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

CACREP logoOur M.S. in 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.

Sign Up for a Free Information Packet
  • Two Free Courses when you start classes on April 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.

  • How do I Choose the Right Degree?

    Psychology and counseling career guide cover.

    Download Walden’s interactive career guide to find the counseling or psychology program that aligns best with your professional goals.

  • 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

  • Program Data

  • Learn More

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

Specializations

Note on Licensure: Walden University’s M.S. in 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 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 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.

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 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.

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 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
Courses 90–100 total quarter credit hours, depending on specialization $465 per quarter credit hour
6-Day Residency Fee 2 during your program $1,645 each, plus travel, lodging, other expenses
Technology Fee per quarter $120

Tuition and fees are subject to change.

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

Tuition & Textbooks Free for First Two Courses.

No Application Fee - Applying has never been easier.

The M.S. in 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 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 Mental Health Counseling program:

CACREP Accreditation

Walden’s M.S. in 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 Mental Health Counseling program, will share his insights and experiences. Watch the Walden Webinar.

Walden is committed to providing the information you need to make an informed decision about where you pursue your education. Click here to find detailed information for the M.S. in Mental Health Counseling relating to the types of occupations this program may lead to, completion rate, program costs, and median loan debt of students who have graduated from this program.

Click here for the Program Outcomes Report.

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.