2024 Most Affordable Online Counseling Degrees

As mental health increasingly becomes a central concern in our society, the role of counseling is more important than ever. Affordable online counseling degree programs are becoming increasingly vital for aspiring counselors who seek to make a difference in this expanding field. Reflecting this surge in demand, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a significant 18% increase in employment opportunities for counselors from 2022 to 2032.
This remarkable growth underscores the urgency for accessible and comprehensive training for those entering this rewarding profession. This article aims to explore the most affordable online counseling degree programs, paving the way for future counselors to embark on a career path marked by both personal fulfillment and societal impact.

Consider an online counseling program: School counselors help students overcome obstacles and shape successful futures. Walden’s online MS in School Counseling program will give you a solid foundation in school counseling theories, approaches, and best practices while enabling you to gain hands-on experience. Learn more.
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What to Consider When Looking for Affordable Online Counseling Degrees

Before you can get a job as a counselor, you’ll need the right degree. This might range from a bachelor’s degree to a master’s degree, depending on your counseling specialty and the company that employs you. Here are some key factors to consider as you explore the most affordable online counseling degrees.

Financial Aid Opportunities

Be sure to consider the online counseling degree cost before enrolling in a program. The range of financial aid offered for online degree programs varies considerably. Some programs make financial aid offers that cover the entire cost of tuition, while others offer small scholarships based on academic achievement, need, or other factors. In 2021, the average student received over $10,000 in grant aid, according to CollegeBoard.

Program Outcomes

What are your goals in enrolling in one of the most affordable online counseling degrees? Weigh the pros and cons of a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree, as well as the type of degree you’ll receive. Some programs include hands-on experience, while others focus on classroom time, research projects, or project-based learning approaches.

Accreditation

The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) is the leading accreditation option for counseling degrees. While there are many highly rated programs, consider choosing one with CACREP accreditation.

Faculty

Do any of the current faculty members specialize in an area of counseling you’re particularly passionate about? Compare the achievements and areas of focus of faculty members to find the most affordable online counseling programs that fit your career goals.

Additional Costs

Watch out for additional fees as you prepare to enroll in an online degree program. You’ll also need a plan for covering your living expenses as you study.

Consider a Featured Online Counseling Program


☰ For detailed degree information, view the guides to:
Online CACREP Accredited programs | Online MPCAC Accredited programs

2023-2024 Most Affordable Online Counseling Degrees

Many entry-level counseling jobs require you to have a bachelor’s degree. The good news is that there are many universities that offer this degree online for an annual tuition of $13,000 or less. Here are five colleges that offer affordable online counseling degrees.

Fort Hays State University

If you want to specialize in addiction counseling after college, look into Fort Hays State University. Considered among the most affordable online colleges for counseling degrees, this school makes it possible to complete your degree online via videos, labs, tests, discussion boards, and more.

Annual Tuition: $7,080

Degrees Available:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Sociology – Addictions Counseling
  • Bachelor of Science in Sociology – Addictions Counseling

Courses You’ll Take:

  • Introduction to addictions
  • Individual counseling for addictions
  • Families and addictions
  • Group counseling for people with addictions
  • Ethics in counseling
  • Pharmacology

Aspen University

If your career goal is to help people who are battling addiction, attending Aspen University may be right for you. It’s one of the most affordable online colleges for counseling degrees, allowing you to get an understanding of addiction theory, psychology, and sociology via online courses.

Annual Tuition: $4,900

Degrees Available:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Addiction Studies 

Courses You’ll Take:

  • Addiction theories
  • Medical terminology
  • Pharmacology
  • Substance abuse
  • Psychology of addiction
  • Crisis intervention

The University of Maine at Augusta

Another of the most affordable online counseling degrees to consider is the one you can earn from the University of Maine at Augusta. In fact, this school offers five counseling degrees you can choose from if you’re planning to attend college remotely for your counseling career.

Annual Tuition: $9,200

Degrees Available: 

  • Bachelor of Science in Mental Health and Human Services
  • Bachelor of Science in Mental Health and Human Services – Addiction Counseling
  • Bachelor of Science in Mental Health and Human Services – Child & Family Services
  • Bachelor of Science in Mental Health and Human Services – Adult Mental Health Rehabilitation
  • Post-Baccalaureate of Science in Mental Health and Human Services

 Courses You’ll Take:

  • Introduction to human services
  • Case management
  • Introduction to substance use disorder
  • Counseling in human services
  • Community mental health

Lindsey Wilson College

Another one of the most affordable online counseling degrees is the BA in Human Services and Counseling that you can get from Lindsey Wilson College. With a teaching staff of experts with a diverse array of degrees, you can expect to learn the basics of counseling by the time you graduate.

Annual tuition: $12,800

Degrees Available:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Human Services and Counseling

Courses You’ll Take:

  • Counseling theory
  • Human services
  • Substance abuse
  • Lifespan development
  • Group counseling
  • Case management and intake

Southern Wesleyan University

If your goal is to provide counseling services to families and married couples, Southern Wesleyan University is worth checking out. You can choose one of two counseling-related degrees to complete online.

Annual Tuition: $13,000

Degrees Available:

  • Bachelor of Science in Human Services – Marriage and Family Services
  • Bachelor of Science in Human Services – Counseling

Courses you’ll take:

  • Introduction to counseling
  • Multicultural counseling
  • Practical counseling skills
  • Child development
  • Adult development
  • Sex, courtships, and marriage

Most Affordable Online Substance Abuse Counseling Degrees

If you want to specialize in helping people who are addicted to dangerous substances, you’ll need a degree that teaches you the skills for this job. Some of the most affordable online substance abuse counseling degrees cost less than $12,000. Here are some examples of such programs.

East Central University

A degree from this school will prepare you to work with a population of people who have been struggling with addiction and are ready for rehabilitation.

Annual Tuition: $9,800

Degrees Available:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Human Services Counseling – Rehabilitation

Courses You’ll Take:

  • Fundamentals of counseling
  • Case management
  • Rehab counseling
  • Intervention techniques 

University of Central Arkansas

Thanks to its online program, you don’t have to live in Arkansas to attend this school and feel fully prepared to work with people who need addiction treatment.

 Annual Tuition: $8,600

Degrees Available:

  • Bachelor of Science in Addiction Studies – Treatment

Courses you’ll take:

  • Drug education
  • Theory of prevention
  • Theory of addiction
  • Case management 

University of Cincinnati

This school offers one of the most affordable online substance abuse counseling degrees you can get without leaving your house for class. 

Annual Tuition: $10,500 

Degrees Available:

  • Bachelor of Science in Substance Abuse Counseling

Courses you’ll take:

  • Substance abuse counseling
  • Long-term substance abuse counseling
  • Counseling for families
  • Alcoholism

Liberty University

If you want a degree in psychology with an emphasis on addiction recovery, this school is an affordable option to consider.

Annual Tuition: $11,700

Degrees Available:

  • Bachelor of Science in Psychology – Addiction and Recovery

 Courses you’ll take:

  • Social psychology
  • Behavior modification
  • Psychology and Christianity 

University of South Dakota

If you want to choose from a variety of the most affordable online substance abuse counseling degrees, this school may be right for you, as you can pick from three degrees.

Annual Tuition: $10,643

Degrees Available:

  • Bachelor of Science in Addiction Counseling and Prevention
  • Bachelor of Science in Addiction Counseling and Prevention – Prevention
  • Bachelor of Science in Addiction Counseling and Prevention – Treatment

 Courses You’ll Take: 

  • Study of alcohol abuse
  • Study of drug abuse
  • Families and drug issues
  • Ethical issues in the substance abuse field

Most Affordable Online School Counseling Degrees

If you want to be a counselor in a school, you will likely need a master’s degree. Here are some online school counseling degrees that cost less than $12,000 per year:

University of Cumberlands

If you plan to get the education you need to counsel students from preschool to 12th grade, the University of Cumberlands is a good start. This degree program’s low tuition should fit into nearly any budget for a master’s program in school counseling.  

Annual Tuition: $4,800

Degrees Available:

  • Master of Arts in Education – School Counseling P-12

Courses You’ll Take:

  • Counseling students with diverse needs
  • Ethical issues in school counseling
  • Group counseling at school

Campbellsville University

This is another school that offers an affordable degree that will teach you the skills you need to counsel kids from preschool to the last year of high school.

Annual Tuition: $5,400

Degrees Available:

  • Master of Arts in Education in School Counseling (P-12)

Courses You’ll Take:

  • Counseling students affected by substance abuse
  • Counseling students affected by abuse
  • Developmental basics in elementary school
  • Developmental basics in middle and high school

Lamar University

This school offers two of the most affordable online school counseling degrees you can get, preparing you to go into a career where you can confidently counsel kids of all ages.

Annual Tuition: $7,780 

Degrees Available:

  • Master of Education in School Counseling
  • Master of Education in Counseling and Development – Professional School Counseling

Courses You’ll Take:

  • Human growth and development
  • Foundations of counseling
  • Multicultural counseling
  • Group counseling techniques
  • Individual counseling techniques

Kansas State University

If you want to help advise students on what classes to take and what career goals to consider, you’ll need a degree in academic advising. Kansas State University offers one of the most affordable online school counseling degrees of this kind.

Annual Tuition: $8,650

Degrees Available:

  • Master of Science in Academic Advising

Courses You’ll Take:

  • Research methods in education
  • Student development theory
  • College students with special needs
  • Foundations of academic advising

Creighton University

If you want several master’s degrees to choose from, this school may be a good fit for you. It offers four of the most affordable online school counseling degrees.  

Annual Tuition: $10,500

Degrees Available:

  • Master of Science in School Counseling and Preventative Mental Health  
  • Master of Science in School Counseling and Preventative Mental Health – PK-12 Guidance Counseling
  • Master of Science in School Counseling and Preventative Mental Health  – Elementary School Counseling
  • Master of Science in School Counseling and Preventative Mental Health – Secondary School Counseling

Courses You’ll Take:

  • Mental health issues in children and teens
  • Research in school counseling
  • Ethical issues for school counselors

Most Affordable Online Master’s Counseling Degrees

Whether you want to be a family therapist, school counselor, substance abuse counselor, career counselor, or a related title, you will likely need a master’s degree to start. If you’re worried about how you’ll be able to pay for your degree, you should check out some of the most affordable online master’s counseling degrees you can get without having to drive to a college campus every day. All of these programs cost $13,000 or less per year. 

North Carolina State University

If you want to study to become a therapist or a related role in clinical mental health, this school offers an affordable degree program that lets you take all courses online.

Annual Tuition: $11,700

Degrees Available:

  • Master of Education in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Courses You’ll Take:

  • Career counseling and development
  • Theories of counseling
  • Group counseling

Clarks Summit University

This school offers two of the most affordable online master’s counseling degrees available, so all you have to do is choose the one you want and then apply.

Annual Tuition: $8,775

 Degrees Available:

  • Master of Science in Counseling
  • Master of Arts in Counseling 

Courses You’ll Take:

  • Career counseling
  • Human development
  • Group counseling
  • Human sexuality
  • Crisis and trauma counseling

Washburn University

This school offers a graduate degree that will prepare you to counsel families and individuals alike, giving you the skills you need for a career in counseling a variety of populations.

Annual Tuition: $10,010

Degrees Available:

Master of Arts in Family and Human Services/Addiction Counseling

Courses You’ll Take:

  • Pharmacology
  • Diagnosing substance abuse disorders
  • Group counseling
  • Ethics in counseling

Houston Baptist University

This school has three counseling graduate degrees to choose from, so you should consider it no matter what specialty you’re considering for this career.

Annual Tuition: $10,400 

Degrees Available:

Master of Arts in Human Services Counseling

Master of Arts in Human Services Counseling – Professional Life Coaching

Master of Arts in Human Services Counseling – Marriage and Family

Courses You’ll Take:

  • Multicultural counseling
  • Psychopathology
  • Psychotherapy
  • Group counseling

Adams State University

This college offers two of the most affordable online master’s counseling degrees you can get. Whether you want to specialize in school counseling or clinical mental health, Adams State University may be right for you.

Annual Tuition: $11,350

Degrees Available:

Master of Arts in Counseling – School Counseling

Master of Arts in Counseling – Clinical Mental Health

Courses You’ll Take:

  • Multicultural counseling
  • Lifespan development
  • Family counseling
  • Couples counseling

 

Discover more affordable counseling degrees online by exploring our cheapest CACREP accredited online counseling programs page.

Most Affordable Online Counseling Degrees: 5 Benefits

Not only can you save money when choosing one of the most affordable online counseling programs, but there are several other key benefits to consider. Here are five compelling reasons to pursue an online degree program for your counseling degree:

  1. Flexible scheduling to fit your lifestyle
  2. Access to degree programs in other parts of the country without leaving your home
  3. Self-paced learning for a more personalized educational experience
  4. Ability to rewatch lectures and review course materials online
  5. Reduced costs related to campus housing, commuting, and other on-campus fees

Online Counseling Degree Cost

The specific cost of an online counseling degree can vary. While these are some of the most affordable online counseling programs, other programs can cost as much as $116,000 per year, according to U.S. News & World Report.

Financial Aid Tips and Resources

Cut down on your online counseling degree cost by taking advantage of all the financial aid available to you. Whether you’re a first-time student or returning to earn another degree, use these tips to apply for your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), look for additional assistance, and find available scholarship opportunities.

FAFSA Application Tips

With over $111 billion offered in federal aid for students every year, FAFSA is a major source of assistance. Navigating the FAFSA application can seem daunting, so it’s important to apply as early as you can, typically around October 1. For a convenient process, consider using the online application to retrieve your IRS data and populate many fields automatically.

Where to Look for Additional Assistance

The federal government may be a great source of assistance, but you can find other scholarships to help cover the costs of affordable online counseling programs. Reach out to your chosen program, nearby community organizations, and any other groups you’re affiliated with to see if they offer grants or scholarships.

Scholarship Opportunities

Scholarships are often awarded based on academic achievement. You typically don’t need to pay back this aid, and it can come from a variety of sources. Your high school, the college you’re applying to, and community organizations are great resources for finding scholarship opportunities that help cover the online counseling degree cost.

What Can You Do With an Online Counseling Degree?

An online counseling degree is the next step toward a career as a counselor or a related position. While a bachelor’s or master’s degree opens up many career opportunities, here are a few of the highest paying counselor jobs you may qualify for and their expected annual salary according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

  1. Psychologist: $85,330
  2. School counselor: $60,140
  3. Family therapist: $56,570
  4. Social worker: $55,350
  5. Licensed counselor: $49,710
  6. Community health worker: $46,190
  7. Rehabilitation counselor: $39,990

Some careers may require additional certification or a graduate degree, so review each career path to see which one may be the best fit for your situation.

See if One of the Most Affordable Online Counseling Degrees Is Right for You

Explore the most affordable online counseling degrees today to see if one is right for you. Prepare to launch a new career or take the next step in your rewarding counseling career with one of these flexible, affordable programs that match your career goals and interests.

List of Programs

Walden University 🗹 Online Masters

Walden University 🗹 Online Masters

Northwestern University 🗹 Online 🗗 Masters

Grand Canyon University 🗹 Online

Liberty University 🗹 Online

Capella University 🗹 Online 🗗 Masters 🗗 Doctorate

Capella University 🗹 Online

Bachelor of Science in Psychology
Capella University is HLC Accredited

Capella University 🗹 Online

BS in Psychology - Applied Behavior Analysis
Capella University is HLC Accredited

NYU Steinhardt 🗹 Online 🗗 Masters

NYU Steinhardt 🗹 Online 🗗 Masters

Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) 🗹 Online 🗗 Masters 🗗 Bachelors

Pepperdine University 🗹 Online

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology 🗹 Online

University of Wisconsin – Superior 🗹 Online 🗗 Masters

University of Wisconsin – Superior 🗹 Online 🗗 Masters

Colorado Christian University 🗹 Online 🗗 Masters

Colorado Christian University 🗹 Online 🗗 Masters

Our Lady of the Lake University 🗹 Online 🗗 Masters

University of New Haven 🗹 Online

East Central University 🗹 Online 🗖 Bachelors

Counseling Career Guide

Still Looking for a Counseling Degree?

Here are some of the most popular online counseling programs. On each page you will find a detailed write-up of the program, specific courses, and schools that offer that program that are currently accepting applicants.


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