Best 20 Masters in Mental Health Counseling Programs in 2021

Staff Writers by: Staff Writers

Achieving a masters in mental health counseling can open up an incredible number of career opportunities. You’ll have the opportunity to help those in need with the knowledge that you acquire in a masters in mental health counseling program. Schools from across the country offer the program, ensuring that you can find a degree that works for you.

What Happens Once You Graduate?

Once you’ve graduated with a masters in mental health counseling, you’ll want to work toward your licensure. Depending on the state in which you get licensed, you will need to obtain a certain number of internship hours and take a licensure exam.

After you’ve been licensed, you’ll be identified as an MHC or Mental Health Counselor. Then, you can work in private practice or for a larger group.

Working with a Masters in Mental Health Counseling

After attending a master’s program, graduating, and obtaining your license, you can work as a mental health counselor. You may choose to work for yourself, within a substance abuse treatment facility, a hospital, or in many other environments. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, you can earn a median pay of $46,240 a year with just a bachelor’s degree. As you increase to a master’s degree, you increase your earning potential. The other good news is that the job outlook is much faster, with growth anticipated to be at 25% over the next 10 years.

Choosing a school can be an overwhelming decision. We’ve found the top 20 schools where you can attend a program to earn a master’s in mental health counseling. You can find programs on campus and online to fit your schedule. We’ve identified the top schools based on the cost of tuition (lower costs are ranked higher) and the total enrollment (higher enrollment numbers are ranked higher).

Best 20 Masters in Mental Health Counseling Programs

1. Grand Canyon University

Students at Grand Canyon University can choose to get a Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. This degree program is offered by the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. The program meets the requirements for many of the different academic boards including the Arizona Board of Behavioral Health Examiners and the National Board for Certified Counselors for the NCC credential. The 62-credit hour program can be taken online or on campus.

  • Tuition Cost per Year: $16,419
  • Enrollment Total: 145,131

2. CUNY Brooklyn College

Within the School of Natural and Behavioral Sciences, CUNY Brooklyn College offers a Mental Health Counseling M.A. The 60-credit hour program exposes students to psychodynamic, cognitive-behavioral, and experiential/humanistic approaches. Additionally, students are exposed to opportunities to intern with counselors and ways to get their 3,000 hours of supervised experience following their degree in order to get licensed.

  • Tuition Cost per Year: $11,522
  • Enrollment Total: 17,410

3. Kent State University

At Kent State University, it is possible to get a master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. The program is 60 hours and is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs. Students will get a broad understanding of the various counseling approaches. While most students choose to take courses on the campus, there are online and hybrid options available, too.

  • Tuition Cost per Year: $19,478
  • Enrollment Total: 33,013

4. East Carolina University

A Clinical Counseling MS can be obtained at East Carolina University. The program is offered within the College of Allied Health Sciences, which also gives students access to a wide array of departments – biostatistics, occupational therapy, communication sciences and disorders, and much more. The 62-hour program to obtain an MS in clinical counseling covers a wide array of topics including practicums. Additionally, there will be experiential activities as well as an internship requirement.

  • Tuition Cost per Year: $20,729
  • Enrollment Total: 32,028

5. Central Michigan University

The College of Education & Human Services at Central Michigan University offers a concentration in clinical mental health counseling. The 66-credit hour program includes core classes, courses on crisis and trauma counseling, an internship featuring 600-hours of clinical experience, as well as at least 6 hours of electives. Students will have access to courses across the entire department as a way to diversify their education.

  • Tuition Cost per Year: $22,881
  • Enrollment Total: 24,917

6. Idaho State University

Students can explore a master’s program from Idaho State University. In addition to obtaining a master’s in Mental Health Counseling, there are also other specialties including Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling, Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling, and Student Affairs Counseling. The majority of courses are offered on the campus, though online courses are available. The program is accredited by the Council for Accreditation and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).

  • Tuition Cost per Year: $22,224
  • Enrollment Total: 14,970

7. Alvernia University

At Alvernia University, it is possible to earn a Master of Arts in Clinical Counseling (MACC). The program is offered at the main campus as well as at the Philadelphia Center. Students will learn through lectures, role plays, skill demonstrations, discussions, and small groups. The courses are delivered in person, though there are blended and online course offerings available for some of the required courses. Those who attend the university will also have access to a full community, including being able to attend professional conferences and seek counseling internships.

  • Tuition Cost per Year: $14,963
  • Enrollment Total: 2906

8. Emporia State University

The Department of Counselor Education at Emporia State University offers a wide array of master’s programs. It is possible for students to explore clinical counseling, mental health counseling, and counseling education. The program is 45-hours of core classes and there is both a thesis and non-thesis option available. The concentrations that one can choose from with the 15 credit hours of electives include clinical mental health counseling, clinical rehabilitation counselign, and addiction counseling.

  • Tuition Cost per Year: $21,931
  • Enrollment Total: 5732

9. Antioch University-New England

An MA from Antioch University-New England is available in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. The full-time program generally takes students three years to complete, though there is a part-time program available, too. The requirements include 60 credit hours that focus on core courses, practicum and internships, and electives. The program is offered on two campuses – one that is online and one that is located in Keene, New Hampshire.

  • Tuition Cost per Year: $5776
  • Enrollment Total: 1117

10. Belmont University

The College of Theology & Christian Ministry at Belmont University allows students to earn an MA in Mental Health Counseling. The private Christian university offers a unique program in that it teaches not only the scientific psychotherapy but also the insight and values of Christian tradition. The program is a total of 60 hours, which includes course in Christian ethics and an array of counselign techniques. Students can choose from one of three tracks: Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Clinical Pastoral Therapy, or Marriage, Couple and Family Counseling.

  • Tuition Cost per Year: $23,510
  • Enrollment Total: 8012

11. Carlow University

Carlow University offers a Master of Science in Professional Counseling. The program, offered at the Main Oakland campus, is a total of 60 credit hours. There are various tracks that are available, including clinical mental health and addictions counseling. Within the program, there will also be a practicum and internship, ensuring that it’s possible to get the hands-on experience of working to counsel individuals and small groups.

  • Tuition Cost per Year: $19,036
  • Enrollment Total: 2254

12. Gallaudet University

An MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling is available from Gallaudet University. Within the Department of Counseling, students can choose from various courses in counseling as a way to diversify their education.  The program is a minimum of 69 credit hours, which spans across two years. The program is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs.

  • Tuition Cost per Year: $16,512
  • Enrollment Total: 1735

13. Boston College

A Master of Arts in Mental Health Counseling is offered by Boston College within the School of Education and Human Development. The two-year program provides students with the knowledge needed to work in a variety of different industries. The courses are offered online while the second year is more hands-on with a practicum internship. The school makes it possible to intern at a clinic, school, or organization around the Boston area and prepare for the licensure exam.

  • Tuition Cost per Year: $30,700
  • Enrollment Total: 14,125

14. Fordham University

The Graduate School of Education at Fordham University offers an MSEd in Mental Health Counseling. The program consists of 60 credit hours and can be taken full-time or part-time. The campus that the courses are offered is the Lincoln Center. The options are to take the course in two years or in three years, both with summers. Graduates will be able to get licensed following the licensing exam and accruing 3,000 hours of supervised experience post-graduation.

  • Tuition Cost per Year: $52,980
  • Enrollment Total: 18,774

15. Marquette University

The master’s program at Marquette University makes it possible to focus on clinical mental health counseling. Located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the university offers options on the campus and online. The 60-credit hour program takes 21 months to complete. In addition, students can choose to specialize in a few different areas such as child and adolescent, clinical rehabilitation, or addiction.

  • Tuition Cost per Year: $43,350
  • Enrollment Total: 12,285

16. Andrews University

Andrews University, located in Berrien Springs, Michigan, offers an MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. The program is CACREP accredited and consists of core classes and a practicum. Students will learn how to function in an array of settings including private practice, family counseling centers, and mental health centers. Clinical and research training is provided.

  • Tuition Cost per Year: $28,164
  • Enrollment Total: 4767

17. Holy Family University

Clinical mental health counseling is offered at Holy Family University. Students will obtain an MS in Counseling Psychology with a concentration in clinical mental health. Students will learn in a way that allows them to apply Christian principles to their counseling approach. The program requires a total of 60 credit hours along with a 600-hour internship and a 100-hour practicum.

  • Tuition Cost per Year: $29,990
  • Enrollment Total: 3754

18. John Brown University

Graduate counseling opportunities exist at John Brown University. There are several emphases within the program, including Marriage and Family Therapy, Play Therapy, and Adventure Therapy. Students can choose to take courses face to face across various campuses in Arkansas including Rogers, Little Rock, and Siloam Springs. Approximately one-third of the courses can also be taken online.

  • Tuition Cost per Year: $26,458
  • Enrollment Total: 2830

19. Fairfield University

At Fairfield University, students can choose to get a master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling. The program is found within the Graduate School of Education & Allied Professionals and has been identified as a “best value.” The program consists of 60 credit hours and focuses on a number of areas including human growth and development, group counseling, and research and evaluation. Students are also given access to opportunities post-graduation.

  • Tuition Cost per Year: $49,080
  • Enrollment Total: 5887

20. Heidelberg University

A Master of Arts in Counseling can be obtained from Heidelberg University. Students will take various core glasses to introduce them to the various techniques of counseling as well as ethical and legal standards. Emerging issues pertaining to trauma and crisis are also a part of the curriculum. Additionally, students will be introduced to field experiences and supervision trainings.

  • Tuition Cost per Year: $31,100
  • Enrollment Total: 1409

How We Rank the Schools

The schools have been ranked using two pieces of data: the cost of tuition for the master’s program and the total enrollment at the school. Each school is given a score for each piece of data and, then, the two scores are added up. The schools that offer the most affordable tuition are given the highest scores. Then, the schools that offer higher enrollment numbers are given the highest scores. Those that score high in both areas are included at the top of our list.

All of the tuition rates are based on one year, which is two semesters. Only the cost of tuition and fees are calculated – room and board, books, and other expenses are not factored in. Additionally, in-state rates are used, when applicable.

If you work for one of the schools listed and notice an error in the data we’ve used to establish ranking, please let us know. Our goal is to use the most updated information in order to rank the schools.

Finding an online program for a Masters in Mental Health Counseling can be challenging. Allow us to help find the right program for you.

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