseling education and supervision.

What's the difference between school and program accreditation?

School or institutional accreditation refers to the process of evaluating entire colleges or universities to ensure they meet standards of quality. Programmatic accreditation applies to the evaluation of a specific program within a college or university.

How can you tell if a program is CACREP accredited?

The CACREP website is the most accurate source for finding out if a program holds accreditation. The website provides a directory with information about all current CACREP-accredited programs and links to the programs' websites.

What happens if you attend an unaccredited counseling program?

Graduating from a CACREP-accredited program does not guarantee eligibility for licensure, but it increases your chances of meeting state licensing requirements to practice as a school counselor. Attending an unaccredited program can make you ineligible for federal financial aid and unable to transfer credits to another school.

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