James Madison University

Program Description and Outcomes

The Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program provides the coursework necessary for students to become Licensed Professional Counselors in community mental health centers, community agencies, psychiatric facilities, and private practice settings. Accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), the three-year, 60-credit-hour program leads to the awarding of both the Master of Arts and the Educational Specialist degrees. Graduates are also eligible to become national certified counselors.

We offer small, experiential classes that rarely involve more than eight to ten students.  Our dynamic and student-focused faculty members have been the recipients of national ACES awards, along with numerous other honors at the regional, state, university, college, and department levels.  Students receive constant feedback and supervision throughout their training. We place great emphasis on personal and professional growth and the practical application of skills at our on-campus practicum and community-based internship sites.

During the 2012-2013 academic year, 26 students were enrolled in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program at James Madison University.  The total number of graduates during this academic year was nine.  In recent years, we have typically admitted nine or ten students into the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program each fall semester. Our full-time students complete the program in three years and our part-time students usually complete the program in five years.  Our combined completion rate for full-time and part-time students in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program is 95%.  

Once they graduate, our alumni then complete an additional 4,000 clock hours of supervised residency in counseling in order to qualify for the license examination.  Of those who have reported their results to the Clinical Mental Health Program, 100% have passed their examination for licensure.  Ninety percent of the alumni who reported their employment status are employed in an occupation that is in the counseling field.   


  • Comprehensive Directory of Mental Health Services The updated 2013 directory is now available online
  • The Counseling Programs of James Madison University are pleased to offer the 19th annual Summer Institute in Counseling. This year's workshop offerings emphasize the theme of creative responses to client concerns, with a focus on creativity and self-care. Registration will open in mid-April, with more information about workshop descriptions and registration information available then. Details
  • Dr. Debbie Sturm is New Director - Beginning this fall, Dr. Sturm is the Director of Counseling Programs. She will continue as Coordinator of the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program.
  • Dr. Michele Kielty and Dr. Renee Staton to Coordinate School Counseling - Drs. Kielty and Staton are now sharing the duties of coordinating the School Counseling Program.
  • Dr. Lennie Echterling Continues as Doctoral Program Coordinator - Dr. Echterling remains the Coordinator of the Ph.D. in Counseling and Supervision Program