Prepare to meet growing demand for licensed counselors and make a difference in your community with a master’s in clinical mental health counseling. Counseling professionals help people cope with personal challenges and lead happier, more resilient lives. As more Americans recognize the benefits of counseling to improve their mental health, strengthen their relationships and remove the barriers to achieving their goals, this field will only continue to flourish.
- What Can You Do with a Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling?
- How to Get a Mental Health Counseling Degree Online
- Is a Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling Worth It?
- Curriculum and Degree Requirements
- Program Goals and Objectives
- Admission Requirements
- CACREP Assessment
With a master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling, you can make a positive impact as a counselor in a number of settings, including:
- Private Practice
- Clinical Mental Health Centers
- Community Agencies
- University Counseling Centers
- Correctional Facilities
Clinical counseling is a branch of psychology concerned with treating people for mental health as well as emotional and relationship issues. A master’s in clinical mental health counseling program covers the skills needed to assess patients, diagnose mental disorders—like anxiety and depression—and deliver effective treatment. You’ll learn both the theory and practice of working closely with patients in individual, group, and family settings. You’ll also explore counseling strategies for diverse populations—from children to the elderly.
Many counseling roles require a master’s degree. This is especially true if you intend to provide certain kinds of services, like one-on-one counseling sessions. In addition, all states require mental health counselors to earn a license. Check with your state to learn more about education requirements for licensure.
An educational background in mental health counseling could also prepare you for a variety of other career paths in the human services field. These may include:
- Health Educator
- Community Health Worker
- Social Administrator
- Rehabilitation Counselor
- Regulatory Affairs Director
- Postsecondary Teacher
Online learning offers a flexible way to pursue your graduate degree in clinical mental health counseling on your own schedule. Here’s how to get started:
- Map your career path. Don’t wait until after graduation to decide you want to become a licensed professional counselor (LPC). The amount and type of education needed for counseling roles varies based on where you plan to work. So, you’ll need to choose a mental health counseling program that fulfills your state’s licensure requirements.
- Choose your program. Not every online mental health counseling program covers the in-person experience you need to gain expertise as a counselor and pursue licensure in your state. Look for a program that includes practicum and internship experiences in your community. In addition, consider choosing a program accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). CACREP accredits programs that meet national standards of quality and relevance to the counseling profession. University of the Cumberlands is one of the only higher education institutions to offer CACREP-accredited programs online.
- Pursue your studies. Students can earn a master’s in clinical mental health counseling in as few as two years of full-time study. If you plan to pursue licensure, don’t forget to factor in time to fulfill a period of post-degree supervised clinical work, a time requirement that varies by state.
For many students, earning a master’s in clinical mental health counseling is an investment in a rewarding career helping others live their best lives. Consider the following reasons to earn your master’s in this growing field:
- High demand. In coming years, jobs should be plentiful for licensed mental health counselors. Projected growth for this career path (together with substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors) should reach 23 percent by 2030—much faster than average for all professions. This is due to an increase in the number of people seeking counseling, including populations like military veterans. In addition, rural and underserved communities are in particular need of mental health counselors.
- A career to build a life around. In 2021, the top 10 percent of mental health counselors earned over $77,980 per year, and the median salary for this role was $48,520. Some counselors may go on to start a private practice, pursue roles in leadership or even teach at the postsecondary level.
- Job satisfaction. Counseling is a chance to guide patients through difficult times, such as grief, mental illness or relationship problems. For the right person, helping patients improve their mental health and happiness is the greatest reward.
The online Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at University of the Cumberlands is designed to prepare students for leadership and service as licensed counselors. As with all of UC’s graduate counseling programs, this program features 48 credit hours of core coursework in counseling, including psychological assessment in clinical practice, human growth and development, and counseling during grief and crisis. Our curriculum includes a 100-hour practicum and two 300-hour counseling internships, so you’ll have the opportunity to apply your skills in a real-world context. The program also requires 12 additional credit hours of specialized courses in clinical mental health counseling:
• Private Practice and Clinical Supervision
• Marriage and Family Counseling
• Child and Adolescent Counseling
• Process and Techniques in Counseling
As an institution grounded in Christian principles and leadership through service, University of the Cumberlands seeks to foster empathy, personal responsibility and a drive to change the world. After earning your graduate degree in clinical mental health counseling, you will be able to demonstrate sound ethical values and compassion for humanity. And, you’ll be ready to pursue licensure and start making a difference as a counselor-leader.
Department of Counseling Sample Syllabi
*The syllabi in this folder are samples and may not reflect the most current syllabus content
Goal 1: Facilitate professional counselor identity development aligned with the ACA Code of Ethics.
- 1.1 Participation in the M.A. program will increase knowledge of the ACA code of ethics. (CACREP 2016 II. F.1.i, j, k, l, m; F.5.d)
- 1.2 The program makes continuous and systematic efforts to provide opportunities to develop counselor identity. (CACREP 2016 I.F, I.I, I.M, I.N, I.P, I.S, I.W, I.X, II.1.a-h)
- 1.3 Participation in the M.A. program will increase student knowledge of and involvement in counseling organizations and professional development (CACREP 2016 II C, F.1.f)
Goal 2: Prepare culturally competent counselors to serve diverse populations.
- 2.1 The program makes continuous and systematic efforts to hire/enroll and retain diverse faculty and students (CACREP 2016 I.K, I.Q)
- 2.2 Participation in the M.A. program will increase student knowledge of theories, models, and competencies related multicultural counseling, cultural identity development, social justice, and advocacy (CACREP 2016 II. F.2.b, c.)
- 2.3 Participation in the M.A. program will increase student skill in addressing cultural factors relevant to clinical mental health, including heritage, beliefs, help-seeking behaviors, and the impact of power and privilege on counselors and clients (CACREP 2016 II. F.2.d, e, f; AC 3.j; CMHC 2.j)
Goal 3: Develop an understanding of developmental theory and persons in context across the lifespan
- 3.1 Participation in the M.A. program will increase student knowledge in developmental theory across the lifespan, theories of learning, as well as normal and abnormal personality development. (CACREP 2016 II. F.3.a, F.3.b, F.3.c)
- 3.2 Participation in the M.A. program will increase student knowledge of effects of crises on persons of all ages and strategies for optimal development and wellness over the lifespan. (CACREP 2016 II. F.3.g, F.3.i)
Goal 4: Prepare students to effectively apply career development theory, acknowledging related life-work roles and factors.
- 4.1 Participation in the M.A. program will increase student knowledge in career development theory, resources, and interventions (CACREP 2016 II. F.4.a, c, j)
- 4.2 Participation in the M.A. program will increase student skill in assessing abilities, interests, values, personality, work environment, and other factors that contribute to career development, planning, and decision making (CACREP 2016 II. F.4.d,e,i)
Goal 5: Prepare counselors who demonstrate effective counseling skills and techniques.
- 5.1 Participation in the M.A. program will increase student knowledge of theories, skills, and differentiated approaches to client conceptualization and treatment in clinical mental health counseling (CACREP 2016 II F.3.h, F.5.a, F.5.b, F.5.g, MAC 1.b, 1.d)
- 5.2 Participation in the M.A. program fieldwork courses will increase student effectiveness in developing relevant outcomes, treatment plans, and culturally relevant strategies for establishing and maintaining counseling relationships (CACREP 2016 II F.5.d, F.5.h, F.5.i, CMHC 3.b)
- 5.3 The M.A. program will provide opportunity for students to receive formative and summative evaluations of counseling performance from site and university supervisors during fieldwork courses (CACREP 2016 III B, C, H, I, L, M)
Goal 6: Prepare counselors who demonstrate effective group counseling skills and techniques.
- 6.1 Participation in the M.A. program will increase student knowledge of ethical and culturally relevant strategies for designing and facilitating groups, including theoretical foundations and therapeutic factors (CACREP 2016 II. F.6.a,c,g)
- 6.2 The M.A. program will provide opportunity for students to participate as a member of a counseling group (CACREP 2016 II. F.6.h)
- 6.3 Participation in the fieldwork component of the M.A. program will increase student skill in leading or co-leading psychoeducational or counseling groups (CACREP 2016 III.E)
Goal 7: Develop counselors who are effective with assessment, diagnosis, and intervention planning.
- 7.1 Participation in the M.A. program will increase student knowledge in using assessments for diagnostic and intervention planning, including identifying trauma or risk for harm (CACREP 2016 II F.7.c, F.7.d, F.7.e, CMHC 2.d)
- 7.2 Participation in the fieldwork component of the M.A. program will increase student skill in using assessment results in an ethical and culturally relevant way to diagnose developmental, behavioral, and mental disorders (CACREP 2016 II F.7.l, F.7.m)
Goal 8: Prepare counselors to effectively utilize research in clinical practice and program evaluation.
- 8.1 Participation in the program will increase students’ knowledge of quantitative research, qualitative research, and program evaluation (CACREP 2016 II, F.8.f.,g.,h.)
- 8.2 Participation in the program will increase students’ understanding of the ethical and legal considerations of research (CACREP 2016 II, F.8.j.)
- 8.3 Participation in the program will prepare counselors to analyze and use peer-reviewed research data to inform assessment, interventions, and treatment planning. (CACREP 2016 II, F.8.a.,b.,e., i)
Goal 9: Promote the attitudes and dispositions that facilitate academic success and effective counseling.
- 9.1 The program will evaluate students on their professional dispositions and performance consistent with institutional due process policies and the counseling profession’s ethical codes and standards of practice (CACREP 2016 I.O)
- 9.2 The M.A. program faculty will systematically assess student dispositions and provide referrals for student remediation as needed (CACREP 2016 I O)
- 9.3 The M.A. program will increase student knowledge about counselor characteristics that influence the counseling process (CACREP 2016 II F.5.f)
Goal 10: Equip students with the foundational knowledge and skills that prepare them to seek licensure as a professional counselor.
- 10.1 The M.A. program will provide information regarding eligibility for licensure as a professional counselor in multiple formats throughout the duration of the program (CACREP 2016 I M, N, II F.1.g)
- 10.2 The M.A. program fieldwork courses will provide opportunities to develop the individual and group counseling skills to prepare for licensure as a professional counselor (CACREP 2016 III E, F, G, J, K)
Costs for programs of study at University of the Cumberlands are competitive and affordable. Click here to view tuition rates and fees.
Click here to view admission requirements, admission cycles, and application deadlines.
The CACREP Council accredits the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program, Addiction Counseling program, PhD in Counselor Education & Supervision, and the related Doctorate of Educational Leadership Online (EdD) Program. CACREP is a specialized accrediting body recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) that accredits counselor-preparation graduate degree programs. For more information, visit https://www.cacrep.org.
CACREP Outcomes for the Department of Counseling at University of Cumberlands:
Click here to view University of the Cumberlands' accreditation information.
Click here to view a list of the clinical mental health faculty.