Methodist University’s 100% Online Psychology Programs Promote Academic Advancement, Career Readiness

The state of mental health in America is dire. The country is in desperate need of highly qualified mental health counselors. The academic programs that best promote career readiness for future counselors and mental health professionals are key to addressing the mental health crisis swiftly and effectively.

Dr. Mark Kline, head of Methodist University’s Social Sciences Division and professor of Psychology has a deep understanding of this need and a personal investment and commitment to fighting for the 50 million Americans in need of mental health services today.

Dr. Mark Kline

Faculty Spotlight

Dr. Mark Kline, Head, Social Sciences Division, Methodist University

Dr. Mark Kline is the Head of the Social Sciences Division, the Interim Head of Communication, Composition & Rhetorical Division, and Professor of Psychology at Methodist University. His research focuses on the connection between experience and belief as drivers for different behaviors and intervention studies that have centered on undergraduate binge drinking and its consequences on academic performance.

Methodist University’s 100% Online B.S. in Psychology

The 100% online B.S. in Psychology offers two concentrations, which allows students to tailor their degree to their unique career goals and choose electives that support these goals.

Kline emphasizes the value to students of having the option of concentrating in Counseling/Clinical Psychology or Human Performance Psychology. The Counseling/Clinical Psychology Concentration is perfect for students who want to work closely with people to help them reach their goals; whereas the Human Performance Psychology Concentration focuses on applying the principles of psychology to human resources, engineering and machine interface.

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“The concentrations are unique and different from the standard psychology pathway. They are really for students who want to tailor their educational experience because they have a particular long-term career goal in mind. The purpose of these programs is to give students the experiences and education they need to start down these career pathways.”

Graduates of the fully online B.S. in Psychology program in either concentration go on to rewarding careers in psychology, such as:

  • Substance Abuse Counselors
  • Behavioral Disorder Counselors
  • Social and Community Service Managers
  • Assistant Behavior Analyst
  • Psychiatric Technician
  • Rehabilitation Specialist
  • School Counselor
  • Top- or Mid-level Manager
  • Business Administrator
  • Case Manager
  • Human Resources Manager

Counseling/Clinical Psychology Concentration

The current mental health crisis in the United States will require experts in a variety of mental health treatment specializations. Methodist University’s bachelor’s program teaches students the science of behavior and mental processes, including perception, emotion, and cognition.

The Methodist University completely online bachelor’s program prepares students to understand, diagnose, and treat various mental health disorders, thus contributing to improved mental well-being on a broader scale.

The areas in which students are trained to contribute to this noble endeavor include the following:

  • Early Intervention and Prevention
  • Effective Treatment
  • Specialized Care
  • Public Health Initiatives
  • Research and Innovation
  • Advocacy and Policy
  • Training and Supervision

As Kline explains, “The Counseling/Clinical Psychology Concentration is designed to give students a really solid background in all the different aspects that are going to be necessary for continued education so that they can become licensed to work with patients in the mental health field — either as a clinical psychologist or as a counseling psychologist.”

students deep in discussion

“We leave that up to the individual students. We provide counseling and guidance to our students as they go through the program and decide which pathway they would like to pursue. But this gives students a unique experience for when they're applying to graduate schools — a hands-on experience that most of the people who are applying to graduate programs don't have.”

With a Counseling/Clinical Concentration, graduates can begin working entry-level jobs with their bachelor's degrees. Those who want to advance their skills can enroll in a master’s program, but that won’t prevent them from contributing to the field and treating patients during this critical time when, according to the health care technology company NextStep Solutions, roughly 50 million Americans — 21 percent of U.S. adults — are experiencing at least one mental illness and more than 12.1 million adults have reported serious thoughts of suicide.

The demand for licensed counselors will continue to grow, and the rigorous curriculum and dedicated faculty members in the online psychology bachelor’s program give students the tools and support to achieve their career and personal goals.

In addition, students receive professional guidance through the university’s academic support services.

“The Counseling/Clinical Concentration is slightly different from the human performance concentration, which is where psychology overlaps with the business world,” Kline explains.

Human Performance Psychology Concentration

The Human Performance Concentration lets students go right into business and industry with the skills to apply psychology to the personnel and design areas of business, whether designing systems and products or improving employee engagement and productivity.

“The Human Performance Concentration is really where the Psychology bachelor’s program is unique. This track is about human relations — things like motivation, employee retention, and workflow design — and industry-specific aspects such as ergonomics, product design interfaces, product interfaces,” Kline says. “It's about the psychology of how psychology can help people to do better in business, both on the personnel side but also on the design side.”

human resources on screen

100% Online Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

In Methodist University’s online M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, students use theories, models, and techniques in counseling to master foundational psychology skills, including crisis management, research, and statistical analysis.

The content-heavy courses throughout the master’s program cover topics including:

  • Theories and Models of Counseling
  • Research and Statistical Analysis in Counseling
  • Cultures and Counseling
  • Addiction Counseling

The last component of the 100% online Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program is a capstone course, an integrative learning capstone that stresses the students’ professional identity, during which students will focus on their professional development through the creation of an electronic portfolio, and a presentation that demonstrates their professional growth. Students will also gain a deeper understanding of their chosen specialization by interviewing a mental health professional in that area.

Kline is keenly aware of the importance of the curriculum and the hands-on experience students gain in the master’s program as they relate to the overwhelming mental health crisis in the United States.

“Our goal is to help meet the current crisis in mental health care across the country. The truth of the matter is we have nowhere near enough therapists and mental health providers to meet the mental health needs of Americans who are seeking help,” says Kline. “We have about six million Americans seeking mental health services and treatment and 630,000 total mental health providers.”

This truth is evident in studies from respected advocacy groups and professional organizations that aim to alleviate the mental health crisis. For example, the American Psychological Association in 2020 published the results of a survey by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The survey asked participants, “During the past 12 months, was there any time when you needed mental health treatment or counseling for yourself but didn’t get it?”

The survey, conducted in 2018, concluded that about 5.8 percent of American adults believed they had an unmet need for mental health services during the past year and 24 percent cited “not knowing where to go for services” as their reason for not receiving treatment.

Kline concurs, stating that “patients are woefully underserved, and the providers are woefully overworked. And so, our overarching goal is to help to alleviate the impact of mental illness in this country. We see this program as being a really impressive entry into this field.”

Methodist University’s Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program prepares students for potential career choices including:

  • Licensed Mental Health Counselor - $54,000 per year
  • Substance Abuse Counselor - $48,520 per year
  • Marriage and Family Therapist - $49,880

“We took a lot of the same design ideas that we put into our undergraduate program and followed those through into this master of science program,” says Kline.

Students gain integral skills for a career in mental health counseling, such as:

  • Addiction Counseling
  • Basic Counseling
  • Crisis Management
  • Family Counseling
  • Group Counseling
  • Research
  • Statistical Analysis

Courses in the 100% online master’s program are taught by dedicated, full-time faculty who are 100 percent present to meet the needs of their students and to provide the same quality of education to the students as would be received in the in-person program.

“We're really excited about the opportunity that having this program being delivered online offers, in terms of flexibility,” Kline says.

Because a large number of people who enter into the master’s level clinical mental health counseling field are coming from other occupations and have families, family responsibilities, and financial responsibilities, they need the flexibility to retrain and pivot into a new career pathway in a way that's doable, according to Kline.

“The majority are transitioning from a career that they have either decided isn't for them or have become disillusioned with. They have decided they want to do more with their life. They want to help people. Having this program in the online modality gives these students great flexibility to achieve their new career goals.”

Kline is quick to emphasize the fact that this flexibility does not mean the program sacrifices rigor or resources.

“The training is top notch,” he assures potential students. “This is the same as you would get in a campus-based class. And our online students have access to all of the academic support services that we have for our in-person students, including our tutoring center, writing center, and mental health and counseling services — all levels and types of academic support.”