Professional Issues

The United States Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics offers national projections on job prospects for mental health counselors and related professionals. The New York State Department of Labor periodically posts information about the prospective employment status of mental health counselors in the New York City area.

In addition, services provided by licensed MHC practitioners are covered by some insurers. Coverage regulations are governed by the policies of the individual insurance providers. Please visit the New York State Department of Education's Office of Professions website for additional practice information.

The American Mental Health Counselors Association and American Counseling Association both offer offer career centers and professional development information for members.

Mental Health Counseling Licensure Requirements

Effective January 1, 2010, persons must have completed a 60-credit program to meet the education requirement for licensure as a mental health counselor in New York State. Many other states already require a 60-credit degree for licensure. Please check with the American Mental Health Counselors Association, American Counseling Association, or state counseling organizations for specific requirements and additional information:

Advantages of a Mental Health Counseling Degree

Relative to a degree in social work: The MHC degree is focused on preparation for the counseling role, whereas social work programs also cover policy and case work. As a result, social work programs may give less attention to counseling training. On the other hand, social work is a more established profession in New York State. To our knowledge, entry-level salaries are comparable.

Relative to other MHC programs: The newly designed Brooklyn College Mental Health Counseling Program was first offered in 2006 to address the needs of those training for the MHC license. Many other programs were created by altering or expanding existing tracks, which often are in Schools of Education and were originally designed to train school counselors. In addition, other programs may focus on one approach to counseling, with brief exposure to others, while the Brooklyn College Program aims to provide in-depth exposure to each of the three principal approaches to counseling: cognitive-behavioral, experiential/humanistic, and psychodynamic counseling.

We also offer two specialized programs that require coursework and fees in addition to those of our MHC Program. While undertaking the Program—or, more usually, following its completion—students may opt to earn Advanced Certificates in Grief Counseling or Autism Spectrum Disorders or Play Therapy. Advanced Certificate in Aging and course work in substance abuse counseling leading to a CASAC are planned.

Relative to doctoral degrees in professional psychology (Psy.D. or Ph.D.): The master’s degree in mental health counseling is a two-year degree. Doctoral programs are considerably longer, typically a five- to eight-year commitment (although see below**). Doctoral degree programs are appropriate for those interested in research or teaching careers.

While students may be able to transfer some credits from MHC courses toward a doctoral degree, this will depend on the policies and requirements of specific doctoral programs and it is rare for a doctoral program to accept all masters-level credits completed elsewhere. Those interested in doctoral-level work should inquire about the requirements of specific programs. Generally, the MHC Program is not the best avenue for those seeking a doctoral degree.

In general, a doctoral program provides more robust training than master's degree programs, including MHC. (**) While many students believe that the MHC will provide a quicker route to employment, a doctoral program may be almost as expeditious in length of training to reach full licensure with better, more diverse training and employment opportunities. While the MHC program can be completed in two years, an additional three years of post-grad (under-compensated), supervised work experience is required for full MHC licensure (vs. one year of post-doc), making the total length and investment of the pre-licensure training period more similar than it might appear. Typically, pre-doctoral interns and post-docs are paid during training.) For most students who can gain admission to a doctoral program, the doctoral program is a better option.

Visit the American Psychology Association website for additional information related to Accredited Doctoral Programs in Professional Psychology.

Department of Psychology · 2900 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11210-2889 · Phone: (718) 951-5601
MHC Program inquiries email:
Director: Gregory A. Kuhlman, Ph.D. · Deputy Director: Prof. Rona Miles
· Admissions Coordinator: Prof. Rebecca Chalmers