KOKOMO, Ind. — Indiana University Kokomo fills a need for mental health care providers, launching its Master of Arts in Mental Health Counseling program during the fall 2018 semester.
The program has long been requested, both by students and employers, according to Kathy Holcomb, chairperson of the psychology department, which surveyed human service organizations in north central Indiana to assess the need.
“Our community needs more licensed mental health providers, and this program allows us to fill that need,” she said. “We’ve heard from many undergraduate students that they want this, as a way to further their careers. They’ve been waiting for this opportunity.”
Seventy-six percent of organizations surveyed said it was at least somewhat difficult to obtain mental health care in a timely fashion, and employers noted they have difficulty finding licensed practitioners, and often have multiple jobs available.
Rosalyn Davis, clinical assistant professor of psychology, anticipates most students in the program will be alumni of IU Kokomo’s psychology program, but said it is open to those from other fields who have taken at least 15 credit hours in psychology. She said many will be those currently working in paraprofessional roles in the field, with bachelor’s degrees.
“The program is meant to be for students in this area who want to get a professional degree, to take the next step in their careers,” she said. “In psychology, you need a graduate degree to advance, and a license to be a counselor. They can earn that here.”
After completing the 60-credit hour program, graduates will be able to work in any counseling field, such as marriage and family, drug addiction and recovery, vocational rehabilitation, and other opportunities. Salaries in the field range from around $40,000 to $60,000 per year, depending on location and type of practice. Job prospects are excellent, Davis said.
The hybrid program, developed in cooperation with IU East and IU Southeast, is about half on campus classes, and half online, with the three campuses sharing online classes. Each campus will have a cohort of about 20 students. It will take two years to complete, including summer classes. Licensure requires 1,000 hours of clinical experience in addition to classroom work, and assistance will be available in finding placements for those hours.
For more information about the Master of Arts in Mental Health Counseling program at IU Kokomo, contact Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org or 765-455-9456.
SOURCE: News release from Indiana University Kokomo, which serves north central Indiana.