Human Services Guide

Education Requirements for Clinical Mental Health Counselor

By providing the service of mental health therapy the Clinical Mental Health Counselor is giving back to their community in a truly profound way. In order to get started on your career path as a Clinical Mental Health Counselor, you will need to follow the proper processes for education and licensure requirements.

Firstly, you will want to attain your Bachelor’s degree preferably in Counseling although closely related disciplines such as Psychology or Social Work can sometimes be sufficient to be accepted into a Master’s program.

Once you have your Bachelor’s degree you will want to find a Master of Counseling program that has a degree concentration that matches your career aspirations. For example, if you are interested in counseling elderly people, you may want to look for a Geriatric Counseling degree concentration or a Geriatric Certificate. You will also want to be sure that the program is accredited with the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).

Once you have completed your Master’s degree you will want to determine if you wish to continue schooling to earn your Ph.D., or immediately begin the process of licensure. Most states will require a minimum of a Master’s of Counseling before they allow you to become licensed. Each state will have their own requirements for licensure, but most states require several thousand hours of clinical experience that is under the supervision of a licensed Counselor within a certain time frame. After completing you licensure process you will be ready to enter the work force or set up your own private practice. Most states require that you earn a certain amount of continuing education credits per year, or every two years, in order to keep your license up to date.