Walden is one of the only schools that offer a CACREP-accredited M.S. degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling online.

CACREP logoOur M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program will help prepare you to address and treat clients’ mental health needs knowledgeably, ethically, and with respect for diversity. You’ll gain the confidence, qualifications, and critical-thinking skills needed to seek licensure and apply best practices as a change agent in the counseling profession. This master’s degree in counseling will allow you to use your knowledge immediately as a practicing professional.

Find detailed information for this program, including possible occupations, completion rate, program costs, and median student loan debt.

Click here for the Program Outcomes Report.

Sign Up for a Free Information Packet
  • Free Courses & Free Books. Learn about our special offer for students starting classes on July 14.

  • The Faculty Perspective

    Image of Dr. Robyn Trippany.

    Faculty members explain how their backgrounds affect their approaches to teaching and share their students’ learning experiences. Watch the videos.

  • The Student Perspective

    Image of M.S. in Mental Health Counseling student Latarcia Cooke.

    Hear what students are taking away as the most valuable aspects of the M.S. in Mental Health Counseling program. Watch the videos now.

  • Transfer credits for your masters program

  • A Walden Scholar of Change

    M.S. in Mental Health Counseling student Jeff Lubsen is helping raise awareness of the health needs of the LGBT community.
    Watch His Story

  • Curriculum

  • Tuition and Fees

  • Highlights

  • Learning Outcomes

  • Learn More

Walden’s M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program offers a General Program as well as five specializations to help you meet your personal and professional goals.

Specializations

Note on Licensure: Walden University’s M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), a specialized accrediting body recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), which is a requirement for licensure in many states. The M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program is designed to prepare graduates to qualify to sit for licensing exams and to meet the academic licensure requirements of many state counseling boards. Walden enrollment advisors can provide guidance on licensure issues, state-by-state educational requirements, and internship and practicum requirements; however, it remains the student’s responsibility to evaluate and understand the licensure requirements for the state or international location in which he or she intends to work as requirements vary widely. Walden University makes no representation or guarantee that the completion of a degree or coursework for graduate credit will permit the student to obtain licensure.

 

Find out more about the M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling now.  Request Information

General Program

Completion Requirements

  • 90 total quarter credits
    • Foundation course (1 cr.)
    • Core courses (80 cr.) 
    • Field experience (9 cr.: Practicum: 100 hours; Internship: 600 hours)
  • Professional Development Plan, licensure Plan 
  • 12 days of residency (Two 6-day residencies)

Time to completion may vary by student, depending on individual progress and credits transferred, if applicable. For a personalized estimate of your time to completion, call an enrollment advisor at 1-866-492-5336.

Courses

The courses are delivered in a prescribed sequence. Each 11-week quarter, except for the first and ninth quarter, includes two concurrent 11-week courses.

Addiction Counseling

Addiction is a battle that cannot be fought alone. This specialization can prepare you to address the unique emotional challenges of individuals and families as they find their way to hope and healing. In addition to the various types of addictive behaviors, you’ll study contemporary treatment and intervention models used to promote recovery. You can gain the focused skills and insights to provide addiction counseling services to various clients in schools, businesses, community agencies, and other settings.

Completion Requirements

Time to completion may vary by student, depending on individual progress and credits transferred, if applicable. For a personalized estimate of your time to completion, call an enrollment advisor at 1-866-492-5336.

Courses

*You can focus on a general counseling area and complete your field experience before the Addiction Counseling courses, or focus on a specific area of Addiction Counseling and complete your field experience after your specialization coursework.

Click here for the Program Outcomes Report.

Career Counseling

Help individuals achieve professional and personal fulfillment with a specialization in Career Counseling. Coursework in this program explores the history, theories, and methods of career counseling and assessment; the skill set required of an effective career counselor; and the various counseling and assessment techniques used in clinical and organizational settings. You’ll also explore career counseling approaches used in the academic setting and gain skills to help students discover their potentials, navigate their career options, and plan their educational paths.

Completion Requirements

Time to completion may vary by student, depending on individual progress and credits transferred, if applicable. For a personalized estimate of your time to completion, call an enrollment advisor at 1-866-492-5336.

Courses

*You can focus on a general counseling area and complete your field experience before the Career Counseling courses or focus on a specific area of Career Counseling and complete your field experience after your specialization coursework.

Click here for the Program Outcomes Report.

Forensic Counseling

Increasingly the legal and criminal justice systems are seeking the expert advice and skills of forensic counselors to determine the proper resolution of cases and the most effective treatment for offenders. Through this specialization, you can build your knowledge of mental health law, with a specific focus on juvenile justice and delinquency.

Enhance your competencies in conflict management and negotiation and learn how those skills can be applied to resolve conflicts in the criminal justice system. Upon completion of this specialization, you will be eligible for certification and licensure as a professional counselor with additional training in forensics.

“We are entering an era of greater collaboration within the courts and the criminal justice system and forensic counselors are vital parts of this coordinated effort to enhance the judicial process,” says Savitri Dixon-Saxon, Ph.D., associate dean, School of Counseling. “From offering mediation assistance in child custody cases to working with offenders as they move through the system, forensic counselors have an important role to play in ensuring the best possible resolution for individuals involved in the legal system.”

Completion Requirements

  • Complete the M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling completion requirements, including field experience*
  • COUN 6511 Treatment of Forensic Populations (5 cr.)
  • Choose one additional course from the following:
    • COUN 6512 Juvenile Justice, Delinquency, and Development (5 cr.)
    • COUN 6742 Conflict, Conflict Resolution, and Peace (5 cr.)
    • COUN 6912 Mental Health Law (5 cr.)

For a personalized estimate of your time to completion, call your enrollment advisor at 1-866-492-5336.

Courses

Two courses (10 cr.) are required.

Choose one additional course (COUN 6511 is required).

*You can focus on a general counseling area and complete your field experience before the Forensic Counseling courses, or focus on a specific area of Forensic Counseling and complete your field experience after your specialization coursework.

Military Families and Culture

Help families cope with the complex emotional challenges of military life with a specialization in Military Families and Culture. Explore the nuances of military culture as well as the common hardships associated with the military lifestyle—from prolonged separation and combat-related injuries to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Coursework in this specialization also examines considerations and best practices for counseling active military personnel, veterans, spouses, and children.

Completion Requirements

Time to completion may vary by student, depending on individual progress and credits transferred, if applicable. For a personalized estimate of your time to completion, call an enrollment advisor at 1-866-492-5336.

Courses

*You can focus on a general counseling area and complete your field experience before the Military Families and Culture courses or focus on a specific area of Military Families and Culture and complete your field experience after your specialization coursework.

Click here for the Program Outcomes Report.

Trauma and Crisis Counseling

When recovering from trauma or disasters, individuals and communities need the help of professionals trained in trauma and crisis counseling. Through this specialization, you can gain the counseling skills and theoretical foundation to help individuals heal from trauma and assist communities in managing crisis.

Through this specialization, you will be able to master the theory, intervention strategies, and treatment models needed to counsel and support individuals and families in crisis. During this course, you will be able to develop the expertise to train and support first responders managing intense career demands. You will learn about crisis management and study the leadership skills necessary to help communities develop effective, responsive crisis management programs and trauma treatment services.

Completion Requirements

  • Complete the M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling completion requirements, including field experience* 
  • Complete two additional courses:
    • COUN 6333 Vicarious Trauma and Compassion Fatigue (5 credits)
    • COUN 6145 Crisis Management (5 credits) 

For a personalized estimate of your time to completion, call your enrollment advisor at 1-866-492-5336.

*You can focus on a general counseling area and complete your field experience before the Trauma and Crisis Counseling courses or focus on a specific area of Trauma and Crisis Counseling and complete your field experience after your specialization coursework.

Curriculum Component Requirements  Cost  Total* 
Tuition 90 total quarter credit hours  $465 per quarter hour $41,850
Residency Fee Two 6-day residencies $1,645 (travel, lodging, and other expenses are additional) $3,290
Technology Fee  Per quarter $120 $1,560
    Total $46,700
    Transfer up to 45 credits  $21,705
    Total with Maximum Transfer Credits $24,995

Tuition Savings Available

*Tuition and fees are subject to change.

*Time to completion may vary by student, depending on individual progress and credits transferred, if applicable. For a personalized estimate of your time to completion, call an enrollment advisor at 1-866-492-5336.

Maximum transfer credit total includes reduction in technology fee as related to reduced number of courses over time.

*Books and material costs are additional and can range from $3,500-$4,500.

Call 1-866-492-5336 for information about a full range of options for:

Transfer credits for your masters program

The M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program includes:

  • Online courses focused on practical skills.
  • Interactive simulations where you apply what you learn to real-world situations.
  • Face-to-face residencies that offer personal collaboration with faculty, staff, and students.
  • Challenging fieldwork (practicum and internship).

When you choose Walden’s M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program, you can benefit from the flexibility of online learning and from MobileLearn®. Offered exclusively at Walden, MobileLearn not only enables you to choose where and when you learn, it also gives you the ability to choose how you learn. Learn more.

Find out more about what defines Walden’s M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program:

CACREP Accreditation

Walden’s M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of

Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). CACREP is an independent accrediting agency recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation that accredits counselor-preparation master’s degree programs. Walden is one of the only higher education institutions to offer a CACREP-accredited M.S. degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling online.

CACREP accreditation ensures that our program meets national standards of quality and relevance to the profession. Graduates benefit from a CACREP-accredited program because it can also provide:

  • More employment opportunities nationwide.
  • An advantage when applying to doctoral programs.
  • The skills and credibility to maximize impact in the mental health counseling profession.
  • A streamlined state counseling licensing application process.

Learn more about accreditation at Walden.

Practicum and Internship

Field experiences are vital building blocks in your development as a professional counselor. To enhance your direct service and professional skills and knowledge, Walden requires each M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling student to take part in a supervised practicum and internship.

While both the practicum and internship offer rigorous, supervised, hands-on experiences, the practicum, which lasts for one quarter, offers an introductory perspective to direct practice with the supervision of a qualified professional. Throughout the practicum, you will be able to take what you have learned in your coursework and research and apply that knowledge to the care of clients.

An internship is longer, more intensive, and offers a broader experience with added responsibility under direct supervision. Internships are designed to further develop the key competencies required to perform as a practitioner in the field. This planned, programmed training series is overseen by a licensed mental health practitioner.

After completing the prerequisite coursework, you’ll work with Walden’s field education faculty to find the most suitable field experience. The field education coordinator can provide information about potential sites and help you determine what type of site and practice experience best fits your area of interest. The coordinator will also act as your advocate during the administration of the practicum and internship, providing site directors with key information about Walden and your academic training.

Walden also offers a Field Training Intensive that helps you understand the complete field training process and the steps required to prepare and sit for state licensing exams. The Field Training Intensive, which takes place during each six-day residency, includes lectures and other information sessions as well as hands-on simulations and problem-solving designed to prepare you to apply for and take part in a successful field training experience.

Residencies

Face-to-face residencies are held in convenient locations throughout the year and offer:

  • An orientation to the mental health counseling profession
  • Preparation for your field training
  • Skill development in individual and group counseling
  • Individual interaction with faculty members
  • Opportunities to share insights with students who share your interests
  • Academic advising

See the locations and dates of residencies that are available to current students.

Residency 1

Days: 6 (Completed before the end of your 3rd quarter and is a prerequisite for COUN 6723 Multicultural Counseling)

Format: Face-to-face workshops and group activities

Focus:

  • Multicultural competencies
  • Orientation to the profession, licensure, and professional identity
  • Practicum and internship preparations
  • Skill development

Residency 2

Days: 6 (Completed before the end of your 8th quarter and is a prerequisite for COUN 6671 Counseling Practicum)

Format: Face-to-face sessions, including a 10-hour group experience

Focus:

  • Foundations of mental health counseling sessions
  • Career development
  • Consultation and supervision
  • Psychopharmacology
  • Individual counseling skill development
  • Social change project

Residency Learning Outcomes

  1. Demonstrate basic interviewing skills
  2. Apply multicultural competencies to basic counseling skills
  3. Demonstrate critical thinking skills of diverse and multicultural perspectives, and apply them to counseling practice
  4. Describe the process of professional identity development
  5. Provide constructive feedback on others’ counseling skills
  6. Present research focused on program development that includes components of consultation and evaluation
  7. Present collaborative research focused on social change
  8. Effectively lead groups and incorporate insight from practice as a member/counselor of a small group
  9. Utilize feedback to improve performance
  10. Demonstrate advanced counseling skills
  11. Apply multicultural and diversity competencies to advanced counseling skills
  12. Describe the process of preparing for field experience
  13. Prepare for the NCE, NCMHCE, or other licensure exams
  14. Prepare for eventual accrual of post-master’s experience toward licensure

For more information about how residencies enhance your academic experience, call 1-866-492-5336.

Which Counseling Program Is Right for You?

Walden offers three online master’s programs to help you gain the skills and knowledge you need for a career in counseling. Choosing the course of study that is right for you depends on your professional and educational goals.


M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Learning Styles

  • I want to learn to perform the appropriate counseling, remediation, and intervention for a variety of situations.
  • I want to understand the counselor’s role as client-advocate with families, agencies, and institutions.
  • I want to earn a CACREP-accredited M.S. degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling online.

Career Focus

  • I want to advance mental healthcare for all citizens by adopting a cross-cultural approach to counseling.
  • I want a career as a mental health counselor, clinical therapist, or counselor in the criminal justice system, so I can effect positive social change.

Learn more about this online master’s program.


M.S. in Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling

Learning Styles

  • I want to understand family structures, life-cycle dynamics, intergenerational influences, and healthy family functioning in diverse cultural settings.
  • I want to gain experience in evidence-based practice to provide better, more informed care for my clients.
  • I want to study with professionals in the field who integrate their research and clinical experience into the classroom.

Career Focus

  • I want to work with families to address issues and resolve conflicts related to divorce, school problems, parenting, and violence.
  • I want a position as a Licensed Professional Counselor with expertise in Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling, so that I can enhance the well-being of children, couples, and families.

Learn more about this online master’s program.


M.S. in Clinical Psychology with a Specialization in Counseling

Learning Styles

  • I want to gain insight into various models of counseling (including group; substance abuse; career; and couples, marriage, and family).
  • I want to interpret and describe psychological theory and research from a multicultural and global perspective.
  • I want to prepare for doctoral study and qualify for licensure.

Career Focus

  • I want to apply psychological theory and research to real-world situations.
  • I want a position as a professional counselor or therapist where I can work in a variety of settings.

Learn more about this online master’s program.

Meet the Faculty: Watch Videos

Faculty members explain how their backgrounds affect their approaches to teaching and share their students’ learning experiences and feelings.

 

Image of Jennie Falkner

Jennie Falkner

Imae of John Marszalek

John Marszalek

Image of Judy Green

Judy Green

Image of Kristi Cannon

Kristi Cannon

Image of Matt Buckley

Matt Buckley

Image of Nina Spadaro

Nina Spadaro

Image of Robyn Trippany

Robyn Trippany

Image of Ruth Ouzts Moore

Ruth Ouzts Moore

Image of Tiffany Rush-Wilson

Tiffany Rush-Wilson

Talk directly to School of Counseling and Social Service faculty about what it’s like to earn your degree at Walden.

Learn More

The Student Perspective

Hear what students are taking away as the most valuable aspects of the M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program. Watch the videos now.

Image of Latarcia Cooke

Latarcia Cooke

Image of Pete Reed

Pete Reed

Graduates of this program will be prepared to:

  1. Apply sound ethical, legal, and business practices in the work of a mental health counselor.
  2. Implement counseling, prevention, and intervention services related to mental health counseling.
  3. Promote diversity and advocacy as related to mental health counseling.
  4. Employ various assessment techniques to appropriately intervene in meeting the needs of diverse clients.
  5. Use evidence-based research literature to inform practice in meeting the needs of diverse clientele.
  6. Use diagnostic tools to diagnose disorders in diverse clientele.

Additional Learning Outcomes for Counseling Programs

Graduates of this program will be prepared to:

  1. Develop a professional orientation and identity as a counselor.
  2. Effectively address the social and cultural diversity issues that impact the counseling process.
  3. Synthesize theories of human growth and development to develop culturally responsive counseling practices.
  4. Apply theories and models of career development to related life factors, which affect an individual’s lifestyle and mental health.
  5. Utilize major counseling theories to develop an empirically based, personal theoretical orientation that integrates theory and best practices.
  6. Apply theoretical and experiential principles of group work to develop targeted interventions within group contexts.
  7. Evaluate and interpret individual and group assessment in a multicultural society.
  8. Utilize research methods commonly used in the counseling profession.
  9. Demonstrate skills in applying principles of advocacy toward promoting cultural understanding and positive social change in individuals, communities, and society.
  10. Demonstrate knowledge and skills in the areas of prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and referral.
  11. Achieve personal growth and sustainability in the profession.

Learn About the MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

You will hear from Dr. Savitri Dixon-Saxon and Dr. Jason Patton. You’ll have the opportunity to learn about the program and about their professional experiences, enabling you to gain insight into the student-faculty relationship at Walden. In addition, Matthew Glowiak, a 2010 graduate from the M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program, will share his insights and experiences. Watch the Walden Webinar.

For assistance in deciding which online degree program fits your goals, request information or speak with an enrollment advisor by calling 1-866-492-5336. A list of international toll-free phone numbers is available for students outside the United States.