Accelerated Online Master’s in Counseling Degree Programs

If you feel prepared and motivated to begin a master of counseling degree program, you should look into options that best fit your learning style and scheduling needs. Learning in the digital age can take place from home, at school, or virtually anywhere with an internet connection.

In addition to the flexibility offered by distance learning, you can choose from programs you can complete in shorter time frames than the average program. Accelerated counseling programs can help you learn the skills you need to succeed in about half the time of a standard MA in Counseling program. There are even two-year counseling degree programs that allow you to hone your skills, build your knowledge base, and prepare for practice, all in less time than you’d need for a more conventional degree.

Depending on the university, your accelerated program may consist of abbreviated classes that last a total of 10 weeks, with a maximum of four classes allowed per term. At some schools, students can take one, two, three, or four classes at a time to finish their program in their desired time period.

Our team has years of experience in researching educational counseling degrees and their respective counseling career paths. Through this guide, you can learn more about what accelerated degree programs are and how they apply to the field of counseling. 

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Why Choose an Accelerated Master’s in Counseling Online Program?

If you’re asking yourself why you should opt for an accelerated online counseling master's program, there are a few factors to note:

  • Flexible and Convenient Learning
  • Accelerated Path to Career Advancement
  • Specialized Concentrations
  • Enhanced Career Opportunities

Flexible and Convenient Learning

An accelerated online master's program in counseling is designed for busy working professionals, students that prefer individualized learning, or individuals personal commitments that make attending a traditional on-campus program challenging.

With online learning, you can access course materials, attend lectures, and complete assignments on your schedule, from anywhere with an internet connection. No more sacrificing your job or personal life – earn your degree at your own pace.

Accelerated Path to Career Advancement

These programs are specifically structured to help you earn your master's degree in a shorter timeframe compared to traditional on-campus programs. With a condensed curriculum and year-round study options, you can complete your counseling master's in as little as 12-18 months. This accelerated path allows you to upgrade your qualifications and advance your career in the counseling field faster.

Specialized Concentrations

Many online counseling master's programs offer specialized concentrations or tracks tailored to your specific career goals. Whether you want to pursue clinical mental health counseling, school counseling, addiction counseling, or marriage and family therapy, you can select a concentration that aligns with your interests and prepares you for the counseling role you envision.

Enhanced Career Opportunities

With a master's degree in counseling, you'll qualify for advanced positions and leadership roles in various settings, including private practices, community agencies, schools, hospitals, and government organizations. Your advanced education and specialized training will open doors to higher-paying job opportunities and the potential for greater job satisfaction and impact.

Benefits of an Accelerated Master’s in Counseling Online Program

1. Flexible Schedule for Working Professionals

Accelerated online counseling programs make it convenient to balance work, family, and educational commitments without having to sacrifice one for the other. Course materials are accessible 24/7, allowing you to study on your own schedule.

2. Shortened Time to Graduation

Fast track counseling programs are designed to help you earn your master's degree faster, typically in 12-18 months rather than the traditional 2-3 years. This quicker path to graduation gets you into the counseling field sooner.

3. Lower Costs

With a condensed timeframe, you'll pay less in tuition costs compared to a traditional multi-year program. Many schools also offer financial aid for online students to make it even more affordable.

4. Diverse Program Options

Many schools offer multiple online tracks like clinical mental health, school, addiction, marriage/family counseling so you can specialize based on your interests and career goals.

5. Geographic Flexibility

Online master's of counseling programs eliminate the need to relocate. You can enroll in a top program from any location, expanding your options beyond local schools.

6. Technological Skills for Today's World

By learning in an online environment, you'll gain invaluable skills in remote communication, digital collaboration tools, and technology that applies directly to modern counseling practices.

7. Nationwide Network

Online cohorts comprise students across the country, allowing you to learn diverse perspectives and build a nationwide professional network.

8. CACREP Accreditation Options

Many top online counseling master's programs hold accreditation from CACREP, ensuring quality education and eligibility for licensure.

Overall, an accelerated online master's in counseling degree provides working adults the ability to advance their counseling career while still managing life's demands through this flexible, cost-effective format. So, if you want a convenient, affordable, results-oriented pathway for earning your master’s degree in counseling, consider enrolling in an accelerated online program.

Factors to Consider When Selecting an Online Accelerated Master’s in Counseling Program

Selecting the right online accelerated Master’s in Counseling program is crucial for your career success. Consider these key factors to ensure the program meets your educational and professional needs:


Ensure the program is accredited by a recognized authority. Accreditation by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) guarantees that the program meets the rigorous educational quality standards expected by employers worldwide.

Curriculum and Practical Experience

The curriculum should align with your career goals and professional interests. Look for programs that include relevant coursework and provide practical experiences like internships or practicums, which are vital for real-world counseling proficiency.

Faculty Expertise

Investigate the qualifications and experience of the faculty. Understanding the faculty’s credentials and background helps ensure you receive high-quality education and insights from seasoned professionals.

Financial Considerations

Consider the program’s cost and the availability of financial assistance. Explore scholarships, grants, and other financial aid options that can make your education more affordable.

Concentration Options

Choosing a concentration can tailor your education to specific areas of interest and increase your expertise in niche areas of counseling. Common concentrations include:

  • Clinical Mental Health Counseling: Prepares you for working in various therapeutic settings, focusing on diagnosing and treating mental health issues.
  • School Counseling: Equips you to work in educational environments, helping students achieve academic and social success.
  • Marriage, Family, and Child Counseling: Focuses on providing therapeutic services to couples, families, and children in different life stages.
  • Substance Abuse Counseling: Specializes in addiction and substance abuse counseling, an area with increasing demand for qualified professionals.
  • Rehabilitation Counseling: Aims to help individuals with disabilities achieve their personal, career, and independent living goals.

By carefully considering these factors, you can choose an online accelerated master's program in counseling that not only fits your educational needs but also positions you for a successful career in your chosen counseling field.

Accelerated Master’s in Counseling Online Degrees

Accelerated counseling degree programs can help you quickly upgrade your degree and career. Master’s of Counseling degrees that can be completed in a quicker time frame and online can provide even more benefits than the standard program alone.

Note that there are some good two-year counseling degree options fully backed by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs, or CACREP, the most prestigious accrediting body in the field.

Read the review of schools with online counseling programs or the guide to CACREP-accredited counseling degrees.

There are numerous colleges that offer online Master of Counseling programs in an accelerated format. For example, Gwynedd Mercy University provides students with the option of pursuing the online Master’s of Counseling in School Counseling, Clinical Mental Health Counseling, and College Counseling through accelerated online programs.

What Is the Accelerated MA in Counseling?

The accelerated master's in counseling is a distinguished degree program that can teach you the basics of mental illnesses and the methods for providing therapeutic services to people in need.

Shorter Program Length

One of the most fascinating aspects of the accelerated master's in counseling online program is that it can be completed in 1-1.5 years, making it a great opportunity for students eager to begin working with people in the field.

Graduate MA in Counseling

The master’s of counseling can be a great resource for undergraduates in psychology, counseling, or social work, as it can provide even more career opportunities after its completion. This program was designed to help students prepare for the National Counselor Examination, which can lead to licensure from state to state.

Specializations in Mental Health and Wellness

The purpose of this accelerated master's in counseling degree program is to teach learners more about the basics of mental illness and mental health in general, outline different screenings and assessments used in the field, and provide deeper insight into different types of therapy for clients with varying needs.

Other Tracks: School Counseling and Career Counseling

Because many people have different needs in our society, students can pursue specializations within this degree program to prepare to work in diverse areas. Some accelerated master's in counseling online programs offer specialization in school counseling, mental health counseling, and even career counseling.

Accelerated Master’s in Counseling Online Options

The University of Kentucky, like Gwynedd Mercy University, also offers an innovative Master’s of Counseling program in Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling in an accelerated master's in counseling format. Each of these programs could be a great opportunity to pursue your dreams without committing years of your life to higher education.

Many colleges throughout the United States offer online and accelerated master's in counseling online degree programs for you to review before making your choice. If you’re interested in obtaining a high-quality education that’s also flexible, online programs could be the best option for you.

Consider a Featured Online Counseling Program

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

Top Master’s in Counseling Programs

Online Counseling Program Specialization

By Accreditation

Typical Coursework for 2-Year Counseling Degree Programs

Accelerated degree programs often provide students with the opportunity to engage in courses that can be completed in shorter time frames or to take more than just one or two courses at a time.

These courses are typically aligned to help students gain knowledge about the history and development of their professional area, current trends and methods, and ethical considerations for the field. Pursuing an accelerated master’s in counseling online offers the added benefit of flexibility in this dynamic educational landscape.

Depending on which college you choose for your degree, you might find that the courses included in the accelerated master’s in counseling program are different from others. Each college’s curriculum is reviewed for accreditation in counseling, so the accreditation status of the program can help you verify the quality of your program.

Our team has reviewed some of the available accelerated master’s in counseling online programs to learn more about what they expect from students and to provide insight into what is involved during the learning process.

Below are some of the most common courses that we found during our review of this program. Read about these sample courses to familiarize yourself with the subjects and topics discussed in these programs.

Human Development: This course can provide valuable information pertaining to normal and abnormal social and emotional development throughout the lifespan. You might explore normal transitions through different stages of life, as well as factors that can create unhealthy development during these transitions. Topics such as grief, loss, and growth may be discussed as part of course requirements.

Theories of Counseling: As part of your transition into a counseling professional, you may be expected to explore different theoretical applications of counseling in different contexts. This course may also require you to develop your own theory of counseling, which can help build your own professional stance as a counselor in the field. An exploration of historical counseling theories may also be part of this course.

Group Counseling: Students enrolled in this course can review the dynamics of group counseling from a counselor’s perspective. Cultural and ethical considerations for working with groups can be discussed in this course, as well as methods for ensuring equal involvement and privacy protection. Some practice and scenarios may be included to help students comprehend the meaning of theory in this class.

How Long are Accelerated Counseling Degree Programs?

Standard Master’s of Counseling degree programs typically require students to engage in around 12 credit hours — or four courses — per semester to be considered full-time students. At this rate, it can take you about two years to complete your degree, with even more time required at some universities.

Accelerated master’s of counseling programs can have different methods to help you complete your degree program faster. Some universities have shortened the length of courses to 8-10 weeks each, with some colleges allowing students to take up to four classes at a time during this time period.

For those seeking a swift route online, an accelerated master’s in counseling online program can provide even more flexibility.

With this higher density of courses allowed for enrollment and quicker course completion times, students could potentially complete their entire master’s program in 1 year. Since you may be able to customize your degree path and course enrollments in these programs, you could even customize your length of completion for this program through strategic planning.

Flexibility and convenience work in both directions for accelerated degree programs in this field. If you’re interested in completing your program in the fastest time period possible, you can do so by packing in the courses for a quick completion. If you’re interested in finishing your degree at a more moderate pace, you can take two to three classes per term to complete your program quickly but still maintain stability during your learning experience.

Counseling Licensure

Once you’ve completed your accelerated master’s in counseling online program or other formats, there are a few more requirements to obtain your license to work as a counselor in your state.

Most states require that graduates engage in supervised clinical experience after their program that can assist in skill development in different counseling techniques. In this case, it’s best to obtain an LPC degree so you can meet the standard licensing requirements.  

This process requires you to locate a supervisor for your practice who will act as your overseer during your counseling experience. This entire process can take 1.5 to 2 years to complete for most trainees and can help with providing support and guidance during your first few years of counseling work.

All hours of your counseling experience can be documented by you and your supervisor during this time period and submitted to your credentialing agency after completion. Your state may require proof of your accelerated master’s in counseling degree program, experience, and certification before issuing your license to practice as a counselor.

Types of Counseling Licensure

Counseling Career Options

Choosing an accelerated master’s in counseling online program, including the 2-year counseling degree, can help you get your hands on a degree and license in a faster time frame than other programs. Once you have completed this process, you can seek careers in your area to help people in need of guidance in their personal lives.

As a licensed counselor, you can work for mental health agencies that provide comprehensive and diverse services to their clients. Some counselors may specialize in working with children and adolescents, while others may focus on adult or aging mental health.

Accelerated master’s in counseling graduates can also work with specific groups of people throughout their careers, including people struggling with cultural diversity, intimate relationships, careers, or grief. Each of these areas can be an excellent place for counselors to pursue full-time work since these life changes can often be difficult for people to work through on their own.

Counseling Careers

Key Takeaways Before Enrolling in an Accelerated Online Master’s in Counseling Degree Program

Before choosing an online master’s counseling degree, you must consider your preferred learning style and schedule. Look for a flexible degree option you can complete on your own schedule.

Another crucial concern is your ability to commit time and effort to an accelerated program, which requires intensive work. Although these programs are shorter than traditional programs, they still need your full commitment.

Finally, consider the kinds of competencies and information you expect from your course. Be sure your chosen program matches your career objectives and offers appropriate training for practicing counseling.

By considering these things, you’ll soon be able to find the best way to move forward in your career as a counselor.

FAQs About Accelerated Master’s in Counseling Degree 

How Fast Can I Earn an Online Accelerated Master’s in Counseling Degree?

How soon you can earn your accelerated master’s in counseling online depends on several factors and the specific program you choose. Generally, accelerated programs allow you to finish your degree faster than usual.

Depending on the school and specific program you select, accelerated master’s in counseling online programs can be as short as 12 to 18 months or as long as two years.

Some factors that can affect how quickly you earn your degree are the curriculum and specializations, the number of semesters and allowable units, and personal factors, such as other commitments and financial resources. 

What Is the Job Outlook for an Accelerated Online Master’s in Counseling Degree?

Graduating with an accelerated online master’s degree in counseling gives you the skills to work as a counselor in different fields due to high demand. With increased awareness of mental health, there is also an increasing need for competent counselors.

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that school and career counseling employment will grow faster than average at 5% compared to all other occupations between 2022-2032. With an average annual salary of $60,140, this means earning an accelerated master’s in counseling can provide you with a steady, secure work environment if you wish to pursue this career path. 

What Are Some Jobs That Require an Accelerated Online Master’s in Counseling Degree?

Completing an accelerated online master’s program in counseling offers various job opportunities. This program can help you become a licensed professional counselor and provide therapy services for individuals, couples, and families. Alternatively, you can venture into a school counselor position to guide students through various academic, social, and psychological issues.

You can also be a substance abuse, career, or mental health counselor, among other viable career options. The availability of these jobs means that as a graduate student with an accelerated online master’s in counseling degree, you can be assured there is a place for you after graduation.

Is an Accelerated Online MSW as Credible as a Traditional Online MSW?

Yes, an accelerated online Master of Social Work (MSW) can be as credible as a traditional online MSW if it is accredited by a recognized accrediting body such as the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). Accreditation ensures that the program meets the educational quality and ethical standards required in the field of social work.

Do Accelerated Master’s in Counseling Degrees Have Different Admission Requirements Than Traditional Counseling Degrees?

Accelerated programs may have similar academic prerequisites to traditional programs but often require applicants to demonstrate readiness for a more intensive study pace. This might include having relevant work experience or a higher undergraduate GPA.

Is It Cheaper to Attend an Online Accelerated MSW Program?

Not necessarily. While accelerated programs may reduce the total cost of education by shortening the duration of the program, the per-semester costs might be higher. Additionally, accelerated programs often have fewer breaks, which can limit opportunities for employment during the program.

Are There One-Year Counseling Programs?

Yes, there are one-year accelerated Master’s in Counseling programs available. These intensive programs are designed for students willing to commit to a full-time, rigorous academic schedule.

Are All Counseling Degrees Able to Be Finished Quickly?

No, the duration of counseling degree programs can vary widely depending on the program’s structure, whether it’s full-time or part-time, and the specific requirements of the degree. Accelerated options are available but are not universally applicable to all counseling degrees.

Can I Become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) with an Accelerated MSW Degree?

Yes, you can become an LCSW with an accelerated MSW degree, provided that the program includes the necessary coursework and supervised clinical hours required for licensure. It is important to ensure that the program is tailored to meet the licensing requirements of the state in which you intend to practice.

Will an Online Accelerated MSW Prepare Me for a Career in Social Work?

An online accelerated MSW can prepare you for a career in social work, especially if it is well-structured, includes practical training experiences, and is accredited. However, the intensity of the program requires a high level of commitment and self-discipline.

Are There Accelerated MSW to DSW (Doctor of Social Work) Programs?

Some institutions may offer pathways from an accelerated MSW to a Doctor of Social Work (DSW) program, allowing for a faster progression through graduate studies. These programs are less common and typically require candidates to meet stringent academic and professional standards.

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