Program Details

Our degree program will prepare you to become a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, and so much more. Its design allows you to develop personally, spiritually, and relationally. In addition, you'll gain increased:

  • Maturity
  • Differentiation
  • Personal/spiritual integration
  • Abstract thinking skills

These skills contribute to who you'll become as a therapist. Ours is a serious program for Christian students who are serious about becoming transformative mental health counselors.


Accreditation is an important consideration as you select a counselor-training program. Our program is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Schools and nationally accredited by the Association of Theological Schools.


The program combines seminary-level theological and biblical education along with the courses required to become a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC) in California.


Because we believe that mental health counselor training is best accomplished face to face, all courses are offered in a traditional format on our San Diego campus. You’ll develop valuable interpersonal relationships with fellow students and professors as you advance through the program. 

Classes meet in the late afternoons and evenings to accommodate students who work. Most courses meet once a week, though some intensive courses are offered in the summer and in January, meeting 2 or more times during the week.

Degree Requirements

Students select either a full-time (3 year) or part-time (4 year) pathway for completing all requirements for the M.A. in Mental Health Counseling. More specifically, you'll complete 67 semester credits in courses that include content in:

  • Mental health counseling theory
  • Advanced psychotherapy theory and intervention
  • Human development
  • Multicultural counseling
  • Psychological assessment
  • Legal and ethical issues
  • Psychopathology
  • Psychobiology
  • Psychopharmacology
  • Sexuality and intimacy
  • Research design
  • Addictions and co-occurring disorders
  • Domestic violence
  • Group psychotherapy
  • Crisis intervention
  • Trauma response
  • Career development

Plus, you'll earn 6 credits in a practicum that provides a minimum of 350 hours of mental health counseling as an LPCC trainee under clinical supervision at a Bethel-approved clinical site and 18 credits in biblical studies, theology, church history, and Christian social ethics.

Formation assessment

To help you grow in self-awareness, you'll take part in a formation assessment during your first year. In this process, you'll set developmental, personal, spiritual, and relational goals that you can work toward during your time in the program. Fifteen hours of individual psychotherapy from a California licensed psychotherapist (LPCC, LMFT, psychologist, or LCSW) will further enhance your self development.

Pre-practicum exam

Passing the Pre-practicum Exam (PPE) before entering practicum in your senior year will build your confidence and increase your readiness to begin doing clinical work with clients.

Senior Integrative Seminar

During your senior year, you'll complete a capstone project that expresses the integrative thinking that you developed while advancing through the program. This significant paper, completed in collaboration with your professors, will articulate your integration of clinical theory, theology, understanding of spirituality, and clinical practice.