The School Counseling curriculum prepares students for counseling in elementary and secondary schools.
The program includes the course work and experiences required for endorsement as a school counselor. Students working toward certification as K–12 school counselors should consult with the coordinator of the School Counseling program about the requirements of the state where they plan to work. Some states require teacher certification in order to obtain school counselor endorsement.
Students enrolled in the MA in School Counseling program must sign a Conviction Clearance form, certifying they have not been convicted of (or pleaded no contest to) a misdemeanor or felony. This form must be signed at three points in their program: prior to registering for their first class, prior to registering for GDPC 655 Internship in Counseling and beginning their internship, and prior to applying for certification as a school counselor through the Office of Teacher Certification at Andrews University. Having a prior conviction may make it impossible to complete the program.
Total MA Degree Credits—60
Due to the sequential nature of the School Counseling program, students must begin full-time study in the fall semester if they are to complete in two academic years.
Students are required to attend a minimum of eight weekly personal counseling sessions during the first semester of enrollment. These sessions may be arranged with the University’s Counseling & Testing Center or in the public sector by a licensed therapist. A letter verifying the completion of these eight sessions is required by the end of the first semester.
Continuation in the School Counseling program is based upon a periodic review, by the department, of the student’s academic performance and personal qualifications as a school counselor.
A student who already possesses a master’s degree and wishes to qualify for certification as a school counselor should consult with the Coordinator of the MA in School Counseling program.
The School Counseling program is designed to meet the criteria established by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). This program require instruction in nine common-core areas as well as clinical instruction. The CACREP Core Program Objectives are met in various courses throughout the program. These Core Program Objectives include the following:
- Professional Counseling Identity. Our graduates will develop understanding of the history of professional counseling, knowledge of the philosophical foundations of the profession, knowledge of the roles and functions of counselors, professional pride/professional engagement and knowledge and understanding of professional ethics.
- Ethical Practice. Our graduates will commit to and follow professional ethics consistent with the American Counseling Association ethical guidelines. They seek supervision/consultation to resolve ethical dilemmas and take personal responsibility in the event an ethical error is committed. Students also develop a strong awareness of their own values and worldviews, recognize their own competencies and limitations, maintain openness to supervision and recognize/acknowledge/remediate personal issues that may impact client care. They express a clear understanding of personal needs, values, strengths, weaknesses, feelings and motivations that may impinge upon effectiveness as a counselor. They understand the need for themselves to maintain good mental and physical health.
- Social and Cultural Diversity. Our graduates will develop awareness of power, privilege and difference and their own cultural attitudes, beliefs and effects of social location and learn strategies for working with diverse populations, gender, sexual orientation, ethnic and other non-dominant groups. Students develop an ability to recognize the injustices that affect physical, academic, career, economic and mental wellbeing of individuals and learn skill sets to act to alleviate such injustices in the society. Students develop the ability to be empowering agents and advocates in service as change agents on the systemic level to better serve under-represented, marginalized and oppressed individuals and groups. Our students will also model the desire to give back to one’s community, church or society either by advocating for an identified issue of social justice or by engaging in service to their church and/or community.
- Human Growth and Development. Our graduates will learn to interpret and apply core theory and research of the nature and needs of individuals at all developmental levels and in multicultural contexts.
- Career Development. Our graduates will develop understanding on how to apply core theory and research of career development, the psychology of work and related factors. Students learn which assessment instruments and techniques are relevant to career planning and decision making.
- Helping Relationships. Our graduates will develop therapeutic communications skills, emphasize the client-counselor relationship and facilitate and manage the counseling process with individuals and groups. Students develop an understanding of a range of counseling theories consistent with their own theoretical orientation, a critical evaluation of the literature, client mental health needs and goals in counseling, diagnosis and best practices in the profession.
- Group Work. Our graduates will develop an understanding of the theoretical and experiential foundations of group purpose, development and dynamics and understand how to apply group counseling methods and skills in group settings.
- Assessment. Our graduates will understand principles of testing and measurement and learn how to apply both individual and group methods of assessment and evaluation.
- Research and Program Evaluation. Our graduates will understand methods and roles of research, statistical analysis, needs assessment and program evaluation.
After completion of the M.A. in School Counseling, the students will be able to:
- Understand, respond to and advocate for the guidance needs of diverse student populations in a multicultural and pluralistic society, including issues regarding race, culture, religion, spirituality, sexual orientation, age, ability, gender, socioeconomic status, educational levels and multi-racial identities.
- Communicate and collaborate with school age students, their families, school staff and community agency representatives to promote a safe, healthy and effective learning environment.
- Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of systems theories, models and processes of consultation in school system settings and develop a personal theory of counseling.
- Apply knowledge of career development theory and practice to facilitate development student career and transition skills.
- Demonstrate understanding of the psychosocial foundations of human development across the life span.
- Applies relevant research findings to inform the practice of school counseling. Utilize student and institutional data to improve programs and recommend change.
- Develop, organize administer and conduct programs to enhance student academic development.
- Apply basic counseling and facilitative communication skills in individual and small group settings.
- Apply the knowledge of current technology for purposes of presentations, supervision, assessment, and professional record keeping.
- Apply psycho-educational theory and concepts in relation to individual assessment of aptitude, interest and achievement.
- Model legal and ethical standards of school counseling in accordance with state and federal law and the standards of the American School Counselor Association and the American Counseling Association.
- Demonstrate a commitment to professional development by joining and becoming active members in the American Counseling Association (ACA) or the American School Counselor Association.
- Model the desire to give back to one’s community, church or society either by advocating for an identified issue of social justice or by engaging in service to their church and/or community.