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Mental Health Counseling

We welcome applications on a rolling basis. The next priority application deadline is July 15, 2024.

Generous scholarships available

Start any semester

Part-time and full-time options

Program overview

The following program will prepare individuals as entry-level mental health counselors leading to New York State licensure eligibility in mental health counseling.

As societal pressures increase, and the complexities, stresses, and expectations of everyday life impact success at school, on the job, in relationships with family and friends – and take their toll on our overall well-being – the need for mental health counseling services has increased dramatically.

These diverse mental health needs require the mental health counselor of the 21st century to be a dynamic professional. One who has a keen understanding of societal impacts and is well-prepared to design holistic interventions to support those who are struggling.

Our Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs-accredited program in mental health counseling will successfully prepare you to become an effective mental health counselor – a counseling professional who can help to greatly improve the quality of life of the clients you serve.

Key program features

  • Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs: Our 60-credit master's program meets all requirements set by the world-recognized accrediting body for the field of counseling.
  • Cutting-Edge Curriculum: Courses and internships underscore the importance of intervention, wellness, integrated care, advocacy, and diversity in counseling, in order to successfully prepare mental health counselors for practice in the 21st century.
  • Flexible: Program can be started in any semester and completed in just two years of full-time study, if starting in fall, or three to four years of part-time study.
  • Rich Internship Opportunities: The required practicum plus two internships can be pursued across a wide array of settings, including community-based mental health clinics, hospitals, community agencies, drug and alcohol treatment centers, and institutions of higher education, treating diverse client populations including children, adolescents, adults, and seniors.
  • Substance Use Counseling Specialization: Each graduate of the Mental Health Counseling program is eligible to earn a CASAC-Trainee credential; this is the first step toward earning the premiere substance use counseling credential in New York, CASAC, with varying options for reciprocity between states.


  • A bachelor’s degree preferably in an area related to mental health counseling (e.g., psychology, human development, education, sociology, brain and cognitive science).
  • Preference is given to applicants with a grade point average of 3.0 or better on a 4.0 scale.
  • A demonstrated interest, based on previous volunteer or paid experience, of work related to helping professions.
  • Interests and dispositions consistent with successful practice providing psychological services in a mental health setting.
  • Applicants must display dispositions of health and fitness that will foster healing, growth and change in their clients, such as:
    • Capacity for sound clinical and interpersonal judgment.
    • Ability to deal with critique and conflict in a healthy and productive manner.
    • Reliable completion, even under conditions of stress and emotional challenge, of expected clinical and academic responsibilities.
    • Respect for diversity of beliefs, practices, appearances and orientations, and a commitment to, and capacity for self-reflection regarding diversity issues.
    • Ability, even in times of extreme stress, to convey empathy and compassion.
    • Display of sound moral and ethical judgment.

Scholarships, Tuition, & Financial Aid

Partnerships with area colleges


Program options

Master's Degree

Our 60-credit master's program in community mental health counseling is the first step leading to becoming a Licensed Mental Health Counselor. Students who complete the program, which includes rigorous didactic coursework and 600 hours of field-based internship experience, are eligible for a New York State Limited Permit to practice as a mental health counselor in New York State defined settings. They are further required post-degree to complete 3,000 additional hours of supervised practice and pass a state examination to become a New York State Licensed Mental Health Counselor. Coursework for the master's degree in mental health counseling.

New York State Licensure for Mental Health Counselors

Licensure as a mental health counselor is required in New York State to provide a range of services in community, health, and social service agencies and in private practice. Licensure status may allow clients to use health insurance for services offered by the licensed mental health counselor.

Advanced Certificate Bridge programs

School Counseling to Mental Health Counseling

Fully online option FAQs and Expectations

Already completed a master’s degree leading to NYS certification as a school counselor? Our 24-credit School Counseling to Mental Health Counseling Advanced Certificate requires only six mental health counseling courses and two internships. This program can be taken fully online at a distance. Coursework for the advanced certificate in school counseling to mental health counseling

From Mental Health to School Counseling

Considering a NYS certification as a school counselor? Add our Advanced Certificate Bridge from Mental Health to School Counseling Program for only nine additional credits. Coursework for the advanced certificate in mental health to school counseling. 

Customize your degree

Our degrees are designed to meet your interests and career aspirations. Whether you want to add an advanced certificate or specialize in a distinct area of emphasis, we can help craft the best option for you.

We welcome applications on a rolling basis. The next priority application deadline is July 15, 2024.

Growing need for mental health counselors

The need for mental health counselors is projected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations nationwide due in part to the fact that health insurance plans have started providing coverage to mental health counseling services.

Today, the country faces a shortage of mental health professionals while the demand for mental health services has never been higher. In fact, 15 of the nation’s 50 states – including California, Connecticut, Florida, and 12 others – are experiencing a shortage of mental health professionals, as defined by the federal government. This means millions of Americans will continue to struggle with mental health issues as a result of the lack of licensed clinical mental health counselors.

Man at counseling appointment

Program Director

Doug Guiffrida

Professor, Director of the Counseling Program and Director of the Advanced Certificate Program in Mind/Body Healing and Wellness

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Take a course before you apply

Take a course before you apply to one of our programs for a discounted price. Inquire with admissions to learn about credits that also apply toward degree requirements.

Related certificates and degrees

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