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At Grand Rapids Theological Seminary, we're dedicated to learning, serving and leading through rigorous scholarship and a humble approach to Scripture.
The importance of mental health is critical and vocations in this field have become an important part of the health industry. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the clinical mental health field is projected to grow by 29% between 2012 and 2022 which is almost three times the national average for total job growth. With a need for qualified counselors on the rise, Grand Rapids Theological Seminary has designed an innovative, top-ranked degree program to prepare you to bring emotional healing to those in need as skilled clinical mental health care providers.
At the heart of a counselor is the desire to help people overcome brokenness and pursue wholeness. Professional counselors support their clients through clinical expertise and a willingness to walk alongside those experiencing pain, loss, and trauma. GRTS provides biblical and theological courses along with rigorous training in counseling techniques to prepare you for a career as a licensed professional counselor.
Of Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health alumni have obtained their Limited License or Full License as a Professional Counselor (LLPC/LPC).
Of GRTS students receive financial aid.
An M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling prepares you to tackle the biggest challenges in mental health today. By exploring numerous theoretical approaches to counseling and therapy, you’ll be equipped with the tools and experience you will need to become an integral part of the growing emotional wellness field. Additionally, you will be be prepared to work with clients through courses in spiritual formation, biblical studies and theology.
The M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program prepares you to apply for your Limited License as a Professional Counselor (LLPC) upon graduation. As a student in this program, you’ll have the opportunity to gain applied experience in clinical settings, culminating in 700 hours of experience over three semesters through the practicum and internship portion of your program. Along the way, you’ll be trained and guided by experienced and compassionate faculty.
At GRTS, you will identify a counseling career that reflects your calling and encourages you to serve others with the heart of Christ. With Bible and theology courses designed for future counseling professionals, you can expect to develop a solid philosophical foundation and practical ability to incorporate Jesus’ message of healing, restoration and redemption into clinical practice. In addition, you’ll develop critical thinking skills by participating in thoughtful discussions with classmates whose diverse denominational and cultural backgrounds offer alternative perspectives and insights.
A master’s in clinical mental health prepares you to diagnose, and treat clients in a number of settings. Counselors often begin employment with a salary anywhere between $30,000-40,000 when working for a local social services agency; private practice and specialty fields can be two to three times higher than regular counselor salaries.
At Grand Rapids Theological Seminary, we believe that your career path is a unique vocation—a calling that God has for your life. Our clinical mental health students feel deeply called to minister to those who are hurting or experiencing trauma by cultivating servant’s hearts.
The course work for the M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling will prepare you to apply for your Limited License as a Professional Counselor (LLPC) in Michigan—and other states via individualized program design. It will also prepare you for further graduate education in mental health and counseling supervision.
The 72-credit-hour program consists of 18 credit hours in Bible and theology; 45 credit hours in clinical mental health; and nine credit hours in a counseling concentration such as addictions counseling, trauma counseling, or interdisciplinary studies.
Make your degree meaningful for you and your future career as a mental health advocate and professional. Choose from four areas of counseling concentration: addictions counseling, interdisciplinary studies or trauma track.
COU-503 Intro to Clinical Mental Health
COU-501 Counseling Theories
COU-502 Counseling Ethics and Issues
COU-525 Multicultural Counseling
COU-602 Clinical Assessments
COU-610 Counseling Techniques
COU-611 Career Development
COU-612 Group Techniques
COU-661 Psychopathology & Diagnosis
COU-662 Human Growth and Development
COU-672 Treatment of Mental & Emotional Disorders
COU-700 Research Methodology
COU-782 Counseling Practicum
COU-784 Internship I: Counseling
COU-785 Internship II: Counseling
BBL-501 Biblical Hermeneutics
BBL-508 Biblical Theology
BBL-EL Bible Elective
THE-550 Theology for Counseling I
THE-551 Theology for Counseling II
MIN-500 Christian Spiritual Formation
The Addictions Counseling Concentration provides you the ability to seek the Certified Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CAADC) credential from the Michigan Certification Board for Addiction Professionals (MCBAP). The combination of the courses prepares you for the academic and practical components needed to partially fulfill the requirements for certification.
The addictions courses are administered in a 7-week online format. The training received will allow graduates greater marketability as it addresses a core struggle for many people (substance and non-substance addictions). The program also helps to prepare graduates for LPC Licensure in other states that may require an addictions course.
Upon completion of the three addictions courses and the ethics course, you will need to do the following in order to receive the full certification:
For more detailed requirements and additional information on the certification process, see the Michigan Certification Board’s website. The CAADC application and materials are helpful as well.
Our interdisciplinary studies concentration is intended to offer you the most flexibility as you pursue your professional goals. The three courses that make up this concentration include Marriage and Family Counseling, a counseling elective, and a general elective. The requirements for licensure vary by state. Our interdisciplinary concentration allows students to prepare for licensure out of the state of Michigan by ensuring that their elective credits meet the criteria for licensure in other states. An admissions counselor can work with you to make an individualized program plan. Additionally, the interdisciplinary studies concentration offers the most flexibility for students to take advantage of a variety of counseling courses to prepare for clinical practice.
The trauma concentration was created to provide you with the skills necessary to help those who have experienced or been affected by traumatic events and environments. Each required class addresses this highly specialized and rapidly growing field of study from a Christian worldview.
This concentration requires nine credit hours and includes these courses:
Internships and practicum experiences help you build a network of contacts and resources for future job opportunities. Here, we’ve listed specific and general sites in Grand Rapids to consider for your internship; most of these sites have accepted Grand Rapids Theological Seminary students in the past.
However, you do not have to choose a site from this list. We allow students at GRTS to find their area of passion and pursue a site that provides the most hands-on experience for their needs. You must fill out and submit a Site Proposal Form to ensure that the site you have chosen fulfills our guidelines for approval.
Practicum will include 100 hours of experience in which you will gain a greater understanding of the work of a counselor. You will complete at least 40 direct client contact hours as you begin working with clients. The other 60 hours of practicum will include supplemental work (e.g., research, reading, case notes, supervision).
Your internship will include 600 hours of experience in which you will be doing the work of a counselor. You will complete at least 240 direct client hours (e.g., individual therapy, group therapy, assessments). The other 360 hours will include supplemental work (e.g., research, reading, case notes, supervision).
For practicum and internship experiences, you must have your own student professional liability insurance in place before you can register for these classes. You must maintain insurance coverage from the semester you register for your practicum or internship until the completion of your program.
Below are links to sample mental health insurance organizations. We do not endorse any one company, and you are free to secure insurance from other providers.
You must become a Licensed Professional Counselor to work in any facility as a professional counselor within the State of Michigan. We have designed the M.A. in Clinical Mental Health degree program at GRTS to meet the graduate school licensure requirements in Michigan. Upon graduation, you will qualify to apply for your Limited License as a Professional Counselor (LLPC).
The Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary prepares you to apply for counseling licensure in the State of Michigan. The course curriculum required for the M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling degree aligns with the requirements as defined by the state of Michigan to become a Limited Licensed Professional Counselor and ultimately a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) upon completion of state requirements.
If you are seeking to pursue licensure in other states, you must review the requirements of that state to determine if the M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling curriculum at GRTS aligns with the state’s requirements. GRTS is not liable for students seeking to pursue licensure out of the State of Michigan. It is your responsibility to contact the state for which you are seeking licensure to confirm curricular alignment. Information regarding the licensing boards for each state is available below. Additionally, NC-SARA maintains a list of contact information for each state’s licensing board.
How do I obtain licensure in Michigan?
Contact the Michigan Board of Counseling for more information regarding Michigan licensure requirements or to obtain a license application:
Michigan LPC Requirements
How do I get from LLPC to LPC?
In the state of Michigan, there are four steps that need to be completed before you can move from LLPC to LPC:
What is the difference between LPC, LMSW and LLP?
An LPC is a Licensed Professional Counselor, an LMSW is a Licensed Master Social Worker and an LLP is a Limited Licensed Psychologist. Read our document LPC, LMSW or LLP to learn more about these three licenses.
As you begin your degree program, we encourage you to consider getting involved in a few professional organizations for counseling professionals. These organizations offer professional development opportunities related to the field of counseling.
Travis Gordon (M.A. ’19)
My awareness of my own privilege and bias has grown immensely in my time at GRTS. I see the world differently since engaging with issues of diversity at GRTS, thinking through the lenses of both biblical mandates and social justice issues.
The counseling faculty at GRTS all have practical counseling and mentoring experience and are prepared to guide you as you journey toward a career as a licensed professional counselor.
GRTS offers several options for students interested in counseling. Take a look at some of the other degree programs we offer.
Gain critical competencies in the study of the Bible and Christian theology, all while striving to build a stronger foundation for your own faith.