The M.Ed. in Professional Counseling is designed for graduate students preparing for employment as professional counselors in schools, community and clinical agencies, and colleges/universities or for careers in college student services in colleges and universities. Three options of study, School Counseling, Clinical Mental Health Counseling, and College Student Affairs, are available. The School Counseling program consists of a minimum of 60 semester hours (2-1/2 years of full time study). The Clinical Mental Health Counseling program consists of a minimum of 60 semester hours (2-1/2 years of full time study). The College Student Affairs program consists of a minimum of 42 semester hours. A student will receive faculty endorsement only for the relevant option and plan of study completed.
Core courses in School and Clinical Mental Health Counseling include studies in theory and practice of counseling, life span and career development, individual and group counseling, multicultural counseling, testing and appraisal, research crisis and trauma counseling, substance abuse counseling, and couples/family counseling. Supervised practicum and internship experience specific to the chosen option also are required.
The School Counseling program is preparatory for certification (S-5) in kindergarten, elementary, middle, and secondary school counseling. Completion of the M.Ed. in School Counseling meets one of the requirements for professional certification as a school counselor (S-5) in Georgia. Passing scores on the GACE Program Admission Assessment, GACE Content Assessment, and verification of program completion from the University of West Georgia also are required.
The Clinical Mental Health Counseling program is preparatory for a wide variety of positions in community agencies, business, and institutions. The Clinical Mental Health Counseling option meets the current educational requirements for licensure as a professional counselor (LPC) in Georgia and both the Clinical Mental Health and School Counseling options meet the educational requirements for national counselor certification (NCC) through the National Board for Certified Counselors.
The College Student Affairs program includes course work in basic counseling skills and theory, research, foundational courses in student affairs and theories of student development, and higher education administration. It also provides practical experiences in various aspects of student affairs.
The College Student Affairs program provides graduates with knowledge, skills, and dispositions required to work with college students in a variety of settings within higher education organizations. This program emphasizes a counseling foundation for preparing college student affairs personnel to foster student development. Completion of this degree does NOT meet the requirements for licensure as a professional counselor or certification as a school counselor in Georgia and candidates will not be endorsed for either credential.
General Admission requirements to all Master of Education (M.Ed.) programs in Professional Counseling include
- Minimum 2.7 undergraduate GPA
- Minimum GRE composite score of 286: 146 verbal reasoning, 140 quantitative reasoning, and 3.5 analytical writing
- Current resume
- Written personal narrative describing the reasons for applying to the program, an analysis of personal strengths and weaknesses related to chosen option, career goals, and anticipated benefits from the program.
- Interview with faculty. This interview will focus on the assessment of factors such as emotional maturity, professional related experience, readiness for the program, life experiences, attitude, compatibility with department goals, and communication/interpersonal skills.
Additional Admission requirements specific for School Counseling program includes
- Passing score on GACE Program Admission Assessment or exemption scores.
Additional Admission requirement specific for College Student Affairs Counseling program includes
- Two letters of recommendation (i.e., one from a faculty member and one from a current or former supervisor or professional colleague).
Learning Outcomes (School and Clinical Mental Health Counseling)
- Candidates will demonstrate professional dispositions consistent with the field of professional counseling, as measured by an average rating of “proficient” or higher on a summative administration of the Professional Dispositions and Behaviors Rubric.
- Candidates will demonstrate professional skills consistent with the field of professional counseling, as measured by an average rating of “proficient” or higher on a summative administration of the Field Placement Evaluation.
- Candidates will know the major concepts, theories, and practices articulated in current counselor preparation standards, as measured by a passing score on the Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Examination (CPCE).
Program Goals (School and Clinical Mental Health Counseling)
- Develop and demonstrate an identity as a professional counselor
- Demonstrate an understanding of the roles and functions of professional counselors as leaders, advocates, collaborators, and consultants
- Demonstrate an understanding of and compliance with codes of ethics and standards of practice of the counseling profession
- Demonstrate ability to use technology to enhance services delivered to clients/students
- Demonstrate an understanding of and skills to work with and advocate for diverse client/student populations
- Demonstrate an understanding and practical application of theories of individual, group, and couples/families counseling and human development
- Demonstrate ability to facilitate growth, development, success, and health with clients/students in individual, group, and couples/families settings
- Demonstrate an understanding of approaches to research, assessment, and evaluation and use of data to meet the needs of clients, students, and/or communities
- Demonstrate an understanding of career development theories and ability to facilitate client/student career decision making and/or opportunities
- Demonstrate ability to work with clients/students experiencing crisis and trauma (CMHC)
- Demonstrate ability to work with diverse populations on issues of substance misuse and abuse (CMHC)
Learning Outcomes (College Student Affairs Counseling)
- Demonstrate understanding of the historical, philosophical, ethical, cultural, and research foundations of higher education that inform student affairs practice;
- Demonstrate the ability to apply ethical principles to practice;
- Demonstrate understanding of and respect for human diversity and the special needs of minority students;
- Demonstrate the ability to apply basic counseling skills and appropriate development theory to understand, support, and advocate for student learning and development;
- Demonstrate knowledge of the impact of student characteristics and collegiate environment on student learning and learning opportunities;
- Demonstrate knowledge and skills required to design and evaluate effective educational interventions for individuals and groups;
- Demonstrate the ability to apply leadership, organizational, and management practices that assist institutions in accomplishing their mission; and
- Demonstrate the ability to identify and apply assessment, evaluation, and research skills in an ethical and legal manner