Students in Texas interested in mental health counseling can look to several public and private non-profit universities for training in the field. Master's degree programs are the most common options. However, students who have master's degrees in other fields or existing counselors looking to gain additional training in mental health can enroll in a certificate program. In a degree program, clinical mental health counseling may be the main area of study, or it may be offered as a concentration within a general counseling or educational counseling degree program. Programs typically combine lectures with a practicum and at least one internship experience.
Read on to learn about various schools in Texas offering programs in mental health counseling, most of which are designed to prepare students for licensure.
Saint Edward's University
Saint Edward's University, located in Austin, offers a master's degree program in counseling. It can help students prepare to become Licensed Professional Counselors (LPCs) or Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists. In addition to theoretical classroom training, students also receive comprehensive practical training through practicum courses at locations like Austin State Hospital and the Austin Recovery Center. This program is designed to present students with different approaches to treating mental health issues. Students can usually complete this program within three years, but those who take three courses each semester may be able to finish it in two years.
St Mary's University
Students interested in receiving the type of training needed to become professional counselors can find a master's degree program in clinical mental health counseling at Saint Mary's University in San Antonio. The program requires students to complete 60 semester hours of coursework, as well as a 700-hour clinical practicum or internship. This non-thesis program includes advanced coursework in crisis counseling, sexuality counseling and human growth and development. Those who finish the program meet the education requirements to become LPCs in the state.
Sam Houston State University
Huntsville's Sam Houston State University offers a master's degree in counseling that may interest prospective mental health counselors. The program requires students to complete 60 credit hours and features an emphasis option in clinical mental health counseling. This program can help students qualify to become Licensed Professional Counselors in the state. Students can also take a hybrid version of this program, which combines online and campus-based training. Required courses include counseling theories, community counseling, ethical issues in counseling and effective human behavior.
Stephen F. Austin State University
Located in Nacogdoches, Stephen F. Austin State University features a comprehensive counselor education program. Students can pursue a master's degree in clinical mental health counseling. This is a 60-credit hour program that can help train individuals interested in acquiring the Licensed Professional Counselor credential. During the final semester of the program, students complete an internship in clinical mental health counseling.
Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi
The Corpus Christi campus of Texas A&M University offers a master's degree program in counseling with a clinical mental health concentration. Students are required to take courses in psychometrics, group counseling, career counseling and counseling theories. In addition to theoretical courses, students must also complete two internship courses where they receive practical training. The program allows students to take six credits of elective courses; options may include clinical hypnosis, couples counseling, play therapy and stress management. Upon program completion, graduates qualify for the LPC credential.
Texas A&M - San Antonio
Students can find mental health counseling training at Texas A&M - San Antonio. This university features a master's degree program in counseling and guidance, and students can select a curriculum track dedicated to mental health counseling. This option includes coursework in human development, counseling diverse populations, child and adolescent growth and development, group counseling and statistical methods. The program also includes a field practicum that amounts to 150 hours, and students must pass a comprehensive exam to graduate. In order to meet the requirements for the LPC temporary licensure, a second practicum is needed.
Texas Tech University
Students near Lubbock may be interested in the mental health graduate certificate program at Texas Tech University. Certificate programs are more common than diploma programs at the non-degree level within the mental health-counseling field. This program is intended for students who already have a master's degree in a related field or are Licensed Professional Counselors seeking specific training in mental health. The program consists of 15 credit hours of courses and covers dysfunctional behavior, group counseling, addictions and counseling techniques. Students are also required to complete a practicum and internship.
Texas Woman's University
Students in Denton can find a comprehensive program in counseling and development at this school, which is primarily focused on educating women. This master's degree program includes a clinical mental health counseling focus. The curriculum includes training in play therapy, professional ethics, counseling children and community health counseling. Students must also complete group counseling, a practicum and an internship in counseling as part of the program's clinical competencies training. This program meets LPC education requirements.
University of Mary Hardin - Baylor
Belton's University of Mary Hardin - Baylor offers a master's degree program in counseling with a clinical and mental health counseling focus. This program is designed to train students to work as Licensed Professional Counselors or National Board Certified Counselors. This 60-credit hour program focuses on research and evaluation, group theories, developmental counseling and multicultural counseling. Students are also expected to complete a practicum experience along with two internships.
University of North Texas
Students who have an undergraduate degree and meet the admission requirements can pursue a master's degree in counseling at the University of North Texas in Denton. This program includes a track in clinical mental health counseling. Requirements include a comprehensive exam and 27 credits of coursework focused in mental health, the completion of a 100-hour practicum and 600 hours of internship experience. The M.S. in Counseling with a clinical mental health-counseling track satisfies the LPC education requirements.
Professional counselors in Texas are required to hold a license in the field. In order to be eligible for licensing, an individual must hold a master's or doctoral degree in counseling or a related discipline. The Texas Jurisprudence Exam and the National Counselor Exam must be passed to qualify for a temporary license, with which aspiring licensees need to gain 3,000 clock hours of postgraduate clinical experience. This experience takes at least 18 months to complete.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type & Setting||Mental Health Counseling Programs Offered||Graduate Tuition & Fees (2018-2019)|
|Saint Edward's University||Four-year; private, not-for-profit; large city||Master of Arts in Counseling||$27,870*|
|St Mary's University||Four-year; private, not-for-profit; large city||Master of Arts in Counseling - Clinical Mental Health Counseling||$17,890*|
|Sam Houston State University||Four-year; public; distant town||Master of Arts in Counseling||$7,791 in-state; $15,261 out-of state*|
|Stephen F Austin State University||Four-year; public; remote town||Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling||$6,877 in-state; $14,347 out-of state*|
|Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi||Four-year; public; large city||Master of Science in Counseling - Clinical Mental Health||$7,328 in-state; $16,180 out-of-state*|
|Texas A&M University - San Antonio||Four-year; public; large city||Master of Arts in Counseling and Guidance Mental Health Counseling||$5,831 in-state; $13,589 out-of-state*|
|Texas Tech University||Four-year; public; large city||Mental Health Counseling Graduate Certificate||$8,015 in-state; $15,485 out-of-state*|
|Texas Woman's University||Four-year; public; midsize city||Master of Science in Counseling and Development - Clinical Mental Health Counseling||$7,336 in-state; $14,806 out-of-state*|
|University of Mary Hardin - Baylor||Four-year; private, not-for-profit; small suburb||Master of Arts in Counseling - Clinical and Mental Health Counseling||$17,650*|
|University of North Texas||Four-year; public; midsize city||Master of Science in Counseling - Clinical Mental Health Counseling||$7,338 in-state; $14,808 out-of-state*|
Sources: *National Center for Education Statistics.