A Specialized Calling
Professionally licensed Christian counseling is a highly specialized calling that requires careful training. In the Master of Arts in Counseling (MAC) program at Reformed Theological Seminary, we prepare Christians to work with God’s Word and God’s world as they apply God’s truth to the fabric of people’s lives. Under the authority of Scripture and with the foundation of a biblical worldview, our students learn to see the people they help both as individuals living before the face of God and as active members of family relationships.
Integrating the study of God and the study of those who bear his image.
For centuries, Reformed theology has recognized the importance of both knowing the Lord and knowing ourselves. Theology focuses attention on God’s revelation of himself, primarily through the Scriptures; counseling focuses on the human mind, heart, and experience. Our 78-hour MAC program includes 61 hours of professional counseling courses while also emphasizing the discipline of theology in the required biblical theology, systematic theology, and integration of theology and counseling courses. Students will learn to use Scripture to discern God’s truth in the use of secular texts and research.
Program-directed clinical experience.
Many counseling programs fulfill practicum and internship requirements through unaffiliated off-site internships that students are responsible to secure. All RTS students, however, counsel people in practicum and internship sites closely affiliated and secured by the program. At these sites, students acquire at least 400 face-to-face clinical hours. Students receive supervision as individuals and in groups from professors and other licensed mental health counselors who work in coordination with the program. Students find the clinical experience to be deeply challenging and rewarding, as they work collaboratively with their professors, supervisors and other students.
Cohort-based clinical experience.
MAC students enter the clinical practicum and internship experience together at the same time in the same clinic. By going through this experience together, students have the opportunity to counsel together and consult or pray with each other before and after sessions. Students can also view their counseling sessions via video-recording or live observation and provide input about clients or constructive feedback to help each other develop. Since the MAC program lasts two years, second-year help students mentor first-year students during their practicum.
2017-2018 Student Outcome Statistics
Number of graduates in the past academic year
Pass rate on credentialing examinations
Program completion rate
Job placement rate
1 Based on the report of alumni surveyed in 2018
To view the 2019-2020 Annual Report, click here.
The MAC program is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) which is the largest accrediting organization for graduate counseling programs in North America. Programs receiving CACREP accreditation have gone through an extensive multilevel external review process and demonstrated that they meet national standards. The MAC program provides Clinical Mental Health Counseling training that prepares students for state licensure as Licensed Mental Health Counselors and Licensed Professional Counselors who are qualified to practice in agencies, private practices, church counseling centers, and other settings.
Graduates of the RTS MAC program have become clinical mental health counselors, pastors, missionaries, consultants, doctoral students, and professors. Clinical experience is the heart of the MAC program, even in the classroom. Professors seek to apply all theoretical material directly to the practice of counseling. RTS requires that all counseling professors maintain active private counseling practices, so their clinical skills and insight remain sharp. These clinical skills combined with the professors’ academic knowledge keep our students at the forefront of the field of counseling as Christian professionals.
Full-time, cohort-based program.
All students admitted to the program are generally expected to maintain full-time status for the duration of the core counseling curriculum. Students progress through all counseling courses as a group, or “cohort.” Many of the courses have interactive and small-group discussion components that enhance class cohesion. The program is not designed for students looking to complete a degree by taking classes online or on an extended part-time basis.
Limited and selective enrollment.
MAC enrollment is limited to 24 students per class per campus. Classes are kept small in order to facilitate relationships among the students, enhance the classroom experience and provide intensive supervision once students enter the clinical component of the program. For more information, visit our application process page.
Students find that their own hearts grow increasingly alive in relationship with others and greater intimacy with God. Through classroom activities, clinical experiences, personal self-care, group activities and more, students are challenged to become more of who they were created to be in Christ. Students experience the joys and challenges of the MAC program together and support one another emotionally and spiritually.
MAC Mission Statement
The mission of the Master of Arts in Counseling program is to prepare distinctly Christian, conceptually and clinically competent Professional Counselors who can integrate their Christian faith and Reformed worldview with their knowledge of counseling, render counseling to both churched and non-churched populations in multicultural and pluralistic societies and successfully enter the helping field.
MAC Program Objectives
PO 1: Faith and Worldview. Graduates demonstrate a lively Christian faith and the ability to integrate their Christian faith and Reformed worldview with their counseling
PO 2: Professional competence. Graduates have the necessary knowledge, skills, and dispositions to be professionally competent conceptually and clinically in the areas of (1) professional counseling orientation and ethical practice, (2) social and cultural diversity, (3) human growth and development, (4) career development, (5) counseling and helping relationships, (6) group counseling and group work, (7) assessment and testing, (8) research and program evaluation, and (9) clinical mental health counseling.
PO 3: Diverse populations. Graduates have the necessary knowledge, skills, and dispositions to render service to churched and unchurched populations in our multicultural and pluralistic society
PO 4: Licensure. Graduates have the necessary knowledge, skills, and dispositions successfully to be licensed as professional counselors
The MAC program currently meets the academic and clinical requirements of the Mississippi Board of Licensed Professional Counselors and the Florida Board of Social Work, Marriage and Family Therapy, and Mental Health Counselors. The MAC program is accredited by Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) and most states use the CACREP curriculum as their academic requirements for licensure. However, requirements vary widely by state and are constantly revised by the states. Therefore, the MAC program has not made a determination whether the Master of Arts in Counseling program meets the basic educational requirement for initial licensure by examination in all states. Since each state specifies its own licensure requirements, students are advised to check with the licensure board in their state or the state in which they plan to work. The best place to obtain current licensing board contact information listing are at the American Counseling Association: https://www.counseling.org/knowledge-center/licensure-requirements/state-professional-counselor-licensure-boards.
Licensing and Certification
There are a number of requirements above and beyond a graduate degree that are necessary to become a licensed professional counselor. After an individual has received a master’s degree in counseling, state licensure boards generally require applicants to complete a minimum number of supervised counseling hours, a specified ratio of clinical supervision to hours of clinical experience, a passing grade on a state-approved licensure exam administered by the National Board of Certified Counselors (some states require two exams), and possibly additional continuing education. These requirements often take two or more years to complete after completion of the individual’s Master of Arts in Counseling degree.
As mentioned above, the MAC program meets the licensure requirements for many states. However, it is the student’s responsibility to be familiar with the specific licensure requirements for the state in which they anticipate practicing. The faculty and staff do play a supportive role for the student when there are questions or concerns about the licensure process. It is important to note that each student should keep a copy of all syllabi for documentation with various licensing agencies. The following websites are associated with licensure within the states of our 2 sites. Since the policies change frequently, this is the best source for keeping up with licensure requirements:
State Counseling Licensure Boards
FL Board of CSW, MFT and MHC: https://floridasmentalhealthprofessions.gov/licensing/
MS Board of Examiners for LPC: lpc.ms.gov
Professional Counseling Associations
American Counseling Association: counseling.org
FL Counseling Association: flacounseling.org
MS Counseling Association: mica.memberclicks.net