Master of Education in School Counseling Online

USC Rossier School of Education offers a Master of Education in School Counseling online (SC online) for students who aspire to become school counselors in K–12 settings. The program explores relevant challenges affecting 21st-century schools, focusing on the well-being of the whole child through support of their social, emotional and academic needs.

The SC online prepares students to pursue their credential as a school counselor.

Begin a Career in School Counseling

Professional school counselors who are capable of meeting the needs of 21st-century K–12 learners, schools, families and communities are in great demand in schools across the country. These practitioners are uniquely positioned to effect lasting change for children through the creation of services and programs that promote sustained success — both in school and in life. Master's in school counseling programs prepare school counselors to tackle today's toughest challenges and promote the well-being of all children.


The SC online curriculum prepares school counselors to consider children's overall well-being in assessing strategies and creating programs that promote success. By promoting the positive development of the whole student, candidates will emerge from the program able to facilitate opportunities that meet children's personal, relational and collective needs. 

The program curriculum is informed by professional competencies and standards put forth by the American School Counselor Association's National Model for School Counseling and by critical research in the fields of counselor education, sociology, philosophy, education, and counseling and community psychology. 

Students prepare for work in today's schools through focused study in three key areas:

College and Career Readiness

Students at all levels and capabilities, including elementary, middle and secondary school ages, need skills and strategies to ensure their future success. Candidates in this program will prepare to support all students while taking into account cultural, socioeconomic and emotional factors that influence success. Because some students have access to opportunities to meet their needs more readily than others, candidates in this program will be prepared to support the range of pathways students take toward their well-being.

Restorative Justice

As children grow, they often face challenges to their well-being, whether in the form of institutional oppression (e.g. poverty, racism, etc.) or individual circumstances associated with mental illness, community and domestic violence. School counselors are positioned to help these students receive help to overcome these obstacles. SC online candidates learn to employ strategies associated with restorative justice, including facilitating behavior management through accountability and promoting just treatment for all individuals.

Trauma Informed Practice

Trauma, whether physical or emotional, is often a barrier to children's success not only in school, but also in later life. Candidates in this program will learn to help support teaching, learning and interacting in ways that acknowledge the stress that trauma often inflicts on the lives of children and adults.

Learning Objectives

Through this program, students will gain the knowledge and skills to:

  • Provide academic and guidance counseling to students in K–12 settings
  • Utilize a theoretically informed approach to work
  • Identify organizational goals and coordinate school counseling goals to meet student needs and the needs of the organization
  • Develop approaches that are inclusive of trauma informed practices and restorative justice approaches
  • Employ decision making and problem solving for implementation and evaluation
  • Develop approaches to foster college access
  • Apply professional school counseling practice through program development
  • Utilize data, accountability and relationship building skills

Program Specifications

The Master of Education in School Counseling online program is 49 units. There are full-time and part-time paths available, and the program can be completed in two to three years.

This program prepares you to apply for a school counseling credential in California and other states. In California, the credential is the Pupil Personnel Services Credential (PPS) with a specialization in School Counseling (SC). Credential requirements differ from state to state, therefore a student enrolling in this program should research the requirements in the state in which they reside or intend to counsel. Students who choose to apply for the California PPS-SC will need to meet specific PPS-SC application eligibility requirements during the first two semesters they are enrolled in the Master of Education in School Counseling program.

Learning Experience

Students attend classes and complete coursework online in an inquiry-based learning environment. Classes are held live in a virtual classroom and taught by USC faculty who are experts in the areas of school counseling, educational leadership, marriage and family therapy, and other related fields. Students access live sessions and course assignments through the online campus, which is a hub of academic and social student activity and serves as students' connection to USC faculty and tech support.

Students also complete field experiences in K–12 schools within their own communities. These placements offer students the chance to apply what they are learning in classes to real situations affecting children, families and school administration. Students must complete a 100 hour practicum and a 600 hour internship over the course of the program.