You are here

FAQs

About Counseling Psychology 

What is Counseling Psychology?

The Counseling Psychology degree prepares students to enter the field of Marriage and Family Therapy. Marriage and Family Therapists (MFT) constitute a significant proportion of the mental health providers in California, e.g. LCSWs, psychologists, and psychiatrists. The majority of MFTs work in non-profit organizations (community mental health services) as well as in schools, colleges, hospitals, clinics, and government agencies, and private practice. In addition to their general practice in marriage, family, and child counseling, many MFTs have also acquired additional areas of specialized training in, but not limited to, substance abuse, child abuse, hypnotherapy, and working with school-community organizations. 

What is a Marriage and Family Therapist?

Marriage and Family Therapists (MFT) constitute a significant proportion of the mental health providers in California, e.g. LCSWs, psychologists, and psychiatrists. The majority of MFTs work in non-profit organizations (community mental health services) as well as in schools, colleges, hospitals, clinics, and government agencies, and private practice. In addition to their general practice in marriage, family, and child counseling, many MFTs have also acquired additional areas of specialized training in, but not limited to, substance abuse, child abuse, hypnotherapy, and working with school-community organizations. 

How is Marriage and Family Therapy different than Social Work?

Marriage and Family Therapists (MFT) constitute a significant proportion of the mental health providers in California, e.g. LCSWs, psychologists, and psychiatrists. The majority of MFTs work in non-profit organizations (community mental health services) as well as in schools, colleges, hospitals, clinics, and government agencies, and private practice. In addition to their general practice in marriage, family, and child counseling, many MFTs have also acquired additional areas of specialized training in, but not limited to, substance abuse, child abuse, hypnotherapy, and working with school-community organizations. 

Social Work programs often emphasize an ecological perspective which focuses on the fit and interactions of a person or system in relation to the various environments. In this respect, many social work graduates work with agencies to provide environmental support and external resources as well as counseling individuals and families. However, a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) is specifically trained to perform clinical psychotherapy and many are involved in private practice as well as working with various agencies. MFTs, like psychologists and LCSWs, provide psychotherapy with individuals and families/couples and generally do not assist clients with external resourcesSchool counselors and school psychologists can only work with children and school personnel in school settings and require a school credential. MFTs, LCSWs, and psychologists require passing written examinations to earn their licenses and can practice in the community outside of a school setting.

What licensure does this program prepare for?

The program prepares students to apply for licensing with the Board of Behavioral Sciences for Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist (LMFT) and Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC). Marriage and Family Therapists (MFT) constitute a significant proportion of the mental health providers in California, e.g. LCSWs, psychologists, and psychiatrists. The majority of MFTs work in non-profit organizations (community mental health services) as well as in schools, colleges, hospitals, clinics, and government agencies, and private practice. 

What are the carreer opportunities for MFTs?

A survey in the California Association of Marriage & Family Therapist journal, the California Therapist, indicates there is a severe shortage of mental health personnel in California, particularly in certain counties.  Most MFTs work in agencies or independent practice.  The average fee ranges from $75 per hour, and they see approximately 20-25 clients per week.  Managed care and HMOs have not seriously impacted MFT fees and work as California laws do not generally permit discrimination by insurance companies against MFTs.  Contrary to popular belief, MFTs can and do bill and collect insurance reimbursement from insurance companies that cover various mental health services without a physician's approval.  The majority of our MFT graduates often work for an organization (Department of Public Social Services, Children's Protective Services, colleges, schools, hospitals, clinics, etc.) while developing their independent practice.  Many colleges and other agencies are hiring MFTs to provide counseling, advisement, and teaching service as it is more cost effective than hiring PhDs.

Applying

Do I need to have a previous degree or a Bachelor's Degree in psychology in order to be eligible?

Applicants may have a degree in any major/field. A degree in psychology is not required and will not augment one's eligibility for admission.

How do I apply?

Please visit the Application Process page. Please note that the application will be done completely online through Cal State Apply.

Which program do I apply for on Cal State Apply?

When you are ready to apply on Cal State Apply, please select "MS in Counseling Psychology"

Is the GRE required for admission?

No, the GRE is not required for admission consideration to the Counseling Psychology program.

What is the GPA requirement?

Minimum 2.85 overall grade point average in last degree (not credential or certificate) earned from an accredited institution of higher education. For more information please see Eligibility Requirements.

How many recommenders should I input on Cal State Apply?

Two. Though Cal State Apply gives you the option to input three recommenders, the program admissions committee has instructed you to input the names and email addresses for only two recommenders. Therefore, please do not input more than two recommenders.  For additional information on recommendations, please visit the Online Application Submission website.

When do I need to submit recommendations?

The application deadline is also the deadline for the letters of recommendation. You may submit your Cal State Apply application prior to all recommendations being received. Please note there is a short buffer period in which recommender(s) may submit evaluations after the application deadline. Please make sure your recommender submits the recommendation by the deadline  for full consideration. For additional information on recommendations, please visit the Online Application Submission website.

Does this program have rolling admissions?

No. This program does not have rolling admissions, and all applications are reviewed after the application deadline.

How much are tuition and fees for graduate school?

Graduate school fees are set by the CSU Board of Trustees each academic year. The current fee structure may be found on the Enrollment Services website. The approximate cost as of Fall 2021 is $19,568 - $24,840 for the entire Counseling Psychology program for California residents (fees vary based on the 2, 2.5 or 3 year tracks).

What is the Admissions Committee looking for in an applicant?

The CSULB Counseling Psychology program is committed to diversity. There is no single prototypical student. Rather, faculty seek a diverse group of students whose unique experiences add to the curriculum and instruction of the program. Counseling experience (volunteer or paid) and bilingualism are a definite asset to an applicant. A strong academic record such as good grades and good letters of recommendation will also increase your chances of being admitted to the program.

Is admission into the Counseling Psychology program competitive?

Admission to the Counseling Psychology program is highly competitive (acceptance rate is approximately 10% of the total number of applicants). It is essential for applicants to adhere to application guidelines. Please visit the Application Process page for additional information.

Degree Requirements

How long will it take me to complete the program?

The program has 2-year, 2.5-year, and 3-year tracks available. Once admitted to the program, students select their track.

What are the additional requirements to obtain my licensure?

Please visit the Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS) website for additional information about license requirements. Please note students may use 150 Practicum hours and 350 Fieldwork hours are applicable toward the 3,000 hours for the LMFT.

Does this program prepare for the Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC)?

Yes, the program prepares students to apply for licensing with the Board of Behavioral Sciences for both the Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC) and Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist (LMFT).

Does this program prepare for any Pupil Personnel Services Credentials?

Master’s degree versus doctoral study?

Some applicants question whether they should apply to a master’s degree such as our Counseling Psychology program or apply to a doctoral program.  If you are wondering about this, it may indicate that you should consider postponing this application and give both types of programs more exploration to arrive at a proper conclusion for yourself.  If you believe that you meet the qualifications for a doctoral program, then that course of study should be pursued to avoid performing 3,000 hours for the MFT license then an additional 3,000 hours for the psychology license.  Approximately one out of five of our graduates go on for a Ph.D.  The majority of doctoral programs do not require a master’s degree.  The majority of our students want to become a therapist as soon as possible, and the difference in remuneration between MFTs, LCSWs and psychologists is no longer that great due to the effects of managed care and HMOs.

Other Inquiries

Who do I contact for more information about the program?