Bachelor’s Degree in Counseling Online Programs 

Earning a bachelor’s degree in counseling is one of the first steps to becoming a licensed professional. For those looking to work in mental health counseling, finding the right program is an important step. If you seek flexibility in your studies, an online bachelor’s degree program may be a good option. Learn more about the benefits of a BA in counseling degree and what you’ll need to earn it.

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Women with 17+ prior college credits or an associate degree: Discover an innovative online bachelor’s program designed specifically for women and built on Simmons University’s 100+ year history of empowering women.

  • Empowering women to become leaders for 100+ years 
  • Up to 96 transfer credits accepted, plus credit for life experience 
  • Degree programs are designed for working professionals and can be completed part time


Earning an Online Bachelor’s Degree in Counseling

To complete a BA in counseling, you’ll likely need to meet a variety of credit hour and course requirements. This is the case for both on-campus and online counseling majors.

Exact courses and credit requirements will vary by program, but a counseling curriculum typically includes general education courses like math and writing, as well as specific psychology and counseling coursework. Students may also be able to concentrate on specific areas of counseling, such as addiction recovery. Most bachelor’s degree programs are designed to be completed in four years with full-time study. 

Choosing between an on-campus or online bachelor’s degree program is more a question of personal preference. Online programs typically cover the same curriculum as their on-campus counterparts while offering the flexibility of learning from home.  

Pursuing a counseling major online can prepare you to join the workforce in many entry-level careers or lay the necessary groundwork for advanced studies in counseling and higher levels of licensure and certification.   

Bachelor’s Degree in Counseling Classes

Counseling can cover a wide scope, including addiction, mental health, rehabilitation, school, marriage and family, and substance abuse counseling. While you may not need to elect a specialization for your undergraduate coursework, the exact curriculum required for your chosen path depends on the school. In general, the curriculum for someone majoring in counseling helps students acquire the necessary skills for professional settings. You can expect to learn about the stages of human psychological development and the psychological factors behind abnormalities in growth and mental health. Core classes like general counseling theory and practice and ethics can help prepare you to work with clients from all walks of life who are dealing with a variety of issues. 

Other courses may cover:

  • Counseling skills and techniques
  • Human sexuality
  • Family dynamics 
  • Study of alcohol and drug use and addiction
  • Ethical and legal issues in counseling

Like traditional on-campus studies, online counseling programs may require you to complete an internship or practicum based on your specialization.

Admissions Requirements for an Online Bachelor’s in Counseling

The college admissions process can be competitive, regardless of the degree you seek. Knowing admissions requirements may help make the experience a little easier. Counseling degree requirements for admission vary among schools but typically include an application, GPA requirements and possibly test scores. 

Because requirements and even the application process can vary depending on where you’re applying, be sure to take note of your target schools’ application processes and deadlines. Commonly requested items may include:

  • Completed application
  • High school diploma, GED and/or college transcripts
  • SAT or ACT scores
  • Resume
  • College essay or personal statement
  • GPA minimum
  • Professional and/or personal recommendations
  • Criminal background check and/or drug testing
  • Prerequisite classes 

If you have already completed coursework at another institution, be sure you understand your new school’s transfer policy so that you earn as much credit as possible for previous classwork.

Online Bachelor’s in Counseling Scholarships

Getting into an undergraduate program is just the first step; next, you’ll have to figure out how to pay for it. While some students can afford to pay for their degrees out of pocket, others use financial aid, which can come in the form of state or federal grants or scholarships. Some schools also provide program-specific aid like counseling scholarships. 

The following counseling programs indicate they offer scholarships and other forms of financial aid:

  • Indiana Wesleyan University
  • Oregon State University
  • Saint Leo University (Florida)
  • University of Cincinnati
  • University of Houston–Clear Lake

Be sure to check with your college’s financial aid office to see if there are scholarships or other forms of financial aid available. Some financial aid may have additional requirements such as maintaining a minimum GPA. 

On-Campus vs. Online Counseling Degrees

As you explore BA in counseling online programs, you might wonder how different taking classes over the internet is from the traditional on-campus experience. Attending classes in person may offer hands-on learning and an easier way to join the student community. However, this learning model may prove too rigid for some people. On-campus programs may require you to live in another city or regularly travel for in-person classes, which can add time and expenses to your undergraduate experience. 

Online programs offer schedule flexibility, which can be ideal for students with other responsibilities like family and work in addition to school obligations. Additional benefits of taking classes online include lower boarding and commuting expenses and increased networking opportunities with students and faculty from around the world. 

Ultimately, the choice between an on-campus or online counseling program depends on your own schedule, resources and preferences. 

What Can You Do With a Bachelor’s in Counseling?

So, what do jobs in counseling with a bachelor’s degree look like? Requirements to work in counseling can vary by state, but substance abuse, behavioral disorder and mental health counselors typically need at least a bachelor’s degree. Graduates who may want to become a counselor can continue their education to earn a master’s degree, which may open more doors for professional licensure and greater avenues for counseling.

Advanced Counseling Degrees

Earning a bachelor’s in counseling online can help lay a strong foundation for graduate studies in social sciences such as master’s in social work programs, Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), counseling and other mental health licensed professions. A master’s degree is required by most states to work as a counseling professional. Some schools offer accelerated master’s degree in counseling programs, which allow qualified students to complete their graduate degrees faster than traditional programs. 

Beyond counseling, students with undergraduate degrees in counseling may go on to pursue related advanced degrees. A common option is a master’s in social work (MSW), but degrees in related fields are a possibility as well, such as an MS in psychology

If your passions lie within academia or research, a PhD in counseling may help you develop your skills.

Bachelor’s Degree in Counseling Careers

As you compare the types of counseling degrees, think about your personal and career goals. While licensed counselors must have graduate degrees, there are jobs for those with a BA in counseling. 

A bachelor’s degree in counseling can serve the purpose of any other undergraduate degree, opening doors to professional settings that require degrees such as community health centers and government offices. 

Graduates with a BA in counseling might find employment in counseling or one of the many degree-related roles such as communications facilitator, social work technician, human resource assistant, client advocate, psychiatric technician and social services worker. 

Prepare for a Lifetime of Leadership with Simmons’ Online Undergraduate Programs

Women with 17+ prior college credits or an associate degree: Discover an innovative online bachelor’s program designed specifically for women and built on Simmons University’s 100+ year history of empowering women.

  • Empowering women to become leaders for 100+ years 
  • Up to 96 transfer credits accepted, plus credit for life experience 
  • Degree programs are designed for working professionals and can be completed part time


BA in Counseling FAQs

Deciding whether a counseling degree online program is right for you may bring up several questions that you want answered before you move forward in your journey to your counseling career. 

How much can you make with a bachelor’s degree in counseling?

Bachelor’s degree in counseling salaries vary depending on many factors, including the role you take on, work environment, experience and where you live. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median weekly earnings of someone with a bachelor’s degree was $1,305 as of May 2020, which equates to more than $66,000 annually. 

What’s the best school to earn a bachelor’s degree in counseling?

Each bachelor’s degree in counseling program brings advantages and disadvantages. Because you and your journey are unique, it’s up to you to decide which one best meets your needs and goals, both short and long term. 

How long does it take to earn a bachelor’s degree in counseling online?

Like most other undergraduate degrees, including on-campus programs, earning a BA in counseling online requires you to complete a set number of credits, which typically takes four to five years of full-time study. Accelerated programs or a heavy course load may shorten the time to earn your degree whereas a part-time schedule may lengthen the program. 

Is counseling an easy major?

Both traditional and online counseling degrees require dedication, effort and time. Counseling as a major can help you gain the skill set necessary to join the workforce in various roles. In addition to enhancing your professional life, completing an undergraduate degree can boost your confidence and encourage you to continue your educational journey. As to whether counseling is an easy major and if the path taken was worth the work, only you can answer that question.

Last updated in February 2022