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Mental Health Counseling Overview

Mental health counselors are a vital resource for individuals and families, and help communities thrive. 

This program qualifies graduates to sit for the New York state professional licensing exam, and to seek initial employment towards meeting the 3,000-hour supervised experience required for licensure.

Your practicum and internship experiences will allow you to focus on specific types of counseling. 

Career Opportunities

Mental health counselors work in settings including:

  • Family services 
  • Outpatient centers
  • Hospitals
  • Government
  • Private practice
  • Substance Disorders Programs
  • Community Agencies
Substance abuse counseling.

25% Growth

Career Outcomes
Job growth is more than four times faster than the national average for all professions.*

*U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

$47K  Salary

The average pay for mental health counselors is $47,000.* 

60 Credits

Total Credits to Earn Your Degree
Classes in counseling and ethics, research, crisis and trauma, family assessment, methodology & diagnosis and treatment

Program Outcomes

By the end of this program, students should be able to: 

  • Identify and apply the American Mental Health Counseling Association standards to qualify to take the licensing examination in Mental Health Counseling required by New York State

  • Demonstrate mastery of Human Growth and Development, Social and Cultural Foundations, Theories of Counseling, Groups, Lifestyle and Career Development, Appraisal, Research and Program Evaluation, and Professional Orientation and Ethics.

  • Identify and treat symptoms presented by clients

  • Define, explain, and apply counseling methods for the assessment, diagnosis & treatment of mental disorders

  • Apply current knowledge and research from social and behavioral sciences, including the use of technology, to the practice of counseling

  • Identify and explain the impact of cultural diversity on counseling techniques and make appropriate applications


IHELP at Mercy College

Mercy College is here to help our students and communities succeed. The new Interdisciplinary Health Education Learning Program (IHELP) fellowship aims to expand internship opportunities that provide services for children, adolescents, and transitional-aged youth who are at risk for behavioral health disorders in high need and high demand areas for graduate Fellows in Mercy's School Counseling, Mental Health Counseling, Marriage and Family Therapy, or Occupational Therapy programs.

Full-Time Faculty

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Carolyn Cullen Assistant Professor| Program Director, Mental Health Counseling, SSBS
woman smiling with blue jacket and pink top.
Minerva Guerrero Assistant Professor
Mental Health Counseling

Program Director, Mental Health Counseling
Shakuntala Ramdas
Shakuntala Ramdas Assistant Professor
Mental Health Counseling

Part-Time Faculty

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William Acosta Adjunct Instructor
Mental Health Counseling
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Dennis Andrews Lecturer
Mental Health Counseling
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Danette Brown Adjunct Instructor
Mental Health Counseling
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Kathleen Carney Adjunct Instructor
Mental Health Counseling

Outside The Classroom

Two required internships allow graduates to hone their specialties. We have strong relationships with clinics across New York City and Westchester, ensuring that when students graduate they are prepared with experience and professional contacts.

Salutatorian-Gina Walpole.

Degree Requirements

  • Successful completion of 60 graduate credits for Mental Health Counseling
  • A 3.0 cumulative GPA
  • Successful completion of a written comprehensive examination

Admissions Requirements

  • Baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university with a grade point average (GPA) of 3.00 or higher.  Applicants with a GPA lower than 3.0 may be considered for provisional acceptance.
  • Two (2) detailed written letters of recommendation from instructors in the major area of study or professional contacts. One letter must be from a professor.
  • An up-to-date résumé
  • In an 800-1000-word personal statement, please address the following questions:
    • What does it mean to be a mental health counselor?
    • What influenced you to want to be a mental health counselor?
    • What are your three biggest strengths? Your three biggest challenges? How will your strengths and challenges impact you as a student in the mental health counseling program and as a future mental health counselor? If your GPA is below a 3.0, this must be one of your challenges that you discuss.
    • What influenced you to apply to Mercy College?

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between matriculation to the Mental Health Counseling program and probationary admission?

Admission to the graduate program requires:

  1. Two professional letters of recommendation,
  2. A two to three page essay stating the applicant's reason(s) for pursuing a degree in counseling
  3. A resume
  4. Completion of a baccalaureate degree or its equivalent from an approved institution
  5. An undergraduate cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above (on a 4.0 scale), including grades of B or better in one three-credit mathematics or statistics course.

If you do not meet all these requirements you may be admitted on a provisional basis until you have fulfilled the prerequisites or (in the case of GPA), demonstrated your ability to do adequate graduate-level work. You must complete the prerequisites within the first two semesters (or nine credits) of study. Master's Degree in Counseling or a Master's Degree in Mental Health Counseling.

Are certification and licensure the same?

Certification and licensure are not the same. Certification is done by specific certifying bodies, such as the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC). Licensure is established by individual states.

What will this degree prepare me to do?

Fulfill partial requirements for licensure as a Mental Health Counselor. The 60-credit course of study prepares you for licensure in counseling at public and private agencies or in private practice. The Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling is a licensure-qualifying 60-credit program. Graduates are eligible to seek initial employment towards meeting the 3,000-hour externship required for licensure as a mental health counselor in New York State.

Program Details & Curriculum

Curriculum Overview

The 60-credit Master of Science Degree Program in Mental Health Counseling is organized as follows:

Level I: 18 Credits
Basic Foundational Knowledge, Theories and Skills

Level II: 27 Credits
Intermediate Pre-Internship Prep., Social Basis of Behavior and Assessment

Level III: 15 Credits
Advanced Specialty Concentration and Internship

Total: 60 Credits

For a full curriculum listing visit our catalog.