Offered mostly online, the clinical mental health counseling MS program at Saint Joseph’s University will prepare you to work as a licensed counselor serving clients. The 60-credit program includes 700 hours of supervised fieldwork and an optional built-in certificate in addiction counseling.
School Counseling MS
Offered 100% online, Saint Joseph’s University’s Master of Science in School Counseling prepares students to:
- Apply instructional and school counseling interventions
- Use data-informed strategies to promote student learning outcomes
- Design, implement and assess comprehensive school counseling programs in PK-12 schools
School counselors provide critical social-emotional, academic, personal and career support to ensure optimal learning outcomes for students. While all students benefit from school counseling services, students from low-income families and students of color directly benefit from having access to a school counselor.
The American School Counselor Association recommends a 250-to-1 ratio of students to school counselors, and most states in the U.S. do not have enough school counselors. Pennsylvania has an alarmingly high student-to-counselor ratio, with 295 students for every 1 counselor.
What Sets Our Program Apart
When obtaining a master’s in school counseling, you will share core courses with clinical mental health students to ensure you are prepared to serve K-12 populations and advocate for mental health. You will also build working relationships for future referrals within the school system.
All classes are offered 100% online in a cohort model, offering the opportunity to build community and connection with your fellow classmates. You will also participate in supervised practicum and internship courses and conduct 700 hours of field-based experiences in PK-12 schools. Internship and fieldwork experience will help you begin the process of supporting students in the areas of personal, social, career and academic development.
You will complete all coursework necessary to receive K-12 certification as a school counselor. Special emphasis is placed on college and career readiness for students at elementary, middle and high school levels.
The courses in this program are taught by full-time, tenure-track faculty who are experts in both theory and practice and have national and state reputations in scholarly publications, community engagement, professional organizations and/or teaching.
This program meets the highest standards of practice for school counselors. You will be equipped with Saint Joseph’s University’s values of ethical decision making and commitment to social justice in your professional practice.
The curriculum in this program is accredited by The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs and the American School Counselor Association.
Liability insurance, which is required for all practicum and internship students, is fully funded by Saint Joseph’s School of Education and Human Development, saving you from paying additional fees. This expense is typically an added responsibility for students in other school counseling programs across the nation.
What Can You Do With a School Counseling Degree?
School counselors play a critical role in ensuring students have opportunities for safe, enriching experiences both in and out of school. You will help prepare students for postsecondary success in ways that meet their individual needs.
School counselors work with students, families, educators and school leaders to interpret cognitive, aptitude and achievement tests, participate in individualized education programs (IEPs) and assist in the educational placement and transition process for students leaving PK-12 school systems. Counselors work with career planning, work release programs, college readiness and provide individual, group and classroom activities to promote personal-social development of all students.
View required courses for this program in the academic catalog. Please contact us if you have any questions about the program curriculum.
Affordable tuition options start at $941 per credit.*
*This rate applies to all students accepted by Saint Joseph’s University after June 1, 2023. Tuition and fee rates for students accepted prior to June 1, 2023 differ. Pricing does not include room and board, health insurance or any professional, clinical or transportation fees. Visit our Tuition & Fees page or contact us for more information.
Financial aid may be available to you to help offset the cost of your degree. Explore your options on our Financial Aid page.
Have you completed a year or more of service with a recognized service organization? You may be eligible for our mission discount.
Alumni of Saint Joseph's are eligible to receive 10% off the cost of this program through our alumni discount.
Check with your employer to see if they are an Edcor or a Bright Horizons EdAssist member, which may entitle you to a discount on graduate programs.
Note: discounts cannot be combined.
SJU is a Yellow Ribbon School that accepts GI education benefits. Our Office of Veterans Service can help you access and understand your benefits.
Graduate assistantships offer tuition remission and a stipend. Positions are available, but highly competitive. Once you apply, please note that all offices manage their hiring individually and will contact individual candidates if interested.
Why Study School Counseling in Philadelphia?
In Philadelphia public schools, the average ratio between school counselors and students is 1 to 392. With such high ratios, there has been an overwhelming need for school counselors, especially for students of color and from low-income families. Students in this program will be placed in urban and suburban schools in Philadelphia to help close the gap and support families and children in need of a counselor in their school district.
To be considered for admission, you must have a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher.
- Apply online.
- Submit official college transcripts from all colleges attended.
- Submit a personal statement.
- Submit resume.
- Submit two letters of recommendation.
- Complete interview with program faculty members.
Visit our Graduate Admission Information page to learn more about admission requirements, key deadlines, additional requirements for international students and how to submit your application.
Graduate applications must be submitted by March 1 for review. New students may enroll in courses during the fall semesters only.
- Fall: August
This program accepts candidates from around the world. If you’re applying as an international student, you must provide proof of English Language Proficiency and Certification of Finances along with your application. Check the Graduate Admission page for more information about the application process and additional requirements for international students.
Frequently Asked Questions
Transfer up to 12 credit hours may be considered for courses completed within the last 5 years with grade B or higher from a CACREP-accredited master’s degree program. Additional requests for transfer credit will be reviewed by the faculty program director.
The average annual salary of a school guidance counselor in Philadelphia is $65,584.
Graduates of the program will complete an external exam (Praxis for School Counseling) to fulfill state requirements for certification.