Online Master's Degree in School Counseling

Become Part of the Student Success Support Network

School counselors play a key role in the development of children and teenagers, especially when times are tough at home or in the classroom, or when high school students start making future career and education plans. Children and teenagers develop quickly during their school years, and it is vital that they progress academically. GMercyU offers one of the top school counseling programs in PA that will help you succeed in starting your career as a school counselor.

This 60-credit, Pennsylvania Department of Education-approved degree prepares you for licensure as a K-12 school counselor in Pennsylvania, covering topics relevant to school environments, including learning disabilities and children who have learned English as a second language. Combining online courses with two weekend residencies and field experience, our school counseling degree is designed for part-time students. You can complete your school counseling graduate program degree in as little as three and a half years.

*Licensure: This program was designed to meet the licensure requirements of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. If you reside in a different state, you should carefully review your home state’s licensure requirements prior to enrolling in this program. For more information, please visit our Program Licensure Requirement page.

The GMercyU Difference

The Master's in Counseling - School Counseling degree program aligns with the overall goal of our Counseling Program: it is designed to prepare you for professional practice in K-12 settings.

Through the program, you will gain expertise in helping young people navigate difficulties with family, teachers, and peers, as well as playing an active role in assisting them as they build healthy coping skills, develop self-reliance, and find their unique voices. Through our scientist-practitioner model, you’ll be ready to provide support, guidance, and advocate on behalf of your students and their families. In addition, you will be empowered to support causes that uphold mental wellness for all.

Once you begin the program, you’ll be treated as a working professional who can meet our high standards for academic and clinical performance and ethical behavior. The program's online format lets you cover course content online and then put theory into practice during our two weekend residencies and your fieldwork experience. At GMercyU, you’ll benefit from personal attention and mentorship provided by our experienced and caring faculty members.

Between 2018 and 2020, our graduates had a 100% pass rate on the school counseling certification test. 


You will complete 60 credits total to earn your Master's in Counseling - School Counseling degree, 30 of which are the core curriculum, and 30 of which are school counseling certification courses that align with the components of the American School Counseling Association’s (ASCA) National Model.  

The Core Curriculum

These courses provide an excellent foundation of counseling techniques for practical applications and for the pursuit of doctoral studies.

Counseling Skills – 3 credits
Human Development – 3 credits
Foundations for Counseling – 3 credits
Research Methods – 3 credits
Practicum – 3 credits
Theories in Counseling – 3 credits
Assessment Techniques in Counseling – 3 credits
Social Justice, Multicultural & Diversity Issues in Counseling – 3 credits
Career Development – 3 credits
Substance Use/Abuse – 3 credits

You will complete a 100-hours of practicum experience, plus 600 total hours of supervised internship, divided among three internship sites. After graduation, you will be eligible to apply for certification as a K-12 school counselor in the State of Pennsylvania.  

School Counseling Certification Courses

Disabilities in the School Counseling Setting – 3 credits
Needs of English Language Learners in the School Counseling Setting – 3 credits
Intervention Techniques in School Counseling – 3 credits
Organization of School Counseling – 3 credits
Group Counseling and Facilitation Skills for the School Setting – 3 credits
Internship I (SC) – 3 credits
Internship II (SC) – 3 credits
Internship III (SC) – 3 credits
Electives – 6 credits

To review the school counseling graduate program course descriptions, please refer to the graduate catalog.


Admission Requirements 

We will consider you for admission to our school counselor degree program based on your academic ability, expression of interests and goals, life experience, and personal interview.  

To apply, you must:

  1. Hold a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution of higher education;
  2. Demonstrate completion of the following undergraduate prerequisites:
    1. 3 credits in General Psychology, Developmental Psychology, Theory or another foundational course
    2. 3 credits in Research Methods or Statistics;
  3. Submit official transcripts from all academic institutions attended;
  4. Demonstrate achievement of a minimum grade point average (GPA) of a 3.0 on a 4.0 scale (see below if your GPA was lower than 3.0 and you do not currently hold a graduate degree);
  5. Complete of the Gwynedd Mercy University Graduate Application and pay the application fee;  
  6. Submit two letters of recommendation from:
    1. An academic who can attest to your academic ability (preferred), and
    2. A professional or supervisor who can attest to your professional qualification, abilities, and temperament for the field.  
  7. Complete a personal statement (3-5 pages maximum) that address the following:
    1. Who you are and your reasons for choosing a career in school counseling;
    2. Why you have chosen GMercyU’s school counseling program;
    3. What being a school counselor means to you, and personal characteristics that make you uniquely suited for such a career;
    4. Your expectations of learning in an online program and your ability to meet those expectations;
    5. How you plan to complete the field placement demands of the program.
  8. Attend a personal interview with program staff.

NOTE: If your GPA was lower than 3.0, you must provide proof of acceptable scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).  We require a combined score of 292 or higher, and you must also complete the analytical writing test.

The GRE requirement is waived for applicants who currently hold a graduate degree or applicants who achieved a GPA of 3.0 or higher.

Transfer Credits

You may transfer up to six (6) credits of graduate work completed at an accredited institution for comparable courses in the GMercyU program, provided you earned at least a B in each course. Transfer credit decisions are made on an individual basis.  

Post-Master’s School Counseling Certification Program

If you already hold a Master’s in Counseling or you want to expand into school counseling or update your certification to meet new state standards, we offer a Post-Master’s School Counseling Certification Program (PreK-12) that prepares you for licensure. The program is offered online for your convenience. Learn more.

School Counseling Career Outcomes

Potential job titles for school counselor masters program graduates include:

  • Academic Advisor
  • Academic Counselor
  • Advisor
  • Career Counselor
  • Guidance Counselor
  • School Counselor
  • Student Advisor
  • Student Counselor

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the 2020 median annual salary for school counselors across the sectors that employed them most were:

Occupations Median Annual Salary

Elementary and secondary schools; state, local, and private


Other educational services; state, local, and private


Healthcare and social assistance



Due to population growth, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the nation will need an additional 35,000 school and career counselors through 2030. At a growth rate of 14%, this occupation is expected to grow faster than the national average of 8% for all jobs.

There's no time like the present to invest in school counseling programs and earn your master's degree in school counseling today!


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