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Master of Arts in Counseling | Counseling Degree | Graduate Degree Program

Master of Arts in Counseling | Counseling Degree

About OU's Master of Arts in Counseling

Are you interested in pursuing a degree in counseling? By nature, those called to a career as a counselor have a strong desire to help others and should be able to inspire respect, trust and confidence. In the human services field, counselors work in diverse community settings providing a variety of counseling, rehabilitation and support services. Their duties vary greatly as there are many specific areas a counselor may choose to specialize in, ranging from arts therapy to trauma counseling, and more.

Ottawa University’s Master of Arts in Counseling (MAC) hybrid degree program includes 39 hours of online core classes along with nine hours of field placement experience that will prepare students to take the state licensure test. Graduates of the MAC program are well-qualified professionals who have advanced their intellectual and academic development and have developed a greater understanding and knowledge of concepts, ideas, and information in the profession through research, examination, inquiry, and application.


To streamline the program, Ottawa University's Counseling Masters program is divided into a recommended yearly schedule with the field-placement component consisting of nine semester credit hours, completed in eight terms, for a total of 900 client contact hours. During the field component portion of this program, students will work in a community behavioral health agency for approximately 15 hours per week to gain hands-on experience.

The hybrid MAC degree at OU meets the educational requirements in Arizona for licensure as an associate counselor, and in Wisconsin for licensure as a professional counselor in training. Arizona students have the option of completing concentrated areas of study. The post-master’s Certificates of Advanced Graduate Studies (CAGS) is a program reserved for master’s level professionals who have received a master’s degree in counseling or a related field.

Four MAC Concentrations

Graduate students pursuing the Master of Arts in Counseling degree have the opportunity to gain deeper knowledge in a specialty area by completing 12-15 hours in one of four concentrations. You can tailor your MAC degree with one of the following counseling specialties:

• Christian Counseling
• Expressive Arts Therapy
• Gerocounseling
• Treatment of Trauma Abuse & Deprivation

Career Outlook for the MAC

There are numerous areas that counselors choose to work in, including schools, clinics, community mental health centers, family counseling centers, churches, hospitals, hospice programs, and private practice. Mental health counselors provide treatment to individuals, families, couples, and groups. Some work with specific populations, such as the elderly, college students, or children. Behavioral health counselors treat clients with a variety of conditions, including anxiety, depression, grief, low self-esteem, stress, and suicidal impulses. They also help with mental and emotional health issues and relationship problems.

Upon completion of OU's Counseling Masters program and obtaining state licensure, job prospects will include work as either a substance abuse, behavioral disorder or mental health counselor with a projected growth rate of 25 percent through 2029. If you are interested in pursuing a career in counseling, then you should know that the high demand for counselors is also expected to increase as states seek treatment and counseling services for drug offenders rather than jail time.

Those with a desire to begin a career in counseling should know that the median annual wage for substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors was $46,240 in May 2019, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor of Labor Statistics. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $29,520, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $76,080.

The MAC in Perspective

"Perhaps the greatest benefit to attaining a masters in counseling is that you are choosing a career path in which you help people live better lives. The rewards are fundamental to why one chooses to be a counselor. You will be helping people cope on a daily basis and will often see the results firsthand. In addition to impacting the lives of others and working in a field that you love, you will have the opportunity to explore new challenges and learn new things about yourself." - American Counseling Association

For curriculum and course descriptions please download a program overview.

Why Choose Ottawa?

Ottawa University offers hybrid courses for our Master of Arts in Counseling program in Milwaukee and Phoenix. We make it easy for you to transfer credits in order to help keep tuition costs down. We also conveniently offer courses in accelerated 8-week terms so you can earn your degree in no time. When you study with Ottawa University, you will benefit from the career opportunities afforded with your degree.

See Also: 

Bachelor of Arts in Human Services

Master of Science in Addiction Counseling

Bachelor of Science in Addiction Counseling

Bachelor of Arts in Psychology

If you are interested in learning more about the helping profession, then please visit our Human Services Blog Spot.

For more information about earning your MAC degree at Ottawa University, contact us today!

Counseling | Counseling Degree is offered at the following locations.

  • Surprise, AZ (Residential Campus)
  • Phoenix, Arizona
  • Queen Creek, Arizona
  • Brookfield, Wisconsin
  • Online

Master of Arts in Counseling Required Courses

Graduate Counseling Seminar in Clinical Foundations | 
Provides an overview addressing necessary foundations in the content areas of abnormal psychology,
developmental psychology, and theories of personality. Introduction to APA style and format.

Counseling Theories | 
Examination of theories of personality development and therapeutic processes. Consideration of techniques for counseling applications and professional consultation.

Social/Cultural Concerns in Counseling | 
Study of social, cultural and gender differences and issues related to counseling clients with various backgrounds, beliefs and concerns. Includes multicultural counseling techniques.

Counseling and the Helping Professions |
Examines counseling process, instruction and practice in communication skills in counseling, history, development and practice of counseling as a profession, and how and where counseling is provided.

Human Growth and Development | 
Examination of psychological, social, intellectual, and physical influences on the development of personality and behavior patterns in children, adolescents and adults.

Group Counseling and Dynamics | 
Theories of group counseling. Includes techniques of observation, assessment and leadership in therapeutic groups.

Methods and Models of Research | 
Examination of models of research and application of scientific methods to investigate, analyze, and develop solutions relative to current issues in the field.

Professional and Ethical Issues in Counseling |
Study of ethical, legal and professional concerns in the practice of counseling.

Psychological Testing | 
Examines use of standardized tests to study individuals, including test development, selection, administration and interpretation. Includes educational and mental health applications.

Life Planning and Career Development | 
Focus on theory, research, techniques and tools used in life planning, transitions and career development.

Theory/Techniques in Marriage and Family Counseling |
Examination of traditional and contemporary theories of family systems and approaches to marriage and family counseling.

Advanced Psychodiagnostic and Treatment Planning | 
As a preparation for Clinical Internship, students will expand their knowledge of the multi-axial system, DSM-IV/DSM-IV-TR diagnostic categories, differential diagnosis, and treatment planning. Emphasis will also be placed on the clinical interview and other initial assessment techniques, as well as skills critical to selecting and evaluating treatment options.

Intro to Substance Addictions and Related Disorders | 
Introduction to patterns, causes, assessment and treatment of substance abuse and other addictive disorders. Student begins preparation of required portfolio.

Practicum | 
300 hours and two semesters.

Internship | 
600 hours and three semesters.

Full Degree Catalog

University Accreditation

Ottawa University, as a whole, is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Specific degree programs within our institution have also been accredited by relevant bodies within the field:

We are proudly recognized for our commitment to student excellence by the following designations:

Why Choose Ottawa
The courses in Ottawa University's programs are 100% online and accredited by The Higher Learning Commission. We make it easy for you to transfer credits in order to help keep tuition costs down. We also offer courses in accelerated 8-week terms in order to reduce your time to completion. These are just a few of the reasons why we are proud to be the best, fastest, and most affordable option locally in the Kansas City, Milwaukee, and Phoenix areas, as well as serving students nationally through our online degrees.

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