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M.A. in Clinical Mental Health CounselingClinical Preparation,
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Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

The importance of mental health and wellness is critical and vocations in the field of behavioral health have become an important part of holistic health care. With a growing need for qualified counselors, Grand Rapids Theological Seminary has designed an innovative, top-ranked degree program to prepare you to facilitate wellness, emotional health and empowerment in diverse individuals and groups.

At the heart of a counselor is the desire to help people establish wellness, develop healthy coping styles and overcome maladaptive strategies. Professional counselors support their clients through clinical and ethical competence coupled with a willingness to journey alongside people experiencing pain, loss and trauma. The M.A. in clinical mental health counseling degree at GRTS will prepare you clinically, biblically and theologically for a future career as a licensed professional counselor.

Degree Type

  • Master of Arts


  • On Campus
  • Online


  • Grand Rapids
  • Online

Credit Hours

  • 72


  • Association of Theological Schools (ATS)
  • Higher Learning Commission (HLC)

Equipped to Empower Others

The identity of a clinical mental health counselor is unique and distinctive with a focus on development across lifespan, wellness, holistic health and empowerment of clients. 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. Along the way, you’ll be trained and guided by experienced and compassionate faculty.

At GRTS, the M.A. in clinical mental health counseling program is available both on campus, online and through hybrid format. This gives you the opportunity to learn on your own terms while continuing to work. Our online format is community-focused, meaning that you will journey through the program with a cohort of students. Online students are required to come to campus for two separate three-day intensive courses throughout their program.


Graduates of the M.A. in clinical mental health counseling program at GRTS, go on to serve in a number of diverse settings and post-graduate counseling placements.


  • Community mental health agencies
  • University/college counseling centers
  • Inpatient psychiatric services
  • Foster/adoption counseling services
  • Refugee counseling services
  • Church-based counseling centers
  • Private practices
  • School-based counseling centers
  • Veterans' services
  • Child/adolescent counseling services
  • Treatment centers for disordered eating
  • Treatment centers for addictions
  • Hospice services

Admission Requirements

  • Application
  • Three recommendations
  • Transcripts
  • Minimum 2.5 GPA from accredited undergraduate school
  • Interview with counseling faculty


Of Master of Arts in clinical mental health counseling alumni have obtained their limited license or full license as a professional counselor (LLPC/LPC).


Of GRTS students receive financial aid.


Student-to-faculty ratio.

Licensure and Professional Development

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 counseling 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).

Michigan Counseling Licensure

The M.A. in clinical mental health counseling program at GRTS is designed to meet the educational requirements for the state of Michigan for the limited license professional counselor credential (LLPC). In Michigan, the limited license is known as a provisional licensure. Four steps need to be completed before applicants can progress from the “limited” license (LLPC) to the “full” license (LPC). These requirements are completed after students earn their M.A. in clinical mental health counseling degree. They are as follows:

  • Complete 3,000 hours working as a counselor.
  • Attend supervision for at least 100 of those hours with a LPC who has completed the supervision requirements as outlined by the state of Michigan.
  • Pass the National Counselor Exam (NCE).
  • Allow no less than two years and no more than 10 years to pass before applying.

Please visit The Michigan Board of Counseling for more information regarding Michigan state licensure.

Out-of-State Counseling Licensure

For students planning to practice outside of the state of Michigan, the interdisciplinary studies concentration is the best option. Several states have similar licensure requirements to the state of Michigan. The interdisciplinary studies concentration allows you to tailor your program to the state requirements where you would like to practice in the future.

If you are seeking to pursue licensure in other states, please 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.


As you begin your degree program, we encourage you to consider getting involved in professional organizations for counseling professionals. These organizations offer professional development opportunities related to the field of counseling.

Comparison of Helping Professions: LPC, LMSW and LP

You might be curious about the differences between the LPC (licensed professional counselor), LMSW (licensed master social worker) and the LP (licensed psychologist). While each of these careers can have an outcome of doing the work of counseling, the identity of a clinical mental health counselor is unique and distinctive with a focus on development across the lifespan, wellness, holistic health and empowerment of clients.

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Courses and
Learning Outcomes

The 72-credit-hour program consists of 18 credit hours in Bible and theology; 45 credit hours in clinical mental health; and 9 credit hours in a counseling concentration such as addictions counseling, trauma counseling or interdisciplinary studies.

Core Counseling Courses

  • 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


Personalize your degree to align with your desired future outcomes. You can choose from three areas of concentration:

  • Addictions: Includes course work to prepare students for the educational requirements for the CAADC (Certified Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor) in Michigan.
  • Interdisciplinary Studies: You will take Marriage and Family Therapy and then select two additional courses to design a program based on your interests. You may also use this option to add courses in preparation for licensure in other states.
  • Trauma: You will take three courses with a focus on trauma awareness, identification and treatment.

Practicum and Internships

The program incorporates clinical practice through Practicum and Internship experiences. All students will complete a 100-hour Practicum and a 600-hour Internship experience where they will practice hands on counseling skills with clients. Graduates will be equipped to:

  • Practice evidence-based counseling strategies, demonstrate clinical technique, develop sound theoretical orientation, and demonstrate multicultural competency.
  • Facilitate the counseling process with individuals, groups and families.
  • Demonstrate an understanding and appropriate application of biblical and theological concepts and ethical faith integration.

Program Learning Outcomes

To help develop biblically and culturally informed clinical mental health counseling practitioners, our Master of Arts in clinical mental health counseling curriculum and course work requirements are designed to help you achieve core clinical mental health counseling and core biblical learning objectives.

Core Curriculum Learning Outcomes

  • Conduct basic biblical interpretation and application with reference to the English Bible texts.
  • State a basic understanding of the primary elements of Christian theology.
  • Demonstrate knowledge, values and practices essential to personal spiritual formation.

Clinical Mental Health Counseling Learning Outcomes

  • State a personal philosophy of clinical mental health counseling that reflects awareness of personal beliefs, foundational theories and worldview integration.
  • Facilitate the clinical mental health counseling process for individuals, groups and/or families by providing consultations that foster awareness, growth and restoration that is based on established client-centered goals and a sound systemic framework.
  • Articulate and apply effective counseling strategies reflecting practical techniques and multicultural applications.
  • Demonstrate understanding and competency in the use of testing instruments and research interpretation in appraisal and diagnosis.
  • Demonstrate theoretical understanding and basic competency in career development counseling.
  • Exhibit understanding and compliance with the legal requirements and ethical codes of the counseling profession.


Grand Rapids Theological Seminary is accredited and recognized by the following organizations:

  • Association of Theological Schools (ATS).
  • Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

At GRTS, I learned that true discipleship requires courageous curiosity.

Jennifer McCormick-Bridgewater (’20)


The core counseling faculty at GRTS all have professional counseling and supervision experience, areas of clinical specialization and are engaged in research and scholarly activity. They value getting to know their students and act as faculty advisers to mentor and guide students throughout their educational journeys and on the path to a future career as a licensed professional counselor.

The adjunct counseling faculty at GRTS are practicing clinicians who offer their unique skillsets in the field of counseling.

Related Programs

GRTS offers several options for students interested in clinical mental health counseling. Take a look at some of the other degree programs offered by the seminary.

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