Affordable Master’s in Counseling

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Becoming a successful professional counselor requires more than just a bachelor’s degree. A master’s degree in counseling opens doors to many career opportunities, especially if you wish to improve the lives of others. However, the real challenge lies in searching for a master’s degree that suits both your requirements and your budget. 

Yep, it can be draining. That’s why we’ve created a list of the top 10 colleges for affordable master’s in counseling to help. 

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Top 10 Colleges for Affordable Master’s in Counseling 

When searching for the right master’s in counseling degree, you’ll need to consider factors like location, credit hours, and test requirements. To choose the one that’s kind to your pockets, it’s crucial to look at the tuition fee and financial aid opportunities beforehand. That’s why I’ve sorted the most cost-effective degrees to help you live your dreams. 

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Bellevue University

A Clinical Mental Health Counseling master’s degree from Bellevue University offers a dynamic curriculum, including a two-part residency and a four-part internship program. Whether you’re seeking a 100% online program or an in-person learning experience, BU will accommodate you. Its curriculum covers research methods, diagnosis, and treatment of mental disorders.

To get into BU’s master’s program, a stringent criminal background check is needed, along with a minimum of 2.5 GPA. However, if you’re looking for a typical campus lifestyle, this university might not be the best for you. 

  • Tuition Fee: $38,940 
  • Financial Aid: Yes (up to $20,500 per year) 
  • Location: Bellevue, Nebraska
  • Graduation Rate: 19% 
  • Acceptance Rate: Over 90% 
  • Credits Required: 60 
  • Standardized Test Requirements: No GRE or GMAT required 

Bridgewater State University

If you’re into personalized attention and smaller class sizes, acquiring a master’s in counseling from Bridgewater State University can be your best bet. Accredited by the CACREP, BSU has faculty with diverse backgrounds who help students become well-rounded counselors. 

At BSU, the curriculum covers topics like counseling theories, research methodologies, and psychopathology. It’s designed to equip you with the right skills to acquire a mental health counseling license. However, admission to BSU might be super competitive, making it harder for some to secure a spot there. 

  • Tuition Fee: $502.25/credit hour
  • Financial Aid: Yes 
  • Location: Bridgewater, Massachusetts
  • Graduation Rate: 34% 
  • Acceptance Rate: 88% 
  • Credits Required: 60
  • Standardized Test Requirements: GRE required (for a GPA less than 3) 

Amberton University

Amberton University, a nonprofit, faith-orientated institute, offers an online master’s in Arts for Professional Counseling that can be completed in under two years. If you opt for their full-time 36-credit program, you can practically be done with your master’s before your peers. 

Online students can access various courses through their Moodle LMS, including Family Life Ministry and Crisis Counseling. For specialization, you can opt for electives like Counseling Ethics, School Counseling, or Family and Marriage Therapy. However, their faith-centric approach might be limited if you seek a more secular experience. 

  • Tuition Fee: $900 per 3-credit hour course 
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Location: Garland, Texas 
  • Graduation Rate: 37% 
  • Acceptance Rate: 90-99% 
  • Credits Required: 60
  • Test Requirements: No GRE requirement 
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Southeastern Oklahoma State University

Southeastern Oklahoma State University is known for its budget-friendly master of Science in Counseling. It takes around 12 months to finish and covers assessment, growth, and counseling for children and adults. Better yet, this institute is accredited by the CACREP, making it a solid choice. 

Nevertheless, you need a minimum 2.0 GPA, a teaching license, and two years of teaching experience. When you’re about to graduate, you can check out their exclusive board for the latest job postings for quick employment. 

  • Tuition Fee: $11,130
  • Financial Aid Availability: Yes 
  • Location: Durant, Oklahoma 
  • Graduation Rate: 16% 
  • Acceptance Rate: 74% 
  • Credits Required: 60 
  • Standardized Test Requirements: No GRE requirement

Baruch College 

In Baruch College, students can access a variety of undergraduate and graduate programs across its business school, school of arts and sciences, and public and international schools. With roots dating back to 1847, it’s an excellent choice if you wish to tap into the CUNY system. 

Baruch College’s Master of Arts in Mental Health Counseling program covers subjects like Physiotherapy, LifeSpan Development, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and Career Counseling. However, if you’re not a fan of bustling metropolitan settings, then Baruch College might not be your best option. 

  • Tuition Fee: $500 per semester 
  • Financial Aid: Yes 
  • Location: New York City 
  • Graduation Rate: 51%
  • Acceptance Rate: 50%
  • Credits Required: 60 
  • Standardized Test Requirements: GMAT or GRE not required  

Husson University

Husson University offers CACREP-accredited master’s in counseling programs to its students: 63-credit Clinical Mental Health Counseling and 60-credit School Counseling. It offers flexible enrollment options. So, if you’re managing personal and professional commitments simultaneously, Husson University might be a good fit. 

Its programs cover growth, diversity, counseling theories, and clinical diagnosis. Nevertheless, HU’s recognition is more regional than national, which might impact your degree’s worth outside Maine. 

  • Tuition Fee: $717 per credit hour
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Location: Bangor, Maine
  • Graduation Rate: 42%
  • Acceptance Rate: 91%
  • Credits Required: 63 credit hours
  • Standardized Test Requirements: GRE/MAT required 
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Liberty University 

If you’re looking for diverse options to pursue a master’s in counseling, Liberty University has your back. The university offers 36 online master’s programs, including Addiction Counseling, Pastoral Counseling, Family Therapy, and Life Coaching. Plus, full-time students can complete their master’s within two years. 

An acceptance rate of 99% makes it the least competitive school on the list. So, if you wish to get in effortlessly, LU might be the way to go. 

  • Tuition Fee: $565 per credit hour
  • Financial Aid: Yes 
  • Location: Lynchburg, Virginia 
  • Graduation Rate: 53%
  • Acceptance Rate: 99%
  • Credits Required: 60 
  • Standardized Test Requirements: TOEFL or any approved alternative assessment

Fort Valley State University 

Fort Valley State University is a public institution that offers an online master of Science in Rehabilitation Counseling. To graduate, you must complete 41 credit hours of coursework and seven credit hours of practicum and internship. For licensure, it’s best to check for additional requirements with state licensure boards. 

FVSU uses Brightspace for its online curriculum. The university covers courses such as Psychological Case Management, Vocational Rehabilitation, and Medical Case Management. However, FVSU’s online program structure might not suit everyone. 

  • Tuition Fee: $4,993
  • Financial Aid: Yes 
  • Location: Fort Valley, Georgia 
  • Graduation Rate: 25%
  • Acceptance Rate: 43%
  • Credits Required: 60
  • Standardized Test Requirements: No GMAT or GRE required 

Brigham Young University 

Brigham Young University is affiliated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS). The University has campuses in Salt Lake City, Jerusalem, and some sister schools in Hawaii. It has a large student body, with 31000 students graduating in 2021. 

Brigham Young University is the top choice if you’re looking for a degree that gives you the best return on your investment. However, if you’re not already affiliated with the LDS church, BYU might not be ideal for you. 

  • Tuition Fee: $8,096
  • Financial Aid: Yes 
  • Location: Provo, UT 
  • Graduation Rate: 26% 
  • Acceptance Rate: 67%
  • Credits Required: 111 
  • Standardized Test Requirements: None 
A man talking to a woman while she's lying down on a sofa bed

West Virginia University 

West Virginia University’s master of arts program focuses primarily on clinical rehabilitation and mental health. The institute is notably active in research and a leader in biometric technology. It also serves as the FBI’s primary academic partner in this field. Their 63-credit program covers medical aspects of rehabilitation, vocational techniques, and rehab services. 

To get in, you must have a minimum of 2.8 GPA in bachelor’s. Also, it’s mandatory to undertake the GRE or MAT. However, West Virginia University’s reputation as a “party school” might make it an unappealing option for many. 

  • Tuition Fee: $673 per credit hour 
  • Financial Aid: Yes 
  • Location: Morgantown, West Virginia 
  • Graduation Rate: 32% 
  • Acceptance Rate: 96.6%
  • Credits Required: 60-66 
  • Standardized Test Requirements: GRE required

Frequently Asked Questions

What Can You Do With a Master’s Degree in Counseling?

With a master’s degree in counseling, you can become a licensed counselor, couple or family therapist, school therapist, or specialize in mental health counseling. However, it all boils down to your preferences and the concentration you select. 

How Long Does It Take To Get a Master’s Degree in Counseling?

Typically, a master’s in counseling degree takes around two years of full-time study to complete. You may need to invest additional time if you’re a part-time degree seeker. Some universities offer accelerated programs, which can be wrapped up in under two years. 

What Is the Highest-Paying Counseling Job? 

According to Zip Recruiter, the Mental Health Counselor jobs can pay up to $110,500 per year. No wonder it’s the highest-paying job out of all counseling careers


Now that we’ve explored various universities offering master’s in counseling, it’s safe to say the field is pretty vast, with many options available. You may opt for an online master’s in counseling or go for a university with substantial networking opportunities – the choice is yours! 

However, it’s best to research beforehand so your dream school fits your preferences and budget. 

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Aya Andrews


Aya Andrews is a passionate educator and mother of two, with a diverse background that has shaped her approach to teaching and learning. Born in Metro Manila, she now calls San Diego home and is proud to be a Filipino-American. Aya earned her Masters degree in Education from San Diego State University, where she focused on developing innovative teaching methods to engage and inspire students.

Prior to her work in education, Aya spent several years as a continuing education consultant for KPMG, where she honed her skills in project management and client relations. She brings this same level of professionalism and expertise to her work as an educator, where she is committed to helping each of her students achieve their full potential.

In addition to her work as an educator, Aya is a devoted mother who is passionate about creating a nurturing and supportive home environment for her children. She is an active member of her community, volunteering her time and resources to support local schools and organizations. Aya is also an avid traveler, and loves to explore new cultures and cuisines with her family.

With a deep commitment to education and a passion for helping others succeed, Aya is a true inspiration to those around her. Her dedication to her craft, her community, and her family is a testament to her unwavering commitment to excellence in all aspects of her life.

Find your perfect value college is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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