Stress and anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic has many reaching out for mental health services to cope, some for the very first time. However, Hawaiʻi’s ongoing shortage of qualified mental health counselors has hindered meeting the growing demand, especially in rural areas.
“Employment opportunities in this field are expected to grow at a faster than average rate over the coming years,” said Charmaine Higa-McMillan, professor of psychology and director of the UH Hilo MA counseling psychology program.
“Graduates of the program have employment opportunities in a number of settings, including, but not limited to, community mental health clinics, public and private elementary and secondary schools, colleges and universities, correctional facilities, vocational rehabilitation and career counseling, residential care, drug and alcohol rehabilitation, child welfare and military counseling settings.”
The Masters in Psychology and Counseling Accreditation Council (MPCAC) approved UH Hilo’s certification, which will run through June 2029. The MPCAC accredits academic programs in psychology and counseling, which promote training in the scientific practice of professional psychology and counseling at the master’s level.
“Graduates of the program are also eligible for the Mental Health Counselor license, which allows those who are licensed to open a private practice and receive third-party payments from health insurance companies,” Higa-McMillan added.
In 2018, the UH Hilo program expanded its reach to all residents of Hawaiʻi through distance education.
For more information go to the MA Counseling Psychology Program.