Can I Get a Master’s in Mental Health Counseling?

Master's in Mental Health CounselingIf you want to help others by working as a counselor, you need your Master’s in mental health counseling. In the United States, you cannot work as a licensed counselor without an advanced degree. The right graduate school program will feature a combination of hands on experience and classroom teaching that shows you how to work around patients, how to get those patients talking and what to do in different situations. You can earn your advanced degree in mental health counseling, but you need to apply to graduate school and complete your studies.

Take the GRE

Taking the GRE is a necessary step associated with attending graduate school. It usually takes several hours to finish the test, and the testing center will mail your score to the schools you list in your information. Most students take a test prep course, study some test books and take a few practice tests before scheduling a testing date. If you feel that you didn’t do well on your test, you can apply to take the test again at a later date.

Find a School

Finding the right school is just as important as the work you do on your Master’s in mental health counseling. Choosing the right school depends on a number of factors, including tuition costs, location and the professors working in the program. Some students choose a college based on its proximity to their current location, while others choose a school because it has a number of well-known professors working there. As a graduate student, you might also consider schools that offer teaching positions and research grants for students. These programs let you earn money to pay for your classes as you work in the psychology field.

Complete the Application

Before you start your mental health program, you need to complete your application. According to an article in the US News and World Report, Dr. Don Martin recommends that you give yourself several weeks to gather the necessary documents that the school requires. You typically need to fill out a form about yourself, send transcripts of your undergraduate classes, a copy of your resume and three or more letters of recommendation. If you took a break after college before going onto grad school, include at least one letter of recommendation from a current employer or someone who knew you during that break.

Related Resource: Clinical Psychologist

Finish Your Studies

Finishing your Master’s in mental health counseling can take as little as two years or as long as four years or more. If you dedicate yourself full time to the program, you can often finish it in around two years. Master’s programs in this field often require some type of thesis project. You might study different types of counseling, work for a nonprofit organization and write up your experiences or research a specific type of counseling and explain how it benefits a certain personality type. You’ll also need to defend your thesis, which means that you’ll meet with professors from your program and talk about the work that you did and how you reached your conclusions.

When patients need counseling, they want counselors with a high level of experience and education. After choosing the right program, applying for admissions and getting in, you need to attend your classes and complete a thesis project before earning your Master’s in mental health counseling.