Dr. Amy T. Banner, Director
The purpose of the Community Counseling Master’s Degree Program is to prepare and train Professional Counselors to work in a variety of practice settings in the community (local, regional, national, and international). Professional Counselors are community leaders and self-reflective clinical practitioners, who serve as advocates for all citizens across the life span, understand and apply principles of group work in building community partnerships, pursue the realization of social justice in communities, and accept responsibility for improving professional practice through an active program of research and evaluation.
The Community Counseling Profession
Community counselors work with individuals, couples, families, and groups with the goal of helping them achieve their full potential across all ages, life-stages, cultures, and capabilities. Specifically, community counselors help others gain perspective on their lives, explore options, make decisions, resolve problems, and take action, all the while relying on the clients’ strengths and resources. When necessary, they are able to diagnose and treat emotional disorders. In addition, community counselors serve clients through outreach, advocacy, preventive education, and by influencing public policy.
The counseling profession is growing rapidly. According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook for 2013 (http://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/mental-health-counselors-and-marriage-and-family-therapists.htm), employment opportunities for counselors are projected to grow by 36 percent through the year 2020. This growth is”much faster than the average for all occupations.”
The Community Counseling Profession
As a nationally accredited program by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Programs (CACREP), the Community Counseling program prepares professional counselors for direct entry into or advancement in counseling positions in a variety of public and private settings. The program prepares students for this work by providing a learning environment in which they acquire the academic competencies of the profession, refine these competencies through application, and experience personal and professional development to meet the standards of Fitness for the Profession.
The program is designed to: 1. Enhance knowledge of counseling concepts and practices; 2. Provide individuals with the counseling skills necessary to function in agency settings; 3. Prepare individuals for certification and licensure in counseling; and 4. Enhance individuals’ employability in entry-level or advanced positions in the counseling profession.
Further, graduates of the Community Counseling program meet the educational requirements for licensure as Professional Counselors in the state of Pennsylvania under Pennsylvania Act 136 of 1998 - The Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists and Professional Counselors Act. According to the provisions of Act 136, the applicant must have successfully completed a planned program of 60-semester hours of graduate course work in counseling or in a field determined by the board of regulation to be closely related to the practice of professional counseling, including a 48-semester hour master’s degree in counseling or in a related field.
The Community Counseling Program is a 60-credit curriculum that leads to the Master of Science degree and fulfills all the educational requirements for licensure as a professional counselor in the state of Pennsylvania. The curriculum is divided into four categories; Foundations of Professional Counseling, Community Counseling Core, Clinical Practice, and Electives. Required credits include course work in the principles and practice of counseling, three credits of practicum (100 hours of supervised counseling experience), and three credits of internship (600 hours of supervised counseling experience). Nine credits of electives are offered to provide students with opportunities for additional study in individual areas of interest and for development of skills in working with specific client populations.
Accreditation and Certification
The Community Counseling program is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), a specialized accrediting body recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Hence, graduates meet all educational requirements for certification as a National Certified Counselor (NCC). Graduates may apply to the National Board of Certified Counselors to take the National Counselor Examination prior to graduation from the program. Every student who passes the certification examination will be granted recognition as an NCC. All inquiries regarding certification as an NCC and application for same should be directed to:
National Board for Certified Counselors, Inc.
3-D Terrace Way
Greensboro, NC 27403
Refer to General Information under the Department of Counseling and Human Services for policies and procedures applicable to all Departmental programs.