Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program: Frequenty Asked Questions

How many credits are required?

The program requires a minimum of 91 quarter credits (comprehensive option) or 97 quarter credits (thesis option) to be completed in two years of full-time graduate study. The degree is a Master of Science (M.S.) in Clinical Mental Health Counseling.

Does the program require a thesis?

A thesis is not required. Students may complete a thesis, or pass a written comprehensive examination, or do both if they so desire.

Can I attend part-time or take classes in the summer or evening?

No, the program does not lend itself well to part-time study because of the highly structured nature of the practicum and internship experiences. All classes meet during the day. Program classes are not offered during the summer.

Do you have a satellite program?

The program is offered on the campus in Bellingham only. Some second-year students have completed internships as far away as Seattle or Vancouver, B.C., but they still must take courses on campus.

How large is the program?

We accept six students per year. The program is intentionally small in order to maintain small student/faculty ratios and class sizes.

Can I be certified/credentialed/licensed in other states?

Every state has its own requirements for certification, credentialing, or licensing (Washington State has a licensing process). You will need to contact the State Department of Licensing for specific information about each state. In general, people licensed in one state by a CACREP-accredited program can become licensed in other states.

What is the Licensing Process in Washington State?

Upon completion of a counseling program, one needs to complete 3 years or 3000 hours of postgraduate full-time counseling, complete 100 hours of supervision, and pass a national licensing exam. Because we are a CACREP accredited program, graduates from out program are granted credit for 50 hours of supervision and 500 hours of postgraduate work experience and may take the licensing exam (NCE or NCMHCE) during their second year in the program.

When should I start my application?

Complete applications are due February 1 of each year. It is a good idea to complete the Graduate Record Examination in the preceding Fall.

Should my references be faculty members or work supervisors, or does it matter?

It is advisable to have a mix of recommendations. Identify at least one faculty member who can address your ability to complete graduate level work. It is also advisable to select a reference who can discuss your potential as a counselor.

May I include extra information in my application?

It is a good idea to include a cover letter that describes your interest in becoming a counselor. Be sure to let us know about your related work experience.

I've heard it is really hard to get admitted. How do I know if I stand a chance?

Our program is small and we receive many strong applications. However, this should not necessarily discourage you. If you believe that you have special qualities that we should consider, be sure to let us know. We do consider grades and test scores, but we consider other things as well.