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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. Two options of study, School Counseling and Clinical Mental Health Counseling 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). 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.
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.
- 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).
- 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)