Clinical Mental Health Counseling Courses You Might Take
A common question from students considering this degree field may surround the type of courses they may be required to take while in the Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program. In order to quality for accreditation, degree programs must contain a specific set of classes within their curriculum.
This can make the search a little easier for upcoming students, since they know that accredited programs should contain similar coursework regardless of where they are found. Each university may provide a different layout of courses, different sequences, and even varying deliveries of information throughout their program. Depending on where you enroll, you may have a slightly different experience that people in other masters programs.
The courses that may be included within your degree program may include those that focus specifically on the care of patients with mild to severe mental health disorders. Some course work may also focus on working with clients that may be showing signs of mental illness and are in need of assessment. The degree programs common throughout the United States may begin with an introduction into the origination of mental health fields and move quickly into the theoretical foundations of mental health treatment, ethics, and practice in the clinical setting.
Our team of educational experts has years of experience in researching educational programs in different fields. This team recommends that students review the curriculum of their chosen program prior to making a decision on which university to apply to. Small differences between the curricula of different programs can make a big difference in what you learn while enrolled in your program. Take a look below at some of the common courses that can be found within online Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling degree programs.
- Counseling and Psychotherapy Theories: In order to be an effective clinical mental health professional, students should have a wide range of knowledge of the different theories pertaining to counseling and psychotherapy. There are currently hundreds of theories for students to search through – each with their own special contribution to the field of mental health. Students within this course can research these theories, identify shortcomings, and acknowledge the positive influence that each of these theories can provide to clinical mental health counseling. Students may also have the opportunity to apply information from these theories to scenarios through course room assignments.
- Multicultural Counseling: As a clinical mental health counselor, professionals may often work with people from varying backgrounds, religions, ethnicities, and even sexual orientations. Courses such as this one can provide a foundation of understanding for students that may work with multicultural groups in the field, so that all people can receive the same level of quality when receiving treatment. This course may also encourage students to embrace diversity and provide an even quality of service to all clients, regardless of their individual traits. Students in this course may be encouraged to further educate themselves about the people within the communities, their norms, and their beliefs.
- Psychopharmacology: Working in the mental health field may include the need for knowledge into the medications that can be used to treat mental health disorders. Students within this course can learn more about psychotropic medications, their effects of the human body, and the psychological side effects of each one. This knowledge can assist professionals in assessing the symptoms of clients that may be taking prescribed medication, as well as help counselors determine which medications might be the best options for their clients depending on their diagnosis. This course may also include a look into psychopharmacological interventions common throughout the United States.
Step-by-Step Requirements for Licensure
The below is not necessarily a comprehensive step-by-step outline for getting your counseling licensure. Each state is different, be sure to check out your state for specific counseling licensure requirements.
- Accredited Masters Degree Completion: First and foremost, prospects in counseling licensure should locate a degree program that can promote their success in the field of clinical mental health counseling. Regardless of which state you reside in, you may be required to engage in a masters program that is currently accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). This organization reviews educational programs to ensure that they consist of the required sequence of courses and provide a high-quality educational program for upcoming clinical professionals. Completion of an accredited masters program can be your first step to becoming a licensed counselor in the future.
- Supervised Clinical Experience: Completing a masters degree program is not the only step in your journey to licensure. Since counseling is such an effective method of providing care to the public, professionals must have thorough training prior to receiving the clearance to provide services to people in the field. The supervised clinical experience requirement is present in every state, and may require that student engage in 3,000 to 3,500 hours of clinical experience prior to being approved for licensure. Different state may have varying specifications for this requirement, but most require that half of your hours be completed under the direct supervision of a licensed professional counselor and the other half be completed in a clinical environment.
- Examination: Clinical mental health providers must also successfully pass the National Counselor Examination prior to applying for licensure within their state. This test may consist of clinical elements that can test a student’s ability to perform assessments, implement treatment plans, and identify ethical dilemmas while working in the field. After completing this test, students can then move forward to filing documentation with their state to pursue their license to practice.
- Licensure Application: Depending on which state you reside in, the documentation requirements for a licensure application may vary. Most states require that students provide proof of completion of an accredited masters degree program, documentation showing supervised clinical experience, and proof of completion of the National Counselor Examination. From that point, students may be required to complete a state law examination specific to their state. Meeting these requirements may then qualify applicants for licensure in counseling within their state.