Types of Mental Health Practitioners

Types of Mental Health Practitioners (<i>cont'd</i>)

L.C.S.W.—Licensed Clinical Social Worker: Social worker who has been licensed by the state to practice counseling.

M.Ed.—Master of Education: Degree awarded by Schools of Education.

M.S. or M.A.—Masters of Science or Master of Arts: Traditional master's degree given by colleges and universities in the United States. A master's degree in psychology in the United States is not considered a terminal degree.

Ed.S.—Educational Specialist: This degree involves more training than a Master's degree but less than a doctorate. Counselors and school psychologists often have this degree.

M.Div.—Master of Divinity: Degree conferred to ministers or pastoral counselors.


There are many certifications available in the mental health field, with emphasis on different mental disorders such as alcoholism, substance abuse, etc. Certifications are often provided through professional organizations and the required training, testing and examinations vary considerably. The most common certifications are:

C.S.A.C.: Certified Substance Abuse Counselor

C.A.C.: Certified Alcoholism Counselor

L.P.C.: Licensed Professional Counselor

M.F.C.C.: Marriage, Family and Child Counselor

C.C.M.H.C.: Certified Clinical Mental Health Counselor

N.C.S.C.: National Certified School Counselor

N.C.G.C.: National Certified Gerontology Counselor

Dr. Grace Tsai received her doctorate from the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health with an emphasis on Social and Behavioral Sciences. She investigated mental health issues in Asian and Asian American communities for her doctoral dissertation. She has served as a Psychiatric Epidemiologist in the Department of Mental Hygiene at Johns Hopkins. Dr. Tsai has also researched other mental health topics such as depression and suicide. She writes on mental health issues for various health organizations.

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