School Counseling FAQ
FAQ’s about the School Counseling Program
FAQ’s about the School Counseling Program
- I’m confused about the application process for the School Counseling Program. How does it work?
- I’m not sure graduate school is for me. Does it make sense for me to start at Millersville as a non- degree student and then apply for admission into the program?
- What kind of psychology courses are considered acceptable as prerequisites for admission?
- Can I take my psychology prerequisites after I’m admitted to the program?
- I already have a Master’s Degree in another field. Can any of these credits transfer into the program?
- I already have a Master’s Degree in Education. Can I just take the certification portion of the program and become certified as a school counselor?
- Do I need to be a teacher first in order to become a school counselor?
- I’m already a teacher. Do I have to complete the internship experience all at one time, or can I spread it out and do it in a different format so I can keep teaching?
- What accreditations does this program have?
- Will the course work help me be eligible to become a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC)
- What is the difference between Certification and Licensure?
- How long does it take, on average, to complete the program?
- Can I become a school counselor after completing a 36-credit Master's Degree?
1) I’m confused about the application process for the School Counseling Program. How does it work?
The application procedure is outlined in the Graduate Catalog. Please refer to the Table of Contents to find more details on the program. The School Counseling program does have distinct application deadlines for admittance to the spring and fall semesters, and these can also be found in the Graduate Catalog.
After the school counseling faculty reviews the completed applications, the applicants may then be invited to an admission interview. This interview has two components: a group component and an individual component. Following the interview, accepted applicants will receive a letter inviting them to enter graduate studies.
2) I’m not sure graduate school is for me. Does it make sense for me to start at Millersville as a non- degree student and then apply for admission into the program?
This is an option which some students choose to pursue. However, it is important to note that application to the program does not guarantee admittance into the program. Therefore, students who choose to take courses prior to being officially accepted into the program run the risk of expending resources on courses for which they may not need should they apply to the program and not be accepted or should they decide that graduate school is not the appropriate avenue to pursue.
3) What kind of education and psychology courses are considered acceptable as prerequisites for admission?
Generally, any course beginning with a “PSYC” code is acceptable as a psychology course prerequisite. Most students have an introductory course and a developmental course.
4) Can I take my psychology prerequisites after I’m admitted to the program?
Unlike education courses, psychology courses must be completed before beginning course work in the School Counseling Program. Prerequisite courses in psychology may be in process during the semester in which application to the program is made. However, evidence that the course work is being taken must be submitted with the program application. This can be submitted either in form of a mid-semester grade report or a letter from the professor of the course(s) you are taking.
5) I already have a Master’s Degree in another field. Can any of these credits transfer into the program?
Students who have already earned a Master’s Degree in an area other than school counseling will likely need to take some or all of the coursework from the M.Ed. in School Counseling Program - as well as the Certification courses - in order for Millersville University’s School Counseling Program to endorse their certification as Professional School Counselors.
The School Counseling Graduate faculty will discuss your Master's Degree transcript in depth during the individual admission interview, and they will make decisions regarding the additional level of coursework required at that time. Please consult the program's Plan of Work in order to identify potentially equivalent courses.
6) I already have a Master’s Degree in Education. Can I just take the certification portion of the program and become certified as a school counselor?
Students entering the program with a Master’s Degree in Education will also likely need to take some or all of the coursework from the M.Ed. in School Counseling program. Many of the core courses in the program focus on learning and developing counseling skills and developing skills that are specific to the school counseling profession.
The individual admission interview is an opportunity for applicants to discuss their transcripts in depth with the School Counseling Graduate faculty. The faculty will then make decisions regarding the additional level of coursework required. Please consult the program’s Plan of Work to begin comparing previous coursework with the coursework required in the School Counseling program.
7) Do I need to be a teacher first in order to become a school counselor?
While some states require professional school counselors to have previous teaching experience, Pennsylvania is not one of them. Thus, it is not necessary to have a teaching certification or to have background training in education in order to become a school counselor. Students enter the School Counseling Program at Millersville University with diverse educational and professional backgrounds.
8) I’m already a teacher. Do I have to complete the internship experience all at one time, or can I spread it out and do it in a different format so I can keep teaching?
For most students seeking only certification (as opposed to licensure) the internship experience is a fifteen (15) week, three (3) credit, semester-long supervised field-work opportunity in which students are expected to complete a minimum of four hundred and twenty (420) hours for certification as a professional school counselor. This requirement can be met by working an average of 28 hours per week during fifteen (15) weeks of the semester.
All students are expected to take the Spring Core Internship course. However, there is also a fall semester of internship available (called the Extended Internship) to assist students who need to spread out their hours over more than one semester. Some students in the program have used the Extended Internship option in order to successfully complete the Internship experience while continuing full-time employment as a teacher (or other professional). In this case, students could take a total of six (6) credits of internship, averaging 14 hours per week over 30 weeks of supervised internship.
9) What accreditations does this program have?
Through the College of Education and Human Services, Millersville University professional educator programs are accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). The school counseling program is designed in accordance with the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) guidelines. Thus, curriculum standards, educational pillars, field placement hours, etc. meet or exceed CACREP guidelines, though the program is not CACREP accredited. Our program has been designed in a way that provides both flexibility and rigor, and we have found that this flexibility is sometimes sacrificed in programs driven only by accreditation standards. For example, students sometimes complete a 36 credit, 48 credit, or 60 credit Master’s Degree with varying degrees of field work hours and supervision depending on unique needs. Our program design allows the rigor of the accreditation standards to be combined with the unique needs of different groups of students.
10) Will the course work help me be eligible to become a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC)?
Yes. Current PA State law provides requirements and guidance for students who foresee licensure as a professional counselor as a career goal (http://www.pacode.com/secure/data/049/chapter49/chap49toc.html). Students interested in this opportunity need to be particularly aware of the nine (9) educational pillars outlined in 49.2. Students interested in this path should work in consultation with program advisors to craft an educational path which meets these requirements. Students seeking licensure need a minimum of 48 credits in the Master’s Degree and a total of 60 graduate credits.
11) What is the difference between Certification and Licensure?
Certification is a state-governed (i.e., Pennsylvania Department of Education) mechanism which allows prospective school counselors to earn credentials which would allow the individual to practice in a school setting. With minor exception (e.g., those practicing in private and charter schools, etc.), school professionals have earned and maintained certification in their respective fields of practice. In the state of PA, as of June 30, 2014, certifications in school counseling have moved away from separate categories of “Elementary School Counselor” and “Secondary School Counselor” and towards a unified certification of “pK-12 School Counselor”. At Millersville, this is the 48 credit track in the School Counseling program.
Licensure is a state-governed (i.e., State Board of Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists, and Professional Counselors) mechanism which allows professionals to practice in third-party and private settings (e.g., private practice, psychological service agencies, etc.). While licensure is not a requirement for work as a school counselor, many students find the process to be an important element of career growth and development. At Millersville, this is the 60 credit track in the School Counseling program.
12) How long does it take, on average, to complete the program?
As a full-time student it takes 2 ½- 3 years, depending on completion of pre-requisites. As a part time student you can take up to 5 years to complete the program depending on how many courses you take a semester. Specifics can be discussed with your advisor when accepted into the program.
13) Can I become a school counselor after completing a 36-credit Master's Degree?
While some students find that completing the 36-credit Master's Degree is sufficient for achieving their professional goals (e.g., a professional educator who would like to stay in the classroom but recognizes the value of the counseling coursework towards professional development), students cannot gain certification as a pK-12 school counselor in the state of Pennsylvania without coursework beyond the 36 credits, including a supervised practicum and internship. Most students in the program complete a 48 or 60 credit Master's degree.