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Although no diploma programs in mental health counseling are offered in North Carolina, the state boasts of a number of schools that offer master's degrees in the field. In addition to classroom training, students in such programs are offered the opportunity of practicum and/or internship experiences. Some schools allow for specialization within the field of counseling, allowing students to customize their education to their career goals.
Read on to find more information about the North Carolina schools that offer programs related to mental health counseling.
Appalachian State University
Appalachian State University is located in Boone and offers a 60-credit-hour master's degree program in clinical mental health counseling with thesis and non-thesis options. This program is designed to prepare students for entry-level positions in mental health counseling through advanced coursework in psychological testing, multicultural counseling, theory and counseling methods. Students may choose specialized concentrations in addictions counseling, marriage and family counseling, expressive arts therapy or body-centered therapy. The program's required 100-hour practicum and 600-hour internship are designed to meet CACREP standards. Graduate certificate programs in addiction counseling and expressive arts therapy are also available.
East Carolina University
East Carolina University in Greenville offers a master's degree in counselor education with a specialization in clinical mental health counseling. The core curriculum covers basic counseling topics, such as counseling theory and methods, working with families and group counseling methods. Students also take specialized mental health counseling courses and electives as well as complete a practicum and internships. This school requires students to complete a comprehensive exam, and completion of a thesis is optional.
North Carolina A&T State University
Located in Greensboro, North Carolina A&T State University offers a master's degree program in clinical mental health counseling, which meets CACREP accreditation requirements. It provides 60 credit hours of coursework in all of the core counseling areas, as well as elective courses, a 600-hour internship and a 100-hour practicum. This program prepares students to work in a variety of fields and settings. Students can take specialized electives in fields that include marriage and family counseling, career development and substance abuse.
North Carolina Central University
Based in Durham, North Carolina Central University offers a CACREP-accredited master's degree program in clinical mental health counseling designed for licensure preparation. In addition to providing a solid understanding of the mental health counseling practice through coursework, this program includes a practicum and internship to develop students' skills. Coursework in substance abuse therapy, play therapy and grief counseling provide some specialized areas of study.
North Carolina State University at Raleigh
North Carolina State University in Raleigh is the largest school in the state, with a student population of almost 35,000. It offers a master's degree program in clinical mental health counseling that prepares students for professional licensure. This 60-credit-hour program gives students the opportunity to learn about a variety of clinical mental health counseling topics, including counseling theories, psychological assessment, counseling techniques and group therapy. This program holds CACREP accreditation.
University of North Carolina at Charlotte
The Charlotte campus of the University of North Carolina offers a master's degree program in counseling with concentrations in addiction, school counseling and clinical mental health. CACREP has accredited this program, which provides students with the skills and knowledge to perform a wide range of counseling services, such as psychotherapy, crisis management and substance abuse treatment. This course requires students to complete a master's project or pass a written comprehensive examination as a condition of graduation.
University of North Carolina at Greensboro
The Greensboro campus of the University of North Carolina offers a master's degree program in counseling with a concentration in clinical mental health. This program prepares students for general or specialized counseling in outpatient, inpatient, private or community settings. Coursework includes counseling diverse populations, developmental counseling and counseling in community settings. This program provides 60 credit hours as well as 600 internship hours, and it's CACREP accredited.
University of North Carolina at Pembroke
In the small college town of Pembroke, the University of North Carolina at Pembroke offers a 60-credit-hour master's degree program in clinical mental health counseling. The program is housed in the School of Education, and CACREP has accredited it. In addition to core counseling courses, the curriculum includes electives in gender and sexuality issues related to counseling, addictions counseling and crisis intervention, among others. Students also participate in clinical field placement courses, which include a 100-hour practicum and 600-hour internship.
Wake Forest University
Wake Forest University, located in Winston-Salem, offers a master's degree program in counseling with a specialization in clinical mental health. This 60-credit program prepares students for entry-level counseling positions by providing coursework in the 8 core areas outlined by CACREP and required by most states for mental health counseling licensure. In addition to coursework, students spend about 20 hours a week in internships in clinical mental health settings.
Western Carolina University
Western Carolina University, located in Cullowhee, offers a 60-credit-hour master's degree program in clinical mental health counseling, which requires two years, including two summers, of full-time study. This program provides coursework in all the basic counseling areas, including topics like ethics and legal procedures, professional roles and administrative structures. It also includes a 150-hour practicum and 600-hour internship.
According to the North Carolina Board of Licensed Professional Counselors (NCBLPC), mental health counselors must complete at least 3 semester hours of graduate coursework in 9 areas of study to become licensed. In addition to completing a master's degree program that meets these requirements, the NCBLPC requires applicants to have at least 3,000 hours of supervised professional experience after graduation and pass an exam.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type & Setting||Mental Health Counseling Degree Programs Offered||Graduate Tuition & Fees (2015-2016)|
|Appalachian State University||4-year; public; midsize city||Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling|| $7,409 (in-state),
|East Carolina University||4-year; public; small city||Master of Science in Counselor Education|| $6,857 per year (in-state),
|North Carolina A&T State University||4-year; public; large city||Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling - Clinical|| $7,047 (in-state),
|North Carolina Central University||4-year; public; midsize city||Master of Arts in Mental Health Counseling|| $6,627 (in-state),
|North Carolina State University at Raleigh||4-year; public; large city||Master of Education in Clinical Mental Health Counseling|| $10,224 (in-state),
|University of North Carolina at Charlotte||4-year; public; large city||Master of Arts in Counseling|| $7,032 (in-state),
|University of North Carolina at Greensboro||4-year; public; large city||Master of Science in Counseling with a concentration in Clinical Mental Health Counseling|| $7,489 (in-state),
|University of North Carolina at Pembroke||4-year; public; distant town||Master of Arts in Education in Clinical Mental Health Counseling|| $5,667 (in-state),
|Wake Forest University||4-year; private, not-for-profit; midsize city||Master of Arts in Counseling||$36,846*|
|Western Carolina University||4-year; public; distant town||Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling|| $7,065 (in-state),
Source: *NCES College Navigator.