Education

Best Online Counseling Degree Programs of 2022

Learn more about the top Counseling programs, what to expect, job prospects, and how to choose the program that’s right for you.

Counseling is the process of helping people to resolve their personal, social, and psychological problems. Counselors work with people to help them understand and cope with their problems. Counselors also work to improve communication and relationships.

Counseling is a growing field, as more and more people are seeking help with their personal and social problems. Counselors are in demand in a wide variety of settings, including schools, hospitals, and private practice.

Counseling degrees can prepare students for a variety of careers in counseling, including clinical social work, marriage and family therapy, and mental health counseling. Students in counseling degree programs learn about the different theories and techniques of counseling, and how to apply those techniques to resolve personal and social problems.

How to Choose the Right Counseling Program

When choosing a counseling program, there are many things to consider. The type of degree, the length of the program, the cost, and the location are all important factors.

The type of degree is important because it will determine the type of counseling you will be able to do. There are three types of counseling degrees: Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC), and Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW). Each type of degree has different requirements, so it is important to choose the one that is right for you.

The length of the program is also important. Some programs can be completed in as little as two years, while others may take up to four years. The length of the program will depend on the type of degree you are pursuing.

The cost of the program is another important factor to consider. Some programs may be more expensive than others, depending on the school you choose to attend. It is important to research the cost of the program before you apply.

The location of the program is also important. Some programs may be offered online, while others may be offered in a traditional classroom setting. It is important to choose the program that is right for you.

Choosing the right counseling program can be a difficult decision. However, by considering the type of degree, the length of the program, the cost, and the location, you can find the program that is right for you.

Best Online Bachelor’s in Counseling Programs

The best online programs for Counseling ranking is based on key statistics and student reviews using data from the U.S. Department of Education. Some of the metrics influencing how the rankings are determined include graduation rate, average salary for graduates, accreditation, retention rate, and cost.

Rank 1
Seton Hill University
Greensburg, PA

The Bachelor of Arts in Behavioral Health from Seton Hill University is a comprehensive program that prepares students for a career in the field of behavioral health. The program includes coursework in psychology, sociology, social work, and counseling, and provides students with the opportunity to gain hands-on experience through internships. The program also offers a unique joint degree with Westmoreland County Community College, which allows students to earn their degree in behavioral health in a shorter amount of time.

Rank 2
Abilene Christian University
Abilene, TX

Abilene Christian University’s Bachelor of Science in Psychology program is a 128 credit-hour course of study that covers theories of human behavior and mental processes, and their applications. The program helps students develop a versatile skill set rooted in observation, communication and analysis that is applicable across a broad range of fields. The curriculum includes courses on cognition and learning, social psychology, experimental psychology methods, psychological measurement, abnormal psychology, counseling theories and practices, and the history of psychology. The program also offers elective courses on topics such as stress and emotional health, conflict management, applied sports psychology, child psychology, and team leadership and development.

Rank 3
Drexel University
Philadelphia, PA

Drexel University’s online Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Health Counseling program offers an innovative curriculum for those interested in helping people with psychiatric and/or substance use disorders. The competency-based curriculum addresses the growing need for skilled, direct service providers and features a broad range of evidence-based practices associated with individual and group counseling, person-centered assessment and treatment planning, psychiatric rehabilitation, and other essential clinical skills.

Rank 4
Arizona State University
Tempe, AZ

The Bachelor of Science in Counseling and Applied Psychological Science degree from Arizona State University is a unique program that focuses on cultural diversity and promoting psychological well-being. The program provides a foundation in counseling theories, addiction, trauma, lifespan development, group counseling, and professional ethics. Students in the program will learn active listening, cultural sensitivity, and group dynamics. The program includes a hands-on internship where students can shadow a licensed therapist and practice counseling theory.

Rank 5
University of Cincinnati
Cincinnati, OH

The University of Cincinnati offers a Bachelor of Science in Substance Abuse Counseling that is 100% online and designed to be completed in 2-4 years. The program is transfer-friendly and offers start dates in the spring, summer, and fall. The degree is designed to help students gain the knowledge, competencies, and skills needed to begin a career working with addicted persons or to advance their professional credentials. The program is accredited and meets the academic requirements for licensure. Financial aid is available for those who qualify.

Rank 6
Ohio University
Lancaster, OH

The Bachelor of Science in Psychology at Ohio University is offered fully online. The program is designed to help students develop a strong foundation in the major substantive areas of psychology. The coursework emphasizes the development of excellent quantitative and research skills. Students are encouraged to participate in service activities that serve both to deepen their understanding of psychology and to address the needs of the local community and the broader region.

Rank 7
New Mexico State University
Las Cruces, NM

The Bachelor of Science in Counseling and Community Psychology at New Mexico State University focuses on interpersonal skills, case management, awareness of mental health issues, understanding human behavior, and multicultural awareness. Students in the program can also choose to double major and begin coursework toward licensure as a Substance Abuse Associate.

Rank 8
Lindsey Wilson College
Columbia, KY

The Bachelor of Arts in Human Services and Counseling from Lindsey Wilson College is a program designed to teach students how to become professional counselors. The curriculum is focused on providing students with the skills and knowledge necessary to work with individuals, families, and groups in a variety of settings. The program is taught by a diverse group of professionals with experience in fields such as case management, community mental health counseling, acculturation, substance abuse, intimate partner violence, play therapy, neurofeedback, career guidance, and clinical supervision.

Rank 9
Nicholls State University
Thibodaux, LA

The Nicholls State University Bachelor of Arts in Psychology – Pre-Counseling is a comprehensive program that provides students with the necessary coursework for those who wish to pursue a career in counseling or a related field. The program offers over 75 hours of service learning in various courses to enhance ethical standards, interpersonal skills, and communication with individuals in need of resources and professionals in the mental health field. Additionally, senior level students entering their last semester will complete a 480 hour internship with an agency in the field of social services or related industry.

Rank 10
Methodist University
Fayetteville, NC

The Bachelor of Science in Counseling/Clinical Psychology from Methodist University prepares students for a career in counseling or clinical psychology. The program includes courses in human development, social psychology, and abnormal psychology, among others. Students in the program also have the opportunity to choose from two optional concentrations: counseling/clinical psychology and human performance psychology. The program requires 124 semester hours for completion.

What to Expect From an Online Bachelor’s in Counseling Program

Students in a bachelor’s in counseling program can expect to take classes that focus on human development, psychology, and counseling theories and techniques. The degree typically takes four years to complete and may require an internship.

Most counseling programs require students to complete a practicum or internship, which gives them the opportunity to gain hands-on experience working with clients. This experience can be beneficial in helping students decide if counseling is the right career for them.

In addition to coursework, counseling programs often require students to complete a research project or thesis. This project gives students the chance to apply what they have learned in the classroom to a real-world setting.

Counseling programs typically emphasize the importance of communication, problem-solving, and critical thinking skills. Students should expect to develop these skills throughout their coursework.

Common Counseling Courses

A counseling degree program will typically offer a mix of lecture-based classes and hands-on experience. The following is a list of five courses that are often found in counseling degree programs.

Counseling Theories and Techniques

This course covers the major theories and techniques of counseling, with an emphasis on their application to real-world settings. Topics include the counseling process, professional orientation and ethics, group dynamics, multicultural counseling, career development, assessment, and intervention. Upon completion, students should be able to apply the major theories and techniques of counseling to a variety of settings and populations.

Group Counseling

This course covers the major theories and techniques of group counseling with an emphasis on their application in a variety of settings. Topics include the development and structure of counseling groups, group dynamics, leadership styles and skills, multicultural issues, and ethics. Upon completion, students should be able to apply group counseling theories and techniques to a variety of settings and populations, and demonstrate an understanding of the major issues and challenges related to group counseling.

Professional Ethics in Counseling

This course covers ethical and legal standards in the counseling profession, with an emphasis on the American Counseling Association’s (ACA) Code of Ethics. Topics include the professional identity of counselors, the counseling relationship, confidentiality, privileged communication, professional values, multiculturalism, social and economic justice, and professional responsibility. Upon completion, students should be able to apply the ACA Code of Ethics to counseling situations, identify ethical issues in counseling, and develop ethical decision-making skills.

Research and Evaluation in Counseling

This course covers research methods and evaluation procedures used in the counseling profession. Emphasis is placed on the application of research designs and statistical analyses to the solution of problems in counseling. Upon completion, students should be able to apply basic research designs and statistical analyses to the solution of problems in counseling.

Multicultural Counseling

This course covers the impact of culture on the counseling process. Emphasis is placed on the development of self-awareness and the ability to work with clients from diverse backgrounds. Topics include but are not limited to: race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation, social class, age, and disability. Upon completion, students should be able to apply knowledge of self to the counseling process with clients from diverse backgrounds.

Career Options for Counseling Graduates

Graduates of counseling programs work in a variety of fields and industries, including mental health, education, social work, and human resources. They may also work in fields such as substance abuse counseling, marriage and family counseling, and career counseling.

Mental Health Counselor

Mental health counselors provide support and guidance to people dealing with mental health issues, life transitions, and other challenges. Counselors typically work in private practices, but they may also work in hospitals, schools, or other settings. In addition to meeting with clients one-on-one or in group settings, counselors may also conduct initial assessments, create treatment plans, and collaborate with other mental health professionals.

Marriage and Family Therapist

Marriage and family therapists (MFTs) provide therapy to individuals, couples, and families who are dealing with a variety of issues, such as relationship problems, divorce, grief, addiction, and mental health disorders. MFTs use a variety of techniques to help their clients, including individual, couples, and family counseling, as well as group therapy. They may also provide crisis intervention, referrals to other resources, and psychoeducation.

Substance Abuse Counselor

Substance abuse counselors work with individuals who have problems with drugs or alcohol. They provide therapy, assess patients, develop treatment plans, and track progress. They may work in a variety of settings, including outpatient facilities, residential treatment centers, hospitals, and private practices.

School Counselor

School counselors work with students in elementary, middle, and high schools to help them overcome challenges and succeed academically, socially, and emotionally. Counselors typically have a caseload of students and work with them individually or in small groups on issues like academic planning, college and career readiness, social skills, and personal problems. Many school counselors also teach classes on topics like anger management or conflict resolution and lead extracurricular activities like mentoring programs or peer support groups.

Career Counselor

Career counselors work with individuals to help them choose or change careers. They assess interests, values, and skills; provide information about different occupations; and offer guidance on job-searching strategies. Career counselors also work with groups of people, such as recent college graduates or employees at a company going through a downsizing. In these cases, counselors may provide information about job openings, help with résumé writing and interviewing skills, and offer referrals to other resources.

Insights From a Counseling Graduate

Carlie Carrillo is a Mental Health Counselor at The University of Texas at Austin. She has a bachelor’s degree in counseling from The University of Texas at Austin. Carlie has over 3 years of experience in counseling and mental health.

ClimbtheLadder: How did you make the most of your Counseling degree program so that it prepared you for post-graduation jobs?

Carlie Carrillo: I made the most of my counseling degree program by doing internships and practicums that were related to the type of counseling I wanted to do post-graduation. I also took advantage of the research opportunities that were available to me. By doing research, I was able to learn more about the counseling field and the different types of counseling that are available.

ClimbtheLadder: What type of person is successful and thrives in a Counseling career?

Carlie Carrillo: A successful counseling career requires a person to be passionate about mental health and helping others. You must also be a good listener, patient, and have excellent communication skills. It is also important to be able to work well under pressure and have a flexible schedule.

ClimbtheLadder: Was there anything about your Counseling program that you didn’t expect or anticipate?

Carlie Carrillo: I didn’t expect the program to be so research-based. I thought we would spend more time in practicum and less time in class. I was also surprised by how much self-reflection and personal growth the program demanded.

It was a lot of work, but I’m grateful for how the program challenged me to grow as a person and a professional.

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