The field of counseling may have long been an area in which people could connect with others in need of guidance. If you were to review some of the specialized fields of counseling, you may find that counseling professionals can be useful in many different aspects of everyday life - especially those that can involve dramatic or large-scale change.
Counseling degree programs can be a great resource for upcoming professionals with the desire to help guide others through difficult life circumstances or even assist people with managing the side effects of diagnosed mental health disorders.
Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling
The Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling is a degree program that was designed to help train students on the assessment of clients that may show symptoms of mental health disorders, help students learn how to create helpful treatment plans based on the theoretical foundations of counseling, and assist current students in learning how to make suggestions for healthier lifestyles.
Each masters program may have a slightly different layout, making your research into the right program an important step in finding one that meet all of your needs. If you want to learn more about programs currently available and the results they can provide for you, read more in this helpful guide below.
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Master of Clinical Mental Health Counseling Programs of Interest
So, you know that you might be interested in becoming a clinical mental health professional. What do you do now? Your next best step may be to review what is currently available to you in the educational realm.
All over the United States, counseling degree programs are currently accepting applications from qualified and dedicated students willing to go the extra mile to be a helpful counseling professional. Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling may be offered both online and in-person, which can be a great feature for current professionals that cannot give up their current career in order to continue their education.
Choosing the right school for your program should consist of a few different considerations. If you are looking to become a licensed counselor after graduation, you should seek out degree programs that are currently accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). This organization's accreditation is required in order for a degree program to lead to licensure, so always locate this confirmation on a degree program prior to submitting your application. Also, if you have the ability to engage in full-time learning, you should consider the length of time it can take you to complete each program.
Several Clinical Mental Health Counseling Programs
In an effort to help make your search a little easier, our team of educational experts has reviewed a list of degree programs currently provided by the CACREP. In the list below, you can read a little about each program to see if any meet your expectations.
- North Carolina Central University: North Carolina Central University may take a different approach at training upcoming clinical mental health counseling professionals. This university may focus on the needs of diverse population within their degree program, in hopes of creating counseling professionals that can be guidance experts in any social setting. This degree program may require that students complete 3 years of educational training, which may include internship components in the field. This online degree option can be great for current professionals seeking advancement within the field of counseling.
- Northwestern University: The online Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Northwestern University can be a great option for students that are seeking supervision components within their degree program. This CACREP-accredited degree program can allow students to engage in face-to-face experience opportunities, supervision hours, and internships within the provided curriculum. This added benefit to this program may be what makes it so attractive for upcoming students in clinical mental health counseling. Students enrolled in this program may be able to complete it within 3 years.
- Malone University: Universities such as Malone University may understand the need for convenience and flexibility for masters-level students. This school currently provides an online Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling for students with the desire to help others in need. This program may include coursework that can further educate students about the symptoms of common mental health disorders, treatment methods to assist clients with dealing with issues, and ethical guidelines for professionals to follow along their journey. Students can choose to pursue their degree at a full-time or part-time rate, which can influence how long it takes them to complete their program in total.
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.
Job Roles and Responsibilities
The role of the clinical mental health professional can vary depending on what a client needs. Professionals within this field may assess new clients to determine what level of services they may require, as well as administer testing to determine if the client has any mental health disorders that may need diagnosed. After this step, professional counselors may work with the client to determine an effective treatment plan that may include different kinds of therapy. Speaking with families or other concerned parties, checking progress, and conducting needed therapies may also be a big part of what these professionals do on a regular basis. Counselors within this field can work with people with a broad range of mental health issues, including some of the disorders and issues listed below.
- Personality Disorders
What can I earn as a Clinical Mental Health Counselor?
- Mental Health Counselor: $46,050 on average per year (BLS).
- Mental Health Counseling - Mental Health Facilities and Substance Abuse Centers: $42,140 on average per year (BLS).