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Master of Arts (MA) in Counseling Psychology

Graduates of the MA in Counseling Psychology program will have fulfilled all the educational requirements to qualify for LMHC licensure in Massachusetts.

Mental Health Counselors provide invaluable services to individuals, groups, families, and systems. 

Employment of mental health counselors is expected to grow by 30 percent, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. Mental health counselors will be needed to staff statewide networks that are being established to improve services for children and adolescents with serious emotional disturbances and for their families. Under managed care systems, insurance companies are increasingly providing for reimbursement of counselors as a less costly alternative to psychiatrists and psychologists.

Program Overview

This program prepares graduates to function as mental health counselors after two years of full-time study. In addition to the standard coursework, there are opportunities to pursue concentrated elective coursework to acquire knowledge and skills relevant to working in particular settings or with specific populations. Although the primary goal is to prepare master’s level clinicians, this program will also provide students with some of the necessary foundations for pursuing further graduate study. Graduates of this program will have fulfilled all educational requirements to qualify for licensure in the state of Massachusetts as a Mental Health Counselor (LMHC).

“Societal needs for accessible health care providers have risen dramatically.  This has produced a critical call for master’s level clinicians to provide such mental health services, particularly to populations that are typically underserved and for whom access to health care services has traditionally been limited.” 

—Nilda Laboy, PsyD
Head, Counseling  Psychology Department

Program Philosophy

William James College integrates rigorous academic instruction with extensive field education and professional development assistance. We believe that the best learning comes from integrating classroom knowledge with hands-on experience. The curriculum provides for an understanding of theory, training, and practice of counseling psychology. We emphasize the development of professionals who are committed to the ethical provisions of quality services to culturally diverse clients, agencies, and organizations.

“The curriculum is experiential, interactive, innovative... it extends the bounds of what one would consider educational opportunity and you can feel it in the classroom, you can feel it when you walk into the building.  It’s alive.”

—Kina Dean, Counseling Psychology Program

Program Outcomes

 Our Mental Health Counselors work in a wide range of settings. Among these are community mental health centers, hospitals and clinics, residential treatment centers, substance abuse treatment facilities, college and university counseling centers, employee assistance programs, managed behavioral health care organizations, government agencies, elder care facilities, and faith communities, as well as independent practice.

Letter from the Program Chair

Over the past decade, societal needs for accessible health care providers have risen dramatically. In response, the mental health care field has turned increasingly to master’s level clinicians to provide essential front line services. This has produced a critical need for individuals qualified to provide such services, particularly to populations that are typically underserved and for whom access to health care services has traditionally been limited. It is with these needs in mind that our M.A. Program in Counseling Psychology has been developed.

The 60 semester credit program integrates classroom instruction with closely supervised field work, meets all the educational requirements for licensure in the state of Massachusetts, and will prepare its graduates to function as professional mental health counselors. Graduates will earn a Master of Arts degree in Counseling Psychology and will be well-equipped to function in a wide range of settings, including hospitals, mental health centers, college counseling centers, substance abuse treatment facilities, government agencies, and faith communities.

Mental Health Counseling is a challenging, personally gratifying, and relatively new field whose potential has yet to be fully realized. The roles of a mental health counselor are many and diverse, and you will be rewarded with numerous opportunities to make a difference in the lives of those very persons in our society who most need your services. If you are interested in a career as a helping professional, I encourage you to find out about our program and explore how master’s level study might be the path for you. As a student in the program you will be immersed immediately in the vibrant William James College community of practitioner/ scholars and will have rich opportunities to develop your skills in a unique environment that is dynamic, intellectually challenging, and personally supportive.

Sincerely,

Nilda M. Laboy, Psy.D.
Program Chair, Counseling Psychology Department
nilda_laboy@williamjames.edu

Who This Program is For

The professional mental health field draws persons from many different backgrounds and walks of life. Because the range of human needs is so diverse, the field employs persons at many different levels of education and training, from the bachelor’s to the doctorate, with the master’s in-between. Accordingly, master’s level training appeals to a variety of individuals for a variety of reasons. Some persons who pursue a master’s degree are recent college graduates with an undergraduate major in psychology who are interested in graduate school but are not sure if they want to pursue a doctorate. Others are interested in doctoral study in psychology and are hoping to make themselves stronger candidates for that eventual career path by earning a master’s along the way. Still others will pursue a master’s degree later in life as part of a career change. Finally, some persons seek a master’s degree because they either already know that they wish to practice independently and are seeking the shortest but most thorough path to that goal, or because they are already working in a mental health or related field and believe that master’s level preparation and licensure will better equip them to function in their roles as helpers.

Demographics and Data

Counselors held about 635,000 jobs in 2006. Employment was distributed among the counseling specialties as follows:

Educational, vocational, and school counselors 260,000
Rehabilitation counselors 141,000
Mental health counselors 100,000
Substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors 83,000
Marriage and family therapists 25,000
Counselors, all other 27,000


Overall employment of counselors is expected to increase by 21 percent between 2006 and 2016, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. However, growth is expected to vary by specialty.

Employment of substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors is expected to grow 34 percent, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. As society becomes more knowledgeable about addiction, it is increasingly common for people to seek treatment. Furthermore, drug offenders are increasingly being sent to treatment programs rather than jail.

Marriage and family therapists will experience growth of 30 percent, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. This is due in part to an increased recognition of the field. It is more common for people to seek help for their marital and family problems than it was in the past.

www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes211013.htm

Career Outlook

Employment Opportunities for MA in Counseling Psychology Graduates and LMHCs

Mental Health Counselors work in a wide range of settings. Among these are community mental health centers; hospitals and clinics; residential treatment centers; substance abuse treatment facilities; college and university counseling centers; employee assistance programs; managed behavioral health care organizations; government agencies; elder care facilities; and faith communities.

There are many employment opportunities in the Boston area and throughout the United States for qualified master's level clinicians. Once they have completed their post-master's work experience requirements and have passed the national licensing examination (known as the NCMHE), mental health counselors can also pursue independent practice. In Massachusetts, licensed mental health counselors are known as LMHCs.


Advantages of a Graduate School Education at William James College

94% of Graduates receive jobs in their field within 6 months of graduating

Job Outlook: Percent (%) Change in Employment for 2012-2022 Bureau of Labor Statistics
Marriage and Family Therapist Up 31%
Mental Health Counselor Up 29%
Clinical, Counseling & School Psychologists Up 11%

US News & World Report Best Social Service Jobs Best Jobs US News Best Jobs Logo
School Psychologist No. 1 No. 31
Marriage and Family Therapist No. 33 No. 76
Mental Health Counselor No. 38 No. 97

Median Salaries* Data from 2009 APA Salary Survey and US News & World Report

American Psychological Association Logo
US News Best Jobs Logo
Clinical Psychologist $87,015
School Psychologist $67,880
Mental Health Counselor $47,000
Marriage and Family Therapist $46,240
* Licensed mental health professionals have the opportunity for additional income through private practice.

Our Difference: Percent (%) of Graduates to obtain a job within 6 months of graduation

William James College
MA in Counseling Psychology 100%
MA/CAGS in School Psychology 100%
MA in Forensic and Counseling Psychology 100%
MA in Organizational Psychology 88%
PsyD in Clinical Psychology 87%

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Connect with Our Students