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Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Tarleton State University’s Master of Science (M.S.) in Clinical Mental Health Counseling degree is designed to meet the needs of working professionals with courses offered primarily during the evening and on weekends. You will join our counseling master’s program in a cohort of peers and complete your degree over 8 to 11 semesters. 

This counseling degree satisfies academic course requirements for the Texas Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) credential. If you graduate with two years of previous teaching experience, you may also meet the requirements for TExES certification to become a professional school counselor.

At Tarleton, we are contributing to the overall well-being of Texas residents and beyond by providing an accredited master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Join us as we discover, innovate, and apply solutions to real-world challenges in direct counseling services while helping you develop a strong professional counselor identity.

What is Clinical Mental Health Counseling?

According to the AMHCA Standards for the Practice of Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Clinical Mental Health Counselors provide professional counseling services involving the application of principles of psychotherapy, human development, learning theory, group dynamics, and the etiology of mental illness and dysfunctional behavior. These services are provided to individuals, couples, families, and groups, for the purpose of promoting optimal mental health, dealing with normal problems of living, and treating psychopathology. 

The practice of clinical mental health counseling includes, but is not limited to: 

  • diagnosis and treatment of mental and emotional disorders
  • psycho-educational techniques aimed at the prevention of mental and emotional disorders
  • consultations to individuals, couples, families, groups, organizations, and communities
  • clinical research into more effective psychotherapeutic treatment modalities

What can you do with a master's degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling?

Becoming a clinical mental health counselor is a rewarding career, with a variety of opportunities across the state in healthcare systems, school settings, mental health agencies, and private practice. The M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling degree at Tarleton State University meets the requirements for licensure in the state of Texas.

It is important to note these requirements may not meet the requirements in other states, even if you have completed a master’s program in counseling. If you plan on becoming a licensed mental health counselor outside of the state of Texas, it is important to know the state requirements of a state you might move to in the future. Currently in the US, there is not one set of requirements for all states and each state is different. 

Adding value to your counseling degree, mental health professionals are in-demand all across Texas, with over 200 counties designated as Mental Health Professional Shortage Areas. As of 2019, Texas counties categorized as High Needs include: Young, Eastland, Comanche, Hill, McLennan, Falls, Navarro, Freestone, Houston, Smith, Shelby, Cass, and San Jacinto.

How much do Clinical Mental Health Counseling graduates make?

Depending on the type of counseling, the median annual salary of mental health counselors is around $50,000, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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Why study Clinical Mental Health Counseling?

With an emphasis on clinical experience and practical training, our master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling helps you develop sound counseling skills and a comprehensive theoretical knowledge base while learning how to effectively work with a variety of populations by demonstrating empathy, acceptance, and positive regard. In addition, earning a counseling degree in Texas allows you to contribute to a societal need for more mental health support in our communities.

student presenting research

Participate in Graduate Research with Faculty

Graduate research assistants help conduct literature reviews, collect data, utilize qualitative, and quantitative analysis methods and work through the publication process. This first-hand experience and insight into graduate research can prepare you for doctoral programs.

student meeting with faculty member

Study and Engage with Licensed Clinicians

Tarleton’s counseling faculty are all licensed clinicians with extensive clinical experience. Many of us are widely published, lead professional organizations, and regularly present at regional, state, and national conferences. Our wide-ranging research interests include trauma and crisis work, spirituality, near-death experiences, LGBTQ issues, couples counseling, play therapy, and school counseling.

money for graduate school

Earn an Affordable Counseling Degree

Our affordable master’s program in counseling allows you to balance work and graduate school. You may also qualify to apply for counseling program scholarships such as the Ann Albrecht Scholarship and the Linda Duncan Scholarship. Or, find out how to apply for federal financial aid.

What classes will you take as a Clinical Mental Health Counseling student?

Following CACREP accreditation standards, our graduate degree program curriculum focuses on helping you become self-aware of your identity as a professional counselor. Our student cohorts develop into tight-knit communities that provide support during a rigorous program. As you take classes with the same group of graduate students, you form relationships that can last well beyond your time at Tarleton.

In addition, you benefit from our practice-oriented coursework to develop your skills working with a variety of populations in multiple settings. Through the coursework, you have opportunities to participate in supervised weekly group counseling experiences, earn continuing education hours towards Registered Play Therapist certification, and more.

A licensed counselor in the community and a faculty supervisor serve as mentors during your practicum and two internships at external fieldwork sites. These experiences greatly enhance your counseling job potential and allow you to start to understand the kinds of client populations you could choose to work with throughout your career.

View all required classes for the clinical mental health counseling master’s degree.


This master’s program in counseling is accredited by CACREP (Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs) and SACSCOC signaling our commitment to high-quality education that prepares students for licensure and successful counseling careers. 

Student Resources and Admissions

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Counseling Services and Clinics

At Stephenville, you complete internship hours with Tarleton Student Counseling Services. At Fort Worth, we cooperate with the Counseling Clinic. Both clinics offer clinical placements and training where you can work directly with clients and get hands-on experience. At Waco, we help operate the counseling clinic where you can complete internship hours.

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Chi Sigma Iota Honors

Join Theta Sigma Upsilon, Tarleton’s chapter of Chi Sigma Iota, the honors fraternity for the counseling profession. As a graduate student, you’ll have additional opportunities to connect with your professional peers and support one another in the professional counselor community.

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Counseling Open House

Visit one of our campus locations and attend an Open House for prospective graduate students to learn more about our master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and the Tarleton graduate admissions process.

What master's programs are related to Clinical Mental Health Counseling?

In addition to our counseling degree, Tarleton offers other master’s programs related to the mental health and social services field.

Get Started on Your Master's Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Take the next step toward earning your Master of Science degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and join the community of Texas mental health professionals making a difference in our communities. 

We have the resources to help you get started on your counseling journey. Request information to learn more about pursuing your counseling master’s program at Tarleton.