Master of Arts with a Major in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

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Major: FAQs

Will a major in Clinical Mental Health Counseling enable me to get licensed?

A Master of Arts from Union may enable you to achieve your licensing goal. While the department (like other practitioner programs) does not guarantee licensure or certification, faculty helps students to achieve professional credentialing objectives. Ultimately, it is the student’s responsibility to ensure that his/her specific program of study complies with state credentialing and licensing requirements. We gladly assist our students with any questions that may arise from their own research on this topic.

What are my responsibilities as a student when it comes to preparing for licensing/certification?

If you have not done so already, secure a copy of your state’s credentialing requirements and compare it to the coursework and internship guidelines that are delineated in the major in Clinical Mental Health Counseling Student Handbook and University Catalog. Should your state’s requirements differ from the course sequence checklist outlined in the university catalog, your studies can often be realigned to achieve your desired outcome.

What if I don’t have an undergraduate degree in psychology or have not completed a minimum of 12 credits in psychology prior to acceptance?

In certain circumstances, exceptional applicants may be granted provisional acceptance, full acceptance being contingent upon the successful completion of 9 credits of counseling psychology coursework in their first academic term.

When can I start the program and when will I graduate?

Start dates occur each year in January, April, and August. The hybrid major in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program offers students a blended online and residency based academic experience. Students will attend three, three-day weekend residencies annually, along with full-featured online course delivery. Residencies are held at the Brattleboro, Vermont and Cincinnati, Ohio Academic Centers. Students may complete this 60-credit licensure track program in 2 years.

What occurs during a residency?

Residencies offer you the opportunity to connect directly with your peers and are viewed as a critical part of your program. Students attending their first residency will engage in specific content and skills workshops and attend their first core group meeting. The core group serves you throughout your program as a “student learning team” in which you share resources, provide critique, and participate in peer evaluation. A myriad of professional seminars, content seminars, and student presentations round out the rest of the residency and expose students to the common core topics relevant to the discipline of counseling psychology.

Is there a difference between a major in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and a M.S.W.?

Although one can counsel with either degree, social work is much more centered on case management (coordinating with state agencies and community resources to assist clients with accessing medical care and meals on wheels services, etc.), while major in Clinical Mental Health Counseling is, as its title would suggest, focused rather exclusively on direct therapeutic services (and the diagnostic and assessment steps that are precursors to direct services). The difference between these two fields, then, is largely an issue of personal preference. Our faculty obviously favor spending their time teaching (and historically working with) direct service, while preferring to leave the coordinating of community resources to the social workers who have that interest/emphasis.

As a busy adult, is it challenging to combine full-time work and studies?

The majority of students enrolled in the Master of Arts with a major in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program balance their education with other responsibilities. There are many reasons why the low-residency options work for our students, but the most prevalent answer seems to be the freedom the educational model allows – you can work on your studies when your schedule allows. This is a graduate degree program with rigorous coursework that requires time, commitment, discipline, and a passion for what you are studying. It is amazing where time can be found when you are determined, creative, and don’t care what your neighbors think of your unkempt lawn. The payoff is clear, however, and in a minimum of two years you will have a Master of Arts degree.