A mental health counselor works with different individuals, groups, and populations to help people improve their mental state and quality of life. Mental health counseling is an umbrella term that covers a variety of educational tracks, including family, school, multicultural, mental health, drug addiction, recovery, and more. Aspiring students who wish to work as mental health counselors should know the counseling track that appeals to them the most and select an online degree program that fits their goals.

Choosing the Right Online Clinical Mental Health Counseling Degree Program

An online master’s degree is needed to work as a licensed mental health counselor, although it’s possible to find employment with a bachelor’s degree. However, all states require a master’s degree, as do the tests needed to apply for a license.

In order to ensure that governments and the public alike accept the education you receive, you need to attend an online mental health counseling degree program accredited by an institution recognized by the Department of Education. The accrediting bodies for mental health counseling degree programs are the American Psychological Association (APA) and the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). An online program accredited by any of these institutions provides you with the education you need to become a successful mental health counselor.

Bachelor's Degree

There is no specific online bachelor’s degree program for becoming a mental health counselor. Students who desire to work in mental health counseling can earn their undergraduate degree in general psychology or a related mental health concentration. Some schools offer a concentration in mental health counseling consisting of classes that cover the area of study and typically require 12-15 credit hours.

Master's Degree

Students earning bachelor’s in psychology can earn their master’s degree in mental health counseling online. The master’s degree program is designed to focus a student’s education further into a specific area of mental health counseling and position them as a specialist. Completing the master’s degree enables them to sit for exams and apply for licensing after completing an average of 60 credit hours and 600 hours of clinical work. Graduates may be required to complete 2,000 hours or more of supervised clinical work to qualify for licensure.

Graduate Certificate

An online graduate certificate in mental health counseling typically covers a specific area of mental health counseling that a graduate student hasn’t previously studied. The certificate requires anywhere from 12 to 15 credit hours for completion. Earning a graduate certificate broadens the graduate’s range of specialties, allowing them to enter other areas of mental health counseling they weren’t previously qualified for.


Students who desire to work at the highest levels of psychology research and treatment can earn their doctorate as a Ph.D. or Psy.D. online. However, few degree programs go directly from earning a mental health counseling degree to the doctorate level. Instead, students can earn their doctorate in specialties that include counselor education and supervision, behavioral health leadership, forensic psychology, school psychology, behavioral health, and more.

What Mental Health Counseling Degree is Right for Me?

Bachelor’s DegreeMaster’s DegreeGraduate CertPh.D. or PsyD
I am interested in gaining entry-level experience in mental health counselingx
I want to get started in my mental health counseling career before I pursue more educationx
I want to become a licensed professional counselorx
I want to pursue or switch to a niche counseling specialtyxx
I already have a counseling degree and want to gain specialized knowledgexx
I want to work in academia, administration, or clinical practicex

Mental Health Counseling Degree Program Curriculum

The curriculum for an online degree program in psychology and related mental health fields varies from program to program. The mental health counseling degree program isn’t focused until the master’s degree level. The curriculum for a mental health counseling degree program at the master’s level can include classes such as:

  • Legal and Ethical Issues in Counseling
  • Group Counseling
  • Sexuality Counseling
  • Psychopathology
  • Testing and Appraisal
  • Crisis Intervention and Trauma Counseling

The number of credits required for mental health counseling degree programs varies but generally consists of the following:

Bachelor's Degree: 120 to 130 credits

Master's Degree: 60 credits

Graduate Certificate: 12 to 15 credits

Mental Health Counseling Degree Program Clinical Requirements

The clinical requirements for an online mental health counseling degree program are different at the bachelor’s and master’s degree levels. A bachelor’s degree student may be required to undergo a minimum of 100 hours of supervised clinical work, while a master’s degree student is typically required to complete 600 supervised hours.

The clinical hours requirements for the bachelor’s degree program depend on the degree program’s concentration. There are no undergraduate degree programs for mental health counseling, which means students can earn their bachelor’s in general psychology or a related field of mental health studies. Each concentration has its requirements for the completion of clinical hours.

List of Online Mental Health Counseling Degree Programs

Looking for an online mental health counseling degree program near you? Browse our state-by-state school listings below.

Jump to Your State Listings


7440 East Drive
Montgomery, AL 36117-3596
(334) 244-3000

Station One
Livingston, AL 35470
(205) 652-3400



10455 Pomerado Road
San Diego, CA 92131
(858) 635-4000

Certificate Programs
50 Frida Kahlo Drive
San Francisco, CA 94112-1898
(415) 239-3000


1380 Lawrence Street, Lawrence Street Center, Suite 1400
Denver, CO 80217-3364
(303) 556-5600


800 Country Club Rd
Waterbury, CT 06723
(800) 345-2562

5151 Park Ave
Fairfield, CT 06825-1000
(203) 371-7999

300 Boston Post Road
West Haven, CT 06516-1916
(203) 932-7000


341 Tigert Hall 300 SW 13th St
Gainesville, FL 32611
(352) 392-1202

Graduate Certificate Programs
4202 East Fowler Ave
Tampa, FL 33620-9951
(813) 974-2011



Peoria, IL 61625-0001
(309) 676-7611


1200 Grandview Ave
Des Moines, IA 50316
(515) 263-2800

106 S Sixth St
Forest City, IA 50436-1713
(641) 585-2450


Graduate Certificate Programs
521 Lancaster Ave
Richmond, KY 40475-3102
(859) 622-1000

6191 College Station Drive
Williamsburg, KY 40769
(606) 549-2200



588 Longmeadow Street
Longmeadow, MA 01106
(413) 565-1000

One Wells Avenue
Newton, MA 02459
(617) 327-6777


225 South 6th Street, 9th Floor
Minneapolis, MN 55402-3389
(866) 808-4080


1000 Galvin Rd S
Bellevue, NE 68005-3098
(402) 291-8100

2504 9th Avenue
Kearney, NE 68849-1212
(308) 865-8441

New York

Certificate Programs
12 Capen Hall
Buffalo, NY 14260-1660
(716) 645-2000

North Carolina

1801 Fayetteville Street
Durham, NC 27707
(919) 530-6100

2101 Hillsborough Street
Raleigh, NC 27695-7001
(919) 515-2011

1834 Wake Forest Road
Winston-Salem, NC 27106
(336) 758-5000

North Dakota

7500 University Dr
Bismarck, ND 58504
(701) 255-7500


1 John Carroll Boulevard
University Heights, OH 44118-4538
(888) 388-2977

Graduate Certificate Programs
2600 Cleveland Avenue NW
Canton, OH 44709-3308
(330) 471-8100


401 North Fairview Street
Lock Haven, PA 17745-2390
(570) 484-2011

5600 City Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19131-1395
(610) 660-1000

Rhode Island

100 Ochre Point Avenue
Newport, RI 02840-4192
(401) 847-6650


1815 McCallie Ave
Chattanooga, TN 37404
(423) 226-4574


Master's Programs
700 Park Avenue
Norfolk, VA 23504-8000
(757) 823-8600

1000 Regent University Dr
Virginia Beach, VA 23464
(757) 352-4127


2326 6th Ave
Seattle, WA 98121-1814
(206) 441-5352

900 Broadway
Seattle, WA 98122-4340
(206) 296-6000

West Virginia

1 John Marshall Dr
Huntington, WV 25755
(304) 696-3170

PO Box 6201
Morgantown, WV 26506
(304) 293-0111

Are we missing your school's program or need to update information listed? Please contact us so we can make the necessary changes.

Other Counseling Degree Program Profiles

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