How to: Master of Arts in Counseling Program

March 18, 2024

by Becky Towne, Professor of Christian Spirituality and Counseling; Kairos Executive Partner; Houston Graduate School of Theology Legacy President


In the past, we have talked about the various programs available within the Kairos community. Today, we will be looking at the Master of Arts in Counseling (MACO) program.

The Master of Arts in Counseling is designed to prepare individuals for work in the fields of mental health counseling and marriage and family therapy through academic, clinical, and formational development. Due to its robust design, the program prepares students to pursue licensure in over 40 states and in several provinces within Canada. Let’s take a look at some of the other reasons people choose to enroll.

Why Do People Enroll in the Master of Arts in Counseling Program?

When prospective students consider the MACO program, they often aspire to work in the fields of clinical mental counseling and psychotherapy in the future. What they discover about the program excites them. The MACO program is an integrative academic and clinical program. Learning brings together mentorship and guidance from faculty with participation in self-paced learning experiences and in formation and integration groups. Concepts and knowledge are practically applied through supervised clinical work.

Formation and integration groups are a community-building weekly group that is comprised of 8-15 students and a faculty facilitator who is in private practice, who has an earned doctorate in the field of advanced counseling, and who integrates faith and discipleship into counseling practice. Students love the groups as a place to ask questions, learn more about how things work in the counseling office, and get to know other students.

The program prepares students for national exams following graduation by learning to navigate shorter quizzes throughout the program and by taking a preparatory exam following completion of the core curriculum (the first 45 credits of the program). The core curriculum is normally completed prior to the first practicum/internship experience, although requirements  for practicum and internships do vary by state/province/country.

The Aspects of the Journey

Each student is provided with a degree plan that is tailored to state/province requirements. These plans helps students navigate the program from foundational to upper division coursework. Most students progress through the plan as outlined to integrate learning from the lower to upper division courses.

Following completion of the core curriculum, students register for and complete the Comprehensive Preparatory Counselor Exam (CPCE). This exam shows that students have integrated learning from the eight core competencies of counseling—human development, theories, skills, diversity, professional orientation, legal and ethical issues, lifestyle and career counseling, and group. With this step accomplished successfully, a student’s work in practicum and internships will be adequately informed.

The practicum and internships are entered into near the end of the MACO program as a way to practice the learning and experience gained through the program and through interaction with faculty and students. Following graduation, students typically sit for the National Counselor Exam (or a related exam) and then apply for expanded internships as they work toward licensure.

How Has The Program Served Students?

Emmanuel’s Story
I chose to pursue the Master of Arts in Counseling because of my deep passion for helping others, especially in the context of my unique experiences as a refugee and immigrant. My journey has taught me the value of resilience, empathy, and the transformative power of counseling. Through my work in youth care and community services, I have seen firsthand the impact of mental health support on individuals and communities. The MACO provides me with a structured and comprehensive program that is enhancing my knowledge and skills, allowing me to make an even greater difference in the lives of those I serve.

Emi’s Story
After researching multiple Christian universities with the MACO around the world, I found Kairos to be one of the most faith-based and financially reasonable schools of those I investigated. The program is designed to meet the busy schedule of 21st century professionals. Once I started the program, I was astonished with how knowledgeable and experienced professors were. They are always helpful and encouraging to keep us motivated.

Simon’s Story
I chose Kairos because I wanted a faith component in a counseling program, and I needed the versatility of a self-paced program. So, I guess you could say that Kairos was made for me! I’m a few courses through the program, and it’s been a great experience thus far. The staff is very knowledgeable and responsive, and the coursework seems to be the right level of challenge for a Master’s program. I rave about Kairos so much that a friend of mine has applied!

Faith’s Story
I graduated from Kairos in fall 2023 with the Master of Arts in Counseling!  Attending Kairos gave me the opportunity not only to earn a degree but also to prioritize my young family! The format of the classes allowed for freedom in my schedule that I’ve never experienced in any other degree program. I recommend this program to anyone that is looking for a Christian-based experience that really accommodates your educational journey as well as your personal journey!

all stories