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.

Strong Need for Mental Health Counselors

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.

Practicum and Internship

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.

Prepare 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.

Master's Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

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Faculty Who Are Committed to Your Success

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.

Program Delivery

  • 60-credit CMHC program can be completed in five semesters on campus plus two more semesters of internship.
  • Begin in Fall, Spring, or Summer (time to completion varies by starting semester)
  • Classes 1 day a week on campus; some courses online
  • Includes supervised practicum and internship fieldwork
  • Get started with just one or two online or on campus courses

Antioch University New England is fully accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

CMHC – Concentration in Substance Abuse/Addictions Counseling

The first two semesters of your 60-credit program will be the same as the basic Clinical Mental Health Counseling track. During the next three semesters, you will complete specific coursework in substance abuse/addictions counseling. Students in this concentration must also complete an internship in a substance abuse or addictions-focused setting and participate in a supervision group oriented to substance abuse and addictions counseling.

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.

SAAC Practica and Internships

Students who elect the substance abuse/addictions counseling concentration must complete internships II and III with a substance abuse/addictions focus. The wide variety of placements for students may include: high school student assistance programs, residential placements, in-patient addictions units, community mental health centers, and prisons.

CMHC Program Delivery

  • 60-credit CMHC program can be completed in five semesters on campus plus two additional semesters of internship.
  • Begin in Fall, Spring, or Summer (time to completion varies by starting semester)
  • Classes 1 day a week on campus; some courses online

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.

Program Objectives

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:

  1. Demonstrate knowledge in the CACREP core and clinical mental health counseling areas.
  2. Implement collaborative advocacy processes needed to address institutional and social barriers that impede access, equity, well-being, and success for clients.
  3. Practice self-reflection and wellness as a mental health counselor in diverse environments and treatment settings.
  4. Integrate into their practice of MHC the awareness of the influence of social and cultural contexts on individuals, groups, and systems
  5. Demonstrate and apply their professional identity as a clinical mental health counselor through an individual philosophy of practice grounded in critical analysis and research
  6. Adhere to and value the principles and standards of professional ethics in counseling
  7. Be able to contribute to the professional community, through written and verbal communication, and through appropriate and ethical use of technology

Program Delivery

The CMHC program is a 60-credit hour, CACREP-accredited program of study preparing students to work as clinical mental health counselors in a wide variety of settings.  We value experiential education as a strong component of our program. The CMHC program typically takes students 3 years to complete.

Students take a number of basic courses in both face to face and online formats with students in other mental health fields. These courses help introduce students to each other, Antioch University, and the field of clinical mental health counseling. First year CMHC students at AUNE attend on campus classes on Wednesdays.  In the second year students come to on campus classes on Tuesdays and typically spend approximately 20 hours a week at their practicum or internship sites. In the third year students are at internship sites with additional hours of faculty supervision in a web-based courseroom; there are no on-campus classes during this last year.


Core Courses  (12 courses @ 3 credits = 36 credits)

Concentration/Electives (Choose 4 courses @ 3 credits = 12-credits)

Practicum & Internships (4 semesters @3 credits = 12 credits; Practicum min.100 hrs; Internship 900 hrs)

Download a printable Course of Study for CMHC.

Download a printable Course of Study for CMHC-SAAC.

Students should expect to spend approximately 9 hours per week on each course and 20 hours a week on site when practicum and internships begin. Students must pass a candidacy review before being authorized to begin practicum. We encourage you to plan your life carefully to accommodate the increased investment of time and energy in your professional education.

Fall I
Group Approaches to Mental Health Counseling
Fundamentals of Therapeutic Interaction
Professional Orientation & Ethics (online)

Spring I
Counseling Theories
Career & Lifestyle Counseling
Human Development (online)

Summer I
Social & Cultural Diversity

Fall II
Psychopathology (online)
Family Counseling Approaches to Addiction
Practicum in CMHC
(100 hrs. in field minimum)

Spring II
Crisis & Trauma Counseling
Research & Evaluation (online)
Internship I in CMHC
(300 hrs. minimum in field)

Summer II
Concentration/Elective (online)

Fall III
Internship II in CMHC
(300 hrs. minimum in field)

Spring III
Internship III in CMHC
(300 hrs. in field)

Concentration/Electives* (Choose 4 courses)

CMHC Treatment Modalities: e.g., Mindfulness-based counseling, Expressive Approaches
Human Sexuality and Sex Therapy

Integrative Approaches to Addiction
Issues in Addictions

Counseling Special Populations: Military Deployment; Mental Health Issues
Counseling Special Populations: Military Culture and Language
Counseling Special Populations: Military Couples and Families

*Course offerings may change.

CMHC Vital Statistics

Number of program graduates from the past year 42
New students 2012-13 35
Completion Rate 98%
Licensure examination pass rate 97%
Job Placement Rate 98%

Practice the Art of Counseling: Practicum and Internships

Practicum introduces you to work in the field with a minimum of 100 hours of service at a clinical site, including a minimum of 40 hours working directly with clients. You learn the policy of the agency and the roles of the mental health counselor.  You spend 20-hours a week in practicum for at least one semester.  Before beginning practicum students must pass a candidacy review assessing their readiness to begin supervised fieldwork.

Following practicum there are three internship semesters. These may continue at the same site as the practicum or take place at a new site. You spend approximately 20 hours a week at your clinical site and provide approximately 300 hours of service each semester, with a minimum of 120 hours of direct service to clients during each of these internship semesters. State requirements for pre-degree internship hours vary.  Check your desired state requirements. During the second and third semesters of internship students do not need to come to campus on a weekly basis. They receive Antioch University supervision in a web-based conference room, in addition to their site supervision.

Field training sites offer a broad spectrum of positions that allow students to individualize their program at Antioch University New England. There are many possible positions at traditional mental health counseling sites, community agencies, college counseling centers, and community social service agencies. The Director of Practica and Internships, as well as the Director of Clinical Training will assist you in the process of matching your interests with potential sites in the community. Students are responsible for securing their own internship and for transportation to and from the site.  A car is almost always necessary to reach fieldwork sites in New England. 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

The CMHC Program is Accredited by CACREPCACREP Accreditation

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.

2014 CACREP Vital Statistics Survey

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 projections for 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.

CMHC Vital Statistics

Number of program graduates from the past year 42
New students 2012-13 35
Completion Rate 98%
Licensure examination pass rate 97%
Job Placement Rate 98%