The online M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC) program at The Chicago School prepares students to provide high-quality mental health services to a diverse clientele in a variety of community settings. The online program includes in-depth training in all aspects of the counseling profession, including ethics, research, program evaluation, and diagnosis, and provides students with skills specific to clinical mental health counseling such as prevention, early intervention, assessment and advocacy. Offered as an online degree, the program provides students with an innovative way to attain a licensure preparation master’s degree.
This online master’s program combines rigorous coursework with residencies and supervised clinical training that provide opportunities to put theory into practice in real-world settings. Graduates will be prepared to provide counseling services to individuals, families, couples and groups, and will have the skills to help clients work through a wide variety of issues including depression, anxiety, grief, low self-esteem, stress, relationship difficulties and suicidal impulses.
The M.A. CMHC online program is based upon the standards developed by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). The program also incorporates the eight content areas outlined by the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC) to prepare those students seeking professional counselor licensure and desiring to begin professional practice at the master’s level.
Acknowledged for its commitment to diversity, The Chicago School recognizes that service to a diverse community plays a vital role in professional counseling. Through its online M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program, the Counseling Department embraces this commitment through the integration of multicultural education and diversity across its curriculum; successful students demonstrate an appreciation for and competency in this area. Likewise, the faculty reflects experience in graduate level teaching and counseling practice with diverse clinical populations. This program seeks to serve a diverse student body throughout the country.
Clinical Mental Health Counseling
Each state’s counseling licensure board determines the specific requirements for candidates seeking professional counseling licensure and those requirements are subject to change.
As of July 1, 2014, the M.A. Clinical Mental Health Counseling online degree program currently meets or exceeds the academic requirements to seek licensure as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in the following states: Alaska (AK), Arkansas (AR), Arizona (AZ), Colorado (CO), Connecticut (CT), Delaware (DE), Florida (FL), Georgia (GA), Hawaii (HI), Idaho (ID), Indiana (IN), Kentucky (KY), Louisiana (LA), Maine (ME), Massachusetts (MA), Michigan (MI), Mississippi (MS), Montana (MT), Nebraska (NE), Nevada (NV), New Jersey (NJ), New Mexico (NM), New York (NY), North Carolina (NC), Ohio (OH), Oklahoma (OK), Oregon (OR), Pennsylvania (PA), Rhode Island (RI), South Carolina (SC), South Dakota (SD), Tennessee (TN), Texas (TX), Utah (UT), Vermont (VT), Virginia (VA), Washington (WA), West Virginia (WV), and Wyoming (WY). Note that applicants for licensure as an LPC in the aforementioned locations may also be required to complete a minimum number of hours of post-master’s professional counseling experience within a specified time period, as well as other state-specific requirements.
As a fully online degree program, the M.A. Clinical Mental Health Counseling program does not meet current state requirements for professional counseling licensure in the following states: Illinois (IL), Iowa (IA), Kansas (KS), Missouri (MO), North Dakota (ND) and New Hampshire (NH). In addition, the M.A. Clinical Mental Health Counseling online degree program is under review in the following states and cannot be offered at this time to students in Alabama (AL), the District of Columbia, Maryland (MD), Minnesota (MN), and Wisconsin (WI).
The M.A. Clinical Mental Health Counseling program is not currently on the California Bureau of Behavioral Sciences (BBS) list of approved online programs. California residents, who obtain online degrees, while residing in California, must meet the same requirements that California residents must meet. This means that they cannot add California-specific content or other areas of instruction post-degree. As this degree is not on the BBS list of approved programs, it is not likely that the degree will be acceptable for licensure in California for California residents at this time.
The M.A. Clinical Mental Health Counseling program was not designed to meet professional counseling licensure standards outside of the United States of America.
The M.A. Clinical Mental Health Counseling program, designed to be a pre-licensure preparation program of study, may meet some or all of the requirements for the remaining states not listed above, but additional state-specific approvals or coursework and/or practicum hours may be required beyond the program’s graduation requirements. Licensing requirements include the following for most states: Completion of a master’s degree, post-graduate field work, examination and application for license. It is the student’s responsibility to determine the licensure requirements for any state not listed above. Click here for assistance with this research.
Students will be responsible for selecting a site for the direct service component of their program. They will complete 100 hours of practicum experience in their classes and through their service site, practicing foundational counseling skills and gradually integrating more advanced skills. Once the 100 hours have been completed, students will begin an internship of at least 600 hours with their site.
Program Time to Completion
3 years part time, 5 years maximum
Diagnosis of Mental Health Issues
This course addresses the general principles of etiology, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of mental and emotional disorders. Major definitions and descriptions of psychological phenomena as categorized and classified by the DSM diagnostic system are covered. This course includes models of mental status assessment as well as the application of how cultural factors influence mental health.
Group Theories and Processes of Counseling
This course provides the foundation for understanding theory, dynamics, principles and techniques of group therapy and counseling. Throughout the course students are exposed to various models for conducting therapeutic groups with diverse populations. Students are also involved in an experiential practice of group process throughout the course.
Assessment of Individuals
This course introduces the student to psychological evaluation and its role in the counseling relationship. It provides the student with a strong foundation in understanding and communicating clinical assessment data. The course will review basic concepts of standardized and non-standardized testing and other assessment techniques including norm-referenced and criterion-referenced assessment, environmental assessment, intellectual assessment, individual and group test and inventory methods, behavioral observations, and computer-managed and computer-assisted methods. Attention will be given to understanding strategies for selecting, administering, and interpreting assessment and evaluation instruments and techniques in counseling.
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