The Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program at Antioch New England was rated in the top ten fastest online counseling courses by besthealthdegrees.com. This honor, which was awarded on the basis of price, accreditation, reputation, and salary potential, reflects the program’s strength in helping students to complete the MA quickly.
More importantly, program director Ali Corey says that this reflects how responsive the program is to learners. All of the core classes, almost 80 in total, are available in both Spring and Fall semesters. “Students are really able to pace themselves based on what’s going on in their own lives and what they need,” Corey says.
The program has had students from all fifty states and each state has varying requirements for licensure. Students are able to choose a clinical study track that matches the number of hours needed, anywhere from 600 to 900, so they complete their specific state standards without doing more hours than necessary. This helps with the opportunity to graduate quickly. The program also offers a wide range of electives that meet specific state requirements. For example, it offers a sexuality class that’s required to practice in Florida.
With thirteen core faculty members and adjuncts, learners are also able to tailor their studies to their individual professional goals, says Corey. “I find that if our students have an interest area, we’re going to match it—that there’s somebody on our faculty who is an expert in that.” Another positive aspect of being a part of the Antioch community is the flexibility to take certificates in other departments. For example, students can pair their studies with the Certificate in Trans Affirmative Therapy offered through the Couples and Family program, something Corey hasn’t seen at other schools. Keeping up to date on new developments in counseling is important to Corey. “I think we really draw people in who are at the forefront of our field and the needs in our field right now,” she says.
The Clinical Mental Health Counseling program recognizes that students all bring their own experiences to the table and are integral to helping shape the program. This student-centered environment has led to many shifts in the past year and a half. Although the program was originally designed to be completely asynchronous, feedback from students and teachers showed a disconnect and desire to build more community. Now the program offers all courses with both synchronous and asynchronous options. “Just because this is the way we’ve always done it, doesn’t mean it’s the way we always have to do it,” Corey explains.
One of the reasons Corey thinks the program is able to maintain this flexibility is because it’s always grounded in Antioch’s core social justice mission. Although she has seen similar words being incorporated at other schools, this program has always been committed to listening to students’ feedback on how to “walk the talk.” The program consistently uses this dialogue to integrate more social justice-based assignments, activities, and student groups.
In the wake of COVID-19, while many schools were adjusting to new virtual teaching platforms, “We weren’t stumped,” says Corey. “We weren’t shocked and stumbling, trying to figure out how to change everything.” Because the program was already online, Corey explains, “We had an opportunity to improve it, which I think is really cool.”