Dr. LeeAnn M. Eschbach, Co-Director
Dr. Kevin S. Wilkerson, Co-Director
The School Counseling program prepares students for entry into elementary and secondary school counseling positions. School Counselors provide professional services aimed at meeting the academic, career, personal, and social needs of students.
The mission of the School Counseling Program at the University of Scranton is to prepare students to become professional school counselors in elementary, middle, or secondary schools. The program emphasizes professional school counselors working to improve educational practices that impact all students through the development and implementation of comprehensive results-based school counseling programs.
Driven by a team effort and a vision of educational equity, the School Counseling Program trains students to contextualize their counseling competencies by developing skills in leadership, advocacy, and collaboration, and to develop an appreciation of diversity in meeting the varied needs of school students. As a member of a team with other school personnel and helping professionals, school counselors assist students to achieve academic success, choose appropriate career paths, make effective decisions, and develop personally and socially.
School Counseling Program
Implicit within our mission statement is a commitment to assist students to develop a professional identity as a school counselor. To aid in that process, special curricular emphasis is placed on both the Education Trust’s National Center for Transforming School Counseling, the American School Counselor Association (ASCA), and the National Model for School Counseling Programs. These organizations and the National Model strongly adhere to the position that professionals in this field can best facilitate academic, career, and personal/social development among students by acting as leaders, advocates, collaborators, and visionaries for systemic change. Students in the University of Scranton’s school counseling program are encouraged to pay particular attention to access and equity issues that contribute to achievement gaps among student groups by developing responses that enhance the academic achievement of all students. The four elements of the ASCA National Model (foundation, delivery system, program management, and accountability) are infused throughout the curriculum. Emphasis is also placed on the American School Counselor Association’s Code of Ethics.
The program faculty are advocates for counseling services that are appropriate and relevant for all students in schools, not just those with problems or in crisis, and they promote the use of developmental perspectives by school counselors. School counseling program faculty are National Trainers with the Education Trust National Center for Transforming School Counseling and are members of state level boards for counseling policy issues. The School Counseling Program prepares graduates to conceptualize and implement comprehensive school counseling programs around the eight goals that characterize developmental counseling. Therefore, the School Counseling Program prepares competent graduates who: understand school environments, understand self and others, understand students’ attitudes and behaviors, understand students’ decision-making and problem solving skills, exercise effective interpersonal and communication skills, understand students’ school success skills, understand students’ career awareness and educational planning, and understand community pride and involvement.
School Counseling Profession
According to the American School Counselor Association, the professional school counselor addresses the needs of students comprehensively through the implementation of a comprehensive, developmental, results-based school counseling program. Their work is differentiated by attention to age-specific developmental stages of student growth and the needs, tasks, and student interests related to those stages. School counselors are specialists in human behavior and relationships who provide assistance to students through four primary interventions: counseling (individual and group), large group guidance, consultation, and coordination.
The American School Counselor Association supports the development and implementation of developmental, sequential, and systemic comprehensive school counseling programs as an integral part of the overall educational program. Through comprehensive school counseling programs, school counselors work with school personnel, families, and community members to assist students in academic, career, personal, and social development.
As in the other areas of professional counseling, employment opportunities for school counselors are projected to grow faster than average for all occupations through 2014 according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook. School Counseling is noted as the fastest growing area of all specialty areas of professional counseling practice.
The School Counseling Program is a 48-credit curriculum leading to the Master of Science degree. There are two specializations: a Specialization in either Elementary or Secondary School Counseling. A three-credit practicum and a three-credit internship experience are among the required courses. Additionally, a student must satisfactorily complete his or her Professional Counselor Portfolio. The School Counseling Program manual specifies four submission dates for a student’s portfolio during his or her program of study. The curriculum is divided into three separate sequential areas; School Counseling Core, Counseling Practice Sequence, and Foundations of Professional Counseling.
Accreditations and Certification
The School Counseling Program is designed to meet the standards for certification as either an Elementary or Secondary School Counselor as established by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE). Upon completion of a program, students meet the academic requirements to apply for the Education Specialist I Certificate in Elementary or Secondary School Counseling. The programs are competency-based and designed to meet the Standards for Program Approval as outlined by PDE.
In addition to meeting the academic requirements for certification, PDE requires four tests: PPST Reading, PPST Writing, PPST Math, and School Guidance and Counseling. Information on these tests is available in the department office. Non-United States citizens need to check with PDE concerning their eligibility for certification. All inquiries regarding certification by PDE and application for same should be directed to PDE at www.teaching.state.pa.us.
The School Counseling Program is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Education Programs (CACREP), a specialized accrediting body recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). This accreditation affords a number of advantages to program graduates. Graduates meet all academic requirements for certification as National Certified Counselors (NCCs) as well as the School Counseling Specialty Certification (National Certified School Counselor [NCSC]). Graduates may apply to the National Board of Certified Counselors to take the National Counselor Examination upon graduation from the program. A student who passes the certification examination will be granted recognition as a NCC. All inquiries regarding certification as a NCC and application for same should be directed to:
National Board for Certified Counselors, Inc.
3-D Terrace Way
Greensboro, NC 27403
The School Counseling Program is a part of the teacher-education unit at The University of Scranton. Besides the School Counseling Program, the teacher-education unit also consists of the Education Department and the Teacher Education Committee. The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) accredits the teacher-education unit of The University of Scranton.
Certain individuals who already possess a relevant Master’s degree may wish to pursue a certification only option. Experience has shown that a Master’s degree in either Education or Psychology and School Counseling are markedly different on several dimensions, including philosophical foundation, professional orientation, pedagogy, clinical emphasis, and areas or purpose of intervention. Thus, we view a relevant Master’s degree as addressing several program components of the School Counseling Program. In those cases, program applicants need to write a letter to the School Counseling Program Director articulating their intent, summarizing relevant work experience, and previous graduate coursework. The School Counseling Program Director prepares an initial review of the student’s credentials and proposes a recommended program of study to the School Counseling Certification Review Committee. An appropriate program of study to meet Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) requirements will be recommended to the applicant if the applicant requires less than 24 graduate credits. If 24 or more graduate credits are needed, the applicant is encouraged to apply to the Master’s Degree program. Students completing the “certificate only” option must meet all competency requirements for PDE certification. The process for certificate only status is detailed in the School Counseling Program Manual.
Refer to General Information under the Department of Counseling and Human Services for policies and procedures applicable to all Department programs.