Saint Joseph's master’s of social work program prepares students to address the increasing needs for social, emotional and behavioral support in a variety of environments in our region and nationwide
Clinical Mental Health Counseling MS
Offered primarily online, Saint Joseph's University's Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling will prepare you to work as a licensed counselor serving clients, including individuals and families who struggle with addiction, relational difficulties, self-harm, thoughts of suicide and mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression. The 60-credit program includes 700 hours of supervised fieldwork and an optional built-in certificate in addiction counseling.
The United States is seeing a rise in demand for mental health counselors and addiction specialists throughout the country. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), 5.5 percent of adults aged 18 or older were diagnosed with a serious mental illness (SMI) in 2021. Now more than ever, it’s important that the individuals who fill counseling roles approach their work with an empathic, human-centered and ethical approach.
At Saint Joseph’s University’s School of Education and Human Development, this is the core of our philosophy and the foundation for our program in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Home of the Center for Addiction Recovery and Education (CARE), the School of Education and Human Development prepares practitioners to earn the credentials, experience and skills necessary to provide care for communities in need.
What Sets Our Program Apart
The Saint Joseph's University Counseling Program is not currently accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). The Counseling Program is in the process of developing a self-study report for submission to CACREP for accreditation consideration. To learn more about CACREP accreditation and the process, please visit www.cacrep.org.
Saint Joseph's University's MS in clinical mental health counseling is offered fully online and accessible to students across the globe, with the exception of the hands-on practicum and internship experiences. Students must secure a clinical placement in their respective geographic area. Full-time students can complete the program in as little as two years, while working professionals can opt to enroll part-time, taking classes at their own pace.
The clinical mental health counseling MS program covers a range of topics that will help enhance your career in mental health counseling. As part of the program, you will complete a practicum and two internships, allowing you to earn the 700 hours of supervised experience needed to earn your credentials.
Saint Joseph's faculty are experts in their fields and bring theory, practice and relevance to the classroom. Our small, dynamic classes allow for discussion, reflection and collaboration.
Learn more about Saint Joseph's faculty.
We’ve designed our clinical mental health counseling MS program for the working professional. Flexibility and choice are built-in so you can balance work, family and all the other commitments of a busy life.
Through Saint Joseph's 4+2 program, current undergraduate students can start earning credits toward their Clinical Mental Health Counseling MS degree during their senior year. This unique option allows you to graduate with two degrees — a bachelor's and master's — in just five years, saving you time and money. Students interested in this program should apply to the graduate program in their junior year and be conditionally accepted before they complete their bachelor's degree.
What Can You Do with a Master's in Clinical Mental Health Counseling?
A graduate degree in clinical mental health counseling will give you the knowledge and experience to move into an in-demand counseling profession. Clinical mental health counselors and addiction counseling specialists work in a variety of settings including private practice, education, healthcare and community agencies.
- College counselor
- Family counselor
- Addiction counselor
- Mental health specialist
Nearly 100,000 new counseling jobs are projected to be added through 2028. This is a projected growth rate of over 20%, far outpacing the 5.2% for all other occupations.
Affordable tuition options start at $941 per credit.*
*Pricing does not include room and board, health insurance or any professional, clinical or transportation fees. Visit our Tuition & Fees page or contact us for more information.
Financial aid may be available to you to help offset the cost of your degree. Explore your options on our Financial Aid page.
Have you completed a year or more of service with a recognized service organization? You may be eligible for our mission discount.
Alumni of Saint Joseph's are eligible to receive 10% off the cost of this program through our alumni discount.
Check with your employer to see if they are an Edcor or a Bright Horizons EdAssist member, which may entitle you to a discount on graduate programs.
Note: discounts cannot be combined.
CMHC degree program meets the Pennsylvania Board of Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapist and Professional Counselors education requirements for the Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) credential and the National Board Certified Counselors education requirements for the National Certified Counselor (NCC) and the Certified Clinical Mental Health Counselors (CCMHC) credentials.
Graduate assistantships are offered on a limited basis. Please contact the program director for availability.
Saint Joseph's is a Yellow Ribbon School that accepts GI education benefits. Our Office of Veterans Services can help you access and understand your benefits.
Why Study a Clinical Mental Health Counseling MS in Philadelphia?
Home of the Center for Addiction Recovery and Education (CARE) in Philadelphia, Saint Joseph’s School of Education and Human Development prepares practitioners to earn the credentials, experience and skills they need to provide care for communities in need.
Clinical Mental Health Counseling MS Admissions Information
To be considered for admission you must have a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution with an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher.
- Complete online application.
- Submit official college transcripts from all colleges attended.
- Personal statement/essay.
- CV or resume
- Two letters of recommendation.
- Successful completion of an online group interview process.
Visit our Graduate Admission Information page to learn more about admission requirements, key deadlines, additional requirements for international students and how to submit your application.
- March 1
*Select applicants are invited to a group interview in mid-March. Applicants are typically notified of admissions decisions in April
If you’re applying as an international student, you must provide proof of English Language Proficiency and Certification of Finances along with your application. Check the graduate admission page for more information about the application process and additional requirements for international students.
Frequently Asked Questions
Graduates of the clinical mental health counseling MS program will gain valuable skills including:
- Empathic listening and interviewing skills
- Advocating for clients' career and educational development
- Designing and implementing group counseling activities and understanding group dynamics
- Identifying and eliminating bias and prejudices that impact mental health
- Conducting, interpreting and reporting research and program evaluation
The average salary of a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in the United States is $70,537.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of substance abuse, behavioral disorder and mental health counselors is projected to grow 22 percent from 2021 to 2031, much faster than the average for all occupations.
Courses in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling MS program include:
- Ethical, legal and professional issues in counseling
- Counseling across the lifespan
- Cultural diversity, identity and social justice issues in counseling
- Crisis counseling for trauma, violence and abuse
- Addiction counseling
In addition to a student support coordinator, we have a variety of other tools and resources that make it easy for you to get technical assistance, chart your course and focus your career search. Check out our online learning resources.