1. What is a mental health
According to New York State regulations (Article 163, Section 8402
of New York State Education Law), a mental health counselor is a
professional who evaluates, assesses, treats or works to ameliorate
a disability, problem or disorder. They employ verbal or behavioral
methods — including assessment instruments, counseling procedures
and psychotherapy — to address developmental, emotional,
personality or relationship problems experienced by individuals,
couples, families or groups. Mental health counselors may
work in private practice, group or organizational settings.
2. Is a license currently required to
practice counseling and psychotherapy in New York State?
Yes. Only a person licensed under NYS regulations (or exempt
by law) can practice or use the title “licensed mental health
counselor.” (NYS Education Law, Article 163, Sec.8402)
3. What are the educational requirements
to become a licensed mental health counselor?
To be licensed as a mental health counselor, according to Section
8402, an applicant must “receive an appropriate education,
including a master’s or higher degree in counseling, from a
department-registered program or one the department determines to
be the substantial equivalent thereof, in accordance with the
commissioner’s regulations.” Graduate coursework shall
include, but not be limited to, the following areas:
i. human growth and development
ii. social and cultural foundations of counseling
iii. counseling theory, practice and psychopathology
iv. group dynamics
v. lifestyle and career development
vi. assessment and appraisal of individuals, couples and families
vii. research and program evaluation
viii. professional orientation and ethics
ix. foundations of mental health counseling and consultation
x. clinical instruction; and
xi. completion of a minimum one year supervised internship or
in mental health counseling
4. Are there any other
requirements that one should know about?
Yes, beyond the education necessary for licensure, an individual
still needs to complete other requirements, including
(a) being 21 years of age,
(b) being of good moral character as determined by the State
(c) completing 3000 hours of post-master’s supervised
(d) passing an examination satisfactory to the Board of Regents in
accordance with the commissioner’s regulations, and
(e) pay a fee of $175 for an initial license and a fee of $170 for
each following triennial registration period. (Additional
provisions guiding professionals licensed under Article 163 can be
found in the NYS regulations.)
5. How can the master’s degree
program at St. John’s University help you towards becoming a mental
The 60-credit master’s degree in mental health counseling is
registered with New York State as a licensed-qualifying
program. This means that students who finish the program will
have completed the educational requirements for licensure but will
still have to complete the other requirements outlined above.
Note: you cannot take the examination until you have completed
the supervised experience requirement and you cannot complete the
supervised experience requirement until you have completed the
6. What are the requirements for
entering the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program at St.
Applicants to the Counseling program at St. John’s University must
be graduates of an
accredited college with a grade point average of 3.0 or better. Two
recommendation are required as well as a successful interview with
the counseling faculty. Students are required to have a minimum of
18 credits in the behaviorial and social sciences that include
courses in research and statistics. Students can complete any
deficiences during the first year in their program.
7. Where and when are courses
offered and at what cost?
The master’s degree program in Clinical Mental Health Counseling is
available on both the Queens and Staten Island campuses of St.
John’s University. Classes are generally held in the evening.
Financial aid and scholarships are available. For tuition rates:
please go to www.stjohns.edu/admission/tuition.stj.
8. How do I apply?
Kelly K. Ronayne
To apply online go to
www.stjohns.edu and click Apply Now.
9. Is there a comprehensive
examination required to complete the master’s degree in Clinical
Mental Health Counseling?
Students are required to successfully complete the CPCE exam prior
10. What field experiences are
required for the degree?
As a CACREP accredited program, there are three field experiences
that students must complete. The first is a practicum which
requires students to work in a clinical setting for 100 hours. The
last two are internships that require students to work in a
clinical setting for 300 hours each semester for a total of 600
11. How long will it take to complete the
Students are expected to complete the program in three years. There
is a five-year limit set by the University.
12. Can one work in the field upon
graduation from the master’s degree program at St. John’s
As graduates of a licensed-qualifying program students can work to
obtain the necessary 3000 hours of experience under a credential
called a limited permit. According to Section 8409, the State
Education Department can issue a limited permit to applicants who
meet all qualifications for licensure except the examination and/or
experience requirements, in accordance with specific regulations.
Limited permits last for two years; they may be renewed, at the
department’s discretion, for one additional year. The fee for each
limited permit and for each renewal shall be seventy dollars
13. How does one qualify for a limited
permit to practice under supervision?
The Education Department may issue a limited permit to an applicant
- has submitted the application (Form 1) and fee ($345) for
- has been determined by the department to meet the education
requirements for licensure
- is at least 21 years of age
- and is of good moral character, as determined by the
14. What is the occupational outlook for
licensed mental health counselors?
The occupational outlook for licensed mental health counselors is
excellent. Projections suggest a 19 – 27 percent increase in job
opportunities between 2004 and 2014. This projection does not
include private practice figures. Salaries in 2006 ranged between
$20,000 and $60,000.
15. Where can I get more information about
clincal mental health counseling?
NOTE: Even if you have graduated from an approved education
program, you cannot practice until the limited permit has been