Best Online Master’s in Counseling in California

An online master’s degree in counseling provides you with the knowledge base and educational requirements to pursue or advance your career in counseling professions. Busy counseling professionals can earn the education they need online to advance their careers, without disrupting their lives.

Finding an online master’s degree in counseling in California helps Californians find the most affordable programs at colleges and universities they and employers know and trust.

A master’s degree in counseling prepares students for advanced positions in a variety of professional counseling careers, including mental health counselor, substance abuse counselor, marriage and family therapist, Christian counselor, and school counselor. Students in these programs typically have existing professional experience, either through employment or practicums, and may be required to complete other practicums as part of the program. Courses in these programs cover advanced counseling topics, such as professional ethics and law, group counseling, private counseling, practice and theory, human development, substance abuse, and conflict resolution.

Salaries for counselors and therapists vary by area of practice. Nationally, the median salary for substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors is $46,240, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The median salary in California is $47,538. The average salary is $56,333, with experienced professionals earning $68,590. The projected growth rate for this profession is 16.7%, according to the State of California Employment Development Department.

Substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors in private practice must be licensed. Licensing requirements vary by state, but all states require these counselors to have a master’s degree and 2,000 to 4,000 hours of supervised clinical experience. In addition, counselors must pass a state-issued exam and complete continuing education every year. (Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Counselors Career Prospects in California
Job Growth by 20264%
Job Growth by 202116.7%
Average Wage (Mean):
$56,333
Entry Annual Wage:
$36,527
Median Annual Wage:
$47,538
Experienced Annual Wage:
$68,590
Sources: the State of California Employment Development Department’s 2019 First Quarter Employment Projections and the State of California Employment Development Department’s 2020 First Quarter Employment and Wage Information

Find your online master’s in counseling in CA

Study confidently at a quality institution in California where you know you will receive training relevant to California laws and regulations, and with attention to current affairs in California.

Finding an online degree at a regionally accredited college or university will help ensure not only the acceptance of your degree by hiring professionals, but it will enable you to pursue an advanced degree should you someday want to take your education to the next level.

Here’s our list of online master’s degrees in counseling offered by regionally accredited colleges and universities in California  Sort to find the best, most affordable, and best value online colleges for counseling degrees.

California Online Master’s Degree in Counseling Frequently Asked Questions+

Why should I earn a master’s degree in counseling in California?

A master’s degree is required under certain circumstances to be in licensed private practice.

How long are most master’s degree programs in counseling?

Most master’s programs take two years.

What is the average salary for this profession?

The average salary in California for substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors is $56,333.

What are the job growth prospects?

The projected job growth rate for substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors in California is 16.7%.

What licensing/certifications do I need?

Substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors in private practice must be licensed. Criteria outside of private practice varies.

Sort Schools By:
    1. University of Southern California

      Los Angeles, CA

      Program Score

      99

      CA Relative Cost

      Key FactsAnswers
      Total Enrollment48,321 (14% fully online)
      Public or PrivatePrivate
      Number of Online Programs119
      AccreditationRegional: WASC Senior College and University Commission
      Average In-State Undergraduate Tuition$58,195 per year
      Net Cost by Income
      Source: National Center for Educational Statistics

      CAOnlineColleges.com Awards

      Experienced Online School
      Diverse Student BodyFirst-Generation Student Friendly School

      DegreeCredits NeededCompletion Time1
      ME - School Counseling493-4 years
      See USC’s full list of online degrees!
    2. San Diego State University

      San Diego, CA

      Program Score

      90

      CA Relative Cost

      Key FactsAnswers
      Total Enrollment35,544 (2% fully online)
      Public or PrivatePublic
      USDE Special Government StatusAsian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institution, Hispanic-Serving Institution
      Number of Online Programs9
      AccreditationRegional: WASC Senior College and University Commission
      Average In-State Undergraduate Tuition$7,510 per year
      Net Cost by Income
      Source: National Center for Educational Statistics

      CAOnlineColleges.com Awards

      Diverse Student BodyDisability Friendly SchoolFirst-Generation Student Friendly SchoolAsian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving InstitutionHispanic-Serving Institution

      DegreeCredits NeededCompletion Time1
      MS - Rehabilitation Counseling603-4 years
      See SDSU’s full list of online degrees!
    3. Concordia University-Irvine

      Irvine, CA

      Program Score

      89

      CA Relative Cost

      Key FactsAnswers
      Total Enrollment3,911 (50% fully online)
      Public or PrivatePrivate
      Number of Online Programs27
      AccreditationRegional: WASC Senior College and University Commission
      Average In-State Undergraduate Tuition$36,740 per year
      Net Cost by Income
      Source: National Center for Educational Statistics

      CAOnlineColleges.com Awards

      #4 Best California Online College#10 Best Value California Online College
      Experienced Online School
      Diverse Student BodyDisability Friendly SchoolFirst-Generation Student Friendly School

      DegreeCredits NeededCompletion Time1
      MA - Counseling603-4 years
      MA - School Counseling483-4 years
      See CUI’s full list of online degrees!
    4. California Baptist University

      Riverside, CA

      Program Score

      84

      CA Relative Cost

      Key FactsAnswers
      Total Enrollment11,045 (21% fully online)
      Public or PrivatePrivate
      USDE Special Government StatusHispanic-Serving Institution
      Number of Online Programs43
      AccreditationRegional: WASC Senior College and University Commission
      Average In-State Undergraduate Tuition$34,882 per year
      Net Cost by Income
      Source: National Center for Educational Statistics

      CAOnlineColleges.com Awards

      Top California Online College A Most Affordable California Online College A Best Value California Online College
      Experienced Online School
      Diverse Student BodyFirst-Generation Student Friendly SchoolHispanic-Serving Institution

      DegreeCredits NeededCompletion Time1
      MS - Counseling Psychology623-4 years
      See CBU’s full list of online degrees!
    5. Brandman University

      Irvine, CA

      Program Score

      64*

      CA Relative Cost

      Key FactsAnswers
      Total Enrollment10,231 (79% fully online)
      Public or PrivatePrivate
      USDE Special Government StatusHispanic-Serving Institution
      Number of Online Programs21
      AccreditationRegional: WASC Senior College and University Commission
      Average In-State Undergraduate Tuition$12,440 per year
      Net Cost by Income
      Source: National Center for Educational Statistics

      CAOnlineColleges.com Awards

      #8 Most Affordable California Online CollegeA Best Value California Online College Adult Student Friendly School
      Experienced Online School
      Diverse Student BodyHispanic-Serving Institution

      DegreeCredits NeededCompletion Time1
      MA - Psychology: Counseling483-4 years
      MA - Psychology: Professional Clinical Counseling633-4 years
      See BU’s full list of online degrees!
    6. Shasta Bible College and Graduate School

      Redding, CA

      Shasta Bible College and Graduate School’s school logo

      Program Score

      63*

      CA Relative Cost

      Key FactsAnswers
      Total Enrollment41 (56% fully online)
      Public or PrivatePrivate
      Number of Online Programs15
      AccreditationNational: Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS)
      Average In-State Undergraduate Tuition$12,860 per year
      Net Cost by Income
      Source: National Center for Educational Statistics

      CAOnlineColleges.com Awards

      Adult Student Friendly School
      Experienced Online School

      DegreeCredits NeededCompletion Time1
      MDiv - MDiv: Biblical Counseling and Christian Family964-5 years
      See SBCGS’s full list of online degrees!
    7. Southern California Seminary

      El Cajon, CA

      Program Score

      59*

      CA Relative Cost

      Key FactsAnswers
      Total Enrollment176 (59% fully online)
      Public or PrivatePrivate
      Number of Online Programs8
      AccreditationNational: Transitional Association of Christian Colleges and Schools
      Average In-State Undergraduate Tuition$16,884 per year
      Net Cost by Income
      Source: National Center for Educational Statistics

      CAOnlineColleges.com Awards

      Adult Student Friendly School
      Experienced Online School
      Diverse Student Body

      DegreeCredits NeededCompletion Time1
      MA - Christian Counseling483-4 years
      See SCS’s full list of online degrees!
    8. Golden Gate University-San Francisco

      San Francisco, CA

      Golden Gate University-San Francisco’s school logo

      Program Score

      51*

      CA Relative Cost

      Key FactsAnswers
      Total Enrollment2,432 (33% fully online)
      Public or PrivatePrivate
      Number of Online Programs82
      AccreditationRegional: WASC Senior College and University Commission
      Average In-State Undergraduate Tuition$15,840 per year
      Net Cost by Income
      Source: National Center for Educational Statistics

      CAOnlineColleges.com Awards

      A Most Affordable California Online College Adult Student Friendly School
      Experienced Online School
      Diverse Student Body

      DegreeCredits NeededCompletion Time1
      MA - Counseling Psychology603-4 years
      See GGUSF’s full list of online degrees!

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