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Overview of Master of Arts (MA) Degree Program in Mental Health Counseling

Majors Overview November 28, 2017

This article talks about the Master of Arts (M.A.) degree program in Mental Health Counseling and their education requirements, coursework, job and wage outlook, and continuing education and licensure options.

Master of Arts Program in Mental Health Counseling

Students enrolled in the Master of Arts in Mental Health Counseling program gain the skills, knowledge, and ethics necessary to work as a counselor for individuals, groups, and/or families. Students explore mental testing methods, counseling theories, drug and alcohol abuse, human development, signs of mental health issues, and group counseling dynamics. Graduates can qualify to apply for licensure and work in various health organizations or institutions.

Education Requirements

Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a bachelor’s degree preferably in related fields though some schools may consider students who hold degrees in unrelated subjects; however, many schools may require foundational courses before granting entry. Some programs also prefer candidates with work experience in the mental health field.

Coursework

Program coursework involves training in research methodologies to impart a stronger grasp of mental health topics of interest; schools commonly expect research projects. A specific amount of practical training may also be necessary for students supervised by a licensed mental health counselor. Core coursework may cover topic areas such as:

•Legal applications in counseling
•Counseling Ethics
•Group counseling techniques
•Career counseling methods
•Human development
•Counseling Principles
•Drug and alcohol counseling
•Psychopharmacology
•Family counseling methods
•Patient assessment and evaluation

Job and Wage Outlook

Mental health counselors are expected to see a higher-than-average job growth of 20% over the 2016 – 2026 decade. These professionals brought in an average annual wage of $42,150, in May 2016 (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). The growth is due to the insurance companies’ willingness to reimburse patients who seek assistance from these lower-cost professionals instead of psychiatrists or psychologists.

Continuing Education and Licensure Options

Some certification or licensing is a requirement for counselors in most states, but each state may have different licensure requirements. Individuals may consult their state licensing board for specifics. Various credentialing agencies, such as the National Board for Certified Counselors, offer voluntary certifications, such as the Certified Clinical Mental Health Counselor credential. Sufficient clinical experience, an approved graduate degree, and passage of an exam will enable individuals to earn the credential.

Many schools offer doctoral programs in mental health counseling and related fields, and may confer a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) or a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.). Original research, clinical training and advanced coursework, are often required by applicants. The focus of their courses may be allowed to be chosen by students.

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Showing schools in your area

Matching School Ads
5 Program(s) Found
  • Which career path will you take – Business, Nursing, Education, Psychology? Something else? GCU offers more than 100 majors to get you started!
  • Colangelo College of Business: Features more than 25 programs from the bachelor through the master's level, including several high-demand MBA programs and an accelerated accounting degree.
  • College of Nursing and Health Care Professions: Rich 25-year history providing outstanding health care and nursing degree programs, including an RN to BSN program & master's in nursing degrees.
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  • College of Humanities and Social Sciences: Provides a job focused education and features a variety of programs from counseling and psychology to justice studies, history and English literature.
  • Does something else interest you? GCU also offers programs in Doctoral Studies; Theology; Science, Engineering & Technology; and Fine Arts & Production. Speak with an enrollment counselor today!
Good for Working Adults
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
5 Program(s) Found
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  • Its student-faculty ratio is 16:1 and 33.9% of its classes have fewer than 20 students.
  • Encourages students to find their purpose in Christ, with an emphasis on applying Christian values and ethics to the workplace.
  • Provides Student Success Webinars where tutors provide tips and tricks to help make college a little easier.
  • Offers programs in business, psychology, theology, engineering, communications, and more.
  • Online Courses
4 Program(s) Found
  • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs by U.S. News and World Report in 2015.
  • Ranked among the Best Online MBA Programs by U.S. News and World Report in 2015.
  • Founded in 1890, it has a campus in Waterbury, CT and offers online degree program in eight-week modules, six times a year.
  • About 800 students are enrolled at the main campus, and about half of them commute.
  • Online courses make it possible for students to earn a bachelor’s degree in as little as 18 months and a master’s degree in 14-24 months.
Good for Working Adults
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
5 Program(s) Found
  • Liberty University provides a worldclass education from a christ-centered worldview
  • 100% online programs at associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels
  • No standardized testing if student meets admission requirements
  • Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • 95% of Liberty University students receive some form of financial aid
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