MS Clinical Mental Health Counseling (MSCMHC)

Program Overview

Become a Qualified and Compassionate Counselor

Now more than ever, the world needs qualified evidence-based Clinical Mental Health Counselors. With the prevalence of mental illness on the rise[1] and with depression alone set to outpace heart disease as #1 cause of disease burden worldwide by 2030[2], Sonoran University’s Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling degree (MSCMHC) program meets the urgent need for licensed practitioners locally and nationwide. Designed for working adults who aspire to become licensed professional counselors, the MSCMHC program can be completed fully online and in as little as 2.5 years.

Our innovative curriculum, developed in collaboration with experts in the field, not only provides training on essential requirements for licensure and certification, but also incorporates a unique focus on interprofessional collaboration, field-based crisis counseling, and evidence-based integrative mental health care including topics such as nutrition and mindfulness. To enhance engagement, personalize learning, and facilitate student success, we also incorporate next-generation technology with adaptive learning and our Virtual Health Center Experience. Further, our clinical placement assistance eliminates a common barrier by providing the opportunity for students to complete their practicum and internship fully online at our Virtual Center for Personalized Health Care. Graduates of our program will gain the professional knowledge and skills necessary to implement effective clinical mental health counseling and work in private practice, as part of a healthcare team, in hospitals, government services, and more.

Learn Evidence-Based, Integrative Mental Health Care

State-of-the-Art Virtual Training

Engage in clinical simulations of the interactions between a counselor and client through our Virtual Health Center Experience, allowing practice in application of new skills and knowledge safely and from the first quarter of the program.

Field-Based Crisis Care

Gain specialized training to work alongside law enforcement and other first responders to deescalate mental health emergencies.

Whole-Person Approach

Learn evidence-based integrative health approaches that support mental health from nutrition to mindfulness, self-care, and more.

Curriculum Benefits

Engage in meaningful discussions on human behavior, learn strategies to support the development of clients from diverse backgrounds and communities, and merge best practices from the field of professional counseling and integrative healthcare to enhance clinical care and outcomes. Applying our “no busy work rule”, we ensure assignments are authentic, reflective of activities practitioners engage in in real-life, and aligned with best practices in teaching and learning. We leverage instructional science and novel technology to optimize learning including the use of adaptive learning technology that personalizes learning for each student.

Engage in clinical applications as early as the first quarter of the program through our Virtual Health Center Experience. This novel experience, woven throughout our program, is designed  to simulate the interaction between a counselor and their client and allows you to practice applying new skills and knowledge safely in a virtual training environment.

We are proud to eliminate a barrier many students face in finding a clinical placement for their internship. Our clinical experience placement assistance provides students the opportunity to complete their practicum and internship 100% online through remote telehealth-based care and supervision at our Virtual Center for Personalized Health Care.

Mental health counselors are one of the fastest growing professions with employment projected to increase by 54% in Arizona and 22% nationwide over the next several years. An advanced degree is a must-have for mental health professionals as they seek employment and advancement.

Not all care can be delivered in the comfort of one’s own home or an office setting. A mental health crisis can occur anywhere, and our students will gain specialized training in deescalating and stabilizing mental health crisis and emergencies and engaging special populations that historically have been difficult to reach.

Building on Sonoran University’s reputation as a leader in integrative healthcare education, this MSCMHC program is the first and only program of its kind to incorporate a whole-body approach to supporting mental health. Learn evidence based integrative health approaches to supporting mental health from nutrition to mindfulness, self-care, and more.

It is well established that effective interprofessional collaboration enhances clinical outcomes. The MSCMHC program incorporates practical interprofessional training where students learn about, from and with members of other complementary professions.

As an online student, you may be remote, but you are never alone. With a Student Success Coach by your side and regular opportunities in each course to engage and interact with your faculty and peers, our online community is thriving.

Program Objectives

At the conclusion of the MSCMHC program, graduates will be able to:

  • Practice ethically and professionally in the field of mental health counseling.
  • Apply evidence-based theories and techniques in individual, group, couples and family counseling.
  • Utilize best practices in counseling to successfully support and promote optimal growth and development across the lifespan of clients.
  • Describe health disparities, demonstrate competence in counseling individuals from diverse backgrounds and advocate for marginalized populations to receive healthcare services.
  • Effectively incorporate current scientific evidence from the field of mental health and disordered behavior in clinical work to support assessment, prevention, intervention and advocacy.
  • Integrate the responsible use of technology in the counseling process.
  • Apply appropriate theoretical perspectives in the therapeutic process.
  • Successfully respond to high-risk clinical scenarios including working with clients with trauma and in crisis.
  • Participate effectively as part of a client-centered interprofessional team.
  • Incorporate evidence-based integrative clinical mental health care to support the well-being of clients.
  • Establish a safe, judgment-free and empowering therapeutic environment.

We’re Here to Answer Your Questions


1: COVID-19 pandemic triggers 25% increase in prevalence of anxiety and depression worldwide

2: Hock RS, Or F, Kolappa K, Burkey MD, Surkan PJ, Eaton WW. A new resolution for global mental health. Lancet. 2012 Apr 14;379(9824):1367-8. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(12)60243-8. PMID: 22500865; PMCID: PMC4767178.