Graduate Programs in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Mental health professionals are an important part of our healthcare system and the sector is growing very quickly. There are a variety of degree options you can choose from depending on what you want to specialize in. Schools offering Mental Health Counseling degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Clinical Mental Health Counseling Master Degree Options

M.S. Clinical Mental Health Counseling

The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics reports that the demand for mental health counseling is growing far faster than the average occupation. If you are not sure which particular audience you would like to work with, a general master's degree in mental health counseling can prepare you for a variety of jobs in the counseling field. As you compare programs make sure to choose one that is CACREP accredited (counsel for the accreditation of counseling and related educational programs). These master's degrees generally last 2-3 years and prepare students to take the national counseling licensure test.

M.A. School Counseling

A master's degree in school counseling prepares students for an important role in helping youth navigate academic, career and life decisions. These programs run for 2-3 years and prepare students to take their state's school counselor licensure test. One benefit of the school counseling track is that there is a plethora of online degree options. Students take classes in human growth and development, therapeutic techniques for relationships, career and lifestyle development, and more.

M.S. Forensic Counseling

Forensic counselors work with delinquents in prisons, juvenile detention centers, and social service agencies that assess clients at-risk of criminal behavior. Some general master's degrees in counseling offer concentrations in forensic counseling, others do not. There are master's degrees specific to forensic counseling available. As a forensic counselor, you might work with at-risk youth or testify in court cases. To prepare for this challenging career, students take classes in behavior and aggression, victimology, crisis intervention, policing, sex offenders, violent cults, and criminal profiling.

M.A. Marriage and Family Counseling

As a marriage and family therapist student you will learn how to advise families from diverse backgrounds. In contrast to many counseling tracks, marriage and family counselors generally work in the private sector at counseling practices or churches. Programs take 2 years of full-time coursework but there are flexible options for students who wish to study part-time. Students prepare to take the MFT (national marriage and family therapy licensure test) as well as state specific license tests.

M.A. in Clinical Counseling with a Concentration in Trauma and Crisis Counseling

To obtain a specialization in trauma and crisis counseling, students take courses in psychological first aid, disaster response, evidence-based treatment models and more. After 2-3 years graduates are trained to assist clients dealing with grief or massively traumatic events. They may choose to work in crisis and prevention centers, nonprofit organizations, or government assistance programs.

M.A. in Clinical Counseling with a Concentration in Addiction Counseling

Addiction counseling is another important specialization you can choose within a mental health counseling program. Students prepare to take the MAC (the Master Addictions Counselor Examination). Students take courses in psychopharmacology, family issues and addictive disorders, counseling chemically dependent adolescents, and more. While substance abuse treatment and recovery center may be the most common workplace for an addiction counselor, there are open positions in hospitals, schools, universities and private practices.

M.S. Social Work with a concentration in counseling

Degree Program Program length Program Requirements Related Careers
Master's of Clinical Mental Health Counseling 2-3 years *Undergraduate degree *Licensed mental health counselor
*Clinical social worker
Master's of School Counseling 2-3 years *Undergraduate degree *School counselor
*College guidance counselor
Master's of Counseling - Forensic counseling concentration 2-3 years *Undergraduate degree *Forensic counselor
*Juvenile offenders counselor
Master's of Marriage and Family Counseling 2 years *Undergraduate degree *Marriage counselor
Master's of Clinical Counseling - Addiction Counseling Concentration 2-3 years *Undergraduate degree *Addiction counselor
*Rehabilitation center director

Getting into a Clinical Mental Health Counseling Master's program

To get into a master's in clinical mental health counseling you will need a bachelor's degree transcript that includes college-level coursework in psychology. Some but not all programs will require GRE scores. Some of the best counseling departments offer online counseling degrees with flexible scheduling and part-time options for students who want to pursue their degree while maintaining a full-time job. Students take classes in foundations of rehabilitation, understanding group work, legal and ethical issues in counseling, counseling theory, psychosocial aspects of disability, and conduct fieldwork or internships in the counseling field.

If you want to turn your passion for taking care of others into a rewarding career, consider applying to a master's degree in mental health counseling. There are a variety of options to suit your specific career goals.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

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