Clinical Mental Health Counseling, M.S.

Two PBA students talk in a coffee shop.

Palm Beach Atlantic University's Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling prepares you to serve the world at a higher level by pursuing state licensure to counsel clients in a professional setting.

School of Education & Behavioral Studies

Orlando , West Palm Beach



Mission Statement

The mission of the Counselor Education Program is to facilitate a holistic educational experience, through which students develop personal and professional qualities, competencies, ethical judgment, and spiritual awareness, as they prepare for professional service in school counseling, clinical mental health counseling, or for advanced study in a related field.

State Licensure

Licensure and certification varies from state to state, and graduates should be prepared to abide by additional requirements when seeking licensure or certification in a state other than Florida.

“The graduate program was personal, intimate, and real. The professors gave top notch advice and created a fun learning environment.” – Jonathan Rios ’13

You look around and you see a world in chaos at both a global and local level. You may not be able to create world peace or solve global hunger, but you are sure that you have the gift of compassion and can help make this a better world one person at a time.

Palm Beach Atlantic University’s Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling prepares you to serve the world at a higher level by pursuing state licensure to counsel clients in a professional setting.

At PBA, we offer guidance that focuses on biblical, historical, theoretical and practical studies. Combined with our thriving community connections, we help you develop skills in the field of counseling to reach your potential.

Program Details

The School of Education & Behavioral Studies is well-known throughout Florida and as such, has established solid partnerships with school districts and other organizations for meaningful hands-on student teaching and clinical opportunities. Our Christ-centered approach to teaching and learning will deepen your outlook on your chosen profession and the impact you can have on others. And our innovative range of programs, from education to athletic training, results in a dynamic range of students learning together and collaborating daily.

Features of our distinguished education and behavioral studies programs:

  • Experience an education grounded in the liberal arts with a Christian perspective.
  • Engage in hands-on learning through off-campus internships in various health and education-related fields.
  • Discover undergraduate research opportunities with HHP faculty
  • Develop the skills and knowledge you need to work in the exercise science field.

Program Learning Outcomes:

  1. Exhibit proficiency in counseling skills unique to forming and utilizing professional relationships within the context of clinical mental health counseling.
  2. Demonstrate knowledge of empirically based strategies to identify ethically, culturally and developmentally appropriate preventions interventions, and advocacy to treat mental health issues.
  3. Develop and demonstrate appropriate professional dispositions expected of counselors.
  4. Demonstrate the ability to integrate theologically informed and spiritually sensitive interventions in counseling practice when appropriate and desired by clients.
  5. Effectively apply clinical mental health counseling knowledge, skills, and dispositions in professional practice.

Our program delivers specific benefits including:

  • Quality instruction that prepares you for Florida licensure
  • Extensive internship, job listing and networking opportunities
  • Three unique areas of specialization, including play therapy, crisis and trauma and counseling in school settings.
  • Preparation for study at the doctoral level.
  • Courses are offered weeknight evenings at PBA’s Orlando and West Palm Beach campuses
  • Two entry points per year: fall (August) and spring (January) with application deadlines August 1 and December 1

When you finish at PBA you will have:

  • The 60 graduate credits — including field experience — in order to apply for licensure in Addictions / Counseling (offered in West Palm Beach only);

  1. Earn a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution. International students should inquire about additional admission requirements.
  2. Achieve cumulative undergraduate minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale
  3. Submit:
    • Official transcript from college/university where bachelor’s degree was conferred and from college/university where prerequisite courses were taken
    • Two confidential recommendations. Recommendations for transfer students must include a current adviser/faculty member.
  4. Essay
  5. Faculty interview – Once candidates submit all required documents, the complete application is reviewed by the Graduate Admissions Committee to determine invitations for an interview. Skype/phone interviews are available for out-of-state applicants.

International students should inquire about additional Master’s in Mental Health Counseling admission requirements.

Clinical Mental Health Counseling major: Successful completion of the prescribed curriculum of 60 credit hours with a 3.0 cumulative GPA and a grade of “B” or higher in COU 5133 – Counseling Skills and Characteristics, COU 5123 – Legal, Ethical, and Professional Standards, and COU 5XX3 – Diagnosis and Treatment in Counseling, as well as practicum and internship courses; 1,000 hours of supervised practicum and internship under a supervisor approved by the program faculty; and an exit exam.

Note: In addition to the graduation requirements specific to each major, student performance is assessed throughout the program in key performance indicators, overall progress, and professional dispositions, as outlined in the Counselor Education Handbook.

Admissions Decision and Notification

Applicants will be notified in writing of the Graduate Admissions Committee’s decision within two weeks after completing the interview. To secure a spot in the program, accepted students must, no later than 30 days before classes begin, submit:

  • A non-refundable $100 deposit, which is applied to tuition upon enrollment

The PBA Clinical Mental Health Counseling program curriculum and policies are reflective of state licensure and certification requirements. These laws and regulations are subject to change and students should consult the state website on all rules and procedures pertaining to licensure and certifications for the State of Florida. Students should periodically review the state website for any changes at and to stay up-to-date on regulation changes.

Post-Graduation steps to pursue licensure:

  1. Register with the licensing board as a Registered Mental Health Counseling Intern BEFORE you have graduated. Your approval by the Board will be made contingent on the completion of your degree.
  2. Receive your Letter of Eligibility from the Board.
  3. Complete a minimum of two years and maximum of five years of supervised clinical experience under a qualified supervisor approved by the Board.
  4. Periodically check the Board website from time to time to make yourself aware of any changes that would affect your application because licensure rules change regularly.

Learn more about your classes and requirements in the course catalog.

The estimated tuition for the entire Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling program is $40,000-42,000. This includes tuition for 60 credit hours ($620/credit) and the Resource Fee ($220/semester). For specifics about the Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling program, please review the degree section in the student catalog.

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