Master’s Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling
A clinical mental health counselor focuses on helping people address the personal, familial, and social issues that interfere with their abilities to lead healthy and productive lives. Our practice-oriented master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling equips graduates for a variety of specialties in mental health counseling, including community agency work, substance abuse and addictions work, in-patient treatment, and college counseling. Through a combination of classroom and field experiences, you develop a unique, professional identity as a clinical mental health counselor in our CACREP-accredited program.
Secure a job as a counselor.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a strong need for mental health counselors. Counseling is projected as one of the faster growing mental health professions — increasing 24% over the next 7-10 years. Learn more about the job outlook.
Learn by doing.
Apply your knowledge, develop your professional identity, and fine-tune your skills in supervised field work which includes a one semester practicum and three semesters of internship experiences. Learn more about practicum and internship.
Get ready for licensure.
Prepare yourself for licensure by building competency in eight core areas, as recommended by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP): professional identity; foundations of social and cultural diversity; human growth and development; career development; the helping relationship; group work; assessment; research and program development; and the specialty areas of mental health counseling: foundations, contextual dimensions, skills and practices.
Engage with active, dedicated faculty.
Discover a faculty of professionals who are committed to preparing you for your career through excellence in teaching, active involvement in clinical practice and scholarship, and service to the community and profession.
- 60-credit CMHC program can be completed in as few as five semesters. The Substance Abuse Concentration adds 3 credits.
- Begins in Fall or Spring
- Classes 1 day a week for students starting in the Fall.
- Spring entrants attend classes 2 days a week in their first Summer semester.
- Students engage in clinical work in practicum and internship placements
Antioch University New England is fully accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
CMHC – Concentration in Substance Abuse/Addictions Counseling
The first few semesters of your 63-credit program you will be taking courses in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling track. During your last couple of semesters, you will be completing specific coursework in substance abuse/addictions counseling and will participate in an addictions-focused professional seminar. Students in this concentration must also complete an internship in a substance abuse or addictions-focused setting.
Advanced CMHC students may elect a Concentration in Substance Abuse/Addictions Counseling. Students in this concentration take two concentration courses in addictions treatment, professional seminars focused on addictions counseling, and additional coursework in psychopharmacology. They must also secure an internship in an addictions counseling setting and should work carefully with their advisors to plan the appropriate program. This program allows students to complete most of the academic requirements for certification as drug and alcohol counselors.
Certification and Licensure
Students who elect the Concentration in Substance Abuse/Addictions Counseling meet the academic requirements for licensure as clinical mental health counselors in most states, as well as the academic requirements for certification and licensure as alcohol and drug counselors in most states which have such certification or licensure.
Selected Student Practica and Internships
Students who elect the substance abuse/addictions counseling concentration must complete one of their two clinical years with a substance abuse/addictions focus. The wide variety of placements for students include: high school student assistance programs, residential placements, in-patient addictions units, community mental health centers, women’s centers, and prisons.
- 63-credit CMHC program can be completed in as few as 5 semesters
- Begins in Fall or Spring
- On campus just one day/week during fall and spring
- Students engage in clinical work in practicum and internship placements
Mission of the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program
The Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program fosters the development of professional identity by encouraging an active, thorough, and continuing examination of the development of ones self in the role of a professional counselor (self-in-role). The program prepares professional counselors to work in a multicultural, global community, with individuals, groups, and social systems, to promote mental health and well-being.
Community: The CMHC program educates professional counselors who are prepared to meet the needs of our diverse community.
Employers: The CMHC program trains ethical, competent, counselors ready to meet the challenges of the current contexts and contribute to the field and to the organizations within which they work. The CMHC program is a resource to the clinical mental health community, especially in New England.
Students: Graduates of the CMHC Program will have the knowledge, skills, and attitudes required to function as a professional clinical mental health counselor. They will be prepared for employment in a variety of settings and able to meet certification and licensure standards as mental health counselors, through education in a CACREP accredited program.
CMHC Student Learning Outcomes: Specifically, graduates will be able to:
- Demonstrate knowledge in the CACREP core and clinical mental health counseling areas.
- Implement collaborative advocacy processes needed to address institutional and social barriers that impede access, equity, well-being, and success for clients.
- Practice self-reflection and wellness as a mental health counselor in diverse environments and treatment settings.
- Integrate into their practice of MHC the awareness of the influence of social and cultural contexts on individuals, groups, and systems
- Demonstrate and apply their professional identity as a clinical mental health counselor through an individual philosophy of practice grounded in critical analysis and research
- Adhere to and value the principles and standards of professional ethics in counseling
- Be able to contribute to the professional community, through written and verbal communication, and through appropriate and ethical use of technology
The CMHC program is a 60 credit hour, CACREP accredited program of study preparing students to work as clinical mental health counselors is a wide variety of settings. We value experiential education as a strong component of our program. The CMHC program typically takes students 2.5 to 3 years to complete, with students entering in either the fall or spring semesters.
First year students at AUNE attend their face to face classes on Wednesdays during the semester. Second and third year students attend their face to face classes on Tuesdays. This schedule is to accommodate students juggling responsibilities of work and home around their class schedules. Initially, students take a number of common core departmental courses in both face to face and online formats. The initial courses help introduce students to each other, Antioch, and the field of clinical mental health counseling. Beginning with the fall semester of their second year, students will start experiential work in the field, with one semester of Practicum, and subsequently three semesters of Internship.
Course content areas include: Human growth and development, social and cultural diversity, foundational counseling skills, helping relationships, group dynamics, lifestyle and career development, trauma counseling/crisis intervention, assessment, research and evaluation, and professional orientation. There are also opportunities to take concentration courses during the third year, providing more emphasis on specific interest areas.
Practice the Art of Counseling: Practicum and Internships
Practicum takes place in the third semester and introduces students to work in the field with 40 hours of direct service to clients as they learn the policy of the agency and the roles of the mental health counselor. The first internship semester continues at the same site as the practicum while the site for the final two-semester internship may change. The students provide 120 hours of direct service to clients during each internship semester.
Field training sites like those listed below offer a broad spectrum of positions which allow you to individualize your program at Antioch University New England. You can choose from many possible positions at traditional mental health counseling sites, community agencies, college counseling centers, and rape crisis services. Your faculty advisor will assist you in the process, matching your interests with potential sites in the community. For additional assistance, check out this article: The Art of Seeking an Internship Supervisor: Considerations for Counseling Students
Examples of Past Internship Sites
Clinical Mental Health Centers
Psychiatric Inpatient Units
Substance Abuse Services
College Counseling Centers
Social Service Agencies
School Guidance Departments
As graduates of a CACREP accredited program, graduates of the CMHC program are eligible to obtain full certification as a National Certified Counselor upon graduation after passing the National Counselor Exam offered in April of their final year and completing the required applications. See the NBCC for information on this process. Applications will be available in the department.
The program is designed to meet the educational requirements for licensure as Clinical Mental Health Counselors and/or Clinical Professional Counselors in most states. Since these requirements vary, students are responsible for being aware of their state requirements and working with their advisor to meet them. There are additional post-Master’s requirements of supervised clinical hours and examination(s) before obtaining licensure. Graduates self-reported pass rate on the NBCC exam is 80%. For information on individual state requirements, see the NBCC State Licensure page.
To learn more, read What is Certification vs. Licensure.
Clinical Mental Health Counseling Job Prospects
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is a branch of the U.S. Department of Labor. The BLS regularly tracks job developments such as increases and contraction of U.S. occupations. The BLS also makes projections for future job growth or loss in their publication the Occupational Outlook Handbook. The latest occupational outlook projectionsfor the Mental Health Counseling profession predict job growth at 24% over the next 7-10 years.
This impressive growth rate ties the Mental Health Counseling profession with that of Substance Abuse Counseling for the highest growth rate among counseling professions, and would place both counseling fields near the top of the mental health profession with regard to job growth. Students in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program can also choose a concentration in substance abuse counseling and graduates are eligible to be hired as substance abuse counselors.
- American Counseling Association
- American Mental Health Counselors Association
- Association for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Issues in Counseling
- Association for Creativity in Counseling
- National Board for Certified Counselors
- International Association of Addictions & Offender Counselors
- Substance Abuse Counseling news