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Clinical Mental Health Counseling (M.A.Ed.)

(M.A.Ed. in Counselor Education)

Campus: Virginia Tech Roanoke Center

Instructions: Residential/On Campus 

Counselors help individuals change their lives. They work in school and community settings to advocate for individuals, and support social justice. 

2 Tracks: School Counseling & Clinical Mental Health

Producing Stellar Graduates Since

Years to Degree

Practicum Experience

Our Counselor Education Program

Counselor Educators and Supervisors are those skilled counselors who both do and teach. Counselor educators help to support the development of counseling students through direct instruction, as faculty in colleges and universities, and also through the supervision of the work done by students and new professionals. Those are central components of ensuring high quality clinical work, and protecting the clients who are served by counselors.

Why Study Counselor Education Here?

The counselor education program in Virginia Tech's School of Education helps excellent counselors shape the future of the counseling profession through teaching, supervision, advocacy, and research. Our program believes strongly in the researcher-practitioner model. Our students receive a strong foundation in research methods that help them to design and conduct research that can be translated into practice. 

Studying Counselor Education at Virginia Tech

We offer two master's degree tracks School Counseling and Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Students in the Counselor Education master's program will accumulate 60 hours of graduate level training over two-years of full-time studies. The coursework involves classes in the foundations of counseling theory and practice, including ethics, diagnosis, group counseling, testing, and appraisal. In addition, there are specialty courses on trauma, addictions, and the use of creativity in counseling. Opportunities to put skills into action in our Practicum experience (in the community and in our clinic in Roanoke) and in the year-long Internship experience set the program apart, and help distinguish our graduates. The combination of classroom and practical experiences helps students develop into well trained counselors.

Clinical Mental Health graduates have completed all of the educational requirements for licensure as a professional counselor in Virginia. After graduation, there is a residency period (typically 2-3 years) and an exam to become a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC). School Counseling graduates have completed all of the educational requirements for provisional licensure as a Professional School Counselor. After working for two year, the provisional status is lifted, and they become fully licensed as school counselors.

Career and Professional Development

The career outlook for mental health counselors is excellent according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The mental health counselor field is expected to grow 37% between 2010 and 2020, much faster than most professions.

Higher Education Center in Roanoke, Virginia

The master's program is offered at the Higher Education Center in Roanoke, Virginia, with a clinic and classroom designed specifically for training counselors. We utilize the latest technology for helping support students in developing their skills. Roanoke is a diverse city, that offers opportunities to work with clients from a wide variety of backgrounds, in a variety of settings.

Our Faculty 

Research Interests:

  • Counselor cognitive development
  • Evidence-based practices in counselor education and supervision
  • Supervisor development
  • Counseling assessment

Laura Welfare

Laura Welfare, Associate Professor of Counselor Education

Research Interests

  • Clinical preparation as preparation for doctoral programs in Counselor Education
  • School counselor professional development
  • Role definition
  • Ethics and self-efficacy
  • International school counseling

Nancy Bodenhorn

Nancy Bodenhorn, Associate Professor

Research Interests:

  • Clinical supervision
  • Counselor development
  • Substance abuse counseling
  • Counselor wellness and impairment issues

Gerard Lawson

Gerard Lawson, Associate Professor

Research Interests:

  • Adult Development and Aging
  • Counseling Older Adults
  • Access to Mental Health Services in Later Life
  • Suicide Prevention Across the Life Span
  • Application of Resilience and Wellness Models

Matthew Fullen

Matthew Fullen, Assistant Professor

Research Interests:

  • School counseling
  • School counseling in rural communities
  • School counselor professional identity

Tameka Grimes

Tameka Grimes
Dr. Tameka Grimes, Assistant Professor

Research Interests:

  • Addiction Counseling
  • Trauma Counseling
  • Counselor Wellness
  • Counselor Education Pedagogy

Jenna Fitzgerald

Jenna Fitzgerald
Dr. Jenna Fitzgerald, Visiting Assistant Professor

Counselor Education Research Highlights

Welfare, L.E., Wagstaff, J., & Haynes, J. R. (2017). Counselor education and Title IX: Current perceptions and questions. Counselor Education and Supervision, 56(3), 193 – 207.

Farmer, L. B., Sackett, C. R., Lile, J., Bodenhorn, N., Hartig, N., Graham, J., & Ghoston, M. (2017). An exploration of the perceived impact of post-master’s experience on doctoral study in counselor education and supervision. The Professional Counselor, 7(1) 15-32.

Lawson, G., Trepal, H., Lee, R., & Dress, V. (2017). Advocating for Educational Standards in Counselor Licensure Laws. Counselor Education and Supervision, 56(3), 162-176.

Fullen, M.C., & Granello, D.H. (2018).  "Holistic Wellness in Older Adulthood: Group Differences Based on Age and Mental Health." Journal of Holistic Nursing.

Students interested in applying to the Counselor Education (M.A.Ed.) should contact Dr. Gerard Lawson, by email at

Domestic Application
*Summer II:  January 10
International Application
*Summer II: January 10
*Students are admitted once per year


Wanda McAlexander
Program Support Technician
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Blacksburg, VA 24061

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