Our Best College Values award is intended to highlight programs of study that are not only of reputably high quality, but that are affordable and pay off in the long run as well. At a time when the cost of a college education is higher than it has ever been, and a degree from a reputable school may be more important than ever, the stakes have never been higher when choosing a college. This BCV award is here to help make this decision a little easier.
For our 2016 online Master’s in Education in School Counseling & Educational Psychology award winners we have selected 15 regionally accredited colleges and universities with above average reputations according to U.S. News and World Report and have ranked them according to our weighted methodology that aggregates the publicly available data of U.S. News scores, tuition rates, return on investment according to Payscale.com, graduation rates, and cohort default rates to produce an overall score of 1-100. The top 25 programs that come out of this process are those that are named our award winners.
Individuals with an advanced degree in education will enjoy better salaries, more advanced positions and career opportunities, and will benefit from intellectual and professional development that will improve teaching practice. Overall, getting a master’s degree is an excellent way to advance in your career in education. School counseling and related jobs in education typically require a master’s degree to fill entry level positions. For individuals seeking to enter the field of educational counseling to help students develop academic and social skills and succeed in school, this ranking will help you find a program of study that provides both a balance of reputation and affordability and the flexibility of online study for those already immersed in the demanding work of the education profession. Also included in this ranking are programs in educational psychology which are not geared toward licensure in school counseling, but draw on some of the same bodies of knowledge to enhance teaching practice and open opportunities for advancement as teacher leaders in school settings. e.
It should be noted that in building our ranking we take both in and out-of-state tuition into consideration. However, it is always the case that attending college in your state of residency will always be more affordable and ultimately provide a better return on investment than attending an out-of-state school. Where applicable, any program on this list offered through a public college or university that is in your state of residency should be considered among those at the top of the list.
We hope that this award proves to be a valuable resource as you move through the difficult process of selecting a school that meets all of your various needs. We wish you the best.
Note: Tuition rates listed are estimates and total tuition costs will vary from student to student and program to program based on a number of factors. Additionally, for those requiring state certification to advance into desired career positions, check state regulatory guidelines and authorizations before enrolling in a program outside of your desired state of employment to ensure that specific criteria for certifications will be met by the program of study.
#1. Texas A&M University
Located in College Station, Texas A&M university is the fourth-largest university in the United States. The university opened in 1876 as an Agricultural and Mechanical college. Today, Texas A&M enrolls over 64,300 students. It is widely considered a top university nationally and globally. TAMU is recognized particularly for its research contributions to animal cloning and petroleum engineering. The university has established a strong online presence with 40 plus online graduate degrees and certificates being offered in the Agricultural & Life Sciences, Dentistry, Education & Human Development, Engineering, Public Service, Nursing, Mathematics, and more. Online graduate education programs are highly ranked by U.S. News & World Report.
The online Master of Education in Educational Psychology and School Counseling program offered through Texas A&M University is designed to prepare qualified individuals as personal, academic and career counselors as well as consultants to teachers that are well trained to intervene toward the improvement of academic and personal development of students at all levels of the educational process. The program offers content in multicultural counseling, career counseling, planning and organizing guidance programs, and more. Online classes are offered in both asynchronous and synchronous formats, and the program should be completed in two years. Practicum experience takes place during the second year with both beginning and advanced placements. 36 credits at minimum are required for completion of the degree.
Accreditation: Texas A&M University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
#2. Lamar University
Lamar University is a public university located in Beaumont, Texas. The university was founded in 1923 and today enrolls nearly 15,000 students. The online programs were established in 2009. LU is recognized as a top National University by U.S. News and World Report and has high ranking programs in a number of different academic disciplines including its online graduate education programs. Lamar University offers eight online master’s degrees. The online degree offerings include Education, Health Promotion, Engineering Management, Nursing, and Criminal Justice. U.S. News & World Report highly ranks Lamar’s online bachelor’s programs, graduate education programs, and graduate nursing programs.
Lamar University’s online Master of Education in School Counseling is designed to prepare educators to provide professional school counseling services. This master’s degree program is specifically for certified teachers who possess at least a bachelor’s degree and are interested in becoming part of a school’s professional support services team. It is a non-thesis program and is designed to prepare educators to meet the requirements of School Counselor credentialing articulated by national and state standards and the Texas State Board for Educator Certification standards. All students in the School Counseling Program are required to attend one residency during the course of study and will not be able to move into field experience without the completed residency. Field experience courses (Practicum and Internship) require a placement with a site local to the student in order to gain further school counseling experience prior to graduation. The program includes content in counseling theory and practice, multicultural counseling, professionalism, ethics, & law, crisis prevention intervention, and more. 48 credits minimum are required for completion of the degree.
Accreditation: Lamar University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
#3. University of Missouri
The University of Missouri was established in 1839 and is located in Columbia, Missouri. Mizzou is a member institution of the prestigious Association of American Universities and is designated as a “Doctoral/Research Extensive” university by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The university enrolls over 35,400 students in a full range of academic programs at the bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral levels. The University of Missouri has a strong online presence and offers 30 online graduate degrees. The online degree offerings include programs in Education, Agricultural Education, Public Health, Gerontology, and Biomedical Sciences. U.S. News & World Report ranks highly the online bachelor’s programs, and online graduate education programs.
The University of Missouri’s College of Education offers an online Master of Education in Educational, School, and Counseling Psychology with an emphasis in Mental Health Practices in Schools. The first online program of its kind nationally, the degree program emphasizes the prevention of mental health problems—within schools, families and communities—and the promotion of positive mental well-being for all children and adolescents. Courses offer practical applications of psychological concepts and include content in school dropout, delinquency, substance use and abuse, eating disorders, depression, stress, fear & anxiety, and physical & sexual abuse. A minimum of 34 credits are required for completion of the degree.
Accreditation: The University of Missouri is regionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
#4. University of the Cumberlands
University of the Cumberlands is a 4-year, private, nonprofit institution affiliated with the Kentucky Baptist Convention. The university offers degree programs at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels. It is based in Williamsburg, Kentucky, and was established in 1889. The University enrolls just over 6,000 students. Online programs are offered at the graduate and undergraduate levels in a wide range of academic disciplines including: business, counseling, criminal justice, education, health sciences, and more. U.S. News & World Report highly ranks the online bachelor’s programs, online MBA programs, online graduate criminal justice programs, and online graduate education programs.
The University of the Cumberlands offers an online Master in Education with an emphasis in School Counseling. Designed to develop professional school counselors that can reach students on a personal level and help them through potentially stressful life events, the degree program covers a variety of subjects, including Counseling Individuals with Diverse Needs, Group Counseling in Public Schools, Counseling Aspects of Grief and Loss, Personality and Psychological Assessment, and Legal and Ethical Issues in School Counseling. If you’re looking for school counselor programs or hope to become a school guidance counselor, we can help. The program provides a supportive online environment that imparts a breadth of information, an understanding of critical concepts, and a mastery of skills designed to support a life-long pursuit of professional achievement, responsible service and leadership. A minimum of 45 credits are required for completion.
Accreditation: The University of the Cumberlands is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
#5. Creighton University
Creighton University is a private, catholic university affiliated with the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities. It is located in Omaha, Nebraska. The university was established in 1878 and today enrolls over 8,200 students. Creighton University’s online programs include 26 online bachelor’s and master’s, and doctoral degrees as well as a number of online graduate certificates. The University is divided into nine schools and colleges, the largest being the College of Arts & Sciences. U.S. News and World Report ranks Creighton #1 in Best regional colleges and universities of the midwest. Creighton University’s online bachelor’s programs, MBA programs, graduate business programs, graduate education programs, and graduate nursing programs are all highly ranked by U.S. News & World Report.
Creighton University’s Master of Science in School Counseling & Preventative Mental Health is designed to prepare graduates with advanced knowledge in school systems providing services to children and youth grades Pre-Kindergarten-12th. Students will cover content in the physical, psychological, and social aspects of human development as well as cover specialized content in a chosen area of elementary, secondary, or PK-12 school guidance counseling. The program can be completed in two years and includes a nine-month internship. Courses include: Professional Orientation to School Counseling, Ethical Guidelines for School Counselors, Issues in Child & Adolescent Development for School Counselors, and Diagnosis & Mental Health Issues in Children & Adolescents, and more. A minimum of 39 credits are required for completion of the degree.
Accreditation: Creighton University is regionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
#6. Fort Hays State University
Fort Hays State University is a public university located in Hays, Kansas. Founded in 1902, the university has since grown to an enrollment of over 14,200 students with more than 60 academic major options and 19 graduate degrees. Fort Hays State University’s online programs were founded in 1999 and currently enroll 6,965 students in 19 online bachelor’s and 10 master’s degree programs. The Virtual College has strategic partnerships with the military, community colleges across the country, and universities worldwide. The online programs in counseling, human resource, IT & computer sciences, and nursing have all been ranked in the top 5 within each category for most affordable online programs of their kind in the United States.
Fort Hays State University’s College of Education and Technology offers a Master of Science in Counseling in School Counseling degree that is offered in an online format. The program is designed to prepare students to help students plan their futures and develop the academic and social skills they need to succeed in a changing world environment. During the three-year program, students will delve deep into the theory behind many issues that arise with youth as they grow and develop, and gain experience in real-world situations through your practicum and internship. Upon completion, students will be prepared to apply for a school counseling license in the state of Kansas. A minimum of 45 credits are required for completion of the degree.
Accreditation: Fort Hays State University is regionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
#7. Kansas State University
Kansas State University is a doctoral university located in Manhattan, Kansas. Founded in 1863 as a land-grant college, K-State is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of Kansas. The university enrolls over 24,000 students and has branch campuses in Salina and Olathe. K-State offers a wide range of undergraduate programs as well as 65 master’s degrees and nearly 50 doctoral degrees. Kansas State University also operates an extensive online campus that is nationally recognized as a leader in innovative distance education technology. The online MBA programs, graduate education programs, and graduate engineering programs are all ranged highly by U.S. News & World Report.
Kansas State University’s College of Education offers a Master of Science in Counseling and Student Development with emphasis in School Counseling online. The program is designed to prepare dynamic, professional school counselors to be team leaders who implement comprehensive school counseling programs that are integral to the total educational program. School counselors are prepared to support students’ achievement and learning and their academic, career, and personal/social development. There are two options for licensure as a school counselor in Kansas. One option is for individuals who have a professional teaching license; the second option, the parallel pathway, is for individuals who do not have a professional teaching license. The parallel pathway option requires additional field experience over two semesters in schools. Curricular experiences include human growth and development, appraisal, research and program evaluation, professional orientation, and foundations. A required internship consisting of 600 clock hours under weekly supervision of a licensed school counselor and faculty professor is required in addition to coursework. A total of 48 credits are required for completion of the degree.
Accreditation: Kansas State University is regionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. The school counseling program is recognized by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs.
#8. University of Northern Colorado
University of Northern Colorado was founded in 1890, and has a student body of approximately to 12,000 students. The University of Northern Colorado campus is located in the city of Greeley, which is just northeast of Denver. UNC was established originally as a State Normal School and has a long history in teacher education as well as being an early innovator in the field. In addition to education awards and rankings, UNC is nationally ranked in business, performing and visual arts, nursing, and sports and exercise science. UNC has extensive online courses and academic program offerings. The online graduate programs in education are highly ranked by U.S. News & World Report.
The University of Northern Colorado offers a Master of Arts in Teaching with a emphasis in Educational Psychology. This is a teaching as opposed to a counseling degree with an emphasis on developing an understanding of how both the brain and the environment influence learning across development, the nature of student motivation, and the role of society and culture in learning. The program focuses on practical applications of research to the classroom and will prepare teachers to effectively address critical tasks such as designing instruction that fosters critical thinking, helping students develop confidence and interest in learning, responding to state mandated tests and curriculum standards, and supporting disadvantaged students. A minimum of 30 credits are required for completion.
Accreditation: The University of Northern Colorado is regionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
#9. University of West Alabama
Located in Livingston, Alabama, the University of West Alabama is a public university founded in 1835. The university serves over 5,000 students in several academic colleges and divisions and offers a wide range of degree programs including associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and educational specialist degrees. UWA online offers bachelor’s, master’s and graduate level certificates in business, education, and psychology. The online programs in education are highly ranked by U.S. News & World Report.
The University of West Alabama offers a Master of Education in School Counseling program that is available through online study. The program is built around a 9 credit core of professional coursework in educational research, educational statistics, educational psychology, and life-span development and learning, as well as 39 additional credits in the certification area of school counseling which include courses in techniques of counseling, career development, counseling children and adolescents, diagnostic techniques for school counselors, group counseling, counseling multicultural populations, and more. Candidates must hold a valid baccalaureate level certification in a teaching field or valid master’s level professional educator certificate in another area of instructional support. A minimum of 48 credits are required for completion of the degree.
Accreditation: The University of West Alabama is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
#10. Angelo State University
Angelo State University, a member of the Texas Tech University System, delivers undergraduate and graduate programs in the liberal arts, sciences and professional disciplines. Located in San Angelo, Texas, ASU was founded in 1928 and has since grown to enroll a student body of over 8,500 students in over 100 undergraduate and 34 graduate degree programs. ASU offers online courses and degree programs for working adults in Psychology, Business, Criminal Justice, Education, Nursing, Homeland Security & Intelligence, and more. Both its online graduate education, and graduate nursing programs are highly ranked by U.S. News & World Report.
The online Master of Education in Guidance and Counseling at Angelo State University is designed for those interested in careers as public school counselors, college and university counselors, and other positions in counseling. The program can be completed in less than 2 years and offers 8 week courses. A School Counselor Certification is also available for students that already have a master’s degree. Curricular content includes coursework in social and cultural influences, lifespan development, legal and ethical principles, group counseling, and more. A minimum of 36 credits are required for completion of the degree.
Accreditation: Angelo State University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
#11. Regent University
Regent University is a private Christian institution located in Virginia Beach, Virginia. The university was founded by Pat Robertson in 1977. In addition to its traditional on-campus programs, Regent offers distance education which includes 53 online bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Business, Communication, Divinity & Theology, Education, Government, and Law. U.S. News and World Report highly ranks the university’s online bachelor’s programs online business and MBA programs and online graduate education programs.
Regent University’s School of Psychology and Counseling offers a Master of Arts in School Counseling that combines contemporary counseling techniques and theories with Judeo-Christian principles and values. Graduates will be prepared for state credentialing as a school counselor in Virginia through a curriculum with content in counseling skills & techniques, assessment techniques in counseling, career & lifestyle development, multicultural counseling, counseling & Christian thought, and more. A minimum of 60 credits are required for completion of the degree. Students are also required to complete two week-long residencies throughout the course of the program.
Accreditation: Regent University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The school counseling program is recognized by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs.
#12. University of Alaska Fairbanks
Located in Fairbanks, Alaska, the University of Alaska Fairbanks is a public research university and the flagship campus of the U of A system. UAF is a land-grant, sea-grant, and space-grant institution and also participates in the sun-grant program through Oregon State University. The university was founded in 1917 and has since grown to encompass seven major research units and nine academic schools and colleges enrolling over 10,200 students. UAF offers extensive online degree programs at the associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s levels in Accounting, Criminal Justice, Business, Engineering, Education, Social Work, and more. U.S. News & World Report ranks highly UAF’s online bachelor’s programs, online graduate criminal justice programs, and online graduate education programs.
The Master of Education in Counseling—School Counseling offered at the University of Alaska Fairbanks is available online and is designed to prepare counselors-in-training to work with children, youth and adults. Emphasis is on the development of general problem-solving skills to assist individuals in achieving their educational, career and personal goals. Special emphasis is placed on preparing counselors to work effectively within rural settings. A certification-only program is also available to applicants with a master’s degree in education or a related profession. A minimum of 48 credits are required for completion of the degree. Two courses require in person attendance at the Fairbanks campus; for distance learning students, these are offered in a 6-week summer session.
Accreditation: The University of Alaska Fairbanks is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
#13. University of Massachusetts Boston
Located in Boston, The University of Massachusetts Boston is an urban public research university associated with the University of Massachusetts system. The school was founded in 1852 and today enrolls over 16,700 students through seven academic Colleges. UMass is the only public university in Boston. Online degree programs are offered through UMass Online in a variety of academic disciplines including: Global Affairs, Linguistics, Critical & Creative Thinking, History, Education, Counseling and Therapy, Nursing, and more.
The online Master of Education in School Counseling program at the University of Massachusetts’ College of Advancing and Professional Studies will prepare graduates for licensure as a School Counselor in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for students who complete and approved field placement under appropriate supervision. The program must be completed on a full-time basis. Students complete a series of general counseling courses and courses specific to school counseling. In addition, students complete field experiences in school settings through the practicum and internship. The field experiences may be completed in local schools where students reside, and they must be supervised via an approved site supervisor and via weekly online chat sessions. A minimum of 60 credits are required for completion of the degree.
Accreditation: The University of Massachusetts is regionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.
#14. Edinboro University of Pennsylvania
Founded in 1857, Edinboro University of Pennsylvania is a comprehensive public university located in Edinboro, Pennsylvania. The university was originally established as a private training academy for Pennsylvania teachers. Today, Edinboro University is notable for its extensive Art and Art Education programs. Online programs are available at the graduate level in Art Education, Art Therapy, Autism, Behavior Management, Communication Studies, Counseling, Nursing, Social Work, and much more. The online graduate education programs, and graduate nursing programs are both highly ranked by U.S. News & World Report.
The Master of Arts School Counseling program at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania’s School of Graduate Studies and Research can be completed entirely online. The program is designed to enhance the intellectual, cultural, social and ethical development of graduate students through the integration of theory, research, and practice. Graduates will be competent professional counselors, with knowledge of ethics, theory, clinical skills and school counselor roles and functions. They will learn how to become advocates and educational leaders within a pluralistic school and community that will assist in the academic, career and social development of students. Graduates will be eligible for state certification in Pennsylvania. A minimum of 60 credits are required for completion of the degree.
Accreditation: Edinboro University of Pennsylvania is regionally accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. The school counseling program is recognized by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs.
#15. University of Tennessee Martin
The University of Tennessee Martin is a public university founded in 1927. UTM enrolls more than 7,400 students,mostly at the undergraduate level. The University offers 17 undergraduate degrees with more than 100 specialized concentrations and six graduate degree programs through five academic colleges. UTM’s online degree program offerings include programs in Nursing, Agriculture, Business, Counseling, Education, and more. The online MBA programs and graduate education programs are both highly ranked by U.S. News & World Report.
The University of Tennessee Martin’s College of Education, Health, and Behavioral Sciences offers an online Master of Science in Education in School Counseling designed to prepare students to earn licensure as a School Counselor in the State of Tennessee. The program is built on curricular content in multicultural issues in education and counseling, theories and techniques of counseling, group dynamics, principles of crisis intervention, mental health and psychopathology, and more. Graduates will be required to complete 600 hours of fieldwork split between a placement in a secondary school and an elementary school. A minimum of 48 credits are required for completion of the degree.
Accreditation: The University of Tennessee Martin is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.