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In Missouri, mental health counseling can be studied via master's degree programs, requiring completion of 48-60 credit hours. Mental health counseling may be the main area of study, or it may be offered as a concentration within a larger counseling or education program. One school also offers a 20-credit post-master's Education Specialist in Counseling and Guidance program, which is designed for licensed counselors. Students in a mental health counseling program learn techniques for counseling couples, providing therapy to families and offering professional intervention during crises. In addition, students may complete clinical training through internship and practicum experiences.
Located in St. Charles, Lindenwood University offers a 48-credit hour counseling program that results in a Master of Arts degree. This degree program can be completed in 8 semesters with full-time attendance; however, additional time may be needed to complete thesis or internship requirements. The program blends theoretical learning with practical application through lab courses and internships. Students complete supervised clinical instruction that takes place over 2 semesters in the field. Successfully completion of the program qualifies students for the counselor licensing exam.
Missouri State University
Springfield's Missouri State University offers a counseling master's program with a mental health counseling concentration option. This program requires the completion of 27 credit hours of professional counseling coursework, along with 27 additional credit hours of mental health counseling specialization coursework. The curriculum for this program includes a practicum and an internship course, as well as courses like counseling methodology, family therapy and couples counseling.
Southeast Missouri State University
Southeast Missouri State University is located in Cape Girardeau and offers a master's program in mental health counseling. This 60-credit program is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) and prepares students for licensure as counselors. Students can expect to take courses in crisis intervention, mental health systems and psychodiagnosis. The curriculum also includes clinical fieldwork in the form of internships and a practicum.
University of Missouri - Kansas City
Located in Kansas City, this university offers a program in counseling and guidance that awards a Master of Arts degree upon completion. The program has 3 areas of emphasis, one of which includes a focus on mental health counseling. This program also prepares students for further studies at the doctoral level. Students can complete this master's degree program in around 3 years with full-time enrollment.
This university also offers a 20-credit-hour, post-master's counseling program that can lead to an educational specialist degree. The program is geared toward licensed counselors who want to complete additional professional training for career advancement opportunities.
University of Missouri - St. Louis
Located in St. Louis, this school's Master of Education program in clinical mental health counseling prepares students for licensure. The program includes fieldwork and practicum courses for hands-on clinical experience. Core topics that students can expect to study include multicultural counseling, addiction counseling and ethical issues in counseling. The program culminates in a comprehensive review exam.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), mental health counselors must be licensed to practice in all 50 states. In order to earn a license in Missouri, an individual needs to earn a master's degree in counseling or a related field like counseling psychology. Then they must complete a minimum of 3,000 hours and 24 months of clinical supervised experience that includes 1,200 hours of direct client counseling and/or group counseling. Finally, individuals need to successfully pass the National Counselor Exam. In Missouri, aspiring counselors can become licensed through the Missouri Committee for Professional Counselors.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type & Setting||Mental Health Counseling Degree Program Offered||Graduate Tuition (2015-2016)|
|Lindenwood University||4-year, private not-for-profit; small city||Master of Arts in Counseling||$16,022*|
|Missouri State University||4-year, public; midsize city||Master of Science in Counseling||$5,500 in-state; $10,108 out-of-state*|
|Southeast Missouri State University||4-year, public; remote town||Master of Arts in Mental Health Counseling||$7,270 in-state; $12,586 out-of-state*|
|University of Missouri - Kansas City||4-year, public; large city|| Master of Arts in Counseling and Guidance,
Educational Specialist in Counseling and Guidance
|$7,215 in-state; $17,045 out-of-state*|
|University of Missouri - St. Louis||4-year, public; large suburb||Master of Education in Clinical Mental Health Counseling||$10,459 in-state; $25,176 out-of-state*|
Source: *National Center for Education Statistics.