Professional School Counseling
Director: Jeffrey Warren
The Master of Arts in Education (M.A.Ed.) in Professional School Counseling is designed to assist graduate students in the development of skills and practices necessary for functioning in the role of a professional school counselor in public and private elementary, middle, and secondary schools. The M.A.Ed. in Professional School Counseling meets the standards established by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction for Professional School Counselor licensure and the National Board of Certified Counselors’ standards for national certification as a professional counselor (NCC). The program is located in the School of Education, Department of Educational Leadership and Counseling, and shares a common core of classes with the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program. This program does not prepare students to be clinical mental health counselors. Students interested in careers in clinical mental health counseling should apply to the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program at UNCP.
The M.A.Ed. in Professional School Counseling is organized into three curriculum components:
- Core counseling courses: Core counseling courses provide a foundation of professional knowledge and skills for all counseling students. Students are required to take and pass a comprehensive examination, the Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Exam (CPCE), after completing their core counseling courses. A passing score is required for graduation from the program. The CPCE is a standardized counseling exam that assesses student learning in the core areas. The cost of the exam is $45 and students are allowed three attempts to pass the exam. Students must submit the application and pay the application fee by the required deadline.
- Specialty area and elective courses: Specialty area and elective courses build on the foundation of knowledge and skills established in the core counseling courses by providing instruction in setting-specific and population-specific counseling practices. Specialty area courses may be taken concurrently with clinical field placement courses. Students consult with their academic advisors to determine the specialty and elective courses that will meet degree requirements and be best suited to the students’ needs and interests.
- Clinical field placement courses: Clinical field placement courses integrate the knowledge and skills addressed during academic course work with real world, supervised experience. The clinical field experiences occur in university-approved K-12 school settings and include on-site supervision as well as university-based supervision. The Counseling Practicum consists of a 100-hour field placement experience in an approved site and a 3-credit hour course with on-campus group supervision and instruction. The Counseling Practicum is a 3-credit-hour course that consists of a 100-hour field placement experience in an approved site and on-campus group supervision and instruction occurring weekly. Students complete the Counseling Practicum during their second year of study after completing the core counseling courses. The Counseling Internship is a 3-credit-hour course completed twice over two semesters and consists of a total of 600 hours of field placement experience, 300 hours per semester in an approved site with on-campus group supervision and instruction occurring weekly. Students must submit applications for participation in the clinical field placement courses during the semester prior to beginning their practicum courses.
Courses are scheduled in the evenings and during the summer months. The courses are delivered in a variety of modalities including online, face-to-face, and hybrid formats. The program is a 60-credit hour degree.
The mission of the Graduate Counseling Programs at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke is to train professional counselors committed to improving the mental health and human development of diverse individuals served in schools and communities. Through research, service, and teaching, the faculty members collaborate with students to prepare counseling practitioners who have strong counselor identities, effective clinical and leadership skills, and cultural competence. The counseling programs engage in continual program evaluation and revision to maintain alignment with the counseling profession’s national standards.
Student Learning Outcomes
Upon completion of a counseling program at UNCP, students will show evidence of being reflective practitioners and critical thinkers who seek to respect diverse worldviews, demonstrate self-evaluation and self-reflection strategies, and engage in ongoing interpersonal skill development. Students will develop professional identities as counselors and engage as active members of their professional communities.
- Students will demonstrate understanding of the nature and needs of individuals at all developmental levels.
- Students will demonstrate understanding of issues and trends in a multicultural and diverse society.
- Students will demonstrate understanding of counseling and consultations processes.
- Students will demonstrate understanding of group development, dynamics, counseling theories, group counseling methods and skills, and other group work approaches.
- Students will demonstrate understanding of career development and related life factors.
- Students will demonstrate understanding of individual and group approaches to assessment and evaluation.
- Students will demonstrate understanding of research methods, basic statistics, and ethical and legal considerations in research.
- Students will demonstrate understanding of all aspects of professional functioning including history, roles, organizational structures, ethics, standards, and credentialing.
- Students will demonstrate knowledge and skills appropriate for their intended practice setting.
- Students will demonstrate ability to engage in ongoing self-development through selfevaluation, self-reflection, self-caring behaviors, and interpersonal skill development.
Program-Specific Admissions Requirements (see also Graduate Admissions)
In addition to the School of Graduate Studies and Research admissions requirements:
- Submit an essay detailing experiences and goals relevant to professional school counseling;
- Submit three letters of recommendation from individuals with whom the applicant has professional affiliation, such as former faculty members or supervisors; and
- Participate in an interview with program faculty.
Candidates possessing a graduate degree in a counseling area and who do not desire a degree specifically in school counseling may apply for admittance to the Professional School Counseling program for licensure-only status and will be prescribed a Plan of Study (POS).
Candidates who wish to enter the school counseling licensure-only program are students who have already earned at least a 48 credit hour master’s degree from a regionally accredited institution in a counseling degree program.
A summary of the protocol and policy is as follows:
- Candidates seeking licensure-only status must apply for program admission through the School of Graduate Studies and Research. All aspects of the application process must be completed (i.e., essay, letters of reference, interview, and official transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate level coursework). Applications must also include a recent (within 5 years) MAT or GRE score. Licensure-only candidates are subject to the same admission criteria as degreeseeking candidates. Candidates must meet the criteria for full-standing status.
- Only candidates with at least a 48-hour graduate degree in counseling from a regionally accredited program will be considered for licensure-only status. An example of this situation is when a practicing agency counselor with a recent degree in community counseling desires training and licensure to practice as a school counselor in a public or private school setting. Practicing teachers who hold “A” or “M” licensure in a teaching area (e.g., special education, administration, middle grades) and who desire training as a school counselor are not eligible for licensure-only status, but are invited to apply for the full master’s degree program.
- Once admitted, students will be issued a Plan of Study (POS). The POS is recommended by the Counseling Programs Faculty and jointly approved by the Professional School Counseling Program Director and the Teacher Education Licensure Officer.
- Students must complete their POS within six years.
- Students must earn a “B” or better in all graded coursework applied toward satisfying licensure-only requirements. In courses that are graded on a pass/fail basis, students must earn a “pass.” Failure to meet this requirement will render the student ineligible to continue licensure-only study and ineligible to receive a recommendation for licensure from UNCP.
- Students are obligated to adhere to all other policies established by the program, school, and university.
- Students must take Praxis II Specialty Area Test in Professional School Counseling upon completion of the POS. Official scores must be submitted to the Teacher Education Licensure Officer. Students who do not achieve a passing Praxis II score set by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) will be ineligible to receive a recommendation for licensure from UNCP.
- Students should be aware that UNCP makes recommendation for licensure only; licensure is granted by the NCDPI. Thus, there may be other requirements mandated by NCDPI before a license will be issued.
Prospective students interested in registering for coursework to achieve credentialing in either of the graduate counseling areas should contact the Program Director for information. Requests to take courses for credentialing purposes must be made to the Program Director and will be reviewed by program faculty. Non-degree-seeking students, including graduates of either UNCP counseling program, should complete the School of Graduate Studies and Research application form following the procedures for Enrollment for Enrichment Purposes and consult with the Non-Degree-Seeking Student Coordinator two months prior to the start of the semester in which the students would like to register for courses. Students seeking to enroll in courses for summer and fall semesters should apply by April and students seeking to enroll in courses for spring semesters should apply by October. Students who are permitted to take courses as non-degree-seeking students will attend an orientation session with the Coordinator. Non-degree-seeking students are not permitted to take field placement courses at UNCP in either counseling program.