JEFFERSON CITY, MO – A new program under the Lincoln University School of Graduate Studies will provide students a faster track to licensure as a professional counselor in the state of Missouri. The Education Specialist degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling which was approved by the Lincoln University Board of Curators during their September 2018 meeting, will move graduates toward professional licensure once they complete one year and 1,500 hours of post-graduate supervised counseling. By comparison, students who complete a master-level degree program must complete three years and 3,000 hours of post-graduate supervised counseling as a requirement to become a licensed professional counselor.

Dr. John D. Jones, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Lincoln University, says the program was developed based on a measured need. “There were surveys as well as listening sessions and group discussions with individuals who were interested and practicing professionals. A demand for the degree was indicated through those surveys,” said Jones.

According to an press release by the university, nationally, according to data collected by Mental Health America, a not for profit organization aimed at promoting mental health issues and addressing the needs of those who suffer from mental illness, 1 in 5 adults (more than 40 million individuals) have some sort of mental health condition and youth depression is on the rise. In addition, data shows a shortage in the mental health workforce, with up to six times the individuals requiring care to the available number of mental health professionals.

The program will launch in January 2019. Students must hold a master’s degree in counseling or other related field for admission into the Education Specialist in Clinical Mental Health Counseling degree program. For more information, please visit

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