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M.A. in Mental Health Counseling

Mental health counseling is about guiding clients. And promoting healthy lifestyles.

Our M.A. in Mental Health Counseling program prepares students to become Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors (LPCC) in California. You’ll learn how to effectively assist those with a wide variety of needs including life adjustments, career counseling, and coping with severe chronic mental illness. Our courses focus on critical thinking and practicum experiences will help you develop personally, spiritually, and professionally.

Program Details

M.A. in Mental Health Counseling

Bethel's mental health counseling program will equip you with the skills to provide the highest level of care for those with mental health issues by integrating clinical practice through the lens of faith. You'll also work alongside individuals pursuing the same field, led by faculty committed to your success.

Delivery: Face to Face

Location: San Diego

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Integrating Christian Theology and Clinical Practice

Our degree program provides all the academic preparation you’ll need to become an LPCC, and so much more. The program includes theological and biblical studies courses such as biblical survey courses and Christian Social Ethics to help you integrate the spiritual dimension into your counseling work. Plus, faculty integrates Christian principles throughout the program so you will grasp the importance of Scripture in understanding and treating mental illness.

Our mental health program features distinguished faculty, relevant instruction, valuable networking, and strong community, all within a Christian learning environment. You’ll be prepared to make a difference in our world and inspire others to expand and effectively use their own God-given talents in fulfilling ways.

students from more than 70 denominations

years as the only accredited distance-learning program in children's ministry

Program Highlights

Expanding field

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of mental health counselors is expected to grow 28.5 percent in the field over the next decade, reflecting changes in health insurance that often favors mental health counselors over other professionals for care of mental health issues.

Spiritual formation

Grow in spiritual maturity through a greater understanding of the Bible and how it relates to your own life. A deepening faith, alongside personal and spiritual formation, add efficacy to the therapeutic help you provide to clients.


You will take part in a formation assessment during your first year where you’ll set developmental, personal, spiritual, and relational goals for your education. You will also have opportunity to explore internal conflicts, stubborn behavior patterns, and repetitive relational challenges in 15 hours of confidential, individual therapy with a licensed psychotherapist.

Academic research

During your senior year, you'll complete a capstone project that expresses the integrative thinking that you developed while advancing through the program. This significant paper, completed in collaboration with your professors, will articulate your integration of clinical theory, theology, understanding of spirituality, and clinical practice.


When you graduate, you’ll become part of a growing network of alumni from Bethel’s marital and family therapy and mental health counseling programs for support and friendship throughout your career.


Learn how to:

  • Understand your own life and background so you can counsel from a healthy and accurate awareness of self
  • Integrate Christian spirituality, clinical theory, and counseling practice
  • Think abstractly so you can understand contextualized meanings of diverse people’s words and actions
  • Learn evidence-based therapies to meet each client’s needs
  • Interact with people from all walks of life, especially those struggling with persistent poverty and/or chronic mental illness


Potential careers:

  • Private practice clinician
  • Staff counselor
  • Case manager
  • Emergency responder
  • Intake counselor
  • Group counselor
  • School mental health counselor
  • Addiction and/or intervention specialist
  • Career counselor 
  • Psychological assessment specialist
  • Crisis interventionist
  • Camp/retreat mental health counselor
  • Church and parachurch staff counselor
  • Mental health counselor to missionaries/mission teams
  • Professor


Our graduates work at:

  • Behavioral health hospitals with inpatient, day-patient, and/or outpatient programs
  • Outpatient clinics
  • Private practice offices
  • Church-related therapy centers
  • Public and private schools
  • Publicly or privately funded community agencies
  • Community colleges, universities, seminaries, and graduate schools
  • Substance abuse and addiction inpatient and outpatient programs
  • Denominational, local church, and mission agencies needing mental health specialists
  • Law enforcement agencies, prisons, and halfway houses
  • Group homes for children, adolescents, and adults

Become a Bethel Student