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Top 20 Most Affordable Online Mental Health Certificate Programs 2021

The important field of mental health requires well-trained counselors to meet the growing mental health needs of the community. Mental health counselors offer essential guidance to individual patients, couples, and families and other groups that need help in dealing with the issues that affect mental health and well-being. These  online mental health certificate programs may be what you’re looking for to get the needed training to make a difference in this important and growing field.

This list of affordable mental health certificate programs online include both online and on-campus programs. This list is a mixture of types of certificates and includes post-master’s degree certificate programs that can help counselors meet education requirements for becoming a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC). Students should contact their state’s licensing agency for complete information on requirements in their state. One certificate program listed is for a mental health technician certificate. Students interested in this program should check state requirements to see what scope of practice is for a mental health tech in their state. 

METHODOLOGY FOR TOP 20 MOST AFFORDABLE ONLINE MENTAL HEALTH CERTIFICATE PROGRAMS 2021

This ranking of the 20 most affordable online Mental Health Certificate Programs is from an initial pool of 29 programs. These online mental health certificate programs are ranked according to in-state tuition costs from the College Navigator website. Profile information for these online mental health certificate programs is derived from school websites. Students should contact their mental health certification programs online school of interest for the most current and up-to-date program and tuition information. Students seeking licensure would contact their state licensing agency for specific education and clinical hours requirements in their state. 

  1. Kennesaw State University, Kennesaw, GA
  2. University of Nevada, Las Vegas, NV
  3. Utah State University, Logan UT
  4. University of South Dakota, Vermillion, SD
  5.  Lamar University, Beaumont, TX
  6.  Post University, Waterbury, CT
  7.  Indiana State University, Terre Haute, IN
  8. Southern Connecticut State University, New Haven, CT
  9. University of South Alabama, Mobile, AL
  10. University of Alabama, Birmingham, AL
  11. University of Wisconsin, Whitewater, WI
  12. University of Tennessee, Chattanooga, TN
  13. Wilmington University, New Castle, DE
  14. West Chester University of Pennsylvania, West Chester, PA
  15. Grand Canyon University, Phoenix, AZ
  16. Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO
  17. University of Buffalo, Buffalo, NY
  18. Montclair State University, Montclair, NJ
  19.  Regent University, Virginia Beach, VA
  20. Adler Graduate School, Minnetonka, MN

20. Adler Graduate School, Minnetonka, MN

WEBSITE 

Tuition $16,470

The Adler Graduate School offers a Post Master’s Certificate in two specialty tracks. Clinical Mental Health Counseling and Marriage, and Couples and Family Counseling are offered and require 21-27 credits to complete, depending on professional, educational, and clinical background and original degree. This affordable online mental health certificate program offers master’s-prepared applicants specialized academic courses and field experience. All courses may be taken online, on-campus, or hybrid. Applicants to this affordable online mental health counseling certificate program  are required to have a master’s degree in counseling or related field and be eligible to pursue licensure in their state where they work. 

19. Regent University, Virginia Beach, VA

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Tuition $15,552

This Certificate of Graduate Studies in Mental Health Counseling serves as an endorsement to licensure. Applicants to this online mental health counseling certificate programs are required to hold a master’s or doctoral in a mental health field and be eligible to pursue licensure in the state where they work. This affordable graduate certificate in Clinical Mental Health Counseling is presented from a Christian worldview, and promises to equip candidates with specialized training and provide state credentialing requirements. This affordable Mental Health Counseling certificate is available online or on-campus. Graduates of this Online mental health counseling certificate program will be trained in the use of assessment instruments in counseling, interventions in a wide range of situations, and diagnosis and treatment of abnormal behavior. 

18. Montclair State University, Montclair, NJ

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In-State Tuition $12,600

Out-of-State Tuition $18,432

This affordable Advanced Counseling Certificate program is designed for those seeking to become Licensed Professional Counselors (LPC). This certificate program is designed to supplement a Master’s degree in counseling with credits needed for the 60-credit-hour minimum required by the Professional Counselor Committee of New Jersey Board of Marriage and Family Therapists. Students in this certificate program that have not yet completed the 600 hour community agency/mental health internship will complete their hours in this program. This affordable program is on-campus only, and is located in the New York Metropolitan area. 

17. University of Buffalo, Buffalo, NYUniversity at Buffalo - Film Studies

WEBSITE

In-State Tuition $11,310

Out-of-State Tuition $23,100

This Mental Health Counseling advanced graduate certificate promises to provide the knowledge and necessary skills to advance your career goals. Applicants with a master’s degree in counseling that complete this affordable  mental health certification online (or on-campus) program are eligible to take the New York State licensing exam in mental health counseling. This full-time program can be completed in 1 year. Students who have not yet completed the supervised 600 hours minimum of clinical experience are required to complete it during this program with an additional 12 credits for a minimum of 600 clock hours. This online mental health counseling certificate program emphasizes personal and professional growth, multicultural awareness, and preparation to work with diverse clients in a compassionate and effective manner in a variety of mental health service settings.

16. Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO

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In-State Tuition $10,520

Out-of-State Tuition $25,791

This affordable online Graduate Certificate in Advanced Clinical Behavioral Health program promises to prepare graduates for practice in challenging behavioral health settings. CSU’s mental health certificate program online will help advance your career by increasing clinical skills to create effective plans for treatment, utilize trauma-informed care to provide safety for clients and providers, and gain knowledge needed to sit for state clinical exams. This certificate program includes psychopharmacology courses for professionals working with clients on prescribed medication. Courses successfully completed for this program may count toward electives to complete CSU’s Master of Social Work (MSW). 

15. Grand Canyon University, Phoenix, AZ

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Tuition $10,177

This affordable online post-master’s Trauma Certificate program is designed for working professionals with a master’s degree or doctorate in counseling or a related field. This rigorous mental health certification online program is designed to equip professionals to specialize in this subfield. GCU’s online platform helps students immerse themselves in their courses anywhere and any time, making it a good fit for working professionals with responsibilities that would make completion of an on-campus program impossible. With a total of 15 credit hours, each course is eight weeks long. Graduates of this program can expect to have the diagnostic and treatment skills to engage with clients across the lifespan. 

14. West Chester University of Pennsylvania, West Chester, PA

WEBSITE

In-State Tuition $9,288

Out-of-State Tuition $13,932

West Chester University’s post-Master’s Certificate in Professional Counselor Licensure Preparation (LPC) is offered through the College of Education and Social Work. This affordable certificate program is offered in an on-campus format and is designed to meet student’s education and internship requirements for master’s-prepared counselors wishing to obtain licensure in the state of Pennsylvania. Graduates of this certificate program will have the skills and confidence to provide professional counseling services in a competent and ethical manner. West Chester University is committed to attracting students from varied backgrounds, leading to a rich student environment. 

13. Wilmington University, New Castle, DE

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Tuition $8,784

Wilmington University’s affordable Post-Master’s Certificate program in Mental Health Counseling is an on-campus program for professional counselors wishing to develop a specialty in mental health. Applicants are required to have a master’s degree in counseling or a closely related area of study. Program applicants may have the option for up to six credits of previous graduate coursework to be applied to this program. As the field of counseling becomes more specialized and competitive, this affordable Mental Health Counseling certificate program will help students be prepared to be competent with advanced training. Graduates of this robust program can expect to have the skills to provide counseling in the specialty field of mental health. 

12. University of Tennessee, Chattanooga, TN

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In-State Tuition $8,450

Out-of-State Tuition $16,514

This 12-credit certificate in Clinical Mental Health Counseling is an on-campus program designed for the post-master’s counselor seeking licensure as a licensed professional counselor (LPC) in Tennessee. This affordable mental health certificate program will build on previous coursework, and although completion of this certificate does not guarantee eligibility of licensure, this program aligns with the state of Tennessee’s LPC requirements. Courses are selected with an advisor to build a program of study that builds on past coursework as well as meeting the requirements to pursue the LPC credential. Applicants apply to the Graduate School and the Certificate Program and are required to have completed a master’s degree in counseling or a closely related field.

11. University of Wisconsin, Whitewater, WI

WEBSITE

In-State Tuition $8,108

Out-of-State Tuition $17,797

This affordable clinical mental health counseling certificate program from the University of Wisconsin is designed for students who have a master’s degree in Counseling with an emphasis in something other than clinical mental health counseling. A total of 9-18 credit hours is required to complete this on-campus program, depending on past coursework or emphasis desired. Students complete a one- or two-semester internship, depending on past clinical hours completed. Accepted applicants may begin this clinical mental health counseling certificate program in summer or fall. Graduates of this certificate program will have the knowledge and skills to make a difference and function effectively in a variety of settings. 

10. University of Alabama, Birmingham, AL

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In-State Tuition $8,100

Out-of-State Tuition $19,188

This 15-credit post-master’s certificate in Clinical Mental Health Counseling is designed to prepare graduates to provide high-level mental health services in the workplace. This affordable on-campus certificate in Clinical Mental Health Counseling is open to current UAB counseling graduate students and to practicing counselors with a master’s degree in counseling who wish to advance their career options. Courses include Introduction to Integrated Care Counseling and Foundations of Substance Abuse, with other courses covering such topics as suicide prevention and the diagnosis and treatment of psychological disorders. Graduates of this program will have learned the skills needed to improve lives. 

9. University of South Alabama, Mobile, AL

University of South AlabamaWEBSITE

In-State Tuition $7,956

Out-of-State Tuition $15,912

This affordable Certificate in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from University of South Alabama is an on-campus, 15-credit program. Students can choose courses geared to their specific interest to provide post-master’s-level training in their area of professional counseling emphasis. Working with their advisor, students develop an individualized plan to meet their career aspirations. Students are evaluated on academic progress, clinical competence, interpersonal functioning, and professional ethical standards. Graduates complete the Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Examination (CPCE).

8. Southern Connecticut State University, New Haven, CT

WEBSITE

In-State Tuition $7,675

Out-of-State Tuition $17,677

This post-master’s affordable certificate in Clinical Mental Health Counseling is a respecialization certificate for students with a master’s degree in School Counseling. This on-campus program satisfies education requirements for licensure as a professional counselor from the Connecticut State Department of Public Health. Students enrolled in the certificate program complete 20 credits, including 12 credits of coursework and 8 credits of clinical fieldwork. Graduates complete a 600-hour clinical supervised internship placement in a mental health counseling setting, giving students hands-on application to solidify their knowledge in a practical way. 

7. Indiana State University, Terre Haute, IN

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In-State Tuition $7,552

Out-of-State Tuition $14,814

This affordable Mental Health Counselor Endorsement Non-Degree Certificate program from ISU is an on-campus selective program. Applicants must be graduates of a 48-credit M.S. or M.A. program in a related subject, such as counseling. Applicants must present documentation of pre-degree and post-degree clinical experience, as well as references from post-degree clinical supervisors. Students work with the program director to develop a program of study that will meet the standards and course requirements for this endorsement certificate. Courses in the 500 level are also open to undergraduates as a 400 level course, and courses taken as 400 level may not be repeated as 500 level. 

6. Post University, Waterbury, CT

Post UniversityWEBSITE

Tuition $7,500

Post University’s affordable online post-master’s certificate in Clinical Mental Health Counseling may be the ticket to expand counseling practice. Students enrolled in this mental health certification programs online can continue in their current position while pursuing this online certificate in an engaging online learning community. Courses in this concentration include assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of psychiatric disorders. Students also gain knowledge in the primary models, theories, and counseling techniques used in individual, group and family counseling. Counseling professionals with advanced education in Clinical Mental Health Counseling can expect to further their career in this important field. Graduates of this program can expect to be ready to take the next steps to get their professional counseling license. Post University assists students in researching their state’s requirements for licensure prior to beginning their program. 

5. Lamar University, Beaumont, TX

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In-State Tuition $6,324

Out-of-State Tuition $13,920

Lamar University’s affordable online Mental Health Counseling Certificate program is designed for students who have completed a master’s degree in counseling, psychology or a related subject and are preparing for the Texas State Licenses Professional Counseling (LPC) certification examination. This online certificate program is an 18-credit hour program that promises to provide the knowledge and clinical experience, as well as rigorous exam preparation, to meet the academic requirements for the LPC exam in Texas. Students study advanced counseling topics that include diagnosis, treatments and etiology, and the most current research to apply in clinical practice.

4. University of South Dakota, Vermillion, SDUniversity of South Dakota - Online Music Degree

WEBSITE

In-State Tuition $6,062

Out-of-State Tuition $11,656

This affordable online Certificate in Mental Health Counseling is designed for post-master’s students seeking additional training to qualify for their state licensure examination. The University of South Dakota offers this 12-credit mental health certificate programs online program in an online format covering advanced topics in crisis intervention, psychopathology, and clinical supervision. Applicants can choose to begin this program in spring, summer or fall, and can expect to complete their certificate in about a year. This certificate from USD offers all four courses online, allowing practicing professionals the flexibility to continue their studies while continuing in their current employment. 

3. Utah State University, Logan UT

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In-State Tuition $5,996

Out-of-State Tuition $20,327

Utah State University’s affordable online post-master’s Certificate in Rehabilitation Counseling is designed for applicants with graduate training in one of the following academic areas: Behavioral Health, Behavioral Science, Disability Studies, Human Relations, Human Services, Marriage and Family Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Psychology, Psychometrics, Rehabilitation Administration/Services, Social Work, Special Education, or Vocational Assessment/Evaluation. Applicants to the program should have 3 years of related professional experience and 2 years of rehabilitation counseling experience under supervision. This 22 credit program is made up of 8 courses (22 credits) in courses such as Theories and Techniques in Counseling, Psychosocial Aspects of Disabilities, and Case Management. With spring, summer and fall start dates, students interested in this mental health certification  program online have flexibility in their education schedule. 

2. University of Nevada, Las Vegas, NV

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In-State Tuition $5,459

Out-of-State Tuition $20,510

This affordable Advanced Graduate Certificate in Community Mental Health Counseling is designed for those with a master’s degree in counseling seeking to broaden their licensure options for professional counseling practice. UN’s certificate program is designed for those needing additional education to meet the State of Nevada’s Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) requirements. This mental health certification online program promotes excellence in counselor education and research, and prepares students to serve as professional mental health counselors and leaders to serve in a wide variety of communities and workplaces. 

1. Kennesaw State University, Kennesaw, GA

WEBSITE

Tuition $3670

Kennesaw State University’s affordable online Mental Health Technician Professional Certificate may be the ticket to enter the field of mental health. This online Mental Health Technician program promises to provide students with a solid mental health background. Graduates of this mental health certificate programs online will have the educational background to work with individuals with mental health issues. This program comprises six key topics including Abnormal Psychology, Mental Health Technician, Direct Support Professional, Better Interpersonal Communication, Personal Excellence, and Introduction to Addiction & Recovery. Therapies and treatments are examined as well as disorders beginning in childhood, mood disorders, psychoses, schizophrenia, sexuality, and eating and anxiety disorders. Students will learn methods to provide clients assistance in living skills, health hygiene and maintenance, adhering to a medication regime, and behavioral development.

FAQ’s

What is a mental health counselor?

A mental health counselor has special training in counselling and psychology, and helps guide patients to improve mental health and well being. Mental health counselors are trained to provide treatment and advise people who suffer from alcoholism, drug addiction, or other mental or behavioral problems.

What does a mental health counselor do?

Mental health counselors are trained to provide professional guidance in dealing with issues that affect mental health. Mental health counselors discuss emotions, issues such as bullying, abuse, anger management, depression, relationships, and much more. Clients learn skills to help them gain insight, define goals and action plans to improve their mental health. 

How do I become qualified as a mental health counselor? 

Those wishing to become a qualified mental health counselor must have a master’s degree in psychology or counseling along with clinical hours experience. Each state has their own clinical hours requirements and education requirements. After completing their education and clinical hours, there is a licensing exam for their state. Be sure to check with your state’s licensing agency for specifics on your state’s requirements. 

Once I complete my state’s requirements, what kind of job title will I have?

After completing the rigorous requirements, you will earn the legal right to be called a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor, Licensed Mental Health Counselor, or Licensed Professional Counselor. Mental health counselors may work in a wide variety of settings, such as health centers, hospitals, schools, or prisons.

How can a mental health counselor really help someone? 

Mental health counselors often provide a safe place for clients to talk about problems, and the counselor offers support and advice. Their counselor may help them understand their feelings, identify issues affecting their mental health and identify ways to overcome those issues, learn coping skills, set personal growth goals, and learn more about mental health conditions. 

Do mental health counselors see clients with severe symptoms and problems all day?

People sometimes seek counseling because they’ve experienced the benefit of talking about their concerns and problems with a compassionate professional counselor. Not everyone who seeks mental health counseling is seeking help for severe symptoms.

Do people with specific issues need to seek out a clinician with special training?

All professional counselors receive training to recognize anxiety, depression and low self-esteem. Some clinicians go on to get training in specialized areas such as mental health, trauma, sexual assault and abuse. Counselors with specialized training can help clients overcome obstacles or events that have affected their mental health negatively. 

Can mental health counselors refer clients for other needed health services? 

Many times mental health counselors can help their clients by referring them for other services such as physician, dietitian, or special support. 

What kind of work environment do mental health counselors work in?

Mental health counselors find employment in a wide variety of settings, including mental health centers, community health centers, prisons, and private practice. Most mental health counselors work full-time.

What is the job outlook for mental health counselors?

The job outlook for mental health counselors is expected to grow 25% between 2019-2029, which is much faster than average for all occupations. This growth is anticipated as people continue to seek counseling services for addiction and mental health issues. 

Why is this rate of job growth so high?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors is expected to rise as many states seek treatment and counseling services for drug offenders in place of jail time. Recently the criminal justice system has recognized that substance abusers are less likely to be repeat offenders if they get the needed addiction treatment. Some research also suggests that treatment is more cost-effective than jail time.

By Carol Dolan BS RN BSN CDCES
February 2021

Carol graduated with her BS in Nutrition from Montclair State University and her BSN in Nursing from Rowan University. She is a Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist (CDCES) currently working with adults and children living with diabetes in both outpatient and inpatient settings.

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This has been a review of the top online metal health certificate programs for 2021.

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