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School Counseling Degree Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Who should pursue this major?
  2. Does Mount Union’s school counseling major result in licensure?
  3. Is national certification the same thing as licensure?
  4. Is there a difference between school counseling careers in K-12 and school counseling careers in higher education?
  5. Can I pursue other majors or minors within the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience with this major?

Who should pursue this major?
The University of Mount Union’s School Counseling Program could be of interest to students who are interested in working with K-12 settings, but do not want to become a certified classroom teacher. Students that pursue this degree would work in student support settings (e.g., school counselors, guidance office, etc.). They would work with the students, teaching staff, students’ parents, and other educational constituents (e.g., special education teachers, principals, etc.) to help students reach their academic and social goals. Two, school counseling could be of interest to students who are interested in working in higher education in student affairs settings (e.g., counseling support, student success centers, academic advisement, etc.).

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Does Mount Union’s school counseling major result in licensure?
No, Mount Union’s school counseling major only leads to an undergraduate degree. In order to become a licensed school counselor, one must pursue an advanced degree (a minimum of a Masters degree), successfully complete appropriate licensing exams and log a substantial number of observation/clinical hours. National certification can be earned once licensure is granted and additional clinical hours and testing are completed. With that said, Mount Union’s school counseling major is intended to provide students with a streamlined curriculum that offers several experiential opportunities relevant to counseling and research which will place them in educational contexts prior to their degree completion.

There are a number of institutions in the immediate area that offer graduate-level degrees for school counseling and related programs. For an official state-by-state listing of institutions across the U.S. that offer graduate programs in School Counseling, please visit the American School Counselor Association’s website.

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Is national certification the same thing as licensure?
No, national certification is an additional credential that should be pursued by those wishing to practice school counseling. Whereas licensure gives a candidate permission to practice counseling in a particular state, certification provides proof that the candidate has achieved competency with regard to national standards created by the counseling profession. The National Board for Certified Counselors offers an exam for those seeking certification in school counseling. Successful completion of the National Certified School Counselor Examination (NCSCE) is one component of candidates earning the National Certified School Counselor (NCSC) credential. The additional requirements are listed below. Some of these are in addition to the requirements for licensure.

The following information was taken from the National Board for Certified Counselors.

  1. Master’s degree in counseling or with a major study in counseling from a regionally accredited institution
  2. 3,000 hours of counseling experience and 100 hours of supervision both over a two year post-master’s time period
  3. Post-master’s experience and supervision requirements are waived for graduate students who have completed Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) accredited tracks.
  4. Passing score on NCSCE

For more information about national certification requirements in counseling fields (including school counseling) please visit the National Board for Certified Counselors.

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Is there a difference between school counseling careers in K-12 and school counseling careers in higher education?
School counselors working in college and university settings take on similar roles to those working in K-12 settings. With that said, their training is tailored to the special needs and experiences of individuals transitioning into adulthood. Counselors at this level are trained to diagnose and treat mental and emotional disorders and facilitate the overall development of their students. They may also be trained to deal with more specific issues like mitigating sexual assault or substance abuse. Additionally, school counselors in this setting are expected to understand the structure of higher education and student affairs. They should also be trained in the process of crisis intervention, as well be as trained to administer mental health assessments and interventions specifically for college students. As with school counseling in K-12 settings, successful completion of a Master’s degree from an accredited program is required for licensure.

For more information about school counseling in college/university settings, please visit the American College Counseling Association.

A bachelor’s in school counseling can also prepare individuals for a broader range of school counseling careers in university student affairs settings. These include academic advisement and student support offices, residence life, student programming, judicial affairs, leadership programming, disability services, and Greek life, among others. Master’s programs for this career path incorporate training in areas of student affairs structuring, legal issues, college student diversity, college student development theory, administrative and leadership components, assessment practices, as well as counseling.

For more information about careers in higher education please visit StudentAffairs.com for a list of links to a variety professional associations.

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Can I pursue other majors or minors within the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience with this major?
No, anyone who chooses to pursue this major may not pursue other majors or minors within the Department of Psychology & Neuroscience. These would include the majors and minors in psychology, neuroscience and human development and family science.

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