Master's Degree in Counseling


Am I qualified to get into an online counseling master’s program?






2+ Letters

At least two letters of recommendation from a former employer or individual who is familiar with your academic performance

Writing Samples

Brief Statement

A brief statement of intent regarding your degree program timetable and career aspirations



A GRE score will be required for most counseling master's programs; at this time, there is no formal entrance examination specifically pertaining to the field of counseling.

  • Average Score:
    • 149 Verbal
    • 146 Quantitative
    • 3.7 Analytical Writing

Additional Requirements


Many graduate-level counseling programs will only admit candidates who have obtained licensure through the licensing board of the state where the institution is located.

Volunteer Experience

Some programs will exclusively accept or favor students who have participated in a volunteer initiative or research project related to counseling and human health.

What undergraduate degrees do counseling students typically hold?

  • Psychology
  • Sociology
  • Anthropology
  • Elementary/Secondary Education
  • Behavioral Sciences

What can I do to better my chances of getting into an online master’s program in counseling?

  • Meet with professional counselors at your high school or undergraduate institution to discuss their career and educational requirements for prospective counselors.
  • Explore the field of counseling to determine which specialization (mental health, addiction, rehabilitation, school, family, et. al) interests you the most.
  • Volunteer at a mental health clinic or counseling center in your local community to learn more about the occupation.
  • Join a student-led organization on your undergraduate campus that coordinates volunteer opportunities and other events for aspiring counselors.
  • Email some of the counseling professors at all of your prospective schools and ask about program curricula, specializations, and other offerings to determine the right program for you.

Financial Aid

What scholarships and grants are available to online counseling master’s students?

  • APF Graduate Student Scholarship: Seven different scholarships (ranging from $1,000 to $5,000) are available for graduate-level psychology students.
  • Scott and Paul Pearsall Scholarship: This award for $10,000 supports graduate students pursuing a degree in counseling or a related major who plan to work with disabled individuals.
  • Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation: Between 55 and 65 college students across the United States are selected as Truman Scholars each year; students must be nominated by their college or university, accepted into a graduate program related to public service.
  • American Occupational Therapy Foundation: The AOTC offers 17 different scholarships (ranging between $500 and $5,000) for post baccalaureate students who plan to pursue degrees and careers in occupational therapy.
  • Federal Loans: Students who receive Perkins Loans and Direct Unsubsidized Loans from the federal government may have as much as $17,500 of their loan forgiven if they work full-time at a school that primarily serves low-income families; this courtesy is extended to counselors and special education teachers.
  • Elizabeth Munsterberg Koppitz Child Psychology Graduate Student Fellowship: Recipients of this $25,000 research grant are pursuing graduate-level degrees in child psychology and/or counseling.
  • F. J. McGuigan Dissertation Award: This fellowship award of $2,000 is designated for graduate students who are conducting research about mental health and human brain activity.
  • Lizette Peterson Homer Memorial Injury Research Grant: This fellowship award of $5,000 supports graduate-level research into childhood trauma, abuse, and development.
  • Ungerleider/Zimbardo Travel Scholarships: This $300 grant is awarded to seven graduate students each year; the money is intended to finance their trip to the annual APA Convention, where each recipient will be allowed to share academic research findings.

Careers & Salary

Upon graduation from an online counseling master’s degree program, what skills will I have?

  • Ability to assess and evaluate a client’s mental and physical health and readiness to treatment
  • Work closely with client’s to develop trustful and open relationships
  • Develop tailored treatment goals and plans for clients
  • Review and recommend treatments with clients and their families
  • Lead outreach, education and intervention campaigns to help identify, prevent and resolve community health problems

Once I’ve earned my online master’s in counseling, what will my job prospects look like?

  • Rehabilitation Counselor

    • Annual Mean Wage

    • Total Jobs, 2013

    • Total Jobs, 2022

    • Job Outlook, 2013-22

    • State with Higest Pay

      Alaska — $55,410
    • City with Highest Pay

      Bay City, MI — $66,790
    • State with Highest Job Concentration

      Idaho — $37,860
    • City with Highest Job Concentration

      Coeur d'Alene, ID — $34,500
  • Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselor

    • Annual Mean Wage

    • Total Jobs, 2013

    • Total Jobs, 2022

    • Job Outlook, 2013-22

    • State with Higest Pay

      Michigan — $50,890
    • City with Highest Pay

      Lansing-East Lansing, MI — $66,970
    • State with Highest Job Concentration

      Rhode Island — $34,020
    • City with Highest Job Concentration

      Waterbury, CT — $44,050
  • Marriage and Family Therapist

    • Annual Mean Wage

    • Total Jobs, 2013

    • Total Jobs, 2022

    • Job Outlook, 2013-22

    • State with Higest Pay

      New Jersey — $71,250
    • City with Highest Pay

      Raleigh-Cary, NC — $80,310
    • State with Highest Job Concentration

      New Jersey — $71,250
    • City with Highest Job Concentration

      Salisbury, MD — $41,170
  • Occupational Therapist

    • Annual Mean Wage

    • Total Jobs, 2013

    • Total Jobs, 2022

    • Job Outlook, 2013-22

    • State with Higest Pay

      Nevada — $112,120
    • City with Highest Pay

      Las Vegas-Paradise, NV — $119,740
    • State with Highest Job Concentration

      Maine — $66,340
    • City with Highest Job Concentration

      Leominster-Fitchburg-Gardner, MA — $73,190
  • Mental Health Counselor

    • Annual Mean Wage

    • Total Jobs, 2013

    • Total Jobs, 2022

    • Job Outlook, 2013-22

    • State with Higest Pay

      Alaska — $57,040
    • City with Highest Pay

      Ocean City, NJ — $71,090
    • State with Highest Job Concentration

      Massachusetts — $41,550
    • City with Highest Job Concentration

      Lynchburg, VA — $42,040

Source: Occupational Outlook Handbook and Occupational Employment Statistics, Bureau of Labor and Statistics; Collected July 2014

* Highest concentration of jobs refers to the location with the highest number of jobs (by field) for every thousand jobs. Average annual wage is then identified for the career in each location.


What are some of the most important publications in the counseling field today?

  • Journal of Counseling Psychology: This official publication from the American Psychological Association discusses various fields to counseling, career development strategies, and approaches to diversity and inclusion of underrepresented minority groups in the field.
  • Psychology Today: One of the most extensive psychology- and counseling-oriented sites today, Psychology Today features articles, search tools for finding local therapists, and glossaries of psychological terms.
  • Journal of Comparative Psychology: This publication examines and compares the social, behavioral, and cognitive characteristics of different animal species.
  • Monitor on Psychology: This journal (published by the American Psychological Association since 2000) weaves together psychological research and contemporary issues; recent articles include ‘Blogging for Mental Health,’ ‘Embracing Health-care Reform,’ and ‘Paying a High Price for the War on Drugs.’
  • UMASS-Amherst Psychology Collection: There are hundreds of academic journals dedicated to psychology and its various sub-fields. The University of Massachusetts maintains a list of the top 50 publications pertaining to psychological divisions. The order of the list if determined by JCR factor, which is calculated according to the number of source items published and the number of citations the journal has received over the last two years.

What RSS feeds related to counselling are worth subscribing to?


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