Develop skills to help people: Master’s in mental health counseling

The CACREP-accredited master’s in mental health counseling program will train you to work with children, adults and families in diverse settings such as schools, hospitals, correctional facilities and mental health agencies. You will tailor your degree by choosing a clinical concentration such as child and adolescent, trauma-informed or forensic counseling.

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African man counselor therapist coach psychologist speak at group counseling therapy session concept encourage support patients in addiction talk share problem sit in circle in rehab, close up view
Credits required:

60 credits

Cost per credit:


Time to degree:

As few as 30 months


On campus

Mental health counseling degree curriculum 

The child and adolescent concentration for the Clinical Mental Health Counseling degree includes three courses that address specific interventions, assessment and play therapy. If you choose to concentrate on those who have suffered chronic and/or acute trauma in their lives, you’ll receive training in crisis management, trauma assessment and interventions. You can choose the forensic concentration if you want to work in legal or correctional settings, studying the interaction of mental health with the justice system, the roles of practitioners in the legal system and the unique concerns of this population. 

Quick facts

  • Choose your own counseling concentration
  • Meet educational requirements for Pennsylvania licensure in professional counseling
  • Complete a graduate assistantship if desired
Mental health clinic students sit in a circle with their hands on their laps while one man gestures.
African man counselor therapist coach psychologist speak at group counseling therapy session concept encourage support patients in addiction talk share problem sit in circle in rehab, close up view

Alternate degree completion option


Fast track your way into this master’s program by taking graduate courses as a Carlow undergraduate student. Course credits count toward both degrees. Apply for the accelerated option after your sophomore year.

Career opportunities for mental health counseling degree

You can work in schools, hospitals, correctional facilities, community mental health agencies and private practice. Employment of mental health and substance abuse counselors is projected to grow 25% from 2019 to 2029, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

▸ View the Professional Licensure Disclosure for this program.


The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), a specialized accrediting body recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), has granted accreditation to the following programs in the Department of Psychology, Counseling, and Criminology at Carlow University: Addictions Counseling and Clinical Mental Health Counseling through 2029. 

The Professional Counseling Program emphasizes high standards of professional competence. The program is committed to its stated mission through ongoing accreditations by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). We emphasize ethical practice and keep current with state and national standards for certification and licensure for practice in clinical practice environments. In addition, we engage in ongoing program development and refinement based on accrediting bodies’ and licensure boards’ developments and recommendations, as well as sensitivity to licensure requirements, and legal and ethical issues.

Admission requirements and application process

If you are interested in pursuing a career in Professional Counseling by providing individual and group counseling, you can apply for free online. The graduate program admissions process happens on a rolling basis. Our students have undergraduate degrees in a wide array of disciplines from psychology, human services, social work, or other related majors to majors outside of the helping professions.

Apply by

November 1 or April 1

Start terms:

Fall & Spring


  • Baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution 
  • Cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher. A GPA below 3.0 may be reviewed on a case-by-case basis if there is relevant evidence of work history in the helping field, and/or strong grades in upper-level courses (psychology, human services, social work, or other related majors).
  • Evidence of work and/or volunteer experience in a helping field
  • Evidence of graduate level writing skills necessary for success in a graduate program 
  • Ability to perform all the program’s essential standards required to practice as a professional counselor
  • Ability to demonstrate professional dispositions and behaviors


  • Official transcripts from all degree-granting institutions you have attended. Transcripts must be sent directly to the Carlow from the institution(s). 
  • A written professional essay describing your professional career goals, strengths, and skills that will contribute to your success in a graduate counseling program. Additionally, discuss how you incorporate social justice and diversity in your work. If your GPAs is below 3.0, also include the factors that impacted your GPA. The essay must demonstrate evidence of graduate level writing skills. (2-page limit).  
  • Current resume or curriculum vitae highlighting education and professional experiences in counseling and/or related field. 
  • Two letters of recommendation (one from faculty member/academic source & one from employer/volunteer supervisor) that address your professional accomplishments, leadership potential, and ability to succeed in graduate-level work. The references should not be related to the applicant.  
  • GRE/GMAT scores are not required for admission 

Transfer students can transfer up to 9 credits earned at a CACREP-accredited program. International students can find more information on our International Admissions page.

The Professional Counseling Program’s application deadline for Fall semester is April 1st and November 1st for the Spring semester. We will continue to accept applications for review beyond those deadlines; however, preference will be given to those that applied by the designed deadlines. The preferred deadline for full consideration of graduate assistantship opportunities is February 1st. 

Once your completed application is received, the program faculty will review your application materials and the selected applicants will be scheduled for an interview. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed. Admission decisions include regular, provisional, and conditional admission to the program.  

Cornelius Holmes testimonial
Olivia Miller, ’21, biology major and runner on the track & field/cross country team.

Committed to diversity and inclusion

Neal Holmes ’18 said his time at Carlow was a great academic experience that transformed his work and how he sees the world as a human being. “I felt welcomed by the staff and students, and I could feel that there was a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion work in the graduate counseling program. I appreciate the university’s commitment to social justice which is so parallel to my work in the counseling field today.”

Professional Counseling faculty

Contact Admissions

If you are interested in this graduate program, our Admissions team is available to help you with the next steps, including scheduling an on-campus visit or attending an upcoming event.

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