The M.Ed. in Professional Counseling is designed for graduate students preparing for employment as professional counselors in schools, community agencies, and colleges/universities or for careers in college student services in colleges and universities. Three options of study, School Counseling, Community Counseling, and College Student Affairs, are available. The School Counseling and Community Counseling programs each consists of a minimum of 48 semester hours (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 community counseling include studies in theory and practice of counseling, life span and career development, individual and group counseling, multicultural counseling, testing and appraisal, and research. Supervised practicum and internship experience specific to the chosen option also are required.
The School Counseling program is preparatory for certification (S-5) in 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. A passing score on the GACE Basic Skills Assessment, GACE Content Assessment, and a recommendation from the University of West Georgia also are required.
The College Student Affairs program includes course work in basic counseling skills and theory, foundational courses in student affairs and theories of student development, and legal issues in higher education and higher education administration. It also provides practical experiences in various aspects of student affairs.
The Community Counseling program is preparatory for a wide variety of positions in community agencies, business, and institutions. Both the Community Counseling and School Counseling options meet the educational requirements for licensure as a professional counselor (LPC) in Georgia and national counselor certification (NCC).
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.
Admission requirements include
- Minimum 2.7 undergraduate GPA
- Minimum GRE composite score of 900 (minimum of 450 verbal and 450/3.5 quantitative or analytical writing)
- Three (3) strong letters of reference from previous faculty, employers, supervisors, or professional colleagues. One letter may be a personal reference.
- Written personal narrative describing the reasons for applying to either the school, community, or college student affairs option, an analysis of personal strengths and weaknesses related to chosen option, career goals, and anticipated benefits from the program
- Interview with faculty
Learning Outcomes (School and Community 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 and group counseling and human development
- Demonstrate ability to facilitate growth, development, success, and health with clients/students in individual and group 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
Learning Outcomes (College Student Affairs)
Students will demonstrate:
- understanding of the historical, philosophical, ethical, cultural, and research foundations of higher education that inform student affairs practice;
- the ability to apply ethical principles to practice;
- understanding of and respect for human diversity and the special needs of minority students;
- the ability to apply basic counseling skills and appropriate development theory to understand, support, and advocate for student learning and development;
- knowledge of the impact of student characteristics and collegiate environment on student learning and learning opportunities;
- knowledge and skills required to design and evaluate effective educational interventions for individuals and groups;
- the ability to apply leadership, organizational, and management practices that assist institutions in accomplishing their mission; and
- the ability to identify and apply assessment, evaluation, and research skills in an ethical and legal manner