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Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Master of Science in Education

The Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program is a 60-credit program leading to a Master of Science in Education degree. 

The Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program is a 60 credit program leading to a Master of Science in Education degree. The New York State Department of Education Office of Professions has approved the program as license qualifying and thus it meets the education requirement for Licensed Mental Health Counselor. The Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program (CMHC) is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs. In addition it should be noted that the degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling  has been approved by the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) as a qualifying curriculum for the Certified Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor in Training (CASAC-T).

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Degree Type
Area of Interest
Associated Colleges or Schools
Program Location
  • Queens Campus
Required Credit Hours

Program Objectives

  1. To train Clinical Mental Health Counselors (CMHC) to be competent clinicians with a strong counselor identity in accordance with American Mental Health Counselors Association (AMHCA) ethical standards, in order to prepare for careers as Licensed Mental Health Counselors (LMHC).
  2. To train CMHC students in appropriate intake, assessment, case conceptualization, diagnosis, treatment planning, documentation, and clinical treatment to properly serve clients, and to prepare our students for successful outcomes on the National Clinical Mental Health Counselor Examination (NCMHCE). 
  3. To educate CMHC students regarding the impact of addiction, the propensity of addiction to co-occur with mental health conditions, and to treat addiction in accordance with the NYS Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse (OASAS) standards, with the option to earn their Credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor in Training (CASAC-T) credential).
  4. To evaluate student’s ability to provide appropriate, ethical, and evidence-based treatment that promotes client strengths and client wellness in accordance with our counselor identity, while also addressing appropriate developmental, societal, and multicultural influences on client well-being.
  5. To train students to utilize community resources, referral sources, and case management services in accordance with their role as clinical mental health counselors, including situations involving trauma, crisis, or risk to client wellbeing.


Admission to the graduate program in Clinical Mental Health Counseling requires:

  • A baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university with Undergraduate scholastic achievement indicating a reasonable assurance of Success in work for an advanced degree.  Normally this will be a “B” (3.0) in the general average and in the major field.
  • A minimum of 18 credits in Psychology to include research and statistics.  
  • Two letters of recommendation from college instructors or field supervisors.
  • The interest, ability, and personality to function successfully in the field of mental health counseling.
  • Participation in an interview with Counselor Education faculty.
  • A one-to-two-page personal essay outlining the reason the applicant has decided to pursue a graduate degree in professional counseling and why they have selected their counseling specialty, including prior work experience and future career goals. 
  • An additional graduate entrance examination is not required.

How do I apply?

Graduate Admissions
[email protected]

Fall Deadline for Counseling MSEd: April 1

Advanced Certificate applications in counseling are available for Spring Only, Masters admission in counseling is Fall only.

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Download the program planning sheet.

 Courses with * must be completed before taking field courses. Students taking PSY 627 get to take an extra elective.  Students taking PSY 726 must take 727 to complete psychopathology requirement.

  • 6121: Orientation to Mntl Hlth Counseling*
  • 6205: Group Dynamics*
  • 6264: Counseling Skills & Technique*
  • 6262: Assessment in Counseling*
  • 6651: Foundations MHC & Consult*
  • 6206: Psychosocial Development*
  • PSY 621: General Psychopatholoy* or
    PSY 726: Psych. Across Lifespan 1
  • 6301: Career Development*
  • 6530: Counseling in Multicultural Settings*
  • 6424: Case Studies & Comm. Resources
  • 6208: Counseling & Personality Theory*
  • 6307: Research in Counseling *
  • PSY 727: Psychopathology II or
  • 6270: Case Concept, Trt Plan, & Pharm
  • 6364: Counseling the Substance Abuser
  • PSY 636: Oobj. Personality Assessment.
  • 6310: Practicum
  • 6311: Internship I
  • 6312: Internship II
  • PSY 850: Cognitive Therapies.
  • PSY 749: Behavior Therapy
  • PSY 631: Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy
  • PSY 760: Marital & Family Therapy
  • PSY 845: Group Therapy
  • PSY 838: Addictive Behaviors
  • 6125: Brief Therapy Child & Adolescent

Career & Program Outcomes

What is a Clinical Mental Health Counselor (CMHC)?

Students applying to the CMHC program at St. John’s University should recognize that the Mental Health Counseling profession is distinct from other mental health professionals, such as social workers or psychologists. Counselors have a unique counseling identity, specifically,

Counseling is a professional relationship that empowers diverse individuals, families, and groups to accomplish mental health, wellness, education, and career goals.” Source: counseling.org

“Clinical mental health counseling is a distinct profession with national standards for education, training and clinical practice. Clinical mental health counselors are highly-skilled professionals who provide flexible, consumer-oriented therapy. They combine traditional psychotherapy with a practical, problem-solving approach that creates a dynamic and efficient path for change and problem resolution.” Source: amhca.org 

Job Outlook for Mental Health Counselors

According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH), the job outlook for mental health counselors is expected to grow 20% from 2014-2024.  For more information on the work environment, training, and other components of the job, visit the OOH website: bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/mobile/mental-health-counselors-and-marriage-and-family-therapists.htm

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median salary for Mental Health Counselors in 2015 was $41,880, with a range of $26,300 - $68,790.  New York State is one of the top five states with the highest level of employment of Mental Health Counselors in the country, and the New York City metro region offers the highest employment of Mental Health Counselors out of any metropolitan region in the country. For more information on salary, employment, and geographic outcomes for mental health counselors, visit the BLS website.

Mental Health Counseling Licensure in New York

The CMHC program at St. John’s University is approved as a license-qualifying education program for New York. The St. John’s program fulfills the educational coursework required to become a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) in New York state.  In order to become fully licensed in New York, applicants must complete three components:

  1. Education: Obtain a Master’s degree from an approved license-qualifying program, such as St. John’s University,
  2. Experience: Complete 3,000 hours post-masters in an approved mental health setting under the supervision of a qualified mental health practitioner, and
  3. Examination: Obtain a passing score on the National Clinical Mental Health Counselor Examination (NCMHCE).

Please note that licensing requirements are established by the Office of Professions of New York state and are subject to change per state requirements.  For the most up to date information on licensing requirements, visit the Office of Professions website for Mental Health Counseling License Requirements: op.nysed.gov/prof/mhp/mhclic.htm.

Counselor Education Student Outcomes

Students admitted to our Counselor Education programs are highly successful in the classroom. The majority of our students are eligible to join our counseling honor society, indicating that they have an academic GPA of 3.5 or higher (see “Current Students” for more information on our honor society). In recent years, the Counselor Education program has had 100% passing rate on the Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Examination (CPCE), a national exit exam required for graduation. St. John’s University’s Counselor Education program also participates in the Graduate Student Option for the National Counseling Exam (NCE). Many of our students decide to take this optional national counseling exam offered by the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC). Reports from NBCC indicate that St. John’s students enjoy a nearly 100% passing rate on the exam, which allows them to utilize the title, Nationally Certified Counselor (NCC) upon graduation. Several states (although not New York) utilize the NCE as their counseling licensing exam. Thus students who take and pass the NCE while at St. John’s have an opportunity to expand their job and licensure opportunities in other states.

CMHC Alumni Career Outcomes

St. John’s Alumni are reporting successful outcomes in their clinical practice post-graduation. Of CMHC graduates surveyed in 2016, 100% of responses indicated that they began working in the Mental Health Counseling field within one to two months post-graduation, with the majority of respondents indicating that they were hired prior to graduation by their internship site. Alumni report working in a multitude of settings including inpatient settings, outpatient settings, PROS programs, community clinics, university settings, and private practice.  A sample of recent CMHC alumni employers include: Northwell-Zucker Hillside, Calvary Hospital, York College, Lutheran Social Services, and New York Psychotherapy and Counseling Center (NYPCC). Additionally, a majority of our CMHC alumni report passing the NCMHCE on their first attempt. More information on our alumni career outcomes can be found in the CMHC Coordinator’s Report (PDF) as well as out Stakeholder Report.

Success at St. John's

SJU Alumna Diana Liao ’17GEd

Psychotherapist Develops a Mental Health Resource to Empower Asian Communities

After over a decade of working in marketing and advertising leadership roles, Diana Liao ’17GEd knew it was time for a career change. In 2012, she quit her current marketing job and began envisioning a fresh start. 

Diana Liao ’17GEd The School of Education


Learn how Licensed Mental Health Counselor and St. John’s alumna Diana Liao ’17GEd made a career change that allows her to connect back to her East Asian roots while providing a mental health resource for Asian, Pacific Islander, and South Asian (APISA) communities.

St. John's Alumna, Ayanna S. Moore-Ellis, MHC ’14CPS, ’24GEd

Alumna Credits Her St. John’s Education for Success in Treating Mental Health Clients

Clinical Mental Health Counselor Ayanna S. Moore-Ellis, MHC ’14CPS, ’24GEd has a favorite professional success story concerning a young client she was treating for anxiety.

Ayanna S. Moore-Ellis, MHC ’14CPS, ’24GEd The School of Education The Lesley H. and William L. Collins College of Professional Studies


“Being a mental health counselor can be tough,” she observed, when speaking about factors future students should consider when choosing a master’s program in mental health counseling. “Sometimes, clients have heavy stories that can affect you. On days when the work is heavy, or you are overwhelmed, it is important to return to your purpose.”

Current Student and Supervisor Information

Current Students

Current students are responsible for reviewing the following information.

  • Counselor Education Student Handbook: Before beginning your academic program, students must review the Counselor Education Student Handbook (PDF). Students will be required to sign a verification document indicating that the handbook was reviewed.
  • Clinical Mental Health Practicum and Internship Handbook (PDF): Before beginning any field placement course (EDU 6310, EDU 6311, and EDU 6312) students must review the Clinical Mental Health Practicum and Internship Handbook. Students will be required to sign a verification document indicating that the information was reviewed each semester of field placement.

Current Site Supervisors

Thank you for agreeing to host a St. John’s CMHC student at your field placement site, including internship and/or practicum.  The student should have provided you with the following items prior to their starting field work.

  • Practicum and Internship Site Supervisor Manual (Word): This manual outlines St. John’s University’s protocols and practices regarding supervision in Counselor Education. The manual also provides an overview and training in various types of supervision models.
  • Site Supervisor Training for Internship & Practicum Supervisors (PowerPoint):  This document is a PowerPoint slide show that corresponds to the Practicum and Internship Site Supervisor Manual
  • Site Supervisor Verification form (Word):  This form must be completed by the site supervisors for each semester that they host a field placement student. This form verifies that the site supervisor has received the training information outlined in the Practicum and Internship Site Supervisor Manual and Site Supervisor Training for Internship & Practicum Supervisors. Signed verification is required for our CACREP compliance.

Site supervisors may also be interested in reviewing the Stakeholders Report or the CMHC Coordinator’s Report (PDF) for information on program and alumni outcomes.

Sigma Tau Upsilon Chapter of Chi Sigma Iota, Counseling Honor Society

St. John’s University’s Counselor Education program hosts a vibrant and active chapter of Chi Sigma Iota, a national counseling honor society.  Our university chapter is the Sigma Tau Upsilon Chapter.  Information on CSI events is posted on the CSI bulletin board next to the elevator on the G Level of Sullivan Hall. Information and events can also be found on our Sigma Tau Upsilon Chapter of Chi Sigma Iota social media sites including a LinkedIn© page, Facebook© group, and Instagram© account. For more information, contact the CSI chapter advisor, Dr. Robertson at [email protected].

Events and Activities

St. John’s University’s Counselor Education program hosts in a variety of events throughout the academic year, including social events, professional development events, advocacy events, and CSI events. Examples of student events during the last year include: hosting a Crisis Intervention workshop on campus, hosting a Substance Abuse in Adolescence workshop in conjunction with the American Counseling Association of New York (ACA-NY), attending state counseling conferences with faculty including the New York Mental Health Counselors Association (NYMHCA) and the New York State School Counselors Association Conference (NYSSCA), walking in the National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI) NYC Metro Walk, as well as the Overnight Walk for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Other events included bake sales, t-shirt sales, end of the year socials, and comprehensive examination preparation workshops with alumni involvement.  For information on Counselor Education program events, see the bulletin boards on the Ground Level of Sullivan Hall, including the CSI board, the School Counseling board, and the Mental Health Counseling board.  Information is also disseminated via faculty to their classes, posted in Sullivan G-6 and Sullivan G-9, as well as on the Sigma Tau Upsilon Chi Sigma Iota Chapter’s social media pages.

“Federal Regulations require all higher education institutions offering an academic program designed to meet the educational requirements for a professional license or certification or advertised as such, to provide potential students with information about whether completion of that program would meet the educational requirements for licensure/certification in the state of the student’s location upon enrollment.

This program prepares students for licensure/certification in New York State. Students who plan to work in a state other than NY, must visit our Professional Licensure Disclosure Information page where we have indicated if this program meets or does not meet the educational requirements for specific states.”

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