Online Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

One of the most prominent fields for counseling professionals to find training and employment is clinical mental health. This specialty field can be a great choice for people who have an interest in psychology since clients within this field may present with varying symptoms that must be assessed and researched.

Not only is entering the mental health field a deeply rewarding one, but it can be financially lucrative. According to many reports, including one by U.S. News and World Report, there is an ongoing shortage of mental health practitioners throughout the United States. This means that individuals who obtain a master's in clinical mental health counseling — including those who get a master's in clinical mental health counseling online — are likely to benefit from rising salaries over time.

Consider an online counseling program: Earn a CACREP-accredited master’s in counseling online top-10 ranked Northwestern University in as few as 18 months. GRE not required. Bachelor's required. Learn more.
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Who Can Benefit From a Master's in Clinical Mental Health Counseling?

If you are the type of person who enjoys searching for answers and helping people solve complex issues, you could be a great addition to this field. The first step you should take toward achieving your goal of working with patients that are showing symptoms of or have been diagnosed with mental health disorders is to locate a master's in clinical mental health counseling degree program to begin your training.

If you are unable to enroll in a traditional program to obtain a master's in clinical mental health counseling, you may want to consider earning a master's in clinical mental health counseling online. In many ways, earning a master's in clinical mental health counseling online is more convenient than traditional learning opportunities. It may also have a more flexible schedule. Obtaining a master's in clinical mental health counseling online can be a great way of earning your desired degree while still allowing you to work your full-time job.

The field of counseling has 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 might find that counseling professionals can be useful in many different aspects of everyday life — especially those that 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.

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Master's in Clinical Mental Health Counseling CACREP Accredited Programs

Throughout this article, you may have noticed the use of the term "CACREP Accredited." CACREP stands for the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs. Accredited programs have to meet rigorous standards in order to qualify for such accreditation. The advantages of earning a master's in clinical mental health counseling — either in-person or online — are numerous. If you earn a master's in clinical mental health counseling CACREP accredited, you are ensured that your program meets a minimum expectation in terms of program breadth and academic rigor. This applies to master's in clinical mental health counseling programs on campus and master's in clinical mental health counseling online programs.
According to CACREP's website, there are 917 programs that are CACREP accredited. This includes a wide array of master's in clinical mental health counseling and master's in clinical mental health counseling online programs. Examples include:

  • Adams State University
  • Bowling Green State University
  • New Mexico State University
  • Texas State University
☰ For detailed degree information, view the guides to:
Online CACREP Accredited programs | Online MPCAC Accredited programs

Master's in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

The master's in clinical mental health counseling is a degree program that trains students on the assessment of clients who may show symptoms of mental health disorders. It helps students learn how to create helpful treatment plans based on the theoretical foundations of counseling. It also teaches students how to make suggestions for healthier lifestyles.
Every master's program is slightly different, making your research into the right program an important step in finding one that meets 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.

Why Get a Master's in Clinical Mental Health Counseling Online Degree?

There are many advantages that come with getting a master's in clinical mental health counseling.
Earning a master's in clinical mental health counseling will give you a chance to learn more advanced skills. This can increase your knowledge base, skill set, and overall performance. In turn, it can broaden your possible career opportunities. It can also increase the range of patients you work with: Earning a master's in clinical mental health counseling can put you in a position where you specialize in certain areas.

A master's degree can also be a highly flexible degree in terms of how you earn it. Master's degrees are often geared toward people who are already in the workforce. This means that the classes available for people who take master's-level courses are often at night or on weekends. Furthermore, there are many options to earn a master's in clinical mental health counseling online.

Finally, it's also worth noting that professionals with a master's in clinical mental health typically earn higher salaries than counselors who do not have an advanced degree.

Master's in Clinical Mental Health Salary

There is no question that earning a master's in clinical mental health counseling can also benefit you from a financial point of view.

According to Payscale, a master's in clinical mental health salary will translate into a median salary of $51,000, with an upward range as high as $92,000. The same article has noted that earning a higher degree typically translates into higher earnings potential at all ranges of the pay scale.

In other words: A master's in clinical mental health counseling will have a positive impact on your salary.

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. Keep in mind that this can be via a master’s in clinical mental health counseling on-campus program or by obtaining a master’s in clinical mental health counseling online.

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 helpful counseling professionals. A master’s in clinical mental health counseling may be offered both online and in-person, which can be a great feature for current professionals who cannot give up their current careers 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.

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 to training upcoming clinical mental health counseling professionals. This university may focus on the needs of a diverse population within their degree program in hopes of creating counseling professionals who can be guidance experts in any social setting. This degree program may require that students complete three 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 master’s in clinical mental health counseling at Northwestern University can be a great option for students who are seeking supervision components within their degree program. This CACREP-accredited degree program allows 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 three years.

Malone University

Universities such as Malone University may understand the need for convenience and flexibility for master’s-level students. This school currently provides an online master’s 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.

Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling Courses

A common question from students considering this degree field may surround the type of courses they may be required to take while in the master’s in clinical mental health counseling program. In order to qualify 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 than people in other master’s 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 coursework 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 to the origination of mental health fields and move quickly into the theoretical foundations of mental health treatment, ethics, and practice in the clinical setting.

Finally, keep in mind that some courses may have online options. If you want to earn a master’s in clinical mental health counseling online, make sure to check and see if your program is fully in-person, fully online, or a hybrid model.

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 master’s 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 its 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 clinical mental health counselors, 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.


Working in the mental health field may include the need for knowledge of the medications that can be used to treat mental health disorders. Students within this course can learn more about psychotropic medications, their effects on the human body, and the psychological side effects of each. 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 license. Each state is different, be sure to check out your state’s specific counseling licensure requirements.

  1. Accredited Master’s 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 master’s 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 master’s program can be your first step to becoming a licensed counselor in the future.
  2. Supervised Clinical Experience: Completing a master’s 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 students engage in 3,000 to 3,500 hours of clinical experience prior to being approved for licensure. Different states 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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 master’s 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 to be 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.

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Personality Disorders
  • Stress
  • Grief/Loss
  • Sexuality
  • Bullying

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