Welcome to Arkansas State University!

Psychology and Counseling

Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Specialist in Education (Ed.S.)

College: College of Education & Behavioral Science

Department: Psychology and Counseling

Program Mission Statement

 Arkansas State University aims to educate leaders, enhance intellectual growth, and enrich lives. Congruent with this global goal, the mission of the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program is to prepare students to become culturally competent counselors with a strong professional identity who lead through service and advocacy and can effectively work with diverse populations in various settings, including, but not limited to community and social service agencies, school-based settings, and private practices.

Program Objectives:

  • To instill a strong professional counseling identity within our students.
  • To create a culturally inclusive learning environment that promotes multicultural competencies in developing counselors.
  • To prepare students to conduct ethical and evidence-based practice to meet the needs of clients across the lifespan.
  • To prepare students to conduct individual and group work in a variety of settings.
  • To encourage service through leadership and advocacy.


The Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program is a CACREP accredited 60-hour program of study. Our program prepares students for careers as professional counselors who meet the highest standards for delivering counseling services in a wide variety of community and agency settings. Clinical Mental health counselors work with individuals, families, and groups to address and treat mental, developmental, and emotional disorders and to promote optimum mental health. The Clinical Mental Health Counseling program is CACREP accredited.

Students who complete the program are eligible to take the National Counselor Examination (NCE) offered by the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) in order to qualify for both National Certified Counselor (NCC) and Arkansas Licensed Associate Counselor (LAC) status. An important aspect of our mission is to aid students and graduates become certified and/or licensed as professional counselors. The faculty believes that it is also our mission to instill a strong sense of professional identity, appreciation for our rich knowledge base and develop expertise in the skills of counseling.

Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) Status:

The Clinical Mental Health Counseling program is CACREP accredited.

Application Deadline:  April 1st (Fall Admissions Only)

*Please note that GRE scores are no longer required for admission*


Curriculum and degree requirements can be found in the most current Graduate Bulletin.

Visit the bulletins page >>

Matriculation Requirements

Matriculation Requirements can be found in Section II of the CMHC Program Handbook

Financial aid information

Find additional financial aid information here.

  • Admission Process

    To be considered for admission to the Ed.S. Program in Psychology and Counseling, applicants must hold an earned bachelor's or master's degree from an accredited institution and present evidence of qualities consistent with those required for effective practice in the chosen area of study. The written statement prepared by the applicant, combined with four letters from references and the personal interview, will be used as the basis for committee members' judgment of the applicant's personal and interpersonal qualities. All persons admitted to the program are required to meet the same standard in regard to these qualities.

    Applicants also must present evidence of potential ability to perform academic work at the advanced graduate level. Past grade performance provide the primary data for judging academic ability; other indicators, such as quality of writing in the applicant's prepared statement and faculty references, also will be considered.

    Based on past academic performance, an applicant may qualify for either unconditional or conditional admission status. GRE scores are no longer needed for admission to the program.

    Unconditional Admission Status 

    Academic proficiency for unconditional admission may be established through satisfaction of the following criteria:

    • A minimum cumulative undergraduate grade point average of 3.00 (or 3.25 on the last 60 hours of undergraduate work). 
    • Unconditional admission to the Graduate School and a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.25 on 12 or more hours with no grade less than a "B".

    Conditional Admission Status

    Academic proficiency for conditional admission may be established through satisfaction of either of the following criteria:

    • A minimum cumulative undergraduate grade point average of 2.75 (or 3.00 on the last 60 hours of undergraduate work) or
    • Unconditional admission to the Graduate School and a minimum cumulative graduate grade point average of 3.00 on 12 or more semester hours with no more than one course with a grade of "C" and no grade less than a "C."

    Additional Information

    Students admitted to the degree program will demonstrate professional qualities consistent with those for effective performance in academic and practice settings. An applicant who qualifies may be admitted with or without conditions. To qualify for either admissions status, an applicant must meet criteria printed in the current ASU Graduate Bulletin.

    In addition to application materials required by the Graduate School, applicants must submit: (a) all college transcripts and (b) a statement of educational & career aspirations. In addition, applicants must provide 4 letters of recommendation under separate cover (2 from past professors), and, if invited, appear for an interview with the degree committee.

    Application materials should be sent to:

    A-STATE Graduate School
    PO Box 60
    State University, AR  72467-0060

    PH:  870-972-3029

    Complete the required online Graduate School application.

  • Core Faculty

    Asher M. Pimpleton-Gray, Ph.D., LPC
    Southern Illinois University
    Interim Chair

    Lacy Overley, Ph.D., NCC, LPC, RPT
    Play Therapy Certificate Coordinator
    University of Mississippi

    Savannah Coomier, ABD, LPC, RPT
    Play Therapy Certificate Coordinator
    University of Northern Colorado

    Blake Sandusky, Ph.D., LPC, LMFT
    Auburn University
    CMHC Program Coordinator

    Stephanie Gotay, Ed.D., NCC, CRC
    University of Memphis

    Ashley Williams-Whitley

  • Methods of Instruction

    The Counseling faculty employs a number of instructional methods and tools when engaging with students. During their training, students will have the opportunity to learn using a variety of styles, including, but not limited to, the following:

    • Traditional lecture
    • Experiential
    • Role play
    • Self-reflection
    • Processing
    • Case conceptualization
    • Class discussion
    • Case Simulations
    • Case application
  • Minimum Course/Degree Requirements
    • COUN 6023 Intro to Mental Health Counseling                                          
    • COUN 6033 Social and Cultural Foundations                                             
    • COUN 6043 Career Development and Services                                           
    • COUN 6053 Ethical, Legal and Professional Issues                                    
    • COUN 6123 Group Dynamics                                                                      
    • COUN 6203 Counseling Prepracticum                                                         
    • COUN 6213 Counseling Practicum                                                              
    • COUN 6313 Alcohol and Drug Abuse                                                          
    • COUN 6433 Crisis Counseling                                                                     
    • COUN 7463 Couples and Family Counseling                                              
    • COUN 6113 Theories and Techniques in Helping Relationships                    
    • COUN 6293 Statistics and Research Design                                                    
    • COUN 6543 Psychosocial Aspects of Development                                       
    • COUN 6573 Assessment in Counseling                                                                  
    • COUN 7533 Psychopathology                                                                         
    • COUN 7633 Psychophysiology and Psychopharmacology                              

     Internship Requirements

    • COUN 7473 Mental Health Counseling Internship I                                    
    • COUN 7493 Mental Health Counseling Internship II                                  

     Six Credit Hours of Approved Electives

    For additional information, please review the Graduate Bulletin

  • Accreditation

    Vital Statistics

    Graduation, licensure, and job placement rates:

      2015 - 2016 2016 - 2017 2017 - 2018 2018 - 2019 2019 - 2020 2020 - 2021 2021 - 2022
    Number of CMHC Graduates  8  6  9  4  6  7  9
     Pass Rate on NCE/AR Jurisprudence Exam  100%  100%  100%  100%  100%  100%  100%
     Completion Rates  78%  50%  70%  57%  75%  88%  82%
     Job Placement Rates
    (Students employed as CMHC, counseling related professions, or in doctorate programs)
     75% 83%   100%  100%  100%  100%  100%
    View the annual report >>
  • Graduate Certificate in Play Therapy

    The practice of play therapy requires specialized education and supervised clinical experience. The Association for Play Therapy (APT) mandates licensed mental health professionals obtain 150 hours of play therapy specific education to obtain the Registered Play Therapist (RPT) credential. A-State’s Graduate Certificate in Play Therapy is designed to meet and exceed this educational requirement by offering students extensive training in play therapy with opportunities for supervised practice. The play therapy program is a part of the A-State Play Therapy Education and Research Center, an Approved Center through APT. The certificate program is designed for working professionals with a graduate degree in counseling or a related field. Students currently enrolled in A-State’s clinical mental health counseling program can begin the certificate program by enrolling in play therapy courses as electives.

    Course Requirements
    The certificate consists of 12 graduate credit hours comprised of 4 courses (2 Fall Semester courses and 2 Spring Semester courses):

    COUN 6103 Introduction to Play Therapy
    COUN 6153 Advanced Play Therapy
    COUN 6143 Expressive Arts in Counseling
    COUN 6163 Child-Parent Relationship Therapy

    Admissions Requirements and Program Inquiry
    Please contact Dr. Lacy Overley, Ph.D., NCC, LPC, RPT (lcrumrine@astate.edu) with questions and for further information on admission requirements.