Clinical Mental Health Counseling Careers
Our clinical mental health counseling students are prepared for employment as licensed professional counselors in a wide variety of settings including:
- Community mental health agencies
- Human service agencies
- International ministries
- Private counseling practices
The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), a specialized accrediting body recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), has granted accreditation to the Clinical Mental Health Counseling (M.A.) at Wheaton College through October 31, 2024.
It is important that applicants review the licensing requirements of the states or countries in which they hope to practice since mental health practice at the master's level varies widely. The coursework in this program was designed to meet or exceed the educational standards for professional counselors set forth by the state of Illinois and the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC).
Please see the most recent handbook for the MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling for a detailed description of the program:
CMHC 2016-2018 Cohort Student Handbook (PDF)
Integration of Faith and Counseling
Faculty and students join together in actively exploring the integration of Christian faith and professional counseling practice. During the first year, students and faculty participate together in a year-long seminar entitled Foundations of Integration, which explores the impact of a Christian worldview on the developing identity of the professional counselor. During the practicum and internship in the second year, students and faculty participate in Internship Seminars focused on putting the concepts and theories of integration into practice.
Many faculty members and students in the program have a strong interest in the interface of ministry and mental health practice. Many alumni of our program serve with or assist mission agencies and missionaries around the world. Other graduates serve in nontraditional roles that bring the training and values of the mental health field into ministry roles within the church. Members of the psychology department are active in teaching and training professionals, clergy and lay people around the world.
Practicum and Internship
Three semesters of clinical training give students the opportunity for hands-on training experiences. Students are assisted in the search for practicum and internship experiences that fit their professional goals and interests. A wide variety of clinical settings welcome applicants from the Wheaton College Master's Program including outpatient practices, church counseling centers, community mental health centers, inpatient treatment facilities and college counseling clinics. CMHC 2016-2018 Clinical Training Handbook (PDF)
Personal Growth and Development Counseling
All students enrolled in the program are required to engage in eight hours of personal growth counseling prior to the start of their Internship. The relationship between the student and the counselor is kept completely confidential. We believe that this experience enriches students’ development as professional counselors and helps students to develop greater personal awareness and insight.
Salary and Career Outlook
Careers in the mental health field represent one of the fastest growing sectors in today’s job market. Professional counseling has been projected to see 19% growth between 2014 and 2024, much faster than the average for other occupations. The total number of professional counselors will increase by 31,400 over the next eight years. The average annual salary for a mental health counselor was $43,190 in 2015, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.