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Clinical Mental Health Counseling Master’s Degree

Prepare for rewarding careers in clinical mental health counseling in a CACREP-accredited program with exceptional opportunities for research and field-based learning. The clinical mental health master’s degree program at Georgian Court University provides a holistic view of treatment with a strong emphasis on ethics and evidence-based learning—preparing you with the knowledge and skills to succeed in your chosen field.

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CACREP Announcement

In 2022-23, 8 students earned their MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. This represents 62% of the cohort that started in F2020. 100% of the graduates are employed, and the cohort’s pass rate for the National Counselor Examination is 75%. View the Annual Report for CACREP.

Program Highlights


Master of Arts (M.A.)/Graduate Certificate

2.5–3 years

Average time to complete


Face to face



Total credits


Time of entry

GCU Graduate student reading a book

Master’s in

Clinical Mental

Health Counseling

Working as part of a small cohort, you’ll benefit from one-on-one mentoring by faculty, while building close connections with peers. You’ll also engage in a 100-hour practicum and a 600-hour internship that give you opportunities to apply your knowledge in the field. When you graduate (and complete the post-master’s supervised hours), you’ll be prepared to obtain licensure as a New Jersey Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC).

Apply your training

in the real world

If you’re interested in helping people with drug and alcohol addiction, we offer courses in addiction counseling, with specialized electives and experiential learning opportunities you can choose based on your goals. We also offer a Professional Counselor Graduate Certificate for students who have a master’s degree but need additional credits for licensure in New Jersey.

Psychotherapy Concept. Mental Health Disorders

Clinical mental health counselors are licensed professionals who help people with a wide range of mental, emotional, and behavioral issues. They provide services that include assessing and diagnosing disorders, working with patients to develop coping skills and strategies, and referring patients to other health professionals for additional treatment and care. Empathy, compassion, ethics, and keen listening and communication skills are all essential qualities for clinical mental health counselors to build trust with clients and effect positive change.

Program Information

The Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling is a 60-credit program designed for students who wish to pursue careers as a Licensed Professional Counselor and/or enter into a counselor education doctoral program. It is aligned with the standards of the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).

Professional courses are open only to students formally admitted to the program.

Required Courses
CMH5100Introduction to Counseling Skills3.0
CMH5101Advanced Psychpathology&Diagnosis3.0
CMH5200Multicultural Issues in Counseling3.0
CMH5300Counseling Theories3.0
CMH5301Clin Mntl Hlth Cnslng Interven3.0
CMH5302Appraisal of the Individual3.0
CMH5303Techniques of Group Counseling3.0
CMH5400Lifespan Development3.0
CMH5500Orgn Cnsling & Career Dev3.0
CMH5600The Counseling Profession3.0
CMH5700Applied Research Methods3.0
CMH5800Practicum in Counseling4.0
CMH5802Internship in Counseling I4.0
CMH5804Internship in Counseling II4.0
or CMH5357 Sem Addict Trtmnt & Prev
Select 12 credits of electives12.0
Total Credits60.0

Students intending to pursue doctoral training are strongly urged to register for CMH6001 Thesis Seminar I and CMH6002 Thesis Seminar II.

Students intending to be dually licensed as mental health counselors and addictions counselors are advised to select CMH5355 Introduction to Addictions Counseling, CMH5356 Treatment of Addictive Disorders, CMH5601 Psychopharmacology, and CMH5357 Sem Addict Trtmnt & Prev.

A comprehensive examination is required of all candidates, which consists of a national standardized test (the CPCE) and a case study. Students are allowed two opportunities to pass each section of the comprehensive examination. If a student passes one section and does not pass the other, he or she will not be required to retake the passed section. If a student fails to complete the comprehensive exam sections successfully after two attempts, the student may be subject to academic dismissal. Students who fail either section of the comprehensive examination must arrange to meet with their advisor or their program director within two weeks of results notification.

View the full curriculum and admission requirements.

If you’re interested in our master’s in clinical mental health counseling, here are other programs at GCU you might want to explore:

Why Earn Your Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at GCU?

Our clinical mental health counseling program is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). This means that our coursework and clinical hours meet the most rigorous standards for counseling professionals—which will help with licensure and increasing your chances of employment after graduation.

Here are more reasons to earn your master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling at GCU.

Clinical Experiences and Research

Participate in faculty-led research experiences that give you the chance to present your work nationally. You’ll also engage in supervised, onsite clinical experiences working with a variety of patients and needs. We have connected students to opportunities with facilities such as Bright Harbor Healthcare, Integrated Care Concepts, and Preferred Behavioral Health, working in a wide range of services from adolescent group work, to family therapy, to assisting with severe behavioral and mental health issues.

Personal Attention and Guidance

When you earn your master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling at GCU, expect plenty of individual attention and one-on-one support. We’re also great at linking you with the best opportunities for your specific interests and career goals, and our field placement coordinator (in addition to faculty) will work with you to identify specialty options. Our cohort model also fosters a strong sense of community and teamwork among students, who stay together from day one through graduation.

Addiction Counseling

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, about 1 in 13 Americans needed treatment for substance use disorder in 2018. The CDC reports that drug overdose deaths have quadrupled since 1999, and that excessive alcohol use is responsible for more than 95,000 deaths in the United States each year. Skilled addiction counselors are in high demand, and can help save lives, families, and communities. Students intending to be dually licensed as mental health counselors and addictions counselors are advised to select CMH5355 Introduction to Addictions Counseling, CMH5356 Treatment of Addictive Disorders, CMH5601 Psychopharmacology, and CMH5357 Seminar in Addiction Treatment & Prevention. Our internship and practicum experiences offer opportunities to prepare you for this role.

Teacher teaching students in a classroom
Clinical Mental Health Counseling Degree

What Can You Do With a Master’s Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling?

Skilled mental health counselors are in high demand in New Jersey and throughout the nation. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment of substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors will grow 23% from 2020 to 2030—more than four times faster than the national average. Our graduates work in community mental health facilities, addictions programs, hospitals, and private practices. Many also continue their professional development in counselor education doctoral programs. Whatever your goals, you can count on GCU preparing you to hit the ground running: 94% of our graduates pass the Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Examination (CPCE), and 84% pass the licensure exam.*

*Based on data for Summer 2019, Fall 2019, and Spring 2020 classes

Clinical Mental Health Counseling Jobs

As a clinical mental health counselor, you can serve many different populations, specializing in areas such as:

  • addiction counseling,
  • geriatric counseling,
  • child counseling,
  • marriage and family therapy,
  • rehabilitation counseling, and
  • social work.

Mental Health Counseling Salary

With an annual mean wage of $61,310, New Jersey ranks among the top paying states in the nation for substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors. The average salary of a mental health counselor nationally is $47,660.*

*Based on recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Mental health matters motivational quote on the letter board. Inspiration psycological text with
“Georgian Court University's Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program helped me build a fantastic foundation for my career. The professors and advisors provided a nurturing, supportive learning environment. Classes were taught in an engaging and practical style. Thanks to GCU, I learned essential counseling skills and the value of interprofessional collaboration. I highly recommend this program for anyone interested in the counseling field.”
Laura Genco
Credentialed Intern
Iron Recovery and Wellness Center

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Deposit Deadline Extended to June 1

Georgian Court University has extended the deposit deadline to June 1 in response to the U.S. Department of Education announcement concerning delayed data availability from the revised Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Additionally, deposits are also refundable up to June 1. Click here for more information about the deposit extension.