MS in School Counseling Counseling master's program

Master of Science in School Counseling

Prepare to shape the future

Get ready to inspire and guide students with a master’s in school counseling from Capella University. With our CACREP- and CAEP-accredited, online degree program, you’ll gain a unique blend of theory-based coursework and in-person learning experiences to help you point young people on the path to a successful future. What’s more, the curriculum covers the knowledge and skills you need to stand out in the field and helps prepare you to pursue licensure as a school counselor.

At a Glance

  • GuidedPath
  • Online & in-person
  • 6 Core courses
  • 7 Specialization courses
  • 2 Residencies
  • Practicum
  • 2 Internships
  • CACREP and CAEP accreditation

Classes Start September 14th

Ready to get started? We’re ready for you. Chat with an enrollment counselor or apply now to take the first step on the journey toward your future.

$50 application fee (waived w/promo SPRING)

MS in School Counseling Program Overview

In this video, Josh Stanley, EdD,  Faculty Chair in the School of Counseling, explains the difference between a career in school counseling and school psychology, and how Capella’s curriculum helps prepare future school counselors to support students in almost all aspects of life.

MS in School Counseling program highlights


Apply your skills and knowledge in the field with direct client contact and supervision during your program.

Learn more about practicum/internship »

Preparation to pursue licensure

Learn with curriculum that’s aligned with school counseling education standards to help you prepare for professional credentialing.

All core faculty hold doctorates

Our faculty is made up of scholar-practitioners who are active within their professions and bring real-world experience to the courseroom.

View all core faculty »

Among the MS in Counseling and Human Services programs alumni, 96% agreed that their faculty were well-qualified and did a good job.*


Enhance the skills you develop in your program through interaction with faculty and students in a supportive environment.

Learn more about residency »

Strategic alignment

Our curriculum is designed to incorporate the values, principles, and ethical standards of national, regional, and state professional counseling associations and honor societies, including the American School Counseling Association.

Source: Alumni Outcomes Survey, 2018

Meet your counseling faculty

Our distinguished faculty members hold top credentials in their fields. They’re here to teach you critical knowledge and skills and to help enrich your education and career by bringing real-world relevance to the courseroom. View all core faculty.

Ellen Smith, PhD, NCC

Interim Faculty Chair, School Counseling

DA Erickson, PhD, LPC, NCC, ACS

Core Faculty, School Counseling

Katheryn Van Asselt, PhD

Program Lead & Core Faculty

Get the support you need for success

You’re never going it alone at Capella. Our dedicated support teams are waiting to guide, help, and advise you through every step of your educational journey.


Advisors know the details of your program. Got questions about courses? Instructors? Resources? Advisors have answers.

Career center

For this team, it’s more than resumes and interview tips. It’s about thoughtful and strategic career planning—beyond graduation.

Licensure Support

Our licensure team supports you through the license application process, and is there for you even beyond graduation.

Cost & learning format

Online education isn’t one-size-fits-all. We know you’re busy—you need a learning experience tailored to your life, not the other way around. Capella has learning and tuition formats to suit you, however you learn. 

A more structured learning format with an active peer community and faculty guidance. We’ll set the schedule, you meet the deadlines. 

  • Based on the quarter system; 1-3 courses per 10-week quarter
  • 1 semester credit = 1.5 quarter credits
  • Weekly assignments and courseroom discussions
  • Pay for what you take, price varies by courseload or term
$487 per credit, 72 total quarter credits, 12 max transfer credits

*This is only an estimate, using general program pricing, and it does not include fees (including application and resource kit fees).  Your price may be higher or lower depending on your specialization, transfer credits, and tuition discounts. If transfer credits are allowed in this offering, the prices above show what you would pay if you brought in the average number of transfer credits and the price if you brought in the maximum allowed transfer credits.  

Get the details

Speak with an enrollment counselor to get a personalized cost estimate for what you can expect to pay.

Accredited & recognized

Capella University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Accreditation and recognitions provide the assurance we meet standards for quality of faculty, curriculum, learner services, and fiscal stability. See all of our accreditations and recognitions

Ways to save

At Capella, we believe your education is an investment in your future. It’s also an investment within your grasp. Your goals are achievable—there are more ways to save than you might think. 

Transfer credits

We can accept many transfer credits from regionally accredited schools.

Employer reimbursements

Many employers offer tuition reimbursement to employees. Ask your manager about options.

$3K toward your master's

Apply for a $3K Capella Progress Reward, a scholarship to help fund your master’s degree.

MS in School Counseling—sample courses

The curriculum for our online master in school counseling program emphasizes assessment, intervention, and individual and group counseling. Gain knowledge of classroom guidance, consultation, and advocacy of systemic change in schools.

Show course with description
COUN5241 *
Group Counseling and Psychotherapy

Learners in this course examine the theoretical components and developmental aspects of groups. Topics include types of groups, group dynamics and processes, group leadership and membership roles, ethical awareness in relation to groups, and crisis management within groups.  Prerequisite(s): COUN-R5811.

4 quarter credits
Introduction to School Counseling

This course introduces learners to the profession of school counseling. Learners examine the history and development of school counseling; investigate ethical and legal requirements for school counselors; explore the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) National Model and service delivery systems, including specific programs and interventions; and analyze the multiple roles and functions of school counselors with various stakeholders.

4 quarter credits
COUN5284 *
School Counseling Program Development and Evaluation

This course provides a comprehensive approach to developing school counseling programs and services, as well as the data-driven decision making and accountability needed to sustain them. Learners investigate the needs, structure, specialized areas, and evaluation functions of school counseling programs and examine comprehensive models using the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) National Model as a framework. Prerequisite(s): COUN5241, COUN5812, COUN-R5811.

4 quarter credits
COUN5422 *
Counseling for College and Career Readiness

In this course, learners examine models of P–12 comprehensive career development. Learners also evaluate developmentally appropriate interventions and assessments that enhance career readiness, improve graduation rates, and promote equity in student achievement and college access.  Prerequisite(s): COUN5279, COUN-R5811.

4 quarter credits
COUN5812 *
Theories of Counseling with Children and Adolescents

Learners in this course expand upon foundational counseling and relationship-building skills by integrating brief and strengths-based theoretical approaches and interventions relevant to the practice of counseling in P–12 schools. Learners analyze the influence of biopsychosocial factors on child and adolescent development and design individualized interventions that enhance wellness and resilience.  Prerequisite(s): COUN5280.

4 quarter credits

What you’ll learn

The right education can change everything. Discover your path to gaining real-world skills to support young people as a licensed school counselor.

  • Apply counseling and child development theories to school practice.
  • Connect with students using counseling services that support diversity.
  • Think critically, write effectively in a professional school counseling context.
  • Uphold American Counseling Association and the American School Counselor Association codes of ethics.
  • Communicate with compassion in all professional interactions.
  • Champion the highest standards based on the ASCA National Model for Comprehensive School Counseling.

MS in School Counseling—career insights

Preparing Counselors to Handle Violence in Schools

Educating future school counselors includes training on violence: prevention, de-escalation, and post-trauma support.

School Counselors vs. School Psychologists

A comparison of responsibilities, licensure, and degree requirements of school counselors and psychologists.

Capella Faculty Member to Lead American Counseling Association

As president of the American Counseling Association, Simone Lambert, PhD, hopes to advocate for the profession.

MS in School Counseling—professional paths

Your education can help you reach your goals, professionally and personally. Here are some of the job titles and employment settings to explore as you consider a master’s in school counseling.

Related job titles to explore*

  • School counselor
  • Guidance counselor
  • Counselor
  • College counselor
  • Advisor
  • Academic advisor
  • Academic counselor
  • Career counselor

Employment settings to explore

  • K-12 public school
  • K-12 private school
  • Land-based or online college or university
  • Community college

*These are examples intended to serve as a general guide. Some positions may prefer or even require previous experience, licensure, certifications, and/or other designations along with a degree. Because many factors determine what position an individual may attain, Capella cannot guarantee that a graduate will secure any specific job title, a promotion, salary increase, or other career outcome. We encourage you to research requirements for your job target and career goals.

Looking to make a difference in people’s lives?

The K-12 Helping Professions Guide can help you find a path—and a degree program—that aligns with your goals for working in a school setting with children and adolescents, from preschool to high school.

Other programs to explore

Is this program close to what you need, but maybe not a perfect fit? The programs below might be interesting. Check them out to find one that suits your academic and professional goals.

Ready for the next step?

Learning online doesn't mean going it alone. Help is here. From faculty, coaches, advisors, and more. Plus a supportive community of students who are as passionate about their careers as you are about yours.