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Key Infor­ma­tion:

  • Grand Canyons Uni­ver­si­ty is the #1 top school for a fast online coun­sel­ing bach­e­lor’s degree.
  • Pro­grams often offer var­i­ous con­cen­tra­tions such as addic­tion, sub­stance abuse, psy­chi­atric reha­bil­i­ta­tion, or Chris­t­ian coun­sel­ing, allow­ing stu­dents to focus on areas of inter­est or career relevance.
  • Accel­er­at­ed bach­e­lor’s pro­grams pre­pare stu­dents for fur­ther study, such as mas­ter’s degrees in coun­sel­ing or psy­chol­o­gy, which are nec­es­sary for clin­i­cal practice.

When you decide you want to be a coun­selor, you have to con­sid­er the amount of time it will take to earn your bachelor’s degree in a coun­sel­ing pro­gram. In most instances, if you have no pri­or col­lege cred­its, a bachelor’s degree will take you four years. How­ev­er, by work­ing toward an accel­er­at­ed coun­sel­ing degree online, you can cut that time significantly.

One of the oth­er ben­e­fits you can find with­in accel­er­at­ed coun­sel­ing degree pro­grams is flex­i­bil­i­ty. Par­tic­u­lar­ly if you’re work­ing while you get your degree, you don’t have the time to go down to cam­pus. Online cours­es allow you to log in at your con­ve­nience. You can take cours­es dur­ing the day or at night. As long as you’re watch­ing the instruc­tion and com­plet­ing the par­tic­i­pa­tion require­ments, you can set your own schedule.

Methodology: How We Ranked the Best Accelerated Counseling Degree Programs

For stu­dents look­ing for an accel­er­at­ed coun­sel­ing degree online, speed is not the only fac­tor. That’s why Bachelor’s Degree Cen­ter ranks accel­er­at­ed pro­grams not just by their time to com­ple­tion, but by prac­ti­cal fac­tors like tuition rate, rep­u­ta­tion, and grad­u­ate salaries. All fea­tured pro­grams are accred­it­ed and respect­ed.

1. Grand Canyon University

Grand Canyons Uni­ver­si­ty’s BS in Coun­sel­ing with an empha­sis in addic­tion, chem­i­cal depen­den­cy, and sub­stance abuse tops the list of the best accel­er­at­ed coun­sel­ing degree pro­grams. This pro­gram gives stu­dents the skills and knowl­edge they need to serve com­mu­ni­ties, fam­i­lies, and indi­vid­u­als with com­pas­sion and com­pe­tence. Stu­dents learn what caus­es sub­stance abuse and addic­tion and how chem­i­cal depen­den­cy affects peo­ple of all ages. They learn to use a Chris­t­ian world­view when deal­ing with peo­ple who are strug­gling with addic­tion and sub­stance abuse.

Grand Canyon Uni­ver­si­ty is the lead­ing pri­vate Chris­t­ian uni­ver­si­ty in Ari­zona. The school has been lead­ing stu­dents to suc­cess­ful careers for more than 65 years. GCU is com­mit­ted to the Chris­t­ian world­view. It is part of the school’s iden­ti­ty. The school seeks to pro­duce lead­ers who will serve their com­mu­ni­ties and their world. Stu­dents are trans­formed into respon­si­ble lead­ers, effec­tive com­mu­ni­ca­tors, crit­i­cal thinkers, and glob­al cit­i­zens through a rig­or­ous, val­ues-based curriculum.

What We Like: This pro­gram is avail­able online or on campus.

Degree: BS in Coun­sel­ing with an Empha­sis in Addic­tion, Chem­i­cal Depen­den­cy, and Sub­stance Abuse

Grand Canyons Uni­ver­si­ty BS in Counseling

2. Eastern Kentucky University

Stu­dents look­ing for an accel­er­at­ed coun­sel­ing degree online should con­sid­er East­ern Ken­tucky University’s online bachelor’s degree in psy­chol­o­gy with a con­cen­tra­tion in psy­chi­atric reha­bil­i­ta­tion. This sub­stance abuse coun­sel­ing degree helps pre­pare stu­dents for the Psy­chi­atric Reha­bil­i­ta­tion Prac­ti­tion­er (CPRP) exam. Stu­dents who com­plete the pro­gram will be ready to pur­sue a master’s or Ph.D. in psy­chol­o­gy after grad­u­a­tion. This pro­gram has 8‑week terms and there are six start dates each year. Active duty mem­bers of the mil­i­tary receive a reduced tuition rate.

Stu­dents attend­ing EKU Online take the same cours­es as on-cam­pus stu­dents from the same instruc­tors. There are over 40 online pro­grams to choose from. All of them offer flat rate tuition, eight-week terms, and online resources for stu­dents. EKU is region­al­ly accred­it­ed, and all stu­dents pay the same tuition whether they live in Ken­tucky or not.

What We Like: Stu­dents can trans­fer up to 90 credits.

Degree: Sub­stance Abuse Counseling

East­ern Ken­tucky Uni­ver­si­ty Sub­stance Abuse Counseling

3. Liberty University

Next on the list of accel­er­at­ed coun­sel­ing degree pro­grams is the BS in Psy­chol­o­gy with a con­cen­tra­tion in Chris­t­ian coun­sel­ing or cri­sis coun­sel­ing from Lib­er­ty Uni­ver­si­ty. The pro­gram is 100% online and has 8‑week cours­es. Stu­dents can trans­fer up to 75% of the total degree (90 cred­its). In addi­tion to the two coun­sel­ing con­cen­tra­tions, stu­dents can choose a gen­er­al track, crim­i­nal psy­chol­o­gy, devel­op­men­tal psy­chol­o­gy, mil­i­tary resilience, life coach­ing, or addic­tions and recov­ery. This pro­gram pre­pares stu­dents for a master’s pro­gram in psy­chol­o­gy, which is nec­es­sary in order to practice.

Lib­er­ty Uni­ver­si­ty is a Chris­t­ian lib­er­al arts uni­ver­si­ty with more than 100,000 stu­dents. There are over 700 pro­grams from cer­tifi­cate to doc­tor­al lev­el, more than 450 of which are avail­able online. Lib­er­ty pre­pares stu­dents to be able to do their future jobs well. Hands-on train­ing is part of what makes this pos­si­ble. Stu­dents gain com­mu­ni­ca­tion, data analy­sis, research, and crit­i­cal think­ing skills.

What We Like: This pro­gram takes about 3.5 years to complete.

Degree: Psy­chol­o­gy BS — Chris­t­ian Coun­sel­ing or Cri­sis Counseling

Lib­er­ty Uni­ver­si­ty Psy­chol­o­gy BS — Chris­t­ian Coun­sel­ing or Cri­sis Counseling

4. William Jessup University

If you want to earn an accel­er­at­ed coun­sel­ing degree online, the BA in Psy­chol­o­gy from William Jes­sup Uni­ver­si­ty is a good choice. The pro­gram gives stu­dents a deep under­stand­ing of human behav­ior. It cov­ers both bio­log­i­cal and coun­sel­ing approach­es to psy­chol­o­gy. The pro­gram has out­stand­ing fac­ul­ty mem­bers with expe­ri­ence in many psy­cho­log­i­cal fields, includ­ing biopsy­chol­o­gy and addic­tion. Stu­dents who com­plete the pro­gram will be qual­i­fied for posi­tions in busi­ness, crim­i­nal jus­tice, social work, and men­tal health.

William Jes­sup Uni­ver­si­ty start­ed out as San Jose Bible Col­lege. The school offers a faith-based cur­ricu­lum and indi­vid­u­al­ized sup­port for its stu­dents. The pro­grams are designed to fit into busy stu­dents’ sched­ules. WJU seeks to devel­op the whole per­son by expos­ing stu­dents to a foun­da­tion of cours­es in sci­ence, social sci­ence, and the humanities.

What We Like: This pro­gram takes three to four years to com­plete, and stu­dents can trans­fer up to 90 credits.

Degree: BA in Psy­chol­o­gy — Counseling

BA in Psy­chol­o­gy — William Jes­sup University

5. Colorado Christian University

Stu­dents search­ing for accel­er­at­ed coun­sel­ing degree pro­grams should con­sid­er the BA in Applied Psy­chol­o­gy with a con­cen­tra­tion in clin­i­cal coun­sel­ing from Col­orado Chris­t­ian Uni­ver­si­ty. This pro­gram includes behav­ioral pat­terns, social inter­ac­tions, and human devel­op­ment as well as 12 cred­it hours of class­es on clin­i­cal coun­sel­ing. Those 12 cred­its can also be applied to the Mas­ter of Arts in Clin­i­cal Men­tal Health Coun­sel­ing if the stu­dent decides to con­tin­ue on to the master’s lev­el at CCU. That leaves only 48 cred­it hours to get a master’s degree in clin­i­cal men­tal health counseling.

Col­orado Chris­t­ian Uni­ver­si­ty is the lead­ing Chris­t­ian Col­lege in the Rocky Moun­tain region. The school deliv­ers excel­lence in edu­ca­tion to its adult stu­dents with over 80 degree options offered through CCU Online and the Col­lege of Adult and Grad­u­ate Stud­ies. CCU empha­sizes spir­i­tu­al­i­ty and Chris­t­ian char­ac­ter as well as aca­d­e­m­ic excellence.

What We Like: Stu­dents com­plete one course at a time in 5‑week blocks.

Degree: BA in Applied Psy­chol­o­gy — Clin­i­cal Counseling

Col­orado Chris­t­ian Uni­ver­si­ty BA in Applied Psy­chol­o­gy — Clin­i­cal Counseling

6. Clarks Summit University

A list of the best accel­er­at­ed coun­sel­ing degree pro­grams would be incom­plete with­out the dual accel­er­at­ed BS and MS in Coun­sel­ing from Clarks Sum­mit Uni­ver­si­ty. This fast-track pro­grams allows stu­dents to get two coun­sel­ing degrees in just five years. Stu­dents are pre­pared for careers as mar­riage and fam­i­ly ther­a­pists, school guid­ance coun­selors, psy­chother­a­pists, men­tal health coun­selors, career coun­selors, and more. The class­es are small and fac­ul­ty mem­bers real­ly care about their stu­dents. Pro­fes­sors act as men­tors to help pre­pare their stu­dents for their future careers.

At Clarks Sum­mit Uni­ver­si­ty, every class inte­grates God’s word. The school’s under­grad­u­ate pro­grams include a dou­ble major in bib­li­cal stud­ies. The school offers flex­i­ble online degrees that allow stu­dents to take their careers to the next lev­el while deep­en­ing their faith.

What We Like: Each course in the dual degree pro­gram is taught from a bib­li­cal worldview.

Degree: BS/MS in Counseling

BS/MS in Coun­sel­ing — Clarks Sum­mit University

7. Southern New Hampshire University

South­ern New Hamp­shire Uni­ver­si­ty offers an accel­er­at­ed coun­sel­ing degree online. Its Bach­e­lor of Arts in Psy­chol­o­gy with a con­cen­tra­tion in men­tal health helps pre­pare stu­dents for a career of help­ing oth­ers. Stu­dents who com­plete the pro­gram often choose to pur­sue a grad­u­ate degree in coun­sel­ing or clin­i­cal psy­chol­o­gy. If grad­u­ate school isn’t in your plans, there are plen­ty of careers in pub­lic rela­tions, mar­ket­ing, human resources, and social ser­vices that would ben­e­fit from this degree. With 39 elec­tives, stu­dents have a lot of lee­way to cus­tomize the pro­gram to suit their interests.

South­ern New Hamp­shire Uni­ver­si­ty is one of the fastest-grow­ing uni­ver­si­ties in the US, with more than 135,000 online stu­dents. The school offers more than 200 pro­grams in every­thing from social sci­ences and lib­er­al arts to edu­ca­tion and busi­ness. SNHU is con­tin­u­al­ly rein­vent­ing its pro­grams to keep pace with the lat­est pro­fes­sion­al require­ments and technologies.

What We Like: Stu­dents can earn a Cer­tifi­cate of Data Lit­er­a­cy in Psy­chol­o­gy as part of their degree program.

Degree: Men­tal Health Degree Online — BA in Psy­chol­o­gy Concentration

South­ern New Hamp­shire Uni­ver­si­ty BA in Psy­chol­o­gy Concentration

8. Prescott College

Prescott Col­lege also offers an accel­er­at­ed coun­sel­ing degree online. Its Bach­e­lor of Arts in Psy­chol­o­gy and Human Devel­op­ment is focused on help­ing stu­dents under­stand how human beings inter­act with the world and with each oth­er. Stu­dents devel­op a respect for the human and non-human world, as well as devel­op­ing emo­tion­al matu­ri­ty and self-aware­ness. There are five areas of empha­sis: coun­sel­ing, ecopsy­chol­o­gy, expres­sive art ther­a­py, gen­der and sex­u­al­i­ty stud­ies, and crit­i­cal psy­chol­o­gy. Stu­dents can also work with fac­ul­ty advi­sors to cre­ate their own areas of emphasis.

Prescott Col­lege is com­mit­ted to teach­ing stu­dents of diverse back­grounds to live togeth­er and thrive in the world com­mu­ni­ty. The school encour­ages stu­dents to seek a bal­ance between ser­vice to oth­ers and self-ful­fill­ment. Prescott believes in hands-on learn­ing and strives to pro­vide an inter­dis­ci­pli­nary curriculum.

What We Like: Career path­ways for this degree include psy­chi­atric tech­ni­cian, mar­ket researcher, lab­o­ra­to­ry assis­tant, child­care work­er, and case manager.

Degree: Psy­chol­o­gy And Human Devel­op­ment (BA)

Prescott Col­lege Psy­chol­o­gy And Human Devel­op­ment BA

9. Lesley University

Les­ley Uni­ver­si­ty is anoth­er school that offers an accel­er­at­ed coun­sel­ing degree online. Les­ley’s BA in Psy­chol­o­gy is for stu­dents who are intrigued by the human brain and the com­plex­i­ties of human behav­ior. These stu­dents want to under­stand what makes humans do the things they do. This pro­gram is not just for stu­dents who want to work in men­tal health. Many psy­chol­o­gy grad­u­ates find work in the busi­ness world as well. Stu­dents in this pro­gram learn about men­tal process­es and the sci­ence of behav­ior. They are pre­pared to start their career or enter into a grad­u­ate pro­gram after graduation.

Les­ley Uni­ver­si­ty gives stu­dents the ethics, under­stand­ing, skill, and knowl­edge they need to be suc­cess­ful not only in work but in life. Les­ley is a com­mu­ni­ty where peo­ple help one anoth­er and a lab­o­ra­to­ry for explor­ing social jus­tice issues.

What We Like: This pro­gram is offered online, so you can study when­ev­er it is con­ve­nient for you.

Degree: BA in Coun­sel­ing and Psychology

Les­ley Uni­ver­si­ty BA in Coun­sel­ing and Psychology

10. Capella University

Round­ing out the list of accel­er­at­ed coun­sel­ing degree pro­grams is the BS in Psy­chol­o­gy, Pre-coun­sel­ing from Capel­la Uni­ver­si­ty. This online pro­gram gives stu­dents the skills the need to be able to help oth­ers while prepar­ing them for a grad­u­ate pro­gram in psy­chol­o­gy or coun­sel­ing. Stu­dents gain skills that are use­ful for a wide vari­ety of pro­fes­sions. Trans­fer stu­dents can trans­fer up to 135 cred­its. The school offers Pri­or Learn­ing Assess­ments to help stu­dents earn cred­it for what they already know, whether that knowl­edge is from work expe­ri­ence, pro­fes­sion­al train­ing, or indus­try certifications.

What We Like: There are three master’s lev­el cours­es in the pro­gram that can be applied toward the master’s degree in coun­sel­ing from Capella.

Degree: BS in Psy­chol­o­gy Pre-Counseling

BS in Psy­chol­o­gy, Pre-coun­sel­ing — Capel­la University

What are the Advantages of an Accelerated Counseling Degree?

Var­i­ous accel­er­at­ed coun­sel­ing degree pro­grams will allow you to cut the amount of time that you spend in school. The ben­e­fits to this are sig­nif­i­cant. You can save time in order to get start­ed in your career faster. Plus, by spend­ing less time achiev­ing an accel­er­at­ed coun­sel­ing degree online, you’ll also spend less money.

In an accel­er­at­ed pro­gram, your course­work is fit into 6 or 8 week chunks, and you’ll usu­al­ly study just one or two cours­es full-time. This faster pace pre­pares you for licen­sure and relat­ed edu­ca­tion­al pro­grams (like an accel­er­at­ed online master’s) in as lit­tle as a year. You’ll learn what coun­sel­ing pro­fes­sion­als need to know, like:

  • coun­sel­ing skills
  • coun­sel­ing theories
  • mul­ti­cul­tur­al counseling
  • research meth­ods

There are also spe­cial­iza­tion oppor­tu­ni­ties like school coun­sel­ing pro­grams, health­care, career coun­sel­ing, human ser­vices, and more. In a CACREP-accred­it­ed under­grad­u­ate degree pro­gram, you’ll learn spe­cial­ized skills, like work­ing with ado­les­cents as a school coun­selor. Enroll­ment and finan­cial aid in a part-time or full-time online pro­gram is easy.

If you’re going to sign up for an accel­er­at­ed coun­sel­ing degree online, you can spec­i­fy the type of coun­selor you want to be. Should you com­plete your degree fast enough, you can con­sid­er mov­ing into a master’s degree in order to increase your earn­ing poten­tial. Take the GRE to get into a mas­ter of sci­ence or mas­ter of arts in coun­sel­ing pro­gram. The Bureau of Labor Sta­tis­tic proves that fin­ish­ing a master’s degree pro­gram, even online master’s degrees, increase your pay potential.

What if I Already Have a Bachelor’s and Want to Start Counseling?

If you already have a bachelor’s degree, you may decide that you want a career change. Should coun­sel­ing be of inter­est to you, it can be worth explor­ing cer­tifi­cate pro­grams in coun­sel­ing. You’ll need to con­sid­er what type of coun­selor you wish to become as the require­ments can vary.

If you already have a bachelor’s degree in psy­chol­o­gy, you’ll sim­ply need to update your skills so they focus more heav­i­ly in coun­sel­ing. Coun­sel­ing cer­tifi­cate pro­grams pro­vide a nar­row focus to help you suc­ceed with­in a par­tic­u­lar indus­try. You’ll want to decide what type of coun­selor you want to be to ensure you gain the skills with­in the cer­tifi­cate pro­grams for coun­sel­ing so that you’re successful.

The amount of time you’ll spend in cer­tifi­cate pro­grams in coun­sel­ing will vary based on what cours­es you have tak­en to get your bachelor’s degree. In some instances, you might need to take a longer pro­gram so that you have the nec­es­sary expertise.

Addi­tion­al­ly, once you have a bachelor’s degree and com­plete one of the cer­tifi­cate pro­grams for coun­sel­ing, you may also choose to get an advanced degree, such as a master’s or PhD. It will depend on how much time you want to spend on your edu­ca­tion and how quick­ly you want to begin work­ing as a counselor.

The impor­tant thing to remem­ber about coun­sel­ing cer­tifi­cate pro­grams is that they can be cus­tomized to fit your needs. You can focus on such things as cou­ple and fam­i­ly ther­a­py, addic­tive behav­ior, men­tal-health ser­vices, and more. The cer­tifi­cate, com­bined with your bachelor’s degree, will prove that you have the exper­tise need­ed to snag an array of coun­sel­ing jobs around the country.

How Do I Become a Counselor?

When you want to become a coun­selor, it’s impor­tant to look at the var­i­ous steps that are involved. You’ll want to con­sid­er the type of coun­selor you wish to become. For exam­ple, how to become a sub­stance abuse coun­selor will involve a dif­fer­ent path than if you wish to learn how to become a men­tal health counselor.

The first step is to obtain your bachelor’s degree. If you have a bachelor’s degree, you can work to get a cer­tifi­cate to focus on coun­sel­ing. Learn­ing how to become a coun­selor with­out a degree involves learn­ing about the var­i­ous online and cer­tifi­cate pro­grams that are avail­able. When you want to know how long does it take to become a coun­selor, it can vary depend­ing on the lev­el of edu­ca­tion you have and what type of coun­selor you wish to become.

Often, with how to become a licensed coun­selor, you need a master’s degree. Then, you may need to do an intern­ship and obtain a cer­tain num­ber of hours to pro­ceed to the next step. You may need to prove that you have a degree and the intern­ship and practicum hours to the licens­ing board. You may also need to take a licens­ing exam.

How long does it take to become a coun­selor? In many instances, it will take between six and eight years. How­ev­er, if you want to know how to become a sub­stance abuse coun­selor or how to become a men­tal health coun­selor faster, you can explore accel­er­at­ed pro­grams where you can spend less time get­ting your degree. Addi­tion­al­ly, you may be able to begin obtain­ing your intern­ship hours while you’re still work­ing on your degree. It can speed up the process so you can get start­ed in your career faster.

Relat­ed Rankings:

25 Best Bach­e­lor’s in Counseling

15 Best Online Bach­e­lor’s in Counseling

10 Most Afford­able Bach­e­lor’s in Counseling