Accredited Online Mental Health Counseling Programs in Florida [Updated For 2024]

Many students often find traditional campus-based mental health counseling programs challenging due to time commitments, location constraints, or the need for flexibility in their education.

Online mental health counseling programs in Florida allow students to delve deep into the intricacies of mental health counseling from anywhere with an internet connection. Breaking down geographical barriers and offering unparalleled flexibility, these programs are shaping the future leaders of mental health counseling, ensuring a brighter and healthier Florida for all.

Best accredited online mental health counseling degrees in Florida

Online Mental Health Counseling Programs in Florida

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

  • Nova Southeastern University
  • Hodges University
  • Kesier University
  • Florida International University
  • Southern New Hampshire University
  • Barry University
  • Arizona State University Online
  • Capella University

Nova Southeastern University

Online M.S. in Counseling – Clinical Mental Health Counseling Concentration

Just finished your undergraduate degree? Thinking about a fresh path or boosting your current profession? Elevate your journey by enrolling in the CACREP accredited Master of Science (M.S.) in Counseling with Clinical Mental Health Counseling concentration at Nova Southeastern University. This program is available in both online and in-person formats. You can enroll on a full-time or part-time basis.

Today, both public and private sectors recognize the growing demand for skilled counselors. By choosing this field, you open doors to numerous exciting opportunities.

To earn your M.S. in Counseling at Nova Southeastern University, you will complete 33 graduate semester hours, alongside the Clinical Mental Health Counseling focus. In total, you are looking at completing 60 credits.

This program equips you to:

  • Guide people through challenges like stress, self-worth, aging, career dilemmas, educational choices, emotional hurdles, trauma, family disputes, and marital issues.
  • Uplift diverse individuals and groups, helping them aim for mental wellness, healing, relationship growth, academic objectives, or career milestones.
  • Work seamlessly with a team of professionals such as psychiatrists, psychologists, nurses, and school counselors.

Some of the core Clinical Mental Health Counseling concentration courses that you will take include:

  • The Foundations of Counseling: You will dive deep into psychotherapy, exploring renowned theories and practices that shape the world of mental health counseling.
  • Human Growth: You will understand how growth and societal learning influence people throughout their lives.
  • Counseling Ethics: You will grasp the legalities and ethics that guide counseling practices.
  • Assessment Techniques: You will learn about the common tools used to gauge aptitude, interests, and personality.
  • Understanding Substance Abuse: In this course you will explore the origins, treatment, and counseling methods for substance-related issues.
  • Diversity in Counseling: Here you will explore how different cultural and social factors shape the counseling process.
  • Community Mental Health: In this course you will understand the principles driving community-focused mental health initiatives.
  • Advanced Counseling Techniques: In this course you will equip yourself with progressive strategies and techniques for counseling.

By completing the M.S in Counseling with a focus on Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Nova Southeastern University, you will satisfy the educational requirements to become a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) in Florida. Additionally, this program will set you on the right track to achieve the National Certified Counselor (NCC) credential offered by the National Board for Certified Counselors.

You will need complete all courses for the degree with a GPA of at least 3.0, including satisfactory completion of practicum and internship.

To apply, ensure you:

  • Hold an undergraduate degree from an accredited college. Submit official transcripts from any schools you have attended.
  • Have a background in psychology, education, behavioral science, social work, or something similar. If not, showcase your capability or passion for counseling through relevant experiences.
  • Achieved a GPA of at least 2.5 in your last 60 undergrad semester hours, or held a 3.0 GPA in a master’s program. Alternatively, score at least 300 combined on the verbal and quantitative GRE sections taken within the last five years.
  • Be prepared, as you might be invited for an interview as part of the admission process.

Hodges University

Online Master’s In Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Hodges University offers a 60-credit online Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling degree that’s designed just for you. If you are aiming to start a career in mental health or substance abuse counseling, this could be your first step. Once you are through, you will also be able to get licensed as a Mental Health Counselor.

Some of the core courses that you will take include:

  • Counseling in Community Setting: You will explore the world of community counseling. You will learn its history, the current trends, and even get to know about counseling in different settings.
  • Social & Cultural Foundations of Counseling Practice: Ready to work with people from all walks of life? This course will teach you how to be sensitive to the needs of clients from different backgrounds and cultures.
  • Career & Lifestyle Assessment Ever wonder how to guide someone towards the perfect job or career? This course will teach you how, by exploring career theories and ways to assess someone’s job interests.
  • Group Counseling: Groups can be a powerful way to help people. In this course you will learn the theories behind group counseling, and how to lead a group effectively, no matter the age or background of the members.
  • Diagnosis and Treatment of Psychopathology: Here you will learn how mental disorders are categorized and the best ways to treat them. You will also learn to think critically to pinpoint a diagnosis and consider the most effective treatments.
  • Advanced Addiction Treatment Methodologies: You will learn about the latest ways to help people overcome addictions. From understanding motivations to using cognitive therapies, you will be equipped to help those battling substance abuse.
  • Trauma Therapy: This course will teach you the ins and outs of trauma treatment and how to respond during disasters. You will able able to support those who have been through traumatic experiences
  • Group Therapy: In this course you will learn about creating a trusting environment, setting group rules, and understanding how group dynamics can help healing.

All classes will be online, but you will still have interactive sessions! For about 6-8 hours, you will meet with your classmates and instructor over Zoom. There, you will discuss concepts, see presentations, and more.

During the program, you will have to join 4 weekend residency sessions. These will be spread out over fall and spring. It’s a full weekend from Friday to Sunday morning. This is where you will get hands-on practice and dive deep into core counseling techniques.

You will also be involved in real-world practice. There’s a 155-hour practicum where you will directly care for clients for 40 hours. After that, you will do two internships totaling 300 hours, with 120 hours directly interacting with clients. Expect to commit about 20 hours a week for these internships. Plus, during this time, you will be supervised for 45 hours per session.

By the end of this program, if you are in Florida, you can become a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC). First, you will register as an intern, and once you meet all requirements, you will get your full LMHC license.

To apply, ensure you have a bachelor’s degree with a GPA of 3.0 or higher. You will need to send in your official college transcripts to show your degree. Sometimes, there might be an essay or interview as part of the admission process. Once everything is ready, fill out the application for the program.

Kesier University

Online Master’s in Mental Health Counseling

Keiser’s online Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling is tailored for busy individuals like you. This program aims to fully equip you to become a professional counselor, ready to work in various settings like private clinics or rehab centers.

Here’s what you should expect:

  • Real-World Experience: Along with regular classes, you will get a chance to apply what you have learned by getting hands-on field experience under expert guidance.
  • Aligned with Licensure Standards: The program is structured to match national standards, ensuring you are well-prepared for licensure.
  • Holistic Development: As you journey through the program, you will:
    • Delve deep into the history and ethics of counseling.
    • Understand diverse societal and cultural backgrounds to cater to a wide range of clients.
    • Gain insights into human growth, development, and wellness across ages.
    • Learn the art of career counseling and relevant evaluations.
    • Perfect your counseling techniques for individual and group settings.
    • Sharpen your critical thinking for diagnosis, research methods, and program assessments.
  • Interactive Learning: Every week, you will attend live classes that last between 1.5 to 3 hours. Plus, you will have access to personal tutoring, role-play sessions, and constant communication with peers and faculty via emails, texts, or calls. The professors are always around to help you out during their office hours.
  • Diverse Coursework: The subjects you will study will cover everything from diagnosing to referring clients, all based on evidence-backed treatments.
  • Program Mission: Keiser aims to produce top-notch counselors with a strong ethical foundation and unmatched professional skills, prepping them for an independent practice.
  • Wide-Ranging Career Paths: After completing the program, you will be eligible for counseling licensure in clinical mental health. This opens doors to roles in areas like substance abuse counseling, crisis intervention, and more.
  • Community Building: There’s a residency requirement in this program. This means you will be spending a weekend, three times during your course, mingling with fellow students. These gatherings strengthen community ties and enrich your learning.
  • Practical Training: Nearing the program’s end, you will be put into real-life counseling scenarios, called practicum and internships. This is where you will integrate all your learnings and skills under expert supervision.
  • Admission Requirements: You will need a bachelor’s or master’s degree in a relevant field like psychology or human development from an accredited college. Good news – if you have a CGPA of 3.0 or higher, you can skip the GRE and dive straight into this enriching journey into mental health counseling.

Florida International University

Online Master of Science in Counseling Psychology – Professional Counseling Psychology

If you are considering a future in counseling, Florida International University’s Professional Counseling Psychology Master’s program is tailored just for you. Aimed at helping you become a knowledgeable counselor, it’s a path that can lead to being licensed as a mental health counselor. You can pursue this program in a hybrid or fully online format.

This program gives you a strong base in psychology and lets you focus on various mental health challenges and diverse groups of people. Through guidance from teachers and hands-on training, you will learn to use science-backed theories and methods. Your goal? To understand, prevent, and help with mental health issues while boosting overall well-being and personal growth.

This program is spread over roughly eight semesters and requires you to earn 60 credits. You will explore topics like:

  • Basic and advanced counseling techniques
  • Understanding and treating sexual disorders
  • Guidance on career choices for teens and adults
  • Current community psychology topics

You will have the option to take classes either at scheduled times through online meetings or whenever it suits you, giving you plenty of room to plan your day. The online classes are organized so that everyone in your group goes through the courses together over a span of eight semesters. This way, the lessons are always ready for you and come in a well-planned order to help you understand better.

Considering this program sets you on the track to become a licensed mental health counselor in Florida, you will need to finish 1,000 hours of guided clinical training. This splits into a 400-hour hands-on session and a 600-hour internship. Both these phases need to be done at locations approved by the university. You will start with the hands-on session in your first semester and move to the internship in the second year.

A standout feature of this course? A detailed case study. Here, you get to deep-dive into a counseling area that grabs your interest, by studying and researching it further. This case study should come with:

  • A detailed report
  • Slides for presenting
  • A talk in front of two university professors

To get into this program, you will need an undergraduate degree and a 3.0 GPA in the last half of your coursework. When applying, remember to send:

  • Transcripts from all your past educational institutes
  • GRE test scores
  • Three recommendations
  • Your resume or CV
  • Two written academic examples

Southern New Hampshire University

Online Master of Arts (M.A.) in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Get ready to make a difference in people’s mental well-being by pursuing an online Master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Southern New Hampshire University.

This degree from SNHU is accredited by the CACREP till 2028. It’s structured to meet the educational guidelines for a counseling license in many states, Florida included.

As you learn, you will be equipped to help others with understanding and practical know-how. This program will teach you how to support clients facing various personal challenges, from childhood troubles to serious mental conditions.

Though most of the 60-credit program is online, there are two in-person training sessions to boost your real-world skills. Being primarily online, SNHU lets you enjoy flexible online lessons but also provides face-to-face experiences, helping you connect better with clients.

You will be exploring into topics like:

  • How to support and stand up for your clients
  • Proven, research-backed methods
  • Skills that respect everyone’s unique backgrounds
  • Client care, from counseling to prevention
  • Working with groups
  • Tools and theories for client assessment

On top of the 60 credits, you will need to participate in two 5-day residencies. These in-person training sessions let you mingle with fellow students and teachers. You will take what you have learned online and use it, while experienced instructors guide you. These 5-day sessions mean a trip to New Hampshire. Your stay and most meals will be handled by SNHU for an extra fee, but your financial aid can help with travel costs.

You must also complete at least a 100-hour practicum and two 300-hour internships during the program.

To get into this program, you will need:

  • A personal statement
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • A document that you are aware of the program’s needs and the license guidelines that apply to you
  • GRE or GMAT scores are not required

How Long Does It Take to Become a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Florida?

Becoming a mental health counselor in Florida requires a combination of education, supervised experience, and examination. Here are the general steps and timeframes:

  1. Education (2-3 years): Earn a master’s or higher degree in mental health counseling or a related field from a regionally accredited institution or an institution that is accredited by an agency recognized by the United States Department of Education. Most master’s programs in counseling are 2 to 3 years long.
  2. Post-master’s Supervised Experience (2 years): After obtaining your degree, you will need to complete two years of post-master’s supervised experience under a board-approved supervisor. This equates to a minimum of 1,500 hours of face-to-face psychotherapy and counseling with clients and at least 100 hours of supervision in no less than 100 weeks.
  3. Examination: After completing the supervised experience, you will need to pass the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination (NCMHCE).
  4. Additional Requirements: There are also additional requirements, such as completing specific coursework if not covered in your degree program (for instance, laws and rules of the counseling profession, HIV/AIDS, and domestic violence), undergoing a background check, and providing professional references.
  5. Application and Licensure: Once you meet the educational, experience, and examination requirements, you can apply for licensure with the Florida Board of Clinical Social Work, Marriage & Family Therapy, and Mental Health Counseling. Upon approval, you will be licensed as a Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) in Florida.

In total, it typically takes about 4-5 years (2-3 years for the master’s degree and 2 years of supervised experience) after a bachelor’s degree to become a licensed mental health counselor in Florida, not including any additional time it might take to fulfill supplementary course requirements or to prepare for and pass the NCMHCE.

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