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Counseling (MA)

Master of arts in Counseling student from Spring Arbor University

The Master of Arts in Counseling is a 60-69-credit hour program offered on the main campus and at several off-campus sites through the School of Human Services. The counseling program provides comprehensive academic instruction and clinical experience for students who are interested in understanding and helping others in a counseling setting.

The curriculum focuses on key areas of the counseling profession such as ethics, counseling theory and techniques, multiculturalism, interpersonal skills, etc. The core curriculum includes a 100-hour practicum and a 600-hour internship. The courses are taught from a Christian perspective.

The program has two tracks: clinical mental health counseling and school counseling. For graduation, both require  a 100-hour practicum and a 600-hour internship field experience.

The Master of Arts in Counseling program is designed to be completed by a cohort group that begins and ends coursework together. This group format is intended to facilitate learning and provide support for all members of the group.


The Master of Arts in Counseling Mission Statement

The mission of the Master of Arts in Counseling program is to prepare graduate-level, professional counselors who are committed to excellence in community service.  The counseling program provides a liberal arts education based on a Christian perspective that promotes respect for the diversity of each person as uniquely created by God.  A balanced development of the individual’s spiritual, mental, physical, and social needs is encouraged based on the example of Jesus Christ, the Master Counselor.

Clinical Mental Health Counseling

The program’s accreditation provides students the additional opportunity to sit for the National Clinical Mental Health Counselor Exam (NCMHCE) and to become a Nationally Certified Mental Health Counselor (NCMHC). NCMHCs may provide professional mental health counseling to patients and receive insurance benefits from Tricare. Tricare is the preferred insurance carrier for all U.S. military personnel. NCMHCs are also eligible for hire with the Veteran’s Administration.

Licensed Professional Counselor for Michigan

Within the state of Michigan, a license is required to work in any facility as a professional counselor (other than a K-12 school). Counseling in the public schools requires a school counseling license from the Michigan Department of Education.

Following completion of the Master of Arts in Counseling degree, students apply to become a Limited Licensed Professional Counselor (LLPC). During this provisional licensure time period, the LLPC works under the direct supervision of a fully licensed professional counselor to complete the required 3,000 post-degree hours.

Students may take the national counseling exam in April (just prior to graduation) and October (after graduation). When the 3,000 supervised hours have been completed and the counseling exam has been passed, the LLPC may apply for the Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC).

NOTE: Students who are considering counseling practice in states other than Michigan are encouraged to contact the State Education Department or Board of Counseling of that state and learn about the requirements for certification and/or licensure. This should be done before enrolling in the Spring Arbor University program.

School Counseling

Students in the school counseling track are required to complete the following courses:

  • CNS 673 Development & Administration of School Counseling Programs (3)
  • CNS 683 Mental Health Within the Schools (3)

Students without a teaching certificate are required to take the following course as a prerequisite to CNS 673 and CNS 683:

  • CNS 643 Introduction to Classroom Dynamics

School Counseling Clinical Experience 

Students are required to complete their internship in a traditional K-12 school setting during normal school hours of the traditional school year. Students may spend a maximum of 100 secondary hours at an alternative high school setting. Because students will receive a K-12 license, they must complete 300 hours in the elementary setting and 300 hours in the secondary setting (or a 400/200 split).


The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) has granted accreditation to Spring Arbor University’s Master of Arts in Counseling program (both tracks), as offered at our Flint, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Lansing, Metro Detroit (Southfield), Metro Toledo and Spring Arbor sites.

Additionally, all degrees offered by Spring Arbor University are accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, 30 N. LaSalle St., Suite 2400, Chicago, Ill. 60602. 800.621.7440

Courses and Program Requirements

The 60-69-hour Master of Arts in Counseling degree requires that students develop specific professional skills by taking courses in:

  • Human Growth and Development
  • Social & Cultural Foundations
  • Helping Relationships
  • Group Work
  • Career & Life Style Development
  • Appraisal
  • Research & Program Evaluation
  • Professional Orientation & Ethics

To view the program requirements and layout, course descriptions, and to learn more about the Master of Arts in Counseling program at Spring Arbor University, please view the MAC catalog, taken from the graduate catalog. (MAC section begins on page 99)

Locations and Start Dates

The master’s in counseling is offered at several extension sites across Michigan.

Admission Requirements

In addition to submitting the online application, applicants to the master’s in counseling program are required to:

  • Have obtained a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university;
  • All applicants must have completed an abnormal psychology course — if they have not, they must complete it within the first two semesters of beginning the program
  • Have maintained a cumulative 3.0 GPA for the bachelor’s degree;
  • Obtain an official transcript from all previous institutions attended; all official transcripts must be ordered and sent from the other institution directly to the site at which the student has applied.
  • Provide the names of at least two professional/academic persons to whom the admissions staff may send recommendation forms for completion.
  • Participate in an interview with MAC Program faculty and/or staff;
  • Complete an on-site writing assessment, demonstrating proficient computer and writing skills;
  • Complete a Misdemeanor and Felony Disclosure Form at the time of interview;
  • Submission of a Statement of Purpose (1-2 pages) detailing the reasons for pursuing this counseling degree, relevant career goals, and the track to which the individual is applying – School Counseling applicants should include relevant experience with school-aged youth (e.g., Scouts, 4-H, youth group)

Application materials should be sent directly to the site to which the applicant intends to enroll.

All individuals applying to Spring Arbor University for the Master of Arts in Counseling must answer questions regarding past or pending misdemeanors or felonies that occurred as an adult or juvenile. For more information on this process, visit the admissions requirements page.

International Students

International students have additional application criteria that must be met. Learn more about application requirements for international students.

Application Deadline

If you are interested in applying for admission to the counseling program in the Fall of 2016, please go to our contact form in the sidebar to provide us with your contact information and an admissions representative will get in touch with you.

Tuition and Fees

Fees for special materials may be required for some courses. Payment of tuition and fees is due three weeks before classes start. All fees are nonrefundable.

Please note some books in your program should be purchased new because they include CDs or access codes. Check with your student success coordinator or the MAC program for details.

2016-17 Rates

  • Tuition per credit, campus-based: $565
  • Registration fee (per semester): $40
  • Technology fee (per semester): $105

Tuition rates and fees are subject to change.

For tuition price, please contact an admissions rep at admissions@arbor.edu or call 1.800.968.0011.

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