A master’s in counseling from Mid-America Christian University (MACU) differs from other counseling master’s programs in several key ways. As a Christian university, MACU’s curriculum emphasizes ethical decision making, bible-based instruction, and spiritual growth as part of every course. In addition, all our master’s in counseling degrees are accredited and offered completely online. Plus, students take just one course at a time every six weeks in consecutive order, making it easier to balance school, career, and personal responsibilities.
Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA) and approved by Oklahoma’s State Board of Behavioral Health, MACU was recently recognized by online learning platform Study.com as one of the best online counseling degree programs in the U.S. for educational excellence, affordability, faculty quality, and more. The site also applauded our accelerated learning format, particularly in combination with our life experience credits. We not only help adult learners earn their online degree quickly, but also provide consistent career networking opportunities and preparation for licensure through coursework, practicum, and internship opportunities.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the career outlook for substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors is promising with a projected average of 41,000 new jobs added annually from 2020 to 2030.
MACU Offers Several Emphases in Counseling Master’s Programs Online
At MACU, we are committed to training counselors who can serve people who need assistance in a variety of contexts. You’ll find our graduates offering guidance and care to individuals, couples, families, and groups in settings such as schools, churches, communities, hospitals, clinics, and more. Each one is committed to helping clients find pathways through problems that cause mental and emotional turmoil, ways to improve communication and coping skills, and good mental health. They practice with sensitivity and an ethical approach to diversity and spirituality, as well as results-oriented proficiencies.
Each of the counseling program’s four emphases instructs students in the scientific method, enhances professional counseling skills, integrates the knowledge of the discipline along with a Christian faith-based perspective, and prepares students for success in the workplace and ministry settings. Our online counseling master’s degree emphases include:
- Applied Behavioral Science / Christian Counseling
- Addiction and Substance Abuse
- Clinical Mental Health Counseling (LPC)
- Marriage and Family Counseling
Learn more about the MACU School of Behavioral Science and Counseling.
How portable is a Master’s Degree in Counseling between states in the U.S.?
A master’s degree in counseling provides foundational training designed to lead graduates toward for licensure* across the United States**. However, counseling licensure requirements do vary by state, so it is important for you to understand portability considerations when choosing a program.
Each state sets its own specific standards for supervised clinical hours, exam cut scores, and continuing education needed to earn licensure as a counselor. For example, Oklahoma, where MACU is located, requires 300 practicum hours, while other states mandate 500 hours or more.
The good news is you can enroll in an accredited counseling master’s program anywhere in the U.S. The key is working closely with your school to shape clinical experiences to satisfy requirements in the state where you plan to practice. MACU helps students design customized practicums and internships based on destination state standards.
However, the primary responsibility lies with you to research, understand, and stay updated on licensing policies in your current or future home state. Some states have subtle differences in their criteria, so continual monitoring is important.
While varied state standards present portability challenges, a master’s program in counseling still establishes a strong foundation. With proper planning and guidance from the school, you can earn a master’s degree in counseling from your program of choice while also meeting state-specific requirements for counseling licensure. Checking with your destination state’s licensing board will help you craft the best path for your practice.
What are the differences between a Master of Art in Counseling and a Master of Science in Counseling?
Every master’s in counseling offered by an accredited institution like MACU can lead to licensure as a professional counselor in most U.S. jurisdictions**. All counseling master’s programs also cover essential theories, techniques, and ethics, and provide practical experiences such as internships or practicums. Graduates who earn a master’s degree in counseling (either a master of science or a master of art) can pursue similar career paths in counseling, therapy, education, administration, or advocacy.
If you are an aspiring counselor who is especially passionate about the exploration, research, and scientific aspects of human behavior, a master of science (MS) may be the right educational pathway to a dynamic, fulfilling career. As an MS program, MACU’s master’s degree in counseling offers an insightful blend of technical acumen and empathetic practice, training professionals to make a meaningful difference in their field.
Benefits of a MS program for a Master’s Degree in Counseling
MS programs tend to distinguish themselves by emphasizing scientific methods and quantitative research. This analytical focus equips you with the tools you need to explore the underlying mechanisms that drive behavior, emotions, and relationships. By understanding these complexities, you can develop therapies and interventions that are rooted in empirical evidence.
In addition, many MS programs like MACU’s offer specific tracks in areas like applied behavioral science, addiction and substance abuse, clinical mental health counseling (LPC), and marriage and family counseling. These specialization options give you an opportunity to hone your skills in particular fields, positioning you as a qualified professional who can provide skillful assistance. Whether your interest lies in helping individuals overcome addiction or supporting families in crisis, a counseling master’s that underscores a science-based approach offers a pathway to significant growth in your work.
Prepare for diverse opportunities and advanced studies with a Master’s in Counseling
The technical skills gained through an MS in counseling are not limited to clinical practice alone. You will find yourself well-prepared for roles in research, education, administration, policy-making, and more. The ability to analyze data, conduct assessments, and evaluate program effectiveness opens doors to a wide array of professional settings, from healthcare organizations to educational institutions.
Plus, if you are considering academic studies beyond a master’s degree in counseling, an MS provides an excellent foundation for doctoral studies. The research-focused nature of the degree encourages intellectual curiosity and fosters a mindset that thrives on exploration and discovery. Pursuing a Ph.D. or other research-oriented degrees becomes a natural extension of your counseling master’s, paving the way for you to continue your personal and professional development.
An MS Program in Counseling: A Pathway to Impact
Choosing the best master’s degree in counseling is more than an academic decision. It has the potential to be life- and career-changing. An MS program like MACU’s combines the precision of science, the compassion of counseling, and the guidance of faith in Christ. It’s an opportunity to blend analytical thinking with human and spiritual understanding, creating interventions that resonate on a profound level.
In an age where mental health is paramount, the need for skilled, insightful, and research-driven professionals is clear. If you’re drawn to a journey that explores the depths of human psyche while making a tangible impact on people’s lives, this degree could be your calling.
What are the typical requirements for admission to a Master’s Program in Counseling?
If you are considering a master’s degree in counseling, the ideal pathway is through a related undergraduate degree, such as psychology, social work, human services, or nursing. A bachelor’s degree in one of these compatible areas ensures you have the foundational knowledge needed to succeed in graduate-level counseling programs.
However, even if your bachelor’s degree is in an unrelated field, you can still pursue a counseling career. Many counseling master’s programs provide opportunities for students without a compatible background to demonstrate their qualifications and readiness through prerequisite coursework.
For example, applicants who majored in business, engineering, or the arts in college can often enroll in post-baccalaureate psychology, statistics, or research methods courses prior to starting their master’s degree in counseling. Successfully completing these prerequisites at an accredited university like MACU demonstrates the academic preparation needed in areas like human development, interpersonal skills, ethics, and scientific research methodology.
Taking undergraduate prerequisites can also be an option for if your cumulative undergraduate GPA was below the minimum required for direct admission. Completing prerequisites gives you a chance to bring your GPA up to a satisfactory level and exhibit your ability to excel in courses directly relevant to the counseling curriculum.
While the master’s in counseling is a rigorous graduate program, numerous pathways exist for prospective MACU students from all backgrounds to demonstrate their qualifications through targeted coursework. With proper prerequisite preparation, those without a directly compatible undergraduate degree can position themselves for admission success.
Other Potential Requirements for Admission to a Master’s in Counseling
Many counseling master’s programs also require:
- Letters of Recommendation. These letters should ideally come from individuals who can attest to your academic abilities, professional experience, and personal qualities that make you a suitable candidate for the program.
- Statement of Purpose. A well-written statement of purpose may be a crucial component of some applications. This is where you can explain your motivations for pursuing a master’s degree in counseling, your career goals, and how the program aligns with your aspirations. Use this opportunity to showcase your passion and commitment to the field.
- Standardized Tests. Some programs may require applicants to submit scores from standardized tests, such as the GRE (Graduate Record Examination). Be sure to check the specific requirements of the programs you are interested in, as not all schools mandate standardized test scores. MACU, for example, does not require standardized testing for admission to its master’s degree programs.
- Interview. In some cases, schools may conduct interviews as part of their admission process. This is an opportunity for you to demonstrate your interpersonal and communication skills, which are essential in the counseling profession.
- Work or Volunteer Experience. While not always mandatory, having relevant work or volunteer experience in the counseling or mental health field can strengthen your application. It demonstrates your commitment to the profession and provides insight into your readiness for the program.
- Background Checks and Clearances. Due to the nature of counseling, some programs may require background checks and clearances to ensure the safety and suitability of applicants to work with vulnerable populations.
It’s important to research the specific requirements of the master’s in counseling programs you’re interested in, as these requirements can vary from one institution to another.
How much interaction will I have with faculty and other students in an online program? Are there opportunities to do clinical work or internships?
Pursuing an online master’s degree in counseling can provide exceptional flexibility, but perhaps you’re concerned such programs lack opportunities for collaboration and clinical experience compared to on-campus programs.
Good news! Many online programs like MACU’s are carefully designed to foster rich interaction and offer hands-on learning through practicums and internships. Through small class sizes and interactive technologies, we emphasize collaborative projects and frequent discussions to ensure:
- A personalized learning experience
- Meaningful interactions with faculty and other graduate students
- Relationship building and networking
- Development of student community and group learning
Critically, MACU’s accredited online counseling programs also facilitates clinical practicums and internships that allow students to put their skills into practice. Like on-campus students, online learners can choose a suitable site local to them and receive both onsite supervision and support from university faculty.
By blending online convenience, collaborative learning, and clinical immersion, today’s online counseling master’s programs offer holistic training and close working relationships with faculty and fellow future counselors. You’ll receive comprehensive preparation for counseling licensure and career success.
*LPC and LPCC are counseling credentials, but their meanings can vary by state.
LPC (Licensed Professional Counselor):
- Definition: This is a common credential, signifying a licensed counselor who provides therapy services to individuals, couples, families, and groups.
- Scope: LPCs work in diverse settings and help with a wide range of mental health issues.
- Requirements: Typically, LPCs need a master’s degree in counseling or a related field, supervised clinical hours, and a state licensing exam.
LPCC (Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor):
- Definition: LPCC represents counselors with advanced clinical training.
- Scope: LPCCs often have a broader scope, including clinical assessment and diagnosis, to treat more complex mental health conditions.
- Requirements: Becoming an LPCC usually involves a master’s or doctoral degree in clinical counseling, substantial supervised hours, and a comprehensive licensing exam, which may include clinical assessment components.
Please note that these titles and requirements can differ between states, so it’s vital to check your specific state’s licensing board for accurate information.
**Responsibility of the Master’s in Counseling Student: Ultimately, the responsibility for staying up to date on your state’s licensure requirements falls on you as the student. To ensure the portability of your master’s degree, it’s crucial to remain informed about the evolving licensure regulations in the state where you intend to practice. This involves staying in touch with your state’s licensing board and proactively addressing any additional requirements that may be necessary.