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New ‘hybrid’ clinical mental health master’s degree addresses national need for counselors

Clinical-mental-health

By Heather Doherty  
February 9, 2017

In response to a rising need for more mental health counselors, Oregon State University is offering a new hybrid degree program designed for working professionals.

The Health Resources & Services Administration projects a shortage of 26,930 mental health counselors nationwide by 2025, and a 2013 study from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found that approximately 20 percent of the U.S. population who reported having a behavioral health disorder did not receive treatment.

Beginning this summer, OSU’s 90-credit hybrid Master of Counseling degree program with an option in clinical mental health will train counselors to help stressed individuals overcome personal and environmental obstacles.

The program is offered through OSU’s College of Education in partnership with Oregon State Ecampus, the university’s online education division. The new hybrid format is designed for working professionals with half of the course work online and half in face-to-face classroom meetings held twice a term in Salem, Oregon.

“I believe that a lot of the mental health issues do not come from the person, but as a response to the environment that oppresses and ostracizes them,” said program coordinator and OSU College of Education Professor Kok-Mun Ng. “We need to understand the environmental impact of the individual’s mental health and wellness, and how we could, as professionals, empower clients to change their environment and find their own voice to fight back.”

The program is nationally accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs and classes are modeled after the successful on-campus clinical mental health counseling master’s program at the university’s OSU-Cascades campus in Bend.

Graduates will work in a variety of settings, including community counseling agencies, rehabilitation facilities, college counseling centers, primary care facilities, veterans affairs and private practice offices.

“It’s a profession that is growing locally, nationally and internationally,” Ng said. “And because the program is CACREP-accredited, students will have a wide-open door in terms of careers.”

The new cohort will begin in summer term, 2017. More information is available online.

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