Clinical Mental Health Counseling, M.S.Ed.

The UNK Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC) Master of Science in Education Degree program prepares counselors to provide a full range of culturally sensitive services for individuals, couples, families, adolescents, children, groups and communities. Students learn to help clients explore emotions and experiences, adjust to difficult life challenges, improve family and other relationships, diagnose and treat mental and behavioral disorders, develop strategies for coping and change, and refer to other resources or services in the community.

Accreditation, Licensure & Certifications

Counseling for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Programs (CACREP) logo

The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Programs (CACREP), a specialized accrediting body recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), has granted accreditation through October 31, 2023 to the Clinical Mental Health Counseling (MS.Ed.) program in the UNK Department of Counseling and School Psychology ensuring the highest quality educational and clinical training standards.

Internationally recognized by the International Registry for Counselor Education Programs (IRCEP).

The National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) has announced that after January 1, 2022, individuals applying for the National Certified Counselor (NCC) credential must hold their degree from a CACREP accredited counselor education program.

TRICARE regulations also require applicants to hold a CACREP accredited mental health counseling master’s degree.

CACREP Vital Statistics Report 2017

  • Ensures eligibility for professional practice and credentials including:
    • the National Counselor Exam (NCE) prior to graduation.
    • Nationally Certified Counselor (NCC) upon graduation and passing of NCE.
    • NE Provisionally Licensed Mental Health Practitioner (PLMHP) upon graduation.
    • NE Licensed Mental Health Practitioner (LMHP) upon completion of 3000 hours supervised clinical experience.
    • NE Provisionally Licensed Alcohol & Drug Counselor (LADC) with 2 additional courses offered within the program.
    • TRICARE (i.e., military) provider status and other 3rd party insurers.
*Graduates are eligible for these credentials after successfully passing the appropriate exams and completing required post-degree supervised counseling experiences.

Program Strengths

  • Clinical mental health counseling is a distinct profession with national standards for education, training and clinical practice.
  • Licensed and certified faculty with clinical experience in schools, in-patient and out-patient mental health agencies, and college student affairs.
  • State of the art, on-site clinic for counselor training that involves client sessions, live and post hoc supervision, reflecting teams, field-based experiences & electronic health records.
  • Prepares students to pass the National Counselor Exam (NCE) and the National Clinical Mental Health Counselor Exam (CMHCE).
  • Grant funded internships (e.g., ServNebraska Americorps, NE Veteran Affairs, Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska {BHECN}, etc.).
  • Extensive community and state partnership for successful history of career placement of interns and graduates.
  • Active chapter of Chi Sigma Iota, the international counseling honorary society.

Graduation Plan

  • Flexible course scheduling to accommodate students who are employed full-time.
  • The 60 credit hour program offers long distance accessibility with a combination of evening/campus courses (50% of the program), blended/online courses (50% of the program with clinical fieldwork to prepare graduates for immediate career application).

This plan includes Licensed Drug and Alcohol Counseling (LADC) elective coursework for Dual Licensure as LMHP & LADC



*CSP 860

Theories of Counseling

CSP 855


CSP 865

Group Counseling

CSP 856

Multicultural Counseling

CSP 850

Introduction to Counseling

*CSP 805

Child and Adolescent Development

*CSP 815

Ethical, Legal, & Professional Issues

*CSP 807P

Clinical Treatment Issues






CSP 862

Administration & Consultation in CMHC

CSP 859

Diagnosis & Treatment

*CSP 809P

Medical & Psychosocial Aspects of Addictions (LADC elective)

*CSP 840

Adult Development

*CSP 880


CSP 885


*CSP 875

Career Counseling

CSP 870

Marriage & Family Counseling






*CSP 892


*CSP 892



CSP 802

Research Methods

CSP 866

Advanced Practicum


*CSP 808P

Assessment & Case Planning in Addictions (LADC elective)



Career Outlook

  • Employment of mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists is projected to grow 20 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations.
  • The Nebraska annual wage range for clinical mental health counselors was $48,930 - 65,520 in May 2016.
  • In 2017, this profession was ranked #8 in Best Social Services Job by U.S. News & World Report.
  • There is a particular need for professionals from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

The Clinical Mental Health degree program is designed to prepare students for employment at the entry level as a professional counselor in diverse community settings such as community mental health, treatment centers, and corrections. Graduates of the program are prepared to provide:

  • Individual, group, career, couples and family counseling.
  • Inpatient and outpatient care.
  • Assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of mental illness.
  • Emergency/crisis response.
  • Client and public policy advocacy.
  • Prevention education.
  • Social, emotional and mental health services for needs of a diverse population.

Frequently Asked Questions


Q: How did you know you wanted to be a mental health counselor?

A: This changes from person to person.  For some, their previous career left them wanting some new ways to assist people to become the best that they can be.  For others, a counselor was key to overcoming a previous barrier in their lives.  What is however a typical theme in wanting to be a counselor is a genuine interest in helping people.

Q: Why select UNK for a Clinical Mental Health Counseling Degree rather than other programs?

A: There are other programs out there to train to be a counselor.  Here at UNK, your training will have the vital practice base, not just knowledge.  You will constantly be applying what you learn to helping people.  Said differently, you will not be reading how to be a counselor, you will be practicing to be one. 

Q: What stands out to you as the most valuable experience you had in your counseling program?

A: In exit surveys from the program, students consistently feel their time in the CMHC program was valuable and trained them well to be a counselor.  Students often indicate that the CMHC program not only trained them to be a counselor, but ignited passions in areas they did not expect from research to working with children.

Q: What doors do you see opening for your future with this degree?

A: Most of our students leave the UNK program with jobs and enter the mental health world ready to begin serving clients.  Our students are employed in every aspect of the mental health field from corrections to children, and from outpatient to inpatient.  We are also proud of our students who leave the CMHC programs and pursue doctoral degrees.   

Q: Any regrets in picking UNK for your clinical mental health counseling degree?

A: Exit surveys of graduates from our CMHC program would say No!  We pride ourselves on meeting students where they are and helping them individually to be the best that they can be.