Accredited Online Clinical Mental Health Counseling Programs in Texas [2024 Guide]

Across the vast landscape of Texas, there’s a silent struggle: countless individuals grappling with mental health challenges, often without adequate resources or proximity to quality care. The state’s geographical enormity can mean long journeys for those in remote areas, deterring many from seeking vital mental health services.

However, it’s not just the individuals seeking support who face challenges. Potential mental health professionals, eager to make a difference, often find traditional on-campus degrees limiting, time-consuming, and geographically restrictive.

Embracing innovation and recognizing the need for a flexible approach to education, Texas now offers online accredited clinical mental health counseling degrees. These programs offer a blend of robust curriculum, real-world application, and the flexibility of online learning. Whether you are in the heart of Houston or the plains of West Texas, an online clinical mental health counseling degree can be your gateway to a fulfilling career.

best accredited online clinical mental health counseling programs in Texas

Online Clinical Mental Health Counseling Programs in Texas

Listed below are some of the popular schools offering online clinical mental health counseling programs in Texas:

  • Texas Tech University
  • Texas A&M University – Kingsville
  • Midwestern State University Texas
  • Lamar University
  • Our Lady of the Lake University
  • The Chicago School
  • Southern New Hampshire University
  • Capella University
  • Grand Canyon University

Texas Tech University

Online Master of Science (MS) in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

If you are exploring the field of mental health counseling, it’s a profession dedicated to assisting people in dealing with mental or emotional difficulties. As a mental health counselor, you would work closely with individuals to help them navigate these challenges, offering strategies for coping and recovery.

You would be trained to support people with diverse behavioral health concerns, developing strategies to assist them in returning to optimal emotional functioning and living independently. Both one-on-one and group settings would be part of your responsibilities, with coordination among other health care providers.

One popular institution that offers education in this field is Texas Tech University’s Clinical Mental Health Counseling program, established in 2017. This program is among the first to train counselors in both traditional clinical counseling skills and telehealth techniques, making use of technology to connect with clients remotely.

The program is a 60 credit-hour combination of core and specialty courses with 12 credit-hours of hands-on experience. You would study subjects like:

  • Human Growth and Development.
  • Treatment Planning and Case Management.
  • Foundations of Counseling and Ethical Development.
  • Crisis Counseling.
  • Psycho-pharmacology for Mental Health.

An emphasis on telehealth, a distance-based health care service, is an integral part of the Texas Tech program. Telehealth is becoming increasingly prominent nationwide and offers an innovative approach to counseling.

Upon completion of the program, you would be prepared with the knowledge, attitudes, and skills to assist clients with mental health concerns. The program’s objectives include:

  • Facilitating development of the necessary skills for qualified mental health counseling.
  • Supporting culturally responsive and ethically sound counseling practices.
  • Providing clinical training for translating acquired knowledge into evidence-based practice.

The entire program is available online, making it accessible for students in Texas, across the United States, and globally. It’s designed with flexibility in mind, catering to those who may be working full time or unable to pursue on-site studies.

Texas Tech’s Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs (CACREP), ensuring its quality.

Admission requirements include holding a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, preferably in a related area. All applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 or a GPA of 3.0 in the last 60 semester hours of courses.

With start dates in both the Fall and Spring, the program’s admissions operate on a rolling basis. It’s advisable to complete the application, including all required documentation, as early as possible to secure a place in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program.

Texas A&M University – Kingsville

Online Master of Science (MS) in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

The Texas A&M University – Kingsville offers the CACREP-accredited Master of Science (MS) in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program, which is fully online and spans 60 semester hours. This program meets the counseling licensure requirements for Texas.

Within the program, you have the opportunity to focus on School Counseling by choosing two specific elective courses. This emphasis also prepares you for the school counselor exam in Texas. The program also features an emphasis in Rural Mental Health Counseling, a unique offering available only at this institution.

The core goal of the program is to develop competent counselors equipped to work in diverse settings, such as mental health facilities and schools. The curriculum is rooted in understanding and embracing cultural diversity, ensuring graduates are prepared to serve a broad spectrum of individuals.

Some of the core courses that you will take include:

  • Theories of Counseling
  • Counseling Techniques
  • Abnormal Human Behavior
  • Substance Abuse & Addictions Counseling
  • Research in Counseling
  • Diagnosis in Counseling
  • Marriage Family Counseling
  • Multicultural Counseling
  • School Counseling Techniques
  • Rural Mental Health Counseling

The program emphasizes:

  • Professional Integrity: Cultivating a deep commitment to the ethical standards of counseling.
  • Cultural Awareness: Understanding and respecting diverse cultures in the counseling process.
  • Understanding Lifespan Development: Recognizing the developmental milestones and their impact on mental health.
  • Career Guidance: Implementing theories to effectively guide individuals in their career choices.
  • Building Therapeutic Relationships: Mastering the methodologies to establish trust with clients.
  • Group Counseling Dynamics: Understanding the techniques and challenges of group counseling.
  • Assessment Strategies: Identifying and employing the best methods tailored for individual needs.
  • Evidence-Based Practice: Leveraging research to inform decision-making in counseling.
  • Mental Health Foundations: Grasping the foundational knowledge of mental health, including history, theory, and assessment.
  • Context in Mental Health: Recognizing the external factors affecting mental health counseling.
  • Practical Techniques: Employing advanced strategies and interventions in a therapeutic setting.

The program integrates clinical courses, including practicum and internship, offering real-life application of theoretical knowledge. Through these courses, you will provide services to a diverse group of clients, gaining invaluable hands-on experience.

Upon completion of the program, graduates can pursue professional licensure. Passing the National Counselor’s Examination (NCE) and the Texas Jurisprudence Examination qualifies you for a temporary license. With this, you will embark on gaining practical experience under supervision. After accumulating 3000 hours of supervised practice, you can apply for a permanent license.

For admission into the program, the following are required:

  • A bachelor’s degree
  • Academic transcripts indicating a minimum GPA of 2.8 for undergraduate studies and 3.0 for graduate studies, for transfer students
  • A Purpose Statement
  • An updated resume
  • Successful completion of a virtual interview
  • Once admitted, maintaining a minimum GPA of 3.0 is mandatory

Midwestern State University Texas

Online Master of Arts (MA) in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Midwestern State University’s 60-credit online MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program is designed to equip you with cutting-edge research, advanced technology, proficient training, and supervision, ensuring readiness for a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) career.

The program’s faculty will help you develop professional maturity, ethical integrity, competence, self-awareness, and a deep-rooted counselor identity. They also prioritize fostering an appreciation for cultural diversity and multicultural perspectives.

The program’s objective is to certify students as counselors, ensuring they are equipped with the essential skills to perform adeptly across various related environments, ready to address the complexities of a dynamically diverse society. A distinguishing feature is its teaching-centric approach, with a focus on faculty engagement.

The program offers the foundational coursework, training, and comprehensive supervision necessary for the National Counselor Examination (NCE). Upon acquiring the license, you can venture into diverse professional arenas, even including private practice.

During the program you will delve into a series of core courses, such as:

  • Mediation and Conflict Resolution: This course explore alternate strategies for dispute resolution. The course emphasizes skills in teaching conflict management and mediating disagreements.
  • Introduction to Counseling: A foundational course exploring the characteristics of proficient counselors and honing communication skills to foster a supportive environment.
  • Human Development and Learning: In this course you will understand the nuances of human development from prenatal phases through senior years, covering intellectual, physical, social, and emotional aspects.
  • Diagnosis and Treatment Planning: This course will help you in understanding normal versus abnormal behavioral tendencies, focusing on diagnosing issues and crafting treatment strategies.
  • Theories and Techniques of Counseling: This course emphasizes on the predominant counseling theories and hones counseling skills by applying distinct techniques.
  • Career Development Counseling: Here you will learn about the various theories of career evolution, life-career planning techniques, and get insights into career and educational trends.
  • Group Counseling: Understand the mechanics of efficient group sessions, studying group dynamics and effective practice methodologies.
  • Marriage and Family Counseling: You will explore the core theories of marriage and family counseling, enhancing skills through diverse mediums, modeling, and role-playing.
  • Practicum in Counseling: This course, essential for aspiring school counselors and professional counseling licensure, offers 100 hours of counseling practice under expert supervision.

Upon graduation, you will be poised to serve in varied public or private sectors, possessing the requisite training and coursework to pursue a provisional license as a professional counselor.

The application prerequisites for this program include:

  • Enrollment in the McAda Graduate School
  • Payment of a $50 application fee
  • Submission of official transcripts
  • Application to the Clinical Mental Health Program
  • Three letters of recommendation

Lamar University

Online M.Ed. in Clinical Health Counseling

If you are keen on elevating your career in the mental health domain, consider the online M.Ed. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Lamar University. This program is designed especially for individuals like you with at least a bachelor’s degree and a desire to delve into clinical mental health counseling. You will be required to complete 60 hours of coursework tailored to mental health counseling.

Stepping into the shoes of a mental healthcare professional concentrated on clinical counseling empowers you to cater to a diverse range of patients across varied settings. When you feel the urge to ascend in your career, tailored graduate program in clinical mental health counseling at Lamar is at your disposal to meet your job aspirations and licensing prerequisites.

Your journey will begin with courses offered in a five-week format, allowing you to focus on one course per term. As you advance, you will transition into advanced rotation courses presented in 12 and 15-week formats. There will be moments, especially during the 15-week internship courses, where you can concurrently engage in two courses.

Recognizing the elevated standards associated with clinical counseling services within the mental healthcare landscape, Lamar’s M.Ed. program is structured to equip you to meet and exceed these benchmarks. The coursework encompasses foundational concepts, diverse counseling theories and techniques, and research methodologies.

As you delve deeper, your curriculum will narrow down, focusing on specialized cases like marriage, abuse, and crisis management. Moreover, before the culmination of your program, you will be exposed to critical discourses on ethics and the legal implications of your profession.

Central to the program are a Practicum and two Internship courses. These field experiences are your golden tickets to integrate and enact the knowledge and skills you have acquired. During these courses, you will be expected to uphold professional codes of ethics, functioning under the guidance of a university faculty member and a qualified site supervisor.

For the Practicum, requirements include:

  • 40 hours of direct service and an additional 60 indirect hours, honing your counseling competencies.
  • Successfully undergoing a formal observation supervised by a university official.
  • Engaging in weekly individual site supervision, averaging an hour, throughout the experience.
  • Participating in weekly university group supervision sessions that last at least an hour.

For the Internship, requirements include:

  • 120 hours of direct service, coupled with 180 indirect hours, ensuring quality counseling interactions.
  • Successfully completing two formal observations supervised by a university official and passing the pre-test.
  • Engaging in weekly individual and/or triadic supervision sessions, averaging an hour, throughout your field experience.
  • Participating in weekly university group supervision sessions that last a minimum of an hour.

By securing an M.Ed. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling emphasizing clinical services, a plethora of opportunities unfolds before you. You could be operating within public health institutions, educational establishments, or medical facilities, extending your expertise to individuals and families alike.

Our Lady of the Lake University

Online Master of Arts (MA) in Counseling

The Master of Arts in Counseling degree from Our Lady of the Lake University (OLLU) is your gateway to a fulfilling career in the mental health field. Here, you will be equipped with the techniques, skills, and strategies pivotal for impacting lives positively.

With online courses that eliminate the need for on-campus residencies, you will master the skills essential to elevate your counseling career. You can select from three distinct specializations:

  1. Clinical Mental Health Counseling: Step into the role of a clinical mental health counselor, championing clients across ages and cultures as they navigate emotional health hurdles. Explore opportunities in governmental and non-governmental facilities, private practices, inpatient or outpatient agencies, and community institutions.
  2. Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling: Dedicate your efforts to individuals grappling with disabilities that manifest physically, mentally, emotionally, or socially. Equip yourself to be an anchor of expertise and personal support, assisting these individuals and their families in enhancing life quality and bolstering their autonomy.
  3. School Counseling: Play a pivotal role in students’ lives, ensuring they extract the maximum from their educational pursuits. By identifying and rectifying typical behavioral and learning concerns, fostering psychological well-being, and facilitating robust career development strategies, you can truly make a difference.

The program requires 600 internship hours and an additional 100 hours dedicated to practicum. The hands-on experiences from practicums and internships will prepare you with real-world skills to make a difference among clients of all ages and cultures.

A convenient online format and expert faculty for support will ensure your success as a student. The majority of the online coursework is asynchronous, providing you with the flexibility to shape your study schedule around your personal commitments. The curriculum is designed to align with the highest standards in the counseling realm.

On completing the Clinical Mental Health Counseling specialization, a myriad of opportunities will be at your disposal, encompassing public and private clinics, rehabilitation centers, and governmental entities that focus on social services.

Furthermore, you will be eligible to appear for the National Counselor Examination (NCE) and the Texas Jurisprudence Examination, positioning you to apply for the Licensed Professional Counselor status.

To apply, you will need to submit:

  • A complete application.
  • Bachelor’s degree acquired from a regionally accredited institution.
  • Official transcripts showcasing a minimum 3.0 GPA.
  • A personal statement, student acknowledgment form, and a questionnaire.
  • An updated resume and a reference form.
  • A written consent, permitting the release of your test records to the certification officer and program faculty.
  • In relevant cases, your current teaching license and the corresponding teaching service record.

What Degree Do You Need to be a Mental Health Counselor in Texas?

To become a mental health counselor in Texas, specifically a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), you need to meet certain educational, exam, and experience requirements. Here’s a breakdown of the educational requirements and steps to achieve licensure in Texas:

  • Educational Requirements: You will need a master’s or doctoral degree in counseling or a related field from an accredited institution. This program should include a minimum of 60 semester hours of coursework.
  • Postgraduate Supervised Experience: After obtaining the required degree, you will need to complete a postgraduate internship consisting of at least 3,000 hours of supervised experience in professional counseling over a minimum period of 18 months. At least 1,500 hours must be direct client contact, and at least 100 hours must be under the immediate supervision of an LPC board-approved supervisor.
  • Examination: You will need to pass the National Counselor Exam (NCE) offered by the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC). In addition to the NCE, you must also pass the Texas Jurisprudence Exam, which covers the legal and ethical aspects of the profession in Texas.
  • Background Check: Texas also requires a criminal background check for all LPC licensure candidates.
  • Application: Once you have met the educational, experience, and examination requirements, you can submit an application to the Texas State Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors.

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