Clinical Mental Health Counseling MA

Frequently Asked Questions

Application and Program:


What are the requirements for entering the MA Clinical Mental Health Counseling program at Fairleigh Dickinson University?

Applicants to the Counseling program at Fairleigh Dickinson University must be graduates of an accredited college with a grade point average of 3.0 or better. Three letters of recommendation, undergraduate/graduate transcript(s), and a written personal statement of professional goals are required for admission. In addition the applicant is interviewed by the counseling faculty and a writing sample is obtained from the applicant on the day of the interview.


I want to apply to your program, but don’t have an undergraduate major or minor in psychology?

If you did not major or minor in psychology you will, under the advisement of the program director, complete additional coursework in undergraduate psychology.


Is there a comprehensive examination required to complete the master’s degree in counseling?

Yes. To successfully complete the master’s degree, students must take the Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Examination (CPCE) which covers the eight Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) common-core areas as defined by their Standards for Preparation.


Human Growth and Development

— studies that provide an understanding of the nature and needs of individuals at all developmental levels.


Social and Cultural Foundations

— studies that provide an understanding of issues and trends in a multicultural and diverse society.


Helping Relationships

— studies that provide an understanding of counseling and consultation processes.


Group Work

— studies that provide an understanding of group development, dynamics, counseling theories, groups counseling methods and skills, and other group work approaches.


Career and Lifestyle Development

— studies that provide an understanding of career development and related life factors.



— studies that provide an understanding of individual and group approaches to assessment and evaluation.


Research and Program Evaluation

— studies that provide an understand of types of research methods, basic statistics and ethical and legal consideration in research.


Professional Orientation and Ethics

— studies that provide and understanding of all aspects of professional functioning including history, roles, organizations structures, ethics, standards, and credentialing.

In addition, students will analyze two case studies.


What is the difference between counseling and other mental health professional such as clinical psychology and social work?

Counseling is distinguished from other mental health disciplines by both its history and its emphasis. Other helping professions such as psychiatry and clinical psychology concentrate primarily on the treatment of severe emotional disorders. Social work deals basically with the social and legal aspects of assisting others in need. In contrast, counseling focuses on development and the prevention of serious mental health problems through education and short-term treatment. It emphasizes growth as well as remediation. Counselors work with persons, groups, families, and systems who are experiencing situational and long-term problems. Counseling’s emphasis on development, prevention, and treatment make it attractive to those seeking health life-state transitions and productive lives (Cole & Sarnoff, 1980; Romano, 1992).


What field experiences are required for the degree?

The program follows the guidelines of The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). Therefore, students take one practicum course (100 hours) and two internship courses (600 hours) to total 700 hours of supervised field experience.


Upon graduation from your program, can I become certified as a Substance Awareness Coordinator (SAC)?

The Substance Awareness Coordinator works in a school setting and provides prevention programming for mental health issues in the school setting and provides intervention services for students identified as experiencing mental health issues that interfere with successful academic performance. The coursework required for the SAC certification is offered at FDU and has been approved by the NJ Department of Education to meet the academic preparation for a SAC position.


What are the job prospects for licensed professional counselors?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the occupational outlook is excellent.  “Mental health counselors will be needed to staff statewide networks that are being established to improve services for children and adolescents with serious emotional disturbances and for their family members. Under managed care systems, insurance companies are increasingly providing for reimbursement of counselors as a less costly alternative to psychiatrists and psychology. Employment of mental health counselors … will grow as more people become comfortable with seeking professional help for a variety of health, personal, and family problems. Employers are also increasingly offering employee assistance programs that provide mental health and alcohol and drug abuse counseling. More people are expected to use these services as society focuses on ways of developing mental well-being, such as controlling stress associated with job and family responsibilities… Employment for counselors is expected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations through 2016… Overall, employment of counselor is expected to increase by 21 percent between 2006 and 2016” (Note: These projections do not include private practice.)  .link to occupatinal outlook

In addition, the emergence of managed care has dramatically changed how mental health services are delivered and, more importantly, who is allowed to offer these services. The demand for licensed professional counselors has increased dramatically among managed care companies and insurance companies and this trend will continue in the future


What is a counseling license?

A counseling license allows a counseling professional with the proper education, experience, and supervision to offer counseling services to children, adolescents, and adults. A counseling license is required in NJ to work  in a community agency setting and to have a private practice. It is not required, but is highly recommended, for individuals working in schools and in higher education settings. There are two types of license in NJ. The first license is called the Licensed Associate Counselor (LAC), which may be likened to a “temporary permit.”  The second level license is called the Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC).


Where can I get more information about counseling?American Counseling Association:

National Board of Certified Counselors:

New Jersey Counseling Association:

New Jersey Mental Health Counseling Association: