Embrace an active role in improving mental health by earning your online Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Southern New Hampshire University. Clients will find comfort in your guidance as you foster your relationship skills and guide them on a journey to wellness. Seize the opportunity to learn to effectively work with clients experiencing a range of behavioral and emotional issues, from child development problems and trauma to addiction and major mental illness.
Included in our 60-credit online master's program in counseling are two required face-to-face residencies to help strengthen your workforce abilities. SNHU's MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling is based on the curriculum standards of the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) and, as of May 2019, has begun the formal accreditation process.
SNHU's MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling is not currently accredited by CACREP.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), in excess of 43 million American adults battle mental illness problems annually. As you gain the skills to become a clinical mental health counselor, your clients will find comfort in the compassion and applicable knowledge you provide. Foster your experience by supporting a variety of unique clients striving for stability and mental wellness.
Throughout our online master's in counseling program, you'll:
As a private, nonprofit university, SNHU has one mission - to help you envision a successful future for yourself. The benefits of earning your online master's in counseling at SNHU include:
We transform our students’ lives, and through them the lives of the clients and communities they serve. To achieve this, we deliver innovative, experiential counselor education, create an inclusive environment, and nurture authentic relationships. As a result, we empower new generations of counselors who are well-poised to take the next step in their professional journeys, well-prepared to have a positive impact on the lives of others, and who are grounded in ethical practice that promotes unconditional positive regard and cultural humility towards themselves and their clients.
Read our 2018 MA Counseling Annual Data Report.
Apply at any time and receive a decision within days of submitting all required materials. Acceptance decisions are made on a rolling basis throughout the year for our five graduate terms. To apply, simply contact an admission counselor, who can help you explore financial options. Your admission counselor is also available to guide you through the application process, which involves providing undergraduate transcripts and completing a graduate application ($40 fee).
Additional requirements for this program include:
Earning your online master's in counseling is your first step in the path toward licensure as a clinical mental health counselor. The online master's degree in clinical mental health counseling at SNHU is intended to set you up for success in post-graduate fieldwork and help you establish the educational foundation necessary to prepare for the required licensing and entry-level professional counseling exams.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, career opportunities for mental health counselors are expected to increase 19% through 2024, faster than the average of all jobs.* Potential career paths include:
The Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling offered by Southern New Hampshire University is designed to prepare students to meet the educational requirements for licensure in most states.
SNHU's MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling degree does not currently meet the requirements for licensure in Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Ohio and Wisconsin. We are not enrolling students from these states at this time.
It is a student's responsibility to understand the specific requirements of the state in which they intend to apply for licensure and to be aware of any changes to those requirements. If they move to another state, the requirements for licensure will likely be different from the state where they currently reside, and they are responsible for determining the licensure requirements in the state to which they relocate. The American Counseling Association provides a directory of all state professional counselor licensure boards.
In addition to the 60 required academic credits, students must attend two five-day residencies, either in New Hampshire or in additional locations that may be named later. They must also complete at least a 100-hour practicum and two 300-hour internships during the program (some states require additional hours for licensure). In those states where additional practicum and/or internship hours or coursework is required, SNHU will work with students to obtain the additional hours and will make electives available to fulfill additional course requirements wherever possible.
SNHU does not guarantee that the completion of this program will result in state licensure or certification: In addition to successfully completing the educational requirements, students will need to meet other state licensure requirements. Students are responsible for understanding if a background check is required to apply for licensure and for determining if their own circumstances pose any barriers to licensure.
With our 60-credit master's in mental health counseling, you'll immerse yourself in development theory and treatment plans through the guidance of our experienced faculty - licensed counselors with national reputations. Coursework dives into understanding disorders, group dynamics, career assessments, addiction counseling and diverse populations.
The program emulates the profession, as you'll learn by observing, listening and talking. To prepare you for the face-to-face environment that the field requires, this program features video components, two on-site residencies, a 100-hour practicum and a 600-hour internship. (Some states may require additional fieldwork hours.)
Study the historical trends that led to the establishment of counseling as a profession (as distinct from other helping professions), the impact of the profession on society, and the importance of ethical decision-making in the counseling process. Explore personal motivations for wanting to become a professional counselor and begin to articulate a personal identity as a member of the counseling profession. Essential questions addressed include, 'how am I as a counselor?', and 'what is the role of the counselor in facilitating/supporting behavior change?'
This introductory course surveys the major theories of social and emotional development throughout the life-span, including grief and loss. Emphasis is given to the developmental stages and transitions and their relevance to the counseling process.
The course addresses the theories of diversity in counseling. Students examine their assumptions and biases about cultures different from their own and explore their own sense of "otherness." Students discuss these issues with their classmates as a means for developing the ability to converse with and relate to clients with backgrounds other than their own. Student learning in this course is guided by the essential question 'how do I, as a counselor, relate to others who are different from me?'
This course surveys the major theoretical approaches used in counseling. Attention is paid to the nature of theory, and the process of building and validating theories of counseling. Students begin process of formulating their own personal theory of counseling, taking into considering how their values influence who they are as counselors and how their backgrounds may inform their client relationships. Students address essential questions such as, 'How do counselors facilitate change?', 'How does theory inform treatment?' and 'How do the theories that counselors use both clarify and limit their understanding of clients?'
This course presents the basic skills and techniques that form the foundation of the counseling process. The course includes a 5-day, in-person laboratory in which students meet with the counseling faculty for an intensive learning experience to practice and demonstrate their competence in these skills.
Apply the principles of the scientific method to evaluate the efficacy of counseling techniques and community counseling programs. Learn to access and critically evaluate scientific literature and apply the findings to one's work with clients including making determinations/recommendations, writing proposals, and implementing plans.
Learn to identify appropriate assessments, interpret their reliability and validity, and understand how assessment fits in to the broader picture of intake, interviewing, diagnosing, and treatment. Administer several common assessments and evaluate and interpret the results.
Review the major theories of career development. Learn how to help clients explore issues including career choice, leisure, retirement planning, rehabilitation, mid-life career changes, and work-life balance. Learn to administer several commonly utilized career interest assessments.
Explore substance and process addictions with ethical and multicultural considerations. Address scope of practice, current trends and issues related to the field of counseling, distinctions related to licensure, co-occurring disorders, and relevant assessments.
Understand the value of and controversies involved in using medically based systems of diagnosis in the counseling profession. Learn to make diagnoses using the DSM and relevant standardized assessment methods and to consider client issues from alternative perspectives. Consider the legal, ethical, and multicultural issues inherent in diagnosing clients.
Address the theoretical foundations of group counseling and the stages of group development. Demonstrate an initial understanding of the dynamics of group sessions. Explore ethics and multicultural aspects specific to the various types of groups.
Explore various forms of crisis, trauma, and disaster that may impact the lives of clients across the lifespan, as well as intervention and treatment methods that are commonly used. Gain exposure to counseling strategies for triaging immediate or recent events as well as long-term and chronic conditions that may hinder individuals and communities.
Demonstrate competence in the integration and application of micro-, advanced individual, and group counseling skills acquired throughout the curriculum in preparation for the practicum experience. Participate in a 5-day, in-person residency for advanced skills practice and a 10-hour group experience.
Focus on the role of the counseling profession in the variety of mental health systems, including community, state, and federal agencies, hospitals, and private-practice. Explore HIPAA and related laws, informed consent policies, internal procedures, populations served, relevant laws and state statutes, funding, and ethical considerations counselors' role in the legal system, consultation, operationalizing of a practice, grants and program evaluations. Consider questions such as, 'where do I fit in the profession?' and 'how does the counseling profession impose structure on the mental health system?'.
Integrate the content learned throughout the program regarding evaluation, assessment, and diagnosis so that it may be utilized in practicum. Develop treatment plans that include risk assessment, goal setting, and treatment intervention strategies. Communicate treatment plans to clients.
Integrate skills and knowledge by working with actual clients under the supervision of a licensed clinician. Meet weekly in a required synchronous small group session in a seminar-style course led by a faculty supervisor. A minimum of 100 hours at an approved counseling site is required. Demonstrate success in field experience through a satisfactory/unsatisfactory grade evaluation.
Integrate skills and knowledge by working with actual clients under the supervision of a licensed clinician. Meet weekly in a required synchronous group session in a seminar-style course led by a faculty supervisor. A minimum of 600 hours of total internship time split between Internship and Advanced Internship at an approved counseling site is required. Demonstrate success in field experience through a satisfactory/unsatisfactory grade evaluation.
Integrate skills and knowledge by working with actual clients under the supervision of a licensed clinician. Meet weekly in a required synchronous group session in a seminar-style course led by a faculty supervisor. A minimum of 600 hours of total internship time split between Internship and Advanced Internship at an approved counseling site is required. Demonstrate mastery of program outcomes and success in field experience through a satisfactory/unsatisfactory grade evaluation.
Total Credits: 60
Tuition rates for SNHU's online degree programs are among the lowest in the nation. We offer a 25% tuition discount for U.S. service members, both full and part time, and the spouses of those on active duty.
Application Fee ($40), Graduation Fee ($150), Books (course by course), Residency Course Fee (currently $1,400: covers lodging, most meals & other expenses), Travel for Residencies (varies).
Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit institution accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education as well as several other accrediting bodies. More...
The MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program (PCMH) is now offered by Northern Vermont University.