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A Message from the Department Chair

Our Clinical Mental Health Counseling program is designed to provide a quality education, while meeting the needs of those who may be working full-time, be full-time graduate students, or those who may simply want more education in the field of counseling. The 61-hour program will provide the flexibility needed for the student to pursue a graduate degree and still meet the obligations of work and family.

Our graduate program will also integrate a Christian worldview in the development and delivery of our course material. We consider it important to acknowledge how the life of Jesus and teachings of the Bible can only serve to enhance our ability as counselors.

Upon completion of the program, graduates will be qualified to work in a number of mental health and people helping careers. Graduates will also be eligible to pursue licensure through the Alabama Board of Examiners in Counseling and become Licensed Professional Counselors in the State of Alabama. Though many out-of-state-students who attended Faulkner obtained their license in their state of residence, we suggest contacting your state licensure board for verification of eligibility for licensure. Completion of the program does not guarantee licensure.

Dr. Heath Willingham

Two women in a counseling session

Program Mission

The graduate program bridges traditional academia with practical experiences for a well-rounded education that explores various areas of counseling and mental health while integrating Christian principles to the profession. Courses are designed to develop your counseling skills through a variety of classes and collaborative classroom and field experiences. Curriculum has been developed to meet the state and national regulatory criteria, leading to licensure and certification of professional counselors.

Graduates of Faulkner’s Master of Science in Counseling program are prepared to work in a variety of clinical settings, including community agencies, state agencies, churches and Christian ministries. 

Program Objectives

  • Students will demonstrate an understanding of the professional roles, responsibilities, and the ethical practice of the counselor.
  • Students will develop the skills, knowledge, and cultural sensitivity to work within a diverse society, including engagement in social justice and advocacy.
  • Students will apply their understanding of an individual’s biological, social, and psychological development as a foundation of clinical practice.
  • Students will identify a variety of factors that contribute to client well-being and guide clients in their exploration of career development.
  • Students will integrate their knowledge of counseling theories and their ability to build rapport and develop a therapeutic alliance.
  • Students will demonstrate their understanding of the group process, as well as effective therapist characteristics.
  • Student will apply their knowledge of selecting, administering, and interpreting effective assessments.
  • Students will evaluate the efficacy of research relevant to the practice of clinical counseling.
  • Students will demonstrate the knowledge and skills needed to provide treatment for a broad range of mental health issues in a variety of settings.
  • Students will demonstrate their ability to ethically integrate spirituality in counseling.


Admission Requirements 

  • Completed graduate application for admission
  • Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university
  • Official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended
  • Minimum GPA of 2.75 cumulative from undergraduate courses or 3.0 in graduate courses.
  • Professional Resume
  • Three recommendation forms
  • Goal Statement (400 words)

The Goal Statement should be a least 400 words and include 1) a brief introduction, 2) how your previous experience and education has prepared you to be successful in the program, 3) your future goals as a counselor and 4) how this program will help you meet those goals.

Program Design

Nearly 85 percent of coursework is taught online. Students will be required to meet on campus twice during the program for Clinical Training I and Clinical Training II. These trainings are scheduled for the third full weeks in January and September each year and take place from Monday to Friday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm Central Standard Time. The Counseling Practicum and Internship in Counseling course requirements are hands-on field experiences.

Courses and Descriptions

COU 6000 Graduate Program Orientation
This course will cover needed content for successful matriculation through the Clinical Mental Health program, including training, field placements and post graduate pursuits. Program policies, procedures, expectations and requirements are discussed. In addition, the student will learn about the graduate counseling program’s place in the larger university context. 

COU 6310 Counseling Theories
This course provides a broad understanding of professional theories and application to the counseling process, including roles and functions; professional organizations and associations; professional history and trends; ethical and legal standards; professional preparation standards, and professional credentialing.

COU 6315 Marriage and Family Theories
This course is taught as an elective in the CMHC program and is designed to increase the students’ knowledge of working with couples and families. Introduction to systems, social learning, and psycho-dynamic marital theory will also be addressed. Attention will be given to dysfunctional manifestations within family systems and factors related to family strengths. Further emphasis is placed on the counseling approaches of Marriage and Family Therapy. COU 6315 is an elective for the CMHC program.

COU 6320 Life Span Development
An introduction to the basic principles of human development with a focus on development across the life span. The course addresses the theoretical foundations and the pragmatic implications found in the developmental psychology. Emphasis placed on the application to professional counseling.

COU 6325 Career and Guidance Counseling
The course includes a study of career development theories and models, the processes involved in career-decision making, the diverse life-roles and their interaction with work and other roles. Students will participate in career interest inventories and discussion of contemporary career choices in the profession of counseling.

COU 6330 Counseling Diverse Populations
This course will introduce the history and development of counseling individuals from diverse backgrounds and cultures. Professional issues such as ethics, research and theories of counseling will be discussed.

COU 6335 Child and Adolescent Counseling
This course prepares school and mental health counselors to address the specific needs of children and adolescents, with emphasis on developmental needs specific to therapeutic interventions, and common emotional issues. Group and individual counseling techniques, and treatment planning. COU 6335 is an elective for the CMHC program and required in the School Counseling Program

COU 6340 Analysis of the Helping Relationship
This course will explore the techniques of counseling while focusing on analytical, interpretive and rapport building skills. The content will include a study and analysis of the counselor/client relationship while helping the student develop the necessary skills in working with a diverse client population. Ethical guidelines and consideration will also be discussed

COU 6345 Counseling in the Community
This course will provide an overview of the field of counseling, which emphasizes theories and philosophies underlying current practices in the field of counseling. Course content will cover the history of the counseling profession, contemporary practices in community mental health, and future projections for the counseling profession.

COU 6350 Group Counseling
This course provides a broad graduate-level understanding of group development, dynamics and counseling theories; leadership styles; basic and advanced methods of conducting groups in a counseling setting. Ethical and multicultural issues in the group context are also discussed.

COU 6355 Crisis Intervention in Counseling
This course focuses on the development of skills and knowledge for crisis intervention and management in counseling including prevention planning, intervention strategies and evaluation.

COU 6360 Measurement and Assessment
Introduction to the history and theory of measurement and assessment as it applies to counselors. This section of the course will be tailored to professionals who may interact with other professionals across a wide range of settings to include schools, universities, hospitals, and community mental health centers.

COU 6365 Research Methods
This course covers the different methodologies that apply in conducting research in the counseling profession. It provides a review of historical research approaches and moves into standard and unique research methods. Topics of emphasis include research protocol, basic approaches, survey techniques, educational investigations, and applied studies.

COU 6370 Integrations of Theology and Counseling
An in-depth examination of the principles and practices for integration of values in counseling. The course will address the historical influence of theology on the development of counseling theories and practices. The course will also address the issues, concerns, and criticisms of the integration of theology and counseling.

COU 6375 Legal and Ethical Issues
An in-depth graduate-level study of the theories and principles of ethics and moral development and the impact of these upon individuals, families, communities, professional, public decisions/policies and school counselors. The study will also examine the relevant dilemmas faced in the delivery of professional behavioral, family, and social services to individuals, families, groups in mental-health and school settings.

COU 6380 Diagnosis and Treatment
This course of study provides an introduction to the process of diagnosing and treating individuals with mental disorders. Emphasis is placed on using the DSM-V as well as recent relevant literature to inform the diagnostic and treatment process

COU 6385 Substance Abuse Counseling
This course presents substance abuse studies, individual and group counseling and family systems approaches to prevention and intervention. The course provides an overview of models, assessment instruments to identify addictive behavior, methods and skills for treating addictions and collaborating with other health professionals. The course presents clinical models (developmental, solution-focused, biopsychosocial, motivational interviewing, stages of change, self-help) from which interventions are drawn. Emphasis is on prevention needs (to combat the risk factors to use from the beginning), building a professional network to aid clients with their needs and providing support for clients to live a lifestyle of recovery. COU 6385 is an elective for the CMHC program

COU 6390 Counseling Practicum
This course is designed to provide part-time practical experience while completing hours in a clinical setting. Counselors in training will be placed in mental health settings (such as community agencies, and substance abuse treatment programs). Historical, philosophical, psychological and sociological foundations of community counseling will also be discussed.

COU 6596 Clinical Training 1
Clinical Training I is a five-day intensive experience with introduction to basic helping skills needed for counselors preparing for the student practicum experience. The course includes lecture, but is mainly experiential and focuses on therapeutic listening, empathy, individual and group skills, as well as cultural and self-awareness.

COU 6597 Clinical Training 2
Clinical Training II is a five-day intensive experience for the purpose of face-to-face interaction that is designed to address more advanced issue in counseling; such as supervision and consultation, the licensing process, professional identity development, and career exploration. Advanced skills training is also a focus. The course is designed to be concurrent with enrollment in either Practicum (COU 6390) or Internship (COU 6995).

COU 6695 Internship in Counseling
This course is a pre-professional course, designed to culminate the studies in the profession of counseling and to prepare you for possible licensure, future employment or further graduate study through clinical experience. Counselors-in-training will be placed in mental health settings on a full-time basis.

Practicum and Internship Information

The Practicum and Internship are the parts of the program that focus on the practical experience in working with people. This is the first opportunity you will have to incorporate your professional skills with clients. During the Practicum course the student is required to complete 100 total hours of direct and indirect counseling hours. During the Internship course the student is required to complete 600 hours of direct and indirect counseling hours. Students will complete these hours at a counseling related agency and receive supervision in the process.

Clinical Training Information

The Clinical Training experiences are the only on-campus requirements during the program. On two occasions the student is required to attend a five-day intensive skills training residency on the campus of Faulkner University in Montgomery, Alabama. Clinical Training will include time for advising with the faculty, lecture from faculty and other professionals in the field, but focus mainly on skills development for working with clients. The typical schedule is from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm daily. Lunch is provided for students on-campus during the training. Information will be sent to students regarding Clinical Training policies, area accommodations, resources, etc. prior to training sessions.

Daily CT Schedule Example

Clinical Training 1

8:00 – 8 :15                 Sign In

8:15 – 10:15                Individual Skills Session

10:15 – 11:45              Child and Adolescent Counseling Lecture

11:45 – 12:45              Lunch

1:00 – 2:30                  Group Skills Session

2:45 – 5:00                  Treatment Planning & Clinical Writing


Clinical Training 2

8:00 – 8 :15                 Sign In

8:15 – 10:15                Individual Skills Session (Advanced)

10:15 – 11:45              Licensure Process

11:45 – 12:45              Lunch

1:00 – 2:30                  Group Skills Session (Advanced)

2:45 – 4:00                  Legal Issues Lecture  

4:00 – 5:00                  Experiential Skills Activity   

State Licensure

Upon graduation from the Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program, graduates will be eligible to pursue licensure in the state of Alabama. Although there is some reciprocity in other states, if a student chooses to pursue the CMHC degree, Faulkner University cannot guarantee that the state of residence’s counseling board will accept the degree in order for the graduate to pursue their professional counseling license. It is the responsibility of the potential student, student, or graduate to verify with the counseling board in their state of residence of the eligibility of licensure within that state. You may find the following website helpful in determining your state’s requirements.

Department Faculty

Please use the link below to access our Faculty page and feel free to contact us with any questions about our programs.

Non-Degree Seeking Students

Professionals seeking a new credential to support their counseling career can enroll in specific courses as a non-degree seeking student. Pursuing coursework as a postgraduate can be advantageous to those pursuing licensure or other counseling credential. Contact the CMHC Department or Graduate Enrollment for further information.


How long does it take to complete the program?

The Clinical Mental Health Program is designed to be completed in two years with the student attending full-time. However, some students prefer to take courses on a part-time basis which would increase degree completion time an extra semester or more. Other students might also wish to spread the Practicum and Internship experiences over more than one semester for each course. This would also increase the time to complete the degree. Once enrolled, your advisor will work closely with you to balance the needs of your educational experience to meet your goals.

Where can I stay during Clinical Training?

Montgomery Alabama has a number of hotels and other accommodations within a short driving distance to campus. Please contact our Departmental Secretary at 334-386-7248 for information on accommodations including discount rates at certain hotels.

How do I find a Practicum or Internship site?

The main responsibility of finding a Practicum or Internship site lies with the student. However, the CMHC program Faculty and Clinical Coordinator will assist the student in any way possible in securing a placement. In the first Clinical Training experience students will be provided with a list of every site placement utilized by the program with a focus on their specific area of residence. In addition, our Clinical Coordinator will liaise with potential sites the student is considering as needed.

Can I get licensed after graduating from Faulkner’s CMHC program?

Upon graduation from the Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program, graduates will be eligible to pursue licensure in the state of Alabama. Although there is some reciprocity in other states, if a student chooses to pursue the CMHC degree, Faulkner University cannot guarantee that the state of residence’s counseling board will accept the degree in order for the graduate to pursue their professional counseling license. It is the responsibility of the potential student, student, or graduate to verify with the counseling board in their state of residence of the eligibility of licensure within that state. You may find the following website helpful in determining your state’s requirements.

Is the program CACREP accredited?

The program is currently pursuing CACREP accreditation but is not yet accredited. Please contact the Department Chair Dr. Heath Willingham for questions about the accreditation process and/or status.

Will I be required to be on campus during my degree program?

During the program the student will be required to attend Clinical Training 1 and 2 on the campus of Faulkner University in Montgomery, Alabama. Please see the link for Clinical Training Information above.

What is the cost of attending the program?

Tuition and Fees

2023-2024 Financial Information

Tuition $555 per semester hour
General Fee $350 per semester ($250 if 5 hours or less)
Online Course Fee $75 per semester hour
Applicable Course Fees see full tuition and fee schedule

What kind of job and salary can I expect with a degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling?

Depending on the specifics of the position, job opportunities include direct counseling or staff positions in the following settings: community mental health centers, inpatient/outpatient clinics, hospitals, research labs, university student services, career services, and faith-based organizations and independent practice. Salaries for graduates vary across professional settings and positions. For more information on average salaries of mental health counselors, please review the Occupational Outlook Handbook at the Bureau of Labor Statistics below.

What are you looking for in an applicant to the program?

We are looking for people of character and integrity that want to help others. The applicant should want to work hard to become the best counselor they can be, as well as be committed to the success of their future clients and an advocate for the profession.

Do I need a degree in psychology or related field to get accepted into the program?

We have students in our clinical mental health counseling program from a variety of educational and vocational experiences. Though several of our students do have some background in related fields, it is not required.

Course Syllabi

Course syllabi are available upon request from the Academic Secretary in the College of Education.

Apply Now

  1. Submit a completed online application.
  2. Complete and print the Official Transcript Request  form and submit it to all previously attended schools with the appropriate fee.
  3. Send all additional items via mail to:

Faulkner University
Attn: Graduate Enrollment
5345 Atlanta Hwy
Montgomery, AL 36109

Admission Requirements

Prospective students enrolling in the Master of Science in Counseling program must meet the following admission requirements:

  • Completed graduate application
  • A bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university; you must provide transcripts from all institutions attended.
  • A minimum overall GPA of 2.75 on a 4.0 scale for undergraduate degree or 3.0 in graduate courses.
  • Three letters of recommendation with specific comments regarding the applicant’s academic work, professional experience and ability to successfully complete graduate study. The letters are usually from the applicant’s faculty members or supervisory personnel.
  • A goal statement (approximately 400 words) specifying the applicant’s personal goals for their professional development as a counselor and future employment in the field. The statement should include a rationale for attending Faulkner University to help reach their goals as well as a description of previous professional experience and how that experience will support them in the program and professional field of counseling.


Tuition and Fees

2024 - 2025 Financial Information

Tuition $555 per semester hour
General Fee $350 per semester ($250 if 5 hours or less)
Online Course Fee $75 per semester hour
Applicable Course Fees see full tuition and fee schedule