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Masters in Mental Health Counseling
Introduction
Masters in Mental Health Counseling
Best Programs
Masters in Mental Health Counseling
Affordable Programs
Masters in Mental Health Counseling
Becoming a Mental Health Counselor
Masters in Mental Health Counseling
Program Details
No GRE
No GRE
How To Pay
How to Pay?
Masters in Mental Health Counseling
FAQ
Masters in Mental Health Counseling
Careers & Salaries
license
Licensing
Masters in Mental Health Counseling
Additional Resources

Online Masters in Mental Health Counseling

Masters in Mental Health Counseling

As of this writing, the world is in the middle of a pandemic. Not only does the world need medical professionals, but it also requires Licensed Mental Health Counselors (LMHC). According to Medical News Today – “A mental health counselor provides support to those experiencing mental or emotional distress. They may use a variety of therapeutic techniques to help a person manage anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions.” You may be asking yourself, “Isn’t that what a psychologist does?” Not exactly. On their online masters in mental health counseling webpage, Northwestern University defines the difference between a mental health counselor and a psychologist – A typical psychology master’s program trains students to use psychotherapy to treat severe mental disorders. In contrast, a counselor helps clients achieve overall wellness. If you like to help people solve their problems, then an online master’s in mental health counseling may be for you.

Featured Online Programs

Best Online Masters in Mental Health Counseling Programs

Masters in Mental Health Counseling

When searching for the best master’s in mental health counseling degree program for you, what matters most to you may include factors such as accreditation, graduation rates, time to completion, student-to-teacher ratio, program quality, reputation, and many more. The good news is that there are loads of universities offering these programs. The bad news is that it is extremely difficult to decide which is the one for you. Fortunately, we worked to vet the top mental health counseling graduate programs and created this list of the best ones. The methodology we followed includes tuition, program quality, graduation rates, program reputation, etc. Considering all those factors, here is a list of the Best Online Masters in Mental Health Counseling:

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College Name & AddressTuitionGraduation Rate
#1
New York University
70 Washington Sq South, New York, New York 10012
$34,70485%
#2
Grace College
200 Seminary Dr, Winona Lake, Indiana 46590
$7,87269%
#3
The University of Alabama
739 University Blvd, Tuscaloosa, Alabama 35487
$10,78071%
#4
Indiana Wesleyan University
4201 South Washington Street, Marion, Indiana 46953
$13,51271%
#5
Concordia University, Irvine
1530 Concordia West, Irvine, California 92612
$8,12163%
#6
LeTourneau University
2100 S Mobberly Ave, Longview, Texas 75602
$18,63063%
#7
University of North Texas
1501 W.Chestnut Ave., Denton, Texas 76203
$6,35056%
#8
Malone University
2600 Cleveland Avenue NW, Canton, Ohio 44709
$11,25054%
#9
Winston-Salem State University
601 Martin Luther King Jr Dr, Winston-Salem, North Carolina 27110
$3,87251%
#10
North Carolina Central University
1801 Fayetteville Street, Durham, North Carolina 27707
$4,74049%
#11
Liberty University
1971 University Blvd, Lynchburg, Virginia 24515
$7,93547%
#12
Thomas University
1501 Millpond Rd, Thomasville, Georgia 31792
$11,79047%
#13
University of Massachusetts
100 Morrissey Boulevard, Boston, Massachusetts 02125
$18,43349%
#14
Lamar University
4400 MLK Blvd, Beaumont, Texas 77705
$6,39734%
#15
Medaille College
18 Agassiz Circle, Buffalo, New York 14214
$21,62138%

Source Integrated Post Secondary Education Data System & University Data
*Tuition rates are for in-state and per year. Program specific rates may apply.
**NA – data not available

Most Affordable Online Masters in Mental Health Counseling Programs

Masters in Mental Health Counseling

Higher education is getting expensive, and we would be kidding ourselves, and you too, if we didn’t mention that affordability is one of the most important factors when choosing an Online Masters in Mental Health Counseling Program. How much is the tuition? What kind of financial aid can students possibly receive? Are there any ways to make the program even cheaper? Considering all those affordability issues, we already did the research and created a list of the most affordable online masters in mental health counseling:

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College Name & AddressTuitionGraduation Rate
#1
Fort Hays State University
600 Park St, Hays, Kansas 67601
$3,72643%
#2
University of the Cumberlands
6191 College Station Drive, Williamsburg, Kentucky 40769
$4,28244%
#3
Southeastern Oklahoma State University
425 W University Blvd, Durant, Oklahoma 74701
$4,71635%
#4
North Carolina Central University
1801 Fayetteville Street, Durham, North Carolina 27707
$4,74049%
#5
Lamar University
4400 MLK Blvd, Beaumont, Texas 77705
$6,39734%
#6
Adams State University
208 Edgemont Blvd, Alamosa, Colorado 81101
$7,83030%
#7
Liberty University
1971 University Blvd, Lynchburg, Virginia 24515
$7,93547%
#8
Concordia University, Irvine
1530 Concordia West, Irvine, California 92612
$8,12163%
#9
Lock Haven University
401 North Fairview Street, Lock Haven, Pennsylvania 17745
$9,28854%
#10
Malone University
2600 Cleveland Avenue NW, Canton, Ohio 44709
$11,25054%
#11
Thomas University
1501 Millpond Rd, Thomasville, Georgia 31792
$11,79047%
#12
St. Bonaventure University
3261 W. State Road, Saint Bonaventure, New York 14778
$14,13074%
#13
New England College
98 Bridge St, Henniker, New Hampshire 03242
$15,62429%
#14
University of Massachusetts
100 Morrissey Boulevard, Boston, Massachusetts 02125
$18,43349%
#15
LeTourneau University
2100 S Mobberly Ave, Longview, Texas 75602
$18,63063%

Source Integrated Post Secondary Education Data System & University Data
*Tuition rates are for in-state and per year. Program specific rates may apply.
**NA – data not available

Becoming a Mental Health Counselor Online

One of the benefits of online learning is that it lets you tailor your class schedules around personal and professional commitments. However, when considering which online master’s in mental health counseling program to pursue, you may wonder how a virtual learning program can teach you to properly and effectively interact with patients in need. After all, to become a licensed Mental Health Counselor, you must complete the required clinical experience hours.

Accredited online masters in mental health counseling programs will require that you have a certain amount of in-person clinical experience and ensure that their curriculum resembles an on-campus master’s in mental health counseling program. But, being an online student can make clinical placement difficult. However, our list of the Best Online Masters in Mental Health Counseling Programs (see the ranking table above) takes that into consideration.

When looking for an online master’s in Mental Health Counseling program, also consider the type of virtual experiences provided, such as online student support services, clinical experience placement assistance, class size, and live discussions.

Understanding Online Masters in Mental Health Counseling Programs

An online mental health counseling degree offers a flexible, affordable path to a new career that can be personally and professionally rewarding. It often deals with assisting the most vulnerable members of a community. The responsibilities of a mental health counselor often fall within a broad range. One end being helping patients with difficult events in their lives, such as grieving the loss of a loved one or coping with the devastation of losing a job. And the other being helping others, with less than normal processes, to manage a mental illness such as bipolar disorder or clinical depression. As they prepare to help individuals and groups, they become knowledgeable about counseling theories, human development, group work, assessments, and diagnosing mental illnesses. An accredited program readies master’s degree-holders to earn licensure and counsel children and adults in clinical settings.

Masters in Mental Health Counseling Degree Types

Every university does things differently. So, it is not unexpected that each one will structure their Mental Health Counseling programs differently. Some will offer a Master of Arts curriculum, while others will go the Master of Science route. Some will concentrate on the clinical approach to counseling, while others will take a more generalized methodology.

MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

In this program, you will examine a range of topics, including assessment, legal and ethical concerns, and Intervention, as you prepare to help individuals and groups. You will prepare for real-world counseling work through instruction from practicing professionals and extensive field experiences.

A clinical mental health counselor’s job entails assessing clients’ mental and emotional wellbeing. They diagnose patients and determine treatment plans. Specific job functions vary depending on the workplace.

MA Clinical Mental Health Counseling

MA Mental Health Counseling

A master’s in mental health counseling can help provide you the tools and skills necessary to become a practicing mental health counselor in the US. A mental health counselor not only tends to the emotional and mental needs of patients, but they also possess the qualifications necessary to diagnose a patient and decide the appropriate treatment options to suggest

MA Marriage & Family Therapy

This master’s program specifically helps you develop skills & facilitate personal & professional growth needed for effective practice in the field of Marriage & Family Therapy. Coursework & training is designed to follow the guidelines of the American Association for Marriage & Family Therapy, which are the same guidelines used by most states to establish required courses to satisfy licensure requirements

LMHC Programs

A Licensed Mental Health Counselor works with individuals, groups, and communities to improve mental health by encouraging clients to discuss emotions and experiences. Issues such as substance abuse, aging, bullying, anger management, careers, depression, relationships, LGBTQ issues, self-image, stress, and suicide may be addressed.

An LMHC will work with families, help clients define goals, plan action, gain insight, develop therapeutic processes, refer clients to psychologists and other services, and take a holistic (mind and body) approach to mental health care.

MS – Social Work

The work that a Social Worker does is very similar to that of the LMHC. They serve on the front lines in advocating for vulnerable people by helping to change the lives of children and families in need.


Specializations in Masters in Mental Health Counseling Programs

Mental Health Counseling is quite a varied field. Some of the specializations in this area include:

  • Mental Health Counseling
  • Marriage and Family Counseling/Therapy
  • School Counseling
  • Counselor Education and Supervision
  • Addiction Studies

However, if you are not sure that work as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor is for you, there are many ways that other mental health professionals can help their clients. Check our articles on programs in Masters in Behavioral Health, Masters in Psychiatry, Psychotherapy Master’s Degree Online, and Masters in Trauma Counseling Online. We are constantly adding information on additional online master’s programs, so please don’t hesitate to search our web pages again.


Curriculum and Skills Gained in Online Masters in Mental Health Counseling Programs

A program in Online Masters in Mental Health Counseling will examine a range of topics: Assessment, Legal and Ethical Concerns, and Intervention. Each school will have its curriculum. Typical courses will cover:

  • Ethical Issues in Counseling
  • Foundations of Counseling
  • Theory and Process
  • Individual Counseling
  • Research and Evaluation in Behavioral Sciences
  • Human Growth and Development
  • Abnormal Psychology
  • Group Dynamics: Theory and Practice
  • Dynamics of Vocational Development
  • Counseling People with Disabilities
  • Current Perspectives on Women’s Development
  • Substance Abuse Counseling
  • Grief and Bereavement Counseling
  • Introduction to Art Therapy
  • Family Diagnosis and Therapy
  • HIV Prevention and Counseling
  • Counseling Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Adolescents
  • Research in Urban and Minority Education
  • Sexual Decision-Making and Risk-Taking Behavior in Adolescents
  • Trauma: Theoretical and Clinical Perspectives
  • Gestalt Therapy: Overview of Theory and Practice

You’ll also complete lab work and a clinical internship in preparation to meet certification and licensure in all states. This will include 600 hours (300 per semester or about 20 hours per week) during two semesters.


Accreditation for Online Masters in Mental Health Counseling Programs

All of the programs we recommend in this guide are accredited. Institutional and programmatic accreditation is important as it protects you and your investments. Schools hold either regional or national accreditation, ensuring that the curriculum and institution meet certain standards. Employers often prefer graduates from accredited programs.

Online mental health counseling programs often hold accreditation from the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).

Master’s in Psychology and Counseling Accreditation Council (MPCAC) accredits counseling and psychology master’s degree programs located in regionally accredited colleges and universities in the United States that educate students in the science-based practice of counseling and psychological services.

Remember that licensing and certification guidelines for mental health counselors vary by state; be sure to check the guidelines for the region in which you plan to study. For more information about accreditation, check out the best accreditation guide.


Timeline for graduation from Online Masters in Mental Health Counseling Programs

It usually takes about two years to complete the coursework for an Online Master’s in Mental Health Counseling. This should include the required lab work and clinical internship to meet certification and licensure in all states. This is usually 600 hours (300 per semester or about 20 hours per week) during two semesters. Each university will be different. Some will allow you to enroll part-time (which will take longer), and some may have programs that can be completed in just 18 months.


Online Masters in Mental Health Counseling Programs Admission Requirements

While each college establishes specific admission standards, most online master’s in mental health counseling programs maintain some common requirements. Schools typically require candidates to possess a minimum 2.7-3.0 undergraduate GPA. Applicants may also need to submit GRE or GMAT scores. Some programs expect prospective students to have completed certain prerequisite courses or hold a bachelor’s degree in counseling or a related field. Admissions departments may also prefer candidates who have gained work experience through internships or volunteer opportunities.

Each online master’s in mental health counseling program will have its unique curriculum and application process. You will need a bachelor’s degree from an accredited school and supplemental materials like letters of recommendation from professional references, a resume, transcripts, and a personal statement. Here are the typical requirements:

ApplicationOnce you have found the accredited online master’s in Mental Health Counseling program of your choice, you will fill out an online (or paper) application and pay the subsequent application fee.
Test ScoresMany schools require that you submit GRE general test scores or your TOEFL/IELTS scores for international students. Some schools, however, do not require you to submit any test scores at all. However, be prepared to mail GRE General Tests scores or your TOEFL/IELTS scores to your chosen institution.
TranscriptsAll accredited Mental Health Counseling master’s programs require that you send them a copy of your transcript from any postsecondary school you have attended. You can do this by requesting all bachelor’s degree transcripts in advance and uploading the official copy online. Request transcripts in advance of the application deadline, and upload one official copy of each transcript from any postsecondary schools you have attended.
Professional Work HistoryUpload a copy of your most recent resume or curriculum vitae as part of your application.
Essays and Personal StatementsIn most cases, the submission of a personal statement (written in essay form) is required. You may even be required to submit multiple essays to your school of choice to express the intent of your application fully. Below are some common topics that should be mentioned in your statement:
  • Your main academic and personal interests
  • Experiences in school or work that have helped to prepare you for this course of study
  • Why you wish to study for the degree you’ve chosen
  • Why you wish to study at the university
  • Your plans for the future after you earn your degree
Application FeesApplication fees may vary from around $25 to $75 per program.

Online Masters in Mental Health Counseling No GRE Programs

If you already work in the mental health field and wish to advance into the more specialized area of Mental Health Counseling, pursuing an online Master’s degree may be in your future. But what if you’ve been out of school for a while? Do you have to invest time into studying for and taking an entrance exam like the GRE as part of your application process for that master’s? The good news is that many schools with Online Master in Mental Health Counseling programs are transitioning to waiving their GRE requirement.

Schools that do not require the GRE or waive the requirement under certain conditions recognize that other factors can indicate a successful student’s program. Factors such as a high undergraduate GPA, having an advanced degree, or work experience in the mental health field are the most common reasons that can lead to a waiver. Some programs even encourage prospective students to contact their enrollment advisors or admissions counselors to learn other ways to be approved for the waiver. So, if you want to be a mental health counselor but don’t want to go through the process of taking that GRE, here are a few masters in mental health counseling online no GRE programs:

How to Pay for Online Masters in Mental Health Counseling Programs

Students can access many different forms of financial aid, such as scholarships, grants, and fellowships. Federal grants are usually awarded to those demonstrating financial need, while scholarships are typically merit-based awards.

Many private organizations offer scholarships for mental health counseling majors. These scholarships may also be tailored to candidates from underserved populations, such as people of color and LGBTQ+ students, to help their advancement.

You can find scholarships for mental health counseling majors in online databases of scholarships and grants. Additionally, the websites of professional organizations for mental health counseling typically offer scholarships or promote awards from other organizations. For example, Teach.com has a webpage of “25 Counseling Scholarships for Graduate Students.”

Mental Health Counseling majors may benefit from many federally funded grant opportunities. These are usually awarded based on financial need, making it easier for nontraditional students, first-generation college students, and students from underserved areas or populations to find aid.

Most Mental Health Counseling scholarships only allow US citizens who are at least 18 years old to apply. You may position yourself favorably for a scholarship by showing outstanding academic and personal merit by maintaining a high GPA and engaging in extracurricular activities.

Masters in Mental Health Counseling

FAFSA

Seeking financial aid begins with filling out your FAFSA. This allows the federal government to gauge your level of need. Students need to submit their FAFSA results to apply for financial aid at accredited colleges and universities.

Masters in Mental Health Counseling

Financial Assistance for Mental Health Counseling Majors

Students can access several financial assistance resources to help them pay for their studies, such as loans, scholarships, grants, fellowships, and work-study positions. However, different conditions apply for each form of aid, so make sure you research each opportunity carefully.

You can also refer to our webpage Financial Aid for more information.

Masters in Mental Health Counseling

Loans

College loans can usually be secured from the federal government or a private financial institution. Though you must eventually repay a loan, the amount you repay depends on the kind of loan you take out. For instance, federal loans tend to charge lower interest rates than private loans. You can also apply for a subsidized loan, which can decrease the amount of interest you need to pay back.

While loans must be repaid, grants and scholarships do not require repayment. Grants are typically dispersed to students who demonstrate financial need, while scholarships from private entities often target students who meet certain academic standards. Students should exhaust grant and scholarship opportunities before applying for loans.

Masters in Mental Health Counseling

Fellowships

Graduate students may be awarded fellowships to research in their field. Additionally, students who qualify for a work-study program are matched with a part-time job at their school, allowing them to earn money to help pay for their studies.

Masters in Mental Health Counseling

Grants

While loans must be repaid, grants and scholarships do not require repayment. Grants are typically dispersed to students who demonstrate financial need, while scholarships from private entities often target students who meet certain academic standards. Students should exhaust grant and scholarship opportunities before applying for loans.


Scholarships for Masters in Mental Health Counseling Students

Here are a few scholarships for Masters in Mental Health Counseling students:

NameFromAmountInformation
Clinton E. Phillips ScholarshipCalifornia Association of Marriage and Family TherapistsMinimum of $4,000The scholarship is for students studying marriage and family counseling who are obtaining an advanced degree.
NBCFF Minority Fellowship ProgramFunded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services AdministrationUp to $20,000The program seeks to improve mental health resources and the availability of marriage and family therapists to underserved minority populations.
David H. and Beverly A. Barlow GrantAmerican Psychological Foundation$8,500Supports graduate students who are researching anxiety and anxiety-related disorders.

Our webpage on Scholarships also has some useful information.

FAQs about Masters in Mental Health Counseling Programs

Q: What is Clinical Mental Health Counseling?
A: A clinical mental health counselor’s job entails assessing clients’ mental and emotional wellbeing. They diagnose patients and determine treatment plans. Specific job functions vary depending on the workplace.
Q: Is a degree in Mental Health Counseling worth it?
A: A master’s in clinical mental health counseling can jumpstart a graduate’s career as a school counselor, health educator, outpatient therapist, or substance abuse counselor. Mental health counselors help individuals and groups by focusing on prevention. They may opt to work with teenagers, the elderly, or incarcerated individuals.
Q: How long does it take to get a Master’s in Mental Health Counseling?
A: The journey to becoming a clinical mental health counselor includes four years to earn a bachelor’s degree and two years to get a master’s degree. Part-time students often take longer to graduate. Mental health counselors also need a license to work in a clinical setting, requiring completing supervised clinical hours.
Q: What is an LMHC degree?
A: An LMHC is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, a specific licensure track for those interested specifically in Mental Health and Illness.
Q: Where to study Mental Health Counseling?
A: There are dozens, if not hundreds, of universities offering advanced degrees in Mental Health Counseling. See our lists of the “Best” and “Most Affordable” Mental Health Counseling programs.
Q: Who can study Mental Health Counseling?
A: As long as you meet the requirements, anyone with the desire to work in Mental Health Counseling may apply.

Careers and Salary Outlook for Masters in Mental Health Counseling Graduates

Before Covid-19 brought the world to its knees, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projected a 25% job growth rate for substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors through 2029. Employers were expected to add 79,000 positions at that time. Employment for mental health counselors should particularly increase in rural areas lacking healthcare services.

Specifically, a master’s in clinical mental health counseling can jumpstart your career as a:

  1. School Counselor
  2. Health Educator
  3. Outpatient Therapist
  4. Substance Abuse Counselor

Mental health counselors help individuals and groups by:

  1. Focusing on Prevention
  2. Working with Teenagers
  3. Work with the Elderly
  4. Working with Incarcerated Individuals

Pursuing an online MA in mental health counseling can increase your earning potential and optimize your career-related opportunities. Some of these opportunities include working in both the private and public sectors. An accredited online master’s in mental health counseling can offer you the skills and clinical experience needed to have a career in family services, outpatient care, government, hospitals, schools, and private practices. Becoming a practicing mental health counselor can expose you to various demographics and populations that require specific and tailored care and attention – and can be an incredibly rewarding career path. Some of these specific populations include the elderly, the incarcerated, teenagers, and families.

Below are some mental health counseling related careers and salaries according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics: External link

  • Mental Health Supervisor
  • College Career Counselor
  • Substance Abuse Counselor
  • Rehabilitation Counselor
  • Marriage and Family Counselor

It is important to keep in mind that some of these related careers require additional certifications – but many can be obtainable with a master’s degree in counseling. You can get more information about what additional certifications are required through your school’s website.

Certifications and Licensing for Mental Health Counseling Graduates

A master’s in clinical mental health counseling is required for counseling licensure in all states. To protect public safety, states establish licensure or certification standards for health and human services professionals. Professional counselors are required by law in every state, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico to be licensed to legally practice as professional counselors.

Licensure laws establish minimum standards in the areas of education, examination, and experience. Each state has established a board responsible for issuing licenses, handling consumer and ethical complaints regarding counselors’ practice, and issuing and enforcing such regulations necessary in overseeing the profession. In some cases, a single board is responsible for overseeing the practice of counseling and one or more similar groups of professionals (e.g., clinical social workers or marriage and family therapists).

States require applicants for licensure to obtain a master’s degree in counseling; many require specific coursework. The majority of states require individuals to complete 60 semester hours of graduate study, including a 48-semester hour master’s degree. All states require that counseling graduate programs be accredited, either by a counseling-specific accrediting organization or by a regional graduate education accrediting body.

Applicants for licensure are required to obtain a minimum amount of supervised experience before being licensed. Typically, states require individuals to accumulate between 2,000 and 3,000 hours of supervised experience within a certain time period, including a specific number of face-to-face supervision hours. Several states have established more than one level of licensure for counselors to establish formal criteria both for full independent practice and for counseling graduates in the process of accumulating supervision hours.


Examinations

All states require licensure applicants to pass a comprehensive examination on counseling practice. The tests recognized by states include the following:

  1. National Counselor Examination (NCE): Administered by the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC), this is the most common exam used by states in the credentialing process.
  2. National Clinical Mental Health Counselor Examination (NCMHCE): Also administered by NBCC, this examination focuses more specifically on mental health practice and is used by a number of states for licensure.
  3. Certified Rehabilitation Counselor Examination (CRCE): Administered by the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC), the passage of this exam is also accepted in some states for meeting testing requirements for licensure.
  4. Examination of Clinical Counselor Practice (ECCP): Also administered by NBCC, the passage of the ECCP is required to obtain the Certified Clinical Mental Health Counselor (CCMHC) credential issued by NBCC (passage of the NCMHCE is also accepted). Some states consider the CCMHC credential to meet all or part of the requirements for licensure but may not accept the passage of the ECCP examination.
  5. For general information on these examinations, contact the National Board for Certified Counselors at 336-547-0607. The Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification can be reached at 847-944-1325. For state-specific information on examination requirements, please contact the appropriate state board.

Additional Resources for Mental Health Counseling Professionals

Here are a few other resources that will be useful for Mental Health Counseling students.

Credential Titles and Levels

According to the American Counseling Association within the United States, several different titles are used to identify professional counselors. Though the counseling profession has endorsed LPC as the recommended title, the following are the most common:

  1. Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC)
  2. Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC)
  3. Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC)
  4. Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor of Mental Health (LPCC)
  5. Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor (LCMHC)
  6. Licensed Mental Health Practitioner (LMHP)

Obtaining an Associate License (titles vary by state) is often required for applicants who have met the education and exam requirements but have not yet met the supervised experience requirement. Examples of such titles include Licensed Associate Counselor (LAC), Licensed Professional Counselor Associate (LPCA), Licensed Graduate Professional Counselor, counselor-in-training, and Clinical Resident.


Licensure Renewal

Most states require professional counselors to earn continuing education credits on an annual or biennial basis to renew their credentials.


Code of Ethics

All states require that counselors conduct themselves ethically, in accordance with generally accepted standards of practice. Several states specifically require counselors to abide by the American Counseling Association’s Code of Ethics, as most recently revised and updated in 2014. For more information regarding the ACA Code of Ethics, visit the ACA Web site.


Organizations

The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) is an independent agency, recognized by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation, which accredits master’s degree programs in mental health counseling and other counseling specialties. Many states require that licensure applicants’ counseling graduate degrees include a curriculum based on the CACREP model, even if full accreditation by CACREP is not required. CACREP-accredited counseling programs require coursework in eight core areas and a supervised practicum and internship.

For more information, or to view a listing of CACREP-accredited counseling graduate programs, visit CACREP online.

The Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE) is an affiliate of CACREP, recognized by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation, which accredits master’s degree programs in rehabilitation counseling. CORE accredits programs meeting criteria in providing graduates who have the skills, knowledge, and attitudes necessary to provide rehabilitation counseling services to individuals with physical, mental, and/or emotional disabilities. At this time, it is anticipated that CORE and CACREP will merge in 2017. For more information, visit CORE online.

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