Take the Next Step —Explore Online Master’s Programs in Counseling at Walden
You feel a calling to help guide people through their emotional challenges. Now, turn your aspirations into life-changing impact with Walden’s counseling master’s programs.
Whether you see a future in private practice, academia, or leadership, our CACREP-accredited master’s degree programs can help you build a future helping others. Gain practical skills through virtual simulations and field experiences. Join a vibrant community of faculty and peers who are compassionate changemakers just like you. Choose from a range of specializations to tailor your studies to your professional goals, from addiction counseling to trauma and crisis counseling.
Counseling Master’s Programs
Walden University’s MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and MS in School Counseling programs are 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). CACREP accreditation is a requirement for licensure in many states.
MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling
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).
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.
From natural disasters to the loss of a loved one, traumatic life events can have far-reaching effects on children and adolescents. In this specialization, you’ll learn how to help students cope with and recover from catastrophe.
Would you like to help children from military families deal with the challenges that come with military life? In this specialization, you will gain insights into military culture as well as the unique emotional needs of children of active military personnel and veterans.
Whether it’s substance abuse or compulsive gambling, addiction impacts the entire family. This specialization prepares you with the skills and insights to help students cope with the emotional challenges of watching a loved one struggle with dependence.
In an MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program, students explore the latest counseling theories, evidence-based research, and tools for preventing, diagnosing, and treating mental health disorders. In this program taught by a distinguished faculty with extensive clinical practice experience, students develop competencies in diagnosis and assessment, human development, cultural diversity, evidence-based counseling techniques, group processes, and career counseling. Graduates are academically prepared to seek state licensure or certification as a professional mental health counselor.
A master’s degree is typically needed to work in the mental health field as a counselor in the United States. Walden’s MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling degree meets the academic licensure requirements of many state counseling boards. Graduates work as mental health counselors in agencies, universities, hospitals, trauma centers, shelters, correctional facilities, employee assistance programs, community churches, and private practice. Mental health counselors provide counseling to individuals of all ages, couples, and families. They also serve as advocates for the mental health needs of their clients and their communities.
Not only are school counselors instrumental in assisting students with post-high school educational and vocational choices, they also are involved holistically in a school’s comprehensive educational plan and serve as a resource to teachers, administrators, and students. Their varied duties include leading efforts to combat bullying, raising awareness about mental health issues, providing trauma counseling in the wake of gun violence and other tragedies, and promoting understanding of LGBTQ issues, to name just a few.
It depends. The length of time required to complete a counseling degree program varies widely depending on many factors, including your previous educational experience and which counseling master’s degree program you choose.
MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling students complete a minimum of 90 quarter credits (100 quarter credits if they add an optional specialization).
MS in School Counseling students complete a minimum of 75 quarter credits for the general program (85 quarter credits if they add an optional specialization). There is also an optional Accelerated track that allows students to take three courses per quarter and complete their studies in less time. This option requires a strong time commitment and is best suited for students who can dedicate themselves full time to their studies.
An Enrollment Specialist can go over the options with you and discuss your individual time commitment.
Walden’s MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and MS in School Counseling programs are both accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). Although these programs focus on specialty areas within the field of counseling, much of the foundational coursework is identical (i.e., students take the same courses on topics such as counseling theories, techniques of counseling, life span development, assessment, and research). Earning an MS degree in clinical mental health counseling and then returning to pursue an MS degree in school counseling is not always possible due to institutional policies held by universities that restrict students from earning a second degree in a similar field, due to an overlap in coursework. Students may encounter financial aid restrictions as well. CACREP is aware of these complications and has a dual degree policy that allows students to complete two CACREP-accredited master’s-level programs at one time (e.g., dual degree). In order for students to be recognized for earning degrees from CACREP-accredited programs, the organization stipulates that both degrees must be completed concurrently and both must require full internship experiences.
Because of institutional policies held by universities that restrict students from earning a second degree in a similar field due to an overlap in coursework, it would be difficult and potentially cost prohibitive to earn these two degrees separately. The best way to obtain two master’s-level degrees from CACREP-accredited programs is to complete them in a dual degree program in adherence with the CACREP dual degree policy. Walden meets the dual degree policy outlined by CACREP.