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Affordable Online School Counseling Programs With A Good Reputation

Key Takeaways:

  • Accreditation: Look for programs accredited by CACREP or MPCAC for quality assurance.
  • Affordability: Seek programs with reasonable tuition rates and financial aid and scholarship options.
  • Reputation: Research faculty credentials, student outcomes, and alumni reviews for program reputation.

If you are searching for school counseling programs that don’t cost an arm and a leg, there are a few options you can choose from. To get started, you should research different programs and see which schools have an affordable school counseling degree. You should also make sure that the school is accredited so that the degree can be used toward a career as a school counselor. School counseling degree programs should ideally be accredited by reputable accreditation bodies such as the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) or the Master’s in Psychology and Counseling Accreditation Council (MPCAC). These accreditations ensure that the program meets high standards of quality and rigor in curriculum, faculty qualifications, and student support services.

The median pay for school counselors is $61,140 per year, so this industry offers fairly competitive pay. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this field is expected to grow by 5% from 2022 to 2032. With a few years of studying, you can enjoy being a part of a growing career field. 

How to Find an Affordable School Counseling Degree 

Initially, you should try searching online for an affordable school counseling program. If you personally know any current school counselors, you can ask for their feedback about which program to choose. Once you find an affordable school counseling degree, you should make sure it has the degree level and academic concentration you need. 

Next, you should carefully review the school’s admissions requirements. Most likely, you will need to turn in test scores, academic transcripts, personal essays, and references in order to apply. Note the items you must turn in, and then take some time to get everything ready. 

You want to spend as much time as possible getting your documents ready because this is the first time the admissions department will be introduced to you. In many cases, this is the only impression they will have of you before they make their decision. Other than choosing whether you are admitted to school, they may also determine whether you are given scholarships to the affordable counseling program or not. 


What Are the Most Affordable Online School Counseling Degree Options?

If you are searching for an online school counseling degree, there are many options to choose from. Other than deciding between a school counseling master’s degree or bachelor’s degree, you also need to choose whether you want to go to online or brick-and-mortar schools. The following colleges have some of the most affordable online school counseling programs available today.  

1. Texas A&M International University

This affordable school counseling degree is offered entirely online. If you are a Texas resident, you will end up paying much less than an out-of-state student. For the master’s degree program, in-state students will pay $17,616 for the entire program. An out-of-state student can expect to pay $49,440 for the same degree. 

During this master’s degree, you will spend about 16 months studying to become a licensed counselor in Texas K-12 schools. Once you have completed your degree, you will be able to sit the TExES School Counselor exam. Texas A&M International University does not require a thesis for this degree. 

2. Fort Hays State University 

Located in Hays, Kansas, Fort Hays State University charges $300 per credit hour for students pursuing a school counseling master’s degree. Altogether, this means that a 15-credit course loan would cost $4,950 with tuition and fees. The program is designed to give you a theoretical and practical basis for common issues that arise when counseling youth. Plus, this master’s degree program is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).   

3. University of the Cumberlands 

Situated in Williamsburg, Kentucky, the University of the Cumberlands offers an affordable online school counseling degree for online education specialists. This master’s degree typically costs $315 a credit hour to pursue. Since the highest number of credit hours you will take is 30, the maximum cost of this master’s degree is $9,450. 

4. Walden University 

Based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Walden University is known for its impressive online offerings. Altogether, this affordable school counseling program costs $43,965. This amount is spread out over 33 months, so it is easier to pay than some of the shorter programs. Additionally, many students qualify for financial aid and scholarships. It is also CACREP accredited, so you can use your degree to become a licensed counselor. 

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5. Chadron State College

Located in Chadron, Nebraska, Chadron State College offers two different educational tracks for school counselors. The first option takes 39 credit hours and allows you to get a counseling degree if you already have a Nebraska Teacher Educator Certification. Meanwhile, the second option is for students who lack a teaching background and still need to complete their teacher certification. No matter which degree track you choose, you can expect to pay $392 per credit hour.  

6. University of North Dakota 

When it comes to colleges with a brick-and-mortar campus, the University of North Dakota offers surprisingly reasonable prices. In fact, this type of pricing is quite common in the middle of the United States. You’ll generally find more expensive schools along the coasts and in urban centers. If you search for campuses in the Midwest, you’ll find that the tuition costs are far more reasonable. 

The University of North Dakota is also notable because its online campus charges residents and non-residents the same price for a master’s degree in counseling. Altogether, tuition and fees cost $871.43 for the school’s online program. If you attend the school’s regular campus, you’ll pay $819.11. To graduate, you will need to get at least 60 college credits. This means the entire degree works out to $52,285.80. Many graduate students end up getting some type of financial aid, so you most likely won’t have to pay for the entire cost of tuition on your own.    

How to Find School Counseling Programs That Don’t Cost an Arm and a Leg

When searching for options, you generally won’t be able to find an online bachelor’s school counseling degree. Most states require students to get a bachelor’s degree in a different subject. Afterward, they must obtain a master’s degree in school counseling to become a certified school counselor. In addition, most states require background checks, state exams, and other requirements. For example, Texas A&M requires counselors to spend two years working as educators before they can get certified as school counselors. 

Before you settle on an affordable school counseling program, there are a few things you should look for in a potential program. The advertised tuition rate is often much higher than the actual tuition rate, so look up financial aid and scholarship options before you settle on a particular college. 

Check the Tuition Rate

As you compare each school, look up the tuition rate. Because different schools have different credit requirements, you should check the school’s cost per credit and the total number of credits required for the program. Then, you can use this figure to compare the genuine cost for each college. You should also keep in mind that you may be able to pay significantly less if you go to an in-state college.

Apply for Financial Aid

Most schools offer some type of financial aid to their students. For example, veterans and their families often qualify for special aid programs. Sometimes, schools give money to students who are economically disadvantaged as well. 

Search for Scholarships

Scholarships may be offered through your college or an outside program. You can start by asking your school’s financial aid department for advice about scholarship applications. In addition, you can see if your workplace will cover some of your tuition costs. 

Often, local charitable groups will offer scholarships to local residents. You may also find scholarships that are based on specific qualities. For instance, there are many types of scholarships and financial aid programs for cancer survivors. Additionally, there are scholarship programs for returning students, parents, and other demographic groups. 

Once you find the right scholarships, you should take your time applying for them. Carefully read through the directions to make sure you have filled everything out correctly. You won’t get every scholarship you apply for, so it is important to treat this process like a numbers game. The more applications you turn in, the more likely you will be awarded a college scholarship. 

Consider Online Options 

Often, you can find an affordable school counseling program for cheaper online than you can for an in-person program. Online schools don’t have as many overhead costs, so they don’t have to charge as much for tuition. In addition, going to an online school means you can pay less for transportation costs. If you pick an online program, you may also be able to save money by living at home and keeping your current job.

Discover the Most Affordable School Counseling Programs in Your Area 

By searching for the most affordable online school counseling degree, you can easily find online and brick-and-mortar school counseling programs that don’t cost an arm and a leg. Once you apply to one of these programs, you can expect it to take at least 18 months to complete an affordable school counseling program. After your online school counseling degree is complete, you can pursue your state endorsement and find a job as a school counselor.