Online Master's Degree in Counseling Psychology Graduate Program

What is an Online Counseling Psychology Degree?

Online Counseling Psychology Degrees explore how people function both personally and in their relationships at all ages. They may be offered at the masters and doctorate level, and be either research-oriented or clinical in nature.

Online graduate counseling psychology courses may cover a range of top topics, including how to identify and help people best manage or overcome different types of problems, as well as the psychology behind those issues. Some programs may even offer a variety of concentration areas specific to different patient populations and therapy methods.

 Online Masters Degree in Counseling Psychology Graduate Program infographic

Why Consider an Online Graduate Degree in Counseling Psychology?

Online Counseling Programs may be a convenient option for both current and aspiring counselors, due to the combination of supportive resources, flexible format, rigorous curriculum, and portability many of these programs offer. Choosing to earn a an online degree in counseling psychology means you could apply to the programs you may be able to apply to programs that offer what you really want, even if they’re farther away.

Some online programs may even offer concentrations like marriage and family therapy, art therapy, rehabilitation or substance abuse counseling allowing you to further personalize your education for your goals. Specific areas of study available may vary by specific graduate schools in counseling psychology.

Counseling Psychology Graduate Programs Online

Many Online Counseling Psychology Graduate Programs are designed to help students hone the observation, and interpersonal skills they’ll need in the field online. This may be accomplished through forums, chat, or video conferencing. However, some programs may still have in-person requirements that need to be completed on campus.

Online counseling psychology programs may also require students to complete a supervised practicum or internship. With the help of the school, you may arrange options to complete your field education in a local setting.

Popular Online Counseling Psychology Graduate Programs

ProgramInstitutionDegree Awarded
Rehabilitation CounselingUniversity of KentuckyMRC
Doctorate of Marriage & Family Therapy – Small Business Development and EntrepreneurshipNorthcentral UniversityPhD
Master of Arts in Clinical and Mental Health CounselingUniversity of New HavenN/A
Graduate Certificate in AddictionsPurdue University GlobalN/A
MS in School Counseling – Marriage, Couple, & Family CounselingWalden UniversityN/A
Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health CounselingUniversity of Western StatesMA
MA Clinical Mental Health CounselingAntioch UniversityAM
Bridge (Doctor of Philosophy in Counselor Education and Supervision)Grand Canyon UniversityPhD
MA: Addictions CounselingLiberty University OnlineN/A
MS – Addiction StudiesCapella UniversityMS
Counseling, M.S. – Substance Abuse Counseling and EducationNova Southeastern UniversityMS
M.A. in Counseling/Ed.S. in Professional Counseling (Online)Seton Hall UniversityMA


Types of Graduate Psychology Online Counseling Degrees

Graduate Online Counseling Psychology Degrees may be offered as graduate certificates, masters and doctorates in a variety of areas of concentration. Some programs may aim to prepare students for professional or licensed counseling roles, while others lead to continued education.

Depending on your goals—for example, if you want to practice as a licensed psychologist, licensed counselor or therapist—different online counseling graduate programs may be preferable. That said, while specific roles and locations may vary, most states require a graduate degree and state licensing to practice as a licensed counselor or therapist in some capacity.

While a range of options may be available, the three basic graduate online counseling degree types are described below.

Masters in Counseling Psychology Online

Online Masters Counseling Programs may award either a Master of Arts or a Master of Science upon completion. While the differences are often nominal, MS programs may sometimes be more practice-oriented, compared to the more academic focus you might find in some MA programs.

An online masters in counseling psychology degree program may require students to hold a bachelors in psychology or a related field. Many programs could be completed with 2 years of full time study. Programs may also have either a thesis or practicum requirement.

Online Doctoral Degrees in Counseling Psychology

Online PhD Counseling Psychology Programs typically require students to hold a relevant masters degree to apply. Some may even ask for prior research or professional experience. Counseling psychology PhD programs are often research-oriented and emphasize scholarship. A more clinical alternative for patient-focused students may be the PsyD.

While individual programs may vary considerably, as a rule of thumb, students might expect to compete an online counseling doctorate program in 4 to 7 years of study. Online counseling doctoral programs may have a dissertation or internship requirement. Which type of project is required may hinge on the degree type and program goal.

Online Graduate Certificates in Counseling Psychology

Online Graduate Certificates in Counseling Psychology are generally shorter and more focused than degree programs. Often, they are offered at the post-masters level, though some masters certificates may also be available.

Many online graduate certificates in counseling are designed for as continuing education for professionals to expand their knowledge of the field. However, some online counseling psychology certificates may serve to help students meet licensure requirements. Each program may vary, so make sure you follow up with the ones you’re interested in for more information.

How to Choose Graduate Online Counseling Psychology Degrees

When choosing your preferred online counseling psychology graduate programs, think carefully about the types of patients you’d like to work with, and what type of role you want to fill. This could help you to narrow your options down to ones that offer what you’re interested in.

While there may be some course content overlap between each of these types of programs, counseling psychology, counseling and therapy differ in the academic and licensing requirements. Below, we’ve broken down the basics of each.

Online Counseling Psychology Graduate Programs

Counseling psychology graduate programs focus on the emotional, social, work, school and physical health concerns that people experience within their personal and interpersonal dealings throughout life. Online graduate counseling courses may discuss anything from stress and anxiety to severe psychological issues. Counseling Psychology is recognized by the American Psychological Association (APA) as a health service provider specialty within the broader context of psychology.i

To practice as a licensed counseling psychologist, typical requirements include holding a Ph.D. in Psychology or a Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) degree, completing an internship, completing at least 1 to 2 years of supervised professional experience, and passing the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology.ii


Some of the procedures used by counseling psychologists include psychotherapy, crisis intervention and trauma management.iii

Online Counseling Programs

Online Graduate Counseling Programs are human-centric programs that focus on counseling and therapy practice. They tend not to emphasize psychology research as heavily as counseling psychology programs. This category also includes many different concentration areas including art therapy, substance abuse counseling, marriage and family therapy, career counseling, and more.

In the field, counselors may be licensed clinicians with advanced degrees in counseling such as Mental Health Counseling or Rehabilitation Counseling.v In both of these examples, entry level employment would typically require a masters degree and 2,000 to 4,000 hours of post-degree supervised clinical experience. Counselors may also need to pass a state-recognized exam and maintain their licensure through annual continuing education

Top Salary Metro Areas in the United States: Counselors, All Other
Metro AreaAnnual Mean SalaryEmployment
McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX$72,44090
Albany-Schenectady-Troy, NY$71,58040
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX$69,2801,310
Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX$61,8901,240
Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA$61,45060

Bureau of Labor Statistics

Online Therapy Graduate Programs

The term “therapy” may include all different types of Psychologists, Licensed Social Workers, Counselors and Marriage and Family Therapists. That said, several online degree programs may offer pathways to the protected title of therapist. These include but are not limited to Online Psychology Masters Programs, Online Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy, Online Master of Social Work, Online Masters in Counseling or a doctorate in any of those fields.

Therapists may be required to be licensed in the state where they practice. In many cases, this requires a masters degree and about 2,000 to 4,000 hours of post-degree supervised clinical experience. However, this may vary by state. Aspiring therapists may also need to pass a licensure exam, and maintain that credential by earning continuing education credits every year.v

Online Counseling Degree Concentrations

Programs offering online counseling psychology graduate degrees may allow students to pursue one of several different concentrations. Generally, these might focus on specific applications of counseling, or the needs of certain types of patients. Below are some example areas of focus you might be interested in. However, this list is not exhaustive, so additional options may also be available.

Each of these may have different requirements and courses of study. Each program may vary, so contact each one directly to learn more.

Accreditation and Licensure of Schools With Graduate Programs in Counseling Psych

Because the fields of counseling and psychology may be regulated by your state, some students choose to make sure their selected online counseling degree aligns with the requirements in their home state. One element that could make a difference in your decision is program accreditation. Depending on the type of degree you choose and the school offering it, your program may be accredited by a few different institutions.

For psychology: The American Psychological Association (APA) accredits doctoral programs in counseling psychology, but does not accredit institutions.vii Additionally, if you wish to pursue a license to practice psychology, many states require that the doctoral program you attend meet the designating criteria of the joint Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB)viii /National Register of Health Service Providers in Psychology (NR).

For Social Work: The Council of Social Work Education (CSWE) accredits Social Work programs.ix

For Counselors: Program accreditation is awarded by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).x

Best 65 Schools with Online Counseling Degrees

  • Offering two quality, competency-based online learning formats: FlexPath & GuidedPath
  • Online degrees in business, counseling, education, health administration, human services, information technology, nursing, public health, psychology and social work.
  • 97% of alumni agree FlexPath provided the flexibility they needed to pursue their degree (Alumni Outcomes Survey 2017)
  • Northcentral University

  • University of New Haven

  • Purdue University Global

  • University of Western States

  • Walden University

  • Antioch University

  • Grand Canyon University

  • Liberty University Online

  • Capella University

  • Nova Southeastern University

  • University of the Southwest

  • Wake Forest University

  • Houston Baptist University

  • Our Lady of the Lake University

  • Regis College