Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Other Information

Graduate Catalog: CPCF

  • Admission requirements
  • Program details
  • Course descriptions

Application Deadlines

Department: Community Psychology, Counseling and Family Therapy

Program Coordinator:
Dr. Tina Sacin, PhD, LPC, NCC  

Program Overview

Clinical Mental Health counseling views and treats individuals, couples, and families seeking counseling and/or psychotherapeutic assistance from a strength based perspective that is culturally responsive and competent in relation to the context of the larger community. The Master of Science program in Clinical Mental Health Counseling provides academic and experiential training needed to prepare and develop students for the Licensed Professional Clinical Counseling licensure (LPCC). To be admitted to the Clinical Mental Health program the applicant must successfully complete a personal interview process with the faculty. Careful attention will be given to previous work experience, academic background, scholarship, interpersonal skills and commitment to the field of mental health counseling.

The Community Counseling program at St. Cloud State University is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). The accreditation runs through October, 2016.

(Note: The Clinical Mental Health Counseling program is currently accredited under the 2001 standards for Community Counseling programs as a Community Counseling program. The CACREP 2016 standards combine the Community Counseling and Mental Health Counseling standards into standards for Clinical Mental Health Counseling programs. The counseling program intends to seek accreditation for this program as a Clinical Mental Health Counseling program when it comes up for reaccreditation, per CACREP guidelines).

The Clinical Mental Health Counseling program’s mission is to prepare culturally responsive, competent, and ethical counseling professionals who adhere to the highest standard of curricula and clinical practice. The counseling program pays special attention to systemic factors that undermine people's mental health and well-being.

The primary goal of the counseling program is to train competent counselors to do counseling with a wide range of mental health problems.  Counselors are trained to help with concerns about depression, school, health and wellness, career, mental illness, family, divorce, emotional and behavioral difficulties.


Graduates find employment as mental health counselors and work for a variety of agencies. Crisis clinics, correctional settings, schools, public community mental health facilities, and private practices also hire mental health counselors. 

Learning Outcomes and Measurable Objectives 

The Clinical Mental Health Counseling graduate program at St. Cloud State University is committed to excellence in education and training and prepares students to:

  1. Foster a clear counseling professional identity.
  2. Recruit and serve students who are diverse in age, race/ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, abilities and socio-economic background.
  3. Prepare counselors who are responsive to the larger cultural, political, economic and social context and who participate in social justice and advocacy.
  4. Recruit nationally and internationally in addition to serving the central Minnesota geographic region, assuring service to a larger counseling community.
  5. Prepare reflective practitioners who value personal growth and awareness, self care, and a holistic model of well being that connects mind, body, and spirit.
  6. Develop counseling focused research and assessment skill
    Demonstrate advanced communication skills professional writing, verbal presentation and use of technology.
  7. Develop a sound knowledge base in counseling concepts with commitment to continuing education.
  8. Develop strong clinical skills for individual, group, couples, family, community and multicultural practice.
  9. Commit to service and advocacy for the counseling profession in global context.
  10. Research, assessment, technology, critical thinking, technology and consultation.

Accreditation Specific to the Program

CACREP Accreditation
The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) is the national program accrediting body for the professional counseling profession. Program accreditation brings national recognition and opportunities to a program, the faculty, and the students. A primary value to graduates of a CACREP accredited program is increased portability of education and experience across state lines in terms of practice opportunity and licensure.

The National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) works closely with CACREP to promote quality counseling through certification.  Students in the community counseling program will be eligible to take the National Counseling Exam (NCE) exam, sponsored by NBCC, their final semester of coursework.  The successful completion of the NCE exam provides the student to become a National Certified Counselor (NCC). The NCC credentials allow graduates increased portability of education and experience across state lines in terms of practice opportunity and licensure.

The SCSU Clinical Mental Health Counseling graduate program has been accredited by CACREP. All graduates of the programs are considered graduates of an accredited program, and may receive all the rights and privileges of CACREP accreditation, e.g. portability of education for licensure in all states with LPC, LPCC, and LMHC.

Admission Information

  • The GRE requirement is currently under review by the program and University's Curriculum Committee.  It may not be necessary to submit a GRE for fall 2015 admission. Please consult with the graduate director. 
  • The application materials required by the School of Graduate Studies.
  • Three completed recommendation forms.
    • A current resume listing educational background, professional experience and volunteer and community involvements.
    • A statement of intent addressing the following:
      • A brief description of the applicant’s background, training and experience.
      • A statement of short- and long-term professional goals.
      • A statement of purpose regarding the interest in your degree program.
      • Identify areas of strength and challenges in pursuing this degree.
  • Careful attention will be given to previous work experience, academic background, scholarship, interpersonal skill, and commitment to the field of mental health counseling.
  • Incomplete applications will not be reviewed.

Priority Application Deadline - January 15 for fall semester admission

Programs with a priority deadline will hold all completed applicant files until the application deadline date, then academic review will begin. The program will review all completed applications at one time (in a pool) and may request an interview as part of the process to award limited spaces. If space remains in the program, a second round of review and possible interviews will be held for completed files received after the priority deadline. 

Wait list Information

Competition for limited places in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program requires the necessity of a waitlist.

Length of Program — Measured by Semesters

  • Full-time student: A minimum of five semesters taking an average of 12 credits per semester (including summers)
  • Part-time students can be accommodated and must complete the program within the seven year time frame

Graduate Assistantship Overview

  • Generally graduate assistantship positions are available fall and spring semesters.
  • Graduate assistants assist faculty members with research projects and/or teaching.
  • Graduate assistantships require full-time student status.
  • Graduate assistantship applications must be submitted to the department chairperson. All applications must be submitted by the April 1st deadline.

Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) Eligibility

The Professional Counseling regulatory requirements in Minnesota are among the most stringent in the US. Upon graduation from the SCSU accredited graduate academic program in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, the counselor must pass the National Certified Counselor licensure examination (NCE). This exam may be taking during the final semester of program (see under NBCC above). Subsequent to two years of post-degree clinical experience under state approved supervision. View application requirements.

Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC) Eligibility

To qualify as a LPCC, an applicant must have completed 4,000 hours of post-masters degree supervised professional practice in the delivery of clinical services in the diagnosis and treatment of mental illnesses and disorders in both children and adults. There are additional graduate course requirements needed to apply for the LPCC licensure.  View application and course requirements. The current Clinical Mental Health Counseling program meets the requirements for the LPC licensure and is in transition to meet the second tier LPCC licensure requirements by 2014.