Diploma programs in mental health counseling are not available in Arizona. Any student seeking mental health counseling programs in Arizona will need to pursue a graduate program of study, as this is an advanced and specialized field of study. Three schools within the state of Arizona offer mental health counseling or related programs. Students will need to hold an undergraduate degree in a related field before applying to these programs, which lead to two master's and one doctoral degrees. Internships, fieldwork, dissertations, final and/or research projects may be included as a part of the curriculum.
Arizona State University
Located in downtown Tempe, Arizona State University is the state's largest university, enrolling more than 72,000 students each year. The Master of Science (MS) in Psychology degree program includes research-intensive psychology courses, along with psychology seminars and mental health laboratories. However, this program does not qualify students for a clinical license.
Courses include behavior analysis, affective science, cognitive psychology and advanced clinical methods. Students use highly innovative computer technologies to complete data analysis and theory comprehension projects. To complete the 31-credit program, students also conduct an applied research project or complete a thesis.
Northern Arizona University
Northern Arizona University (NAU) in Flagstaff offers a Master of Arts (MA) in Counseling. This program is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) and prepares graduates for careers as applied general practitioners. The curriculum requires 60 credit hours and includes fieldwork and classroom experiences, as well as internships. Students can expect courses in psychology, statistics, psychodiagnostics, clinical mental health counseling, counseling techniques and ethics. With further training, graduates are eligible for certification through the National Board for Certified Counselors, as well as licensure through the Arizona Board of Behavioral Health Examiners.
University of Arizona
Located two hours south of Phoenix in Tucson, the University of Arizona enrolls more than 39,000 students each year. The psychology department offers an extensive advanced education program and has a Ph.D. program in six different concentrations, including a clinical psychology path. The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Clinical Psychology advanced degree program allows psychology professionals to work in the mental health field. The program offers several sub-categories, including couple and family psychology, health psychology and mental health evaluation and policy. Each academic path includes vigorous courses, psychology seminars and workshops, psychology externships and health laboratories.
Courses include clinical assessment methods, psychosocial interventions, advanced psychopathology and human neuroscience. Students must also participate in an area-specific externship, create a dissertation and complete a final project. The program meets the educational requirements for licensure as a psychologist.
Additionally, mental health counselors must be licensed, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Licensure in the field requires a master's degree, a supervised clinical experience and a passing score on a state-recognized exam, as well as completion of continuing education classes. The Arizona Board of Behavioral Health Examiners also has a residency requirement.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type & Setting||Mental Health Counseling Programs Offered||Graduate Tuition & Fees (2018-2019)|
|Arizona State University||Four-year, public; midsize city||Master of Science (MS) in Psychology||$10,822 in-state, $28,336 out-of-state*|
|Northern Arizona University||Four-year, public; small city||Master of Arts (MA) in Clinical Mental Health Counseling||$11,564 in-state, $25,828 out-of-state*|
|University of Arizona||Four-year, public; large city||Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Clinical Psychology||$12,467 in-state; $36,366 out-of-state*|
Source: *National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).