Nationwide, Community Counseling programs have been renamed as Clinical Mental Health Counseling due to CACREP re-accreditation requirements. In Washington, clinical mental health counseling studies are offered through master's degree programs. Depending on the school, credit requirements may be as low as 35 hours or as high as 72 hours. Both programs integrate internship experiences, which allow students to develop practical skills in the field. Applicants may need to undergo an interview process to be considered for admission.
Located in Spokane, Gonzaga University offers a Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Before students are admitted to the program, they must be interviewed by the department faculty members. This 38-credit hour program takes approximately two years to complete, which includes summer sessions. Students can expect to take courses in counseling theories, group processes, psychopathology, assessment in community counseling and multicultural counseling. The program's curriculum also includes about 320 hours of internship work in addition to an oral examination.
Situated in Seattle, Seattle University offers a Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling through its College of Education. This program is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs and requires the completion of 72 credits of coursework. Courses cover topics like counseling diverse populations, addictions counseling and diagnosis and assessment for mental health. The program also includes labs, a practicum and several internships. Classes in this program are often scheduled during evenings, which can allow students to pursue the degree without leaving their day job.
Counselors typically need to be licensed or certified in most states; the specific requirements vary between counseling specialties. Common requirements include possession of a specific type of degree and completion of one or more exams.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type & Setting||Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program Offered||Average Graduate Tuition & Fees (2018-2019)|
|Gonzaga University||4-year; private, not-for-profit; midsize city||Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling||$17,045*|
|Seattle University||4-year; private, not-for-profit; large city||Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling||$19,880*|
Source: *National Center for Education Statistics.