Online Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling

Mental health counseling is the treatment of issues like anxiety, depression, grief, and stress in individuals or groups of people, sometimes specific populations like children, students, or the elderly. A prospective graduate student who is attentive and compassionate, who works well with people and is capable of communicating effectively, and who has an interest in helping people deal with stressful or difficult situations may want to consider an education in mental health counseling. A mental health counseling master’s degree program typically requires 60 credit hours to complete, or two years of study, though this may vary depending on the program or the individual student’s pacing.

Classes for an Online Masters Degree in Mental Health Counseling

Introductory course work in mental health psychology may include psychodynamic and cognitive behavioral approaches to counseling, social linguistic, and cultural foundations of counseling, and other practicum and skills training course work. Advanced course work may include group counseling, experiential approaches, couples and family counseling, and research methods and evaluation. A mental health master’s degree program may require a counseling internship.

  • Assessment Techniques
  • Psychopathology
  • Group Counseling
  • Ethical and Legal Issues
  • Social, Linguistic, and Cultural Foundations of Counseling

A master’s degree in mental health may require a year-long internship in a counseling position to complete. Second-year graduates may find undergraduate teaching opportunities within their program, and some departments have the option of participating in research projects, or may provide research courses with clinical research experience. Some courses may provide supervised counseling practice. Students may also expect to participate in several group projects.

A Career as a Graduate with an Online Masters Degree in Mental Health Counseling

A mental health counseling master’s degree may lead to positions in psychology or as a rehabilitation counselor, school and career counselor, social worker, or substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselor. Clinical, counseling, and research psychologists require a doctoral degree in psychology and license or certification to practice. While a bachelor’s degree will open social work positions, clinical social workers must have a master’s degree for employment. School counselors usually require a master’s degree as well as state-issued credentials like a certification, license or endorsement. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, mental health counselors earned a median annual wage of $39,710 in 2010. Employment for mental health counselors is expected to increase by 37% between 2010 and 2020.


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