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MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

The Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling degree program is for students who wish to work in professional counseling roles with children, youth groups, adults, and families in urban, suburban, small town, and rural areas.  

The program embraces diversity as a core value, not only enriching the student learning experience, but also contributing to the advancement of mental health equity and social justice in our society. You’ll emerge a culturally competent and socially responsible mental health counselor – equipped to promote healing, resilience, and empowerment in diverse communities.

At A Glance


credit hours



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Moving the Torch – Child Welfare/Community Mental Health Cross Systems Learning Event

This event aims to help both systems understand each other’s roles, processes, practices, increase collaboration, seeks to support workforce development and promotes coordinated care for children, youth, and families.

Tuesday, June 4, 2024
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Tuesday, July 16, 2024
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Tuesday, August 20, 2024
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Tuesday, September 5, 2024
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About the Program

Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC) is a 60-credit hour program that can be completed in 2.5 years and will prepare you with the knowledge and skills needed to pass the National Counselor Examination (NCE). The Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling is ideal for busy adults who want to begin a transformational career path due to the fact that 90% of the coursework can be done online.

Applications are welcome at any time (however priority will be given to those who apply by July 1) and no GRE is required. The program welcomes recent college graduates as well as those who have spent years in the workforce.

Program Director Julianna Robinson, Ph.D., LCPC, brings decades of administrative and clinical experience to Alma’s program, and is considered an industry expert on play therapy in children, having presented to several organizations and published research in various academic publications.



The Clinical Mental Health Counseling master’s degree program is built in alignment with the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) standards and intends to seek accreditation. CACREP Accreditation provides reasonable assurance about the quality of the program and the competence of students graduating from the program. Students who enter a program that attains accreditation within 18 months of their graduation date are retroactively recognized as having graduated from a CACREP-accredited program.



Clinical mental health counseling is a 60-credit hour program which can be completed in 2.5 years. Program features:

  • 9 credit hours of hands-on experience in a clinical mental health agency setting
  • Two, five-day residencies
  • 24/7 online accessibility
  • Innovative combination of online and face-to-face work

Courses will focus on topics including trauma, marriage and family therapy, substance abuse, grief and bereavement, behavior modification, crisis intervention and more. Social and cultural diversity is a key feature of the program; you will gain the skills needed to contribute to the advancement of mental health equity and social justice in society.

Alma’s CMHC program will invite you to think critically while integrating theoretical understanding with hands-on experience. Faculty will help you to identify clinical experience opportunities in your area of interest so you can apply what you’re learning, while you’re learning it. 


Academic Calendar

Academic Calendar

Classes are held in two 8-week blocks during fall term and winter terms. Students will earn from 6 to 12 credit hours each 16-week term.

View the course schedule.



The low-residency online CMHC program incorporates two, five-day in-person residencies in central Michigan, where you’ll develop interpersonal relationships with colleagues and faculty alike. The first residency is embedded into courses during the first year of the program, while the second is embedded into courses completed just before starting clinical experience classes.

What to expect
Your residencies will help prepare you for the face-to-face counseling environment and support you in developing your identity as a counselor. During the five-day residency experience, you will connect with peers and faculty and collaborate through one-on-one and small group sessions. During the learning process, you will integrate your theoretical knowledge with concrete hands-on real-time counseling practice experiences under the guidance and supervision of program faculty.



Alma’s MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling is designed to prepare students to meet the educational requirements for licensure in the state of Michigan. Alma College has determined that the program does meet licensing requirements for the state of Michigan. Michigan accepts completion of an accredited master’s degree program from a regionally accredited university. Licensure levels in Michigan include: Limited License Professional Counselor (LLPC) and Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC).

Your Career Ahead

Mental health services are needed in organizations throughout the country.

Outpatient Centers: Spend your days with patients who receive treatment and can function independently outside of your care.

Hospitals: Help patients work through emotional, psychological and behavioral issues, for both short- and long-term stays.

Private Practice: Once you become a licensed clinical mental health counselor, you can work independently, working with individual clients.

Government Agencies: Take on work through organizations under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and advocate for more research and funding for mental illness.

Admissions and Aid

Not sure where to begin? We’re here to help you every step of the way. Our team is glad to answer your questions and walk you through the application and financial aid process. If you’re not sure if the program is right for you, contact the Associate Director for Graduate Recruitment.

Application Requirements

Application Requirements

  • An official transcript showing a conferred bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale
  • Have earned a 3.0 GPA (on a 4.0 scale) on all graduate work as verified by official transcripts
  • Reference contact information for three individuals who know you from an academic or professional perspective who can attest to your dedication to helping others and your ability to succeed in a challenging master’s program
  • Current résumé (or curriculum vitae) detailing any clinical experiences
  • Write a 2-3 page statement describing your personal and professional goals and how earning a graduate degree in clinical mental health counseling from a limited residency program will contribute to meeting your goals
  • A minimum score on a pre-approved English language proficiency test is required for all applicants whose native language is not English or who have not graduated from an institution at which English is the language of instruction
  • Interview with counseling faculty

Application Deadlines

Application Deadlines

Applications are welcome at any time, however priority will be given to those who apply by July 1.

Program Costs

Program Costs

Learn more about the tuition and fees and cost of attendance for the MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Cost per credit hour will not increase for students who enter the fall 2024 cohort of the program.

Financial Aid

Financial Aid

Students are encouraged to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Sid (FAFSA).

Learn more about paying for your master’s degree.

Have any questions?

Contact us today for more information on this program and more.

Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling Director

Julie Robinson, Ph.D., LCPC


Admissions Office