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Master's in Counseling Degree

M.S. in Counseling: School or Clinical Mental Health Counseling Concentration

National Louis University’s Master of Science in Counseling program in Illinois is designed for students who are interested in working as a school counselor or clinical mental health counselor.

NLU's M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling online program is now available! Get in touch with an Enrollment Specialist to learn more about our online program.

Choose NLU's Master's in Counseling degree program if you:

  • Are looking for a counseling degree program that’s accredited by The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Program. Our Illinois program is CACREP accredited.
  • Want to work as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in a clinical mental health agency setting.
  • Are interested in working in a school setting or pursuing your Professional Educator License (PEL) endorsed for school support personnel and school counselors.
  • Are interested in working with diverse populations.
  • Want to learn from faculty who have both academic and professional counseling experience.
  • Would like to have a group of fellow students with whom you can build relationships during your course of study.
  • The many facets of being a professional counselor, including the importance of advocating for clients, and adhering to ethical and legal guidelines
  • A breadth of different counseling theories and skills, including technological competencies
  • An appreciation of and opportunities to deepen self-awareness
  • How to understand people from a developmental perspective with consideration for client context, culture and diversity

In NLU's Master's in Counseling program, students also complete 100 hours of practicum and 600 hours of internship, which provide opportunities to apply classroom-based knowledge in real-world settings.

Mission Statement

The mission of the NLU Counseling Program is to train highly competent and humane individuals in the greater Chicago area who are interested in working in schools or clinical mental health agencies in urban, suburban, small town, and rural areas. The faculty is committed to providing experiential opportunities for students that link research and theory with hands-on experiences aimed at promoting personal, scholarly, and professional development. The counseling curriculum prepares individuals to become licensed professional counselors and/or licensed professional educators with an endorsement in school counseling in the State of Illinois. Students will be trained to be diversity-sensitive counselors with expertise for working in an increasingly global society.

In pursuit of this mission, the program has the following goals and outcomes:

Program Goals

The program faculty design the program and individual courses in such a way as to:

PG 1: Provide students with the academic training and professional experiences needed to develop counseling knowledge and skills, including technological competencies as a professional counselor.

PG 2: Provide students with opportunities for self-reflection, and to impress upon students the necessity of continuing education, as well as the need for ongoing personal self-awareness and growth.

PG 3: Instill in students an appreciation for the worth of each individual, a developmental perspective on human growth over the lifespan, and an awareness of the importance of context, culture, and diversity.

Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs)

At the completion of the Master’s Degree in Counseling, students will:

  1. Demonstrate the ability to apply code of ethics and legal standards in the profession.
  2. Demonstrate the ability to apply the multicultural competencies in diversity, multiculturalism, and advocacy.
  3. Describe and apply theories of individual and family development across the lifespan.
  4. Describe and apply theories and models of career development, counseling and decision-making.
  5. Describe, compare, contrast and apply major counseling skills and approaches to practice.
  6. Demonstrate the ability to select and utilize assessments for diagnostic and intervention planning purposes.
  7. Describe, compare, contrast and apply major counseling theories to practice.
  8. Demonstrate effective group leadership through the application of theoretical foundations and techniques of group counseling, process and development.
  9. Demonstrate awareness of personal characteristics and behaviors that influence the counseling process and engage in ongoing personal and professional self-evaluation and implications for practice.
  10. Demonstrate an understanding of the importance of evidence-based, ethical, and culturally relevant research in advancing the counseling profession. [CACREP Standards]

Diversity Statement

The Master of Science in Counseling Program is committed to the achievement of excellence and diversity for its students, faculty, and staff. The program is committed to recruiting and educating students who reflect the diversity of the Chicago metropolitan area as well as the national and international communities where they may be employed. Program curriculum is oriented to promoting an understanding and respect for multiple perspectives that are represented in today's world.

NLU's Master's in Counseling program in Illinois is accredited by The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).

Completion of the Master of Science in Counseling program fulfills the educational requirements to be eligible to sit for the National Board for Certified Counselors examination to become a Nationally Certified Counselor (NCC) and/or the State of Illinois’ exam to become a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC).

It also fulfills the educational requirements, along with two or more years of full-time supervised work experience in a clinical setting, to apply to take the State of Illinois’s upper-level exam to earn a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC) license. To qualify to take the LCPC exam, you must have two years' work experience (3360 hours) in addition to the Master of Science in Counseling degree.

NLU recognizes many students are balancing work and family while in school working towards their counseling degree, so courses are scheduled to accommodate those important commitments. Graduate classes meet just once per week. Plus, NLU students begin the Master's in Counseling program with a group of colleagues who remain together throughout the course of study. This group offers a network of support and camaraderie from day one until graduation and beyond.

Employment of counselors is expected to grow by 13 percent between 2016 and 2026—faster than the average for all other occupations. Numerous job openings will occur as many counselors retire or leave the profession, and more individuals are willing to seek help. School counselors will see an expansion of their responsibilities, including preventive counseling and crisis management, which will also be likely to lead to increases in their employment opportunities. Clinical mental health counselors will also see an expanded job market as insurance companies increasingly approve reimbursement to counselors as a less costly alternative to psychiatrists and psychologists.

Since 1886, National Louis University has been preparing students for success in serving the needs of others. NLU provides a foundation for those who desire to contribute to the needs of their local and global communities through personal attention and coursework that’s both practical and proven. Today, with its founders' community activism at its roots, NLU continues to carry out this legacy by educating students to help individuals and groups through counseling. Both the master's in clinical mental health counseling and master's in school counseling concentration options in this program are CACREP accredited.

All applicants must meet NLU's general admission requirements, as well as additional requirements specific to this Master's of Counseling program. Refer to the appropriate application checklist available online at

Get more information today about enrolling in one of NLU's degree programs. Connect with an Enrollment Specialist or call 888.NLU.TODAY (888-658-8632).


    NLU’s Chicago campus on South Michigan Avenue occupies five floors of the historic Peoples Gas Building. This landmark building, across the street from the Art Institute of Chicago and Grant Park, is easily accessible by train, bus and car and is surrounded by restaurants, parking lots/garages and shops.

    122 S. Michigan Avenue
    Chicago, IL 60603
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    Conveniently located in a fast-growing business district off I-90 and Route 31, NLU Elgin features 10 classrooms with high-tech media equipment; a computer lab with high-speed Internet access; two conference rooms; and comfortable student lounges. Parking is free at this recently remodeled and upgraded teaching site, which now includes wireless Internet access.

    620 Tollgate Road
    Elgin, IL 60123
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    Opened in the summer of 2006, NLU North Shore at Skokie is a state-of-the-art modern campus located just off the Edens Expressway near the Old Orchard Shopping Center. The campus includes 44 wireless classrooms equipped with high-tech media equipment; four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, including a walk-in lab in the library; six conference rooms; a public café for beverages and snacks; a student welcome center; a library for research and study; and multiple, comfortable student lounge areas.

    5202 Old Orchard Road
    Skokie, IL 60077
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    Located just minutes from the East-West Tollway (I-88), NLU Lisle features 42 wireless classrooms equipped with high-tech media equipment; four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, including a separate walk-in lab in the library; a café for beverages and snacks; a student welcome center; a library for research and study; conference rooms; and six comfortable student lounge areas with wireless access.

    850 Warrenville Road
    Lisle, IL 60532
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    Located in one of Chicago's major northwest suburbs, the newly renovated NLU Wheeling includes 20 classrooms with high-tech media equipment, four conference rooms, four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, large student lounge areas with wireless capabilities and interactive video capabilities, and an extensive research library. The site also houses the university library research collection.

    1000 Capitol Drive
    Wheeling, IL 60090
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    Established in 1988 and located in one of Tampa's major business districts, NLU's Florida Regional Center serves students in 13 counties in central Florida. In addition to its classrooms, the National Louis University Tampa Regional Center features a computer lab, student lounges, and conference room.

    5110 Sunforest Drive, Suite 102
    Tampa, FL 33634
    (800) 366.6581
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