Master in Mental Health Counseling Degrees

A master’s in mental health counseling paves the way to becoming a licensed and professional guidance counselor, developing the skills needed to create a positive relationship with clients and giving them the treatment needed for mental wellness.

Requiring around two years less education than a doctoral degree, the degree allows for less time in school and more time working in the field. In a master’s program, students will find that the curriculum is more major-based and specific. Take some time to learn more about what this kind of program entails, and the kinds of careers it will empower you to pursue.

Consider an online counseling program: The counseling field is in need of qualified, compassionate professionals like you to meet the demand for services. In Walden's clinical mental health counseling and school counseling dual degree program, you’ll gain the insights and hands-on training to positively impact the lives of children, adults, and families. Learn more.
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Finding a CACREP-Accredited Clinical Mental Health Counseling Degree Program

Prospective students should only consider mental health counseling degree programs that are accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). CACREP accredited counseling programs offer the highest quality of courses with rigid standards that a school curriculum must adhere to.

Other advantages include more employment options, a better pathway through the licensing process, and an upper hand when applying for a doctoral degree.

Consider a Featured Online Counseling Program

☰ For detailed degree information, view the guides to:
Online CACREP Accredited programs | Online MPCAC Accredited programs

Online Mental Health Counseling Degree Programs

Finding an online mental health counseling degree program allows you to learn at your own pace, and to enjoy some flexibility. These programs offer the same education as traditional on-campus programs and are good options for those with full-time jobs or other commitments.

Our Lady of the Lake University

Our Lady of the Lake University is one of the premier options for pursuing a master in mental health counseling degree. Its program encompasses 60 semester hours and provides students with the clinical concepts and practical skills necessary to address a range of issues in a counseling context.

Some examples of courses that are offered in this program are:

  • Human Development Across the Lifespan
  • Clinical Diagnosis
  • Career Counseling
  • Multicultural Counseling
  • Child and Adolescent Counseling
  • University of New Haven

    The program offered at the University of New Haven equips students to diagnose, treat, and prevent mental health and emotional problems as well as promote overall mental well-being. New Haven’s program is designed to prepare students for a wide range of vocational contexts, including work in academic settings, social service agencies, and substance abuse centers.

    The 60-credit program is specifically designed to meet the program requirements to be a Connecticut licensed professional counselor (LPC), though the skills translate to counseling licensure in other states as well.

    Choosing this program will allow you to pick from one of three concentrations:

  • General
  • Community Development
  • Forensic Mental Health
  • What Will You Learn in Mental Health Counseling Degree Programs?

    Mental health counseling program courses may include material pertaining to normal and abnormal mental health, introduction to psychological pharmaceuticals, and even therapy. Accredited programs give students experience with the historic and theoretical concepts in psychology as well as introduce new techniques for application.

    Students will work in the classroom and in laboratory settings so that they can fully comprehend the research aspect as well as the application of the different applications of mental health counseling.

    Mental health counseling degree programs will prepare you to sit for licensure, but more important, to make a positive impact on behalf of the clients you serve. Here are just a few examples of common mental health degree course areas:

  • Assessment and Evaluation in Counseling
  • Diagnosis of Emotional and Mental Disorders
  • Group Counseling
  • Prevention and Intervention in Crisis and Trauma
  • Human Development
  • Common Mental Health Degree Course Areas


    • Assessment and Evaluation in Counseling
    • Diagnosis of Emotional and Mental Disorders
    • Group Counseling
    • Prevention and Intervention in Crisis and Trauma
    • Human Development

    Gaining Work Experience in Mental Health Counseling

    Every state requires that graduate degree holders take part in 1-2 years of supervised work experience, varying state to state. This requirement can be completed after the degree program has been completed or in conjunction with the appropriate degree program. Students must find a licensed mental health counselor that is willing to supervise future mental health counselors in order to complete this requirement.

    Resources are available in each state to assist students with finding a licensed professional to work under. This work experience provides future counselors with the necessary expertise needed to work in the field.

    Willing acceptance of critique during this supervision period is a positive attribute that professionals should use to better their overall practice.

    Preparing for Counseling Licensure 

    In addition to the educational requirements and work experience, students are required to pass the state board exam in their respective state as a last step to becoming licensed. These exams are designed to test different aspects within their specialization to guarantee that the licensees going through the program meet state standards for practice with the public.

    Each state values the integrity of its licensure system, making it a very thorough process regardless of the location. View our state counseling licensure information.

    Licensed Mental Health Counseling Licensure Resources

    Clinical Mental Health Counseling Jobs 

    Following the completion of your master’s in mental health counseling degree, you can choose from many career trajectories. Below are a few examples of common clinical mental health counseling jobs. Note that clinical mental health salaries can vary based on location, role, and experience level.

    Substance Abuse Counselor               

    Millions of Americans suffer from drug and alcohol abuse. Counselors in this profession will study the behavioral patterns of their clients and find out why they need to depend on and experiment with these substances. Based on their evaluation, these counselors will then tackle different obstacles for their clients to overcome addiction.

    According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors earned a median annual salary of $47,660 as of 2020.

    Social Worker              

    Obtaining a degree in mental health counseling may provide a good foundation for a career in social work. Social workers help people cope with a range of issues, including mental health concerns, and may refer their clients to psychiatrists or other therapists. As a social worker, you can find employment in a hospital, community clinic, school, or social services division.

    The BLS reports that social workers earned a median annual salary of $51,760 as of 2020.

    Geriatric Counselor             

    Are you passionate about working with the elderly? Becoming a geriatric counselor can enable you to work one-on-one with older individuals to help them navigate challenges associated with retirement and  aging. Geriatric counselors often find employment in nursing homes, retirement centers, and senior centers.

    According to PayScale, geriatric counselors earned an average annual salary of $49,143 as of September 2021.

    Life Coach               

    A life coach offers a way to develop a plan for people to achieve their goals and maximum potential. This could be a professional or personal effort, such as changing careers or exercising. These counselors evaluate the ongoing relationship and alter these goals when necessary. Encouragement is often necessary, but counselors must have their clients achieve various steps for accountability.

    According to PayScale, the average annual salary for life coaches is $50,514 as of December 2021.

    What Is the Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling Salary?

    According to PayScale, the average annual master’s in clinical mental health counseling salary is $51,000. The BLS projects a job growth of 23% for counselors between 2020 and 2030, much faster than average. 

    The BLS also reports that most counselors work in outpatient mental health and substance abuse centers (18%), followed by individual and family services (16%), hospitals (10%), residential facilities (9%), and the government (9%). 

    Find a Master in Mental Health Counseling Degree 

    Counseling is a varied field full of opportunities. If you’re passionate about helping others, you should consider pursuing a career in counseling — starting with the right education. Each master in mental health counseling program offers unique focuses and specializations to suit your needs and interests. Explore some of the programs accepting applicants and start your career in counseling. 


    Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs, Professional Counseling as a Career Choice

    National Board for Certified Counselors, Understanding Board Certification and Licensure

    Our Lady of the Lake University, Counseling: Mental Health Counseling, MA

    PayScale, Average Geriatric Social Worker with Counseling Skills Salary

    PayScale, Average Life Coach Hourly Pay

    PayScale, Master’s Degree, Mental Health Counseling Degree

    University of New Haven, Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

    U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Social Workers

    U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors

    List of Programs

    Walden University 🗹 Online Masters

    Walden University 🗹 Online Masters

    Northwestern University 🗹 Online 🗗 Masters

    Capella University 🗹 Online Masters

    Liberty University 🗹 Online

    Grand Canyon University 🗹 Online

    NYU Steinhardt 🗹 Online 🗗 Masters

    The Chicago School 🗹 Online

    National University 🗹 Online Courses Start Weekly

    Lamar University 🗹 Online 🗗 Masters

    University of Wisconsin – Superior 🗹 Online 🗗 Masters

    Colorado Christian University 🗹 Online 🗗 Masters

    Butler University 🗹 Online

    Eastern Oregon University 🗹 Online

    Rivier University 🗹 Online

    University of New Haven 🗹 Online

    Our Lady of the Lake University 🗹 Online 🗗 Masters

    University of West Alabama 🗹 Online 🗗 Masters

    Walsh University 🗹 Online 🗗 Masters

    CACREP Accredited Programs

    CACREP (Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs) is the top accrediting board for counseling programs. Below, you will find a list of all of the CACREP accredited counseling programs in .

    Counseling Career Guide

    Still Looking for a Counseling Degree?

    Here are some of the most popular online counseling programs. On each page you will find a detailed write-up of the program, specific courses, and schools that offer that program that are currently accepting applicants.

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