Welcome to the Counselor Education Program at Penn State!

Find your path in Counselor Education
Find your path in Counselor Education


The Counselor Education (CNED) and Rehabilitation and Human Services (RHS) programs envision an equitable and just world in which all people and, in particular, historically marginalized people can engage meaningfully and ethically, free of discrimination, systemic racism, ableism, and all forms of oppression. 


The CNED and RHS programs engage in research, teaching, service, and advocacy that values diversity and promotes equity and antiracism by (a) implementing research that identifies racial, economic, health, and disability disparities and integrates counseling and human service interventions designed to prevent and eliminate these inequities, (b) educating students to be effective social justice change agents, and (c) collaborating with local, state, and federal partners to eradicate systemic barriers and racism that limit human potential.   


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Counselor Education Degree Programs

The Ph.D. program, accredited by CACREP (Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs), prepares students to work as counselor educators, clinical supervisors, and advanced practitioners in academic and clinical settings.

Counselor Education at Penn State is a graduate program within the College of Education that offers professional preparation at the master's degree level (M.Ed. only) for qualified persons wishing to become a professional counselor in a range of emphases, each accredited by national and, where appropriate, state credentialing boards. See links below for more information on specific emphases within the program.

The Counselor Education master's program advocates for the provision of services to all people, regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, religion sexual orientation, ability level, or values. As such, our program prepares you to honor and respect human diversity. Our program emphasizes professional competency, a respect for human diversity, and evidence-based practices. Our program provides students the opportunity for experiential learning that often results in significant changes. The Counselor Education faculty expects our students to change as they develop in the program. We aim to instill in each student the capacity to not only understand and respect his or her own experiences, values, and identity, but the capacity to respect others' experiences, values, and identities that are unlike their own. We believe the capacity to know and respect self, and to know and respect another is a cornerstone of our profession. Counselors use a range of evidence-based interventions with individuals, groups, and in communities, to facilitate meaningful change in the lives of people seeking our services.

Counselor Education CACREP Accreditation


Career Counseling


Graduates: 1
Completion rate: 100%
Licensure pass rate: 100%
Job Placement rate: 100%


Clinical Mental Health Counseling in Schools and Communities


Graduates: 7
Completion rate: 100%
Licensure pass rate: 100%
Job Placement rate: 100%


Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling/Clinical Mental Health Counseling


Graduates: 8
Completion rate: 100%
Licensure pass rate: 100%
Job Placement rate: 100%


School Counseling


Graduates: 6
Completion rate: 95%
Certification pass rate: 100%
Job Placement rate: 100%


Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision


Graduates: 9
Completion rate: 100%
Licensure pass rate: 100%
Job Placement rate: 100%



Program evaluation, which is a continuous activity for the Counselor Education program, is based on data from a variety of sources including (a) surveys of alumni, employers of graduates, and supervisors that occur at least every three years; (b) yearly evaluations of the program that students submit anonymously with their annual self-evaluations; (c) feedback from members of the Counselor Education Advisory Board; (d) other meetings and interactions with students, supervisors, and employers throughout the academic year; and (e) other appropriate evaluative data.

The 165 alumni who responded to the surveys in 2019, rated the program as good or very good, with an average of 4.2 on a scale of 1, low, to 5, high. The age ranged from 24 to 82 years old.


The majority of alumni were certified in their respective specialization areas (e.g., Certified Elementary School Counselor or Secondary School Counselor, or Licensed Professional Counselor) and/or as Nationally Certified Counselors.


The majority of the respondents were currently employed in a counseling field or in a profession where they utilize their counselor training:




  • Elementary School Counselor

  • Secondary School Counselor

  • Career Counselor

  • Clinical Mental Health Counselor

  • Rehabilitation Counselor

  • Interim Assoc. VP/Dean of Student Affairs

  • Faculty in a Counselor Education Program

  • Professor

  • Sexual Assault Counselor

  • Therapist and Research Coordinator at The Pediatric Eating Disorders Center

  • Transition classroom therapist

  • Unit Supervisor for Vocational Rehabilitation

  • Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor with OVR

  • Military Disability Specialist

  • Benefits Clinician

  • Family-Based Therapist

  • Associate Professor, Director of School Counseling Program

  • Director of Accessibility Services


Alumni ratings for practicum and internship were consistently high, as were their ratings of their counseling training and learning counseling competencies (averages within the 4 to 5 range).


Alumni, in general, were satisfied to very satisfied with their advising experience (averages within the 4 to 5 range).


Alumni reported membership includes ACA, ACES, AMHCA, PCA, ACCA, ASCA, NBCC, NARACES, ALGBTIC, NLPA, CSI, PMHCA, AMCD, ARCA.


The majority of the alumni were very satisfied with the opportunities to interact with faculty during the completion of their program (averages within the 4 to 5 range).


Alumni rated the program very highly (averages within the 4 to 5 range).


The following are aspects of the program that were especially effective to Alumni:


  • "Availability of professors to help and advise."

  • "Teaching requirement - it prepared me for the classroom & writing a syllabus, skills that I find quite a few new faculty lack."

  • "Advisement, dissertation advisement, strength of courses, and clear course plans."

  • "Clinical experience in the counseling clinic. Practicum  Internship/ supervision  Over all emphasis on wellness (very effective for transitioning into work)."

  • "I loved it. I learned so much. I miss it often."

  • "Most professors were excellent teachers who were personally congruent with the profession."

  • "Counseling skills, some aspects of advocacy and social justice. Some supervisors were very helpful, generally speaking the faculty who were still very involved in current counseling practice in the field were most helpful."

  • "Focus on diversity on multiple levels, approachable professors."

  • "Mentorship, involvement in professional associations and organizations, writing and research skills."

  • "Amazing opportunities for research mentorship"

  • "Learning how to analyze research Learning how to write a graduate level"

  • "The program met requirements which allowed me to obtain my LPC."

  • "Excellent skill building!"


Testimonial: "I thoroughly enjoyed this graduate program. I found that the faculty were always willing to help and accommodate my needs. My personal belief is that faculty wanted to see students succeed and become leaders in the counseling field. I feel as though the Counselor Education Master's program at Penn State has well prepared me to be a counselor working in the field."

On a scale from Very Good (5) to Very Poor (1), all 13 employer ratings were Very Good or Good (averages within the 4 to 5 range) for the following areas:


  • Academic preparation

  • Counseling skills

  • Professional development

  • Knowledge of current issues

  • Knowledge of legal and ethical issues

  • Administrative skill


Areas noted as strengths for interns and graduates:


  • Strong communication skills

  • Counseling skills

  • Strong multicultural awareness and training

  • Dedication and commitment to the field of counseling

  • Strong academic training

  • Professionalism.


Strengths of the program:


  • Practicum experience

  • Focus on research-based approaches to counseling

  • Faculty commitment to students.


Examples of employers perceived strengths of our graduates:


  • Open-minded, knowledgeable about counseling theory and best practice, student-centered.

  • Case management class introduces them to the skillsets needed to manage the caseload sizes in OVR 

  • Disability-strengths and focus on person-first language

  • Research capabilities

  • Understanding the profession of counselor education, and skills.

  • Exceptional teaching skills and extensive knowledge in their area of expertise.

  • Excellent skills in preparing masters level students around counseling skills in practicum.

  • They have initiative and know the basics of counseling very well.

  • Professionalism and Leadership


Suggestions for improvement:


  • Raising awareness about students’ cyber footprint

  • Increasing multicultural competencies, counseling skills, and qualitative research skills

  • More preparation regarding the administrative demands in higher education

  • More training in the use of testing material 


Additional Comments:


"Although I am many years out of PSU Graduate School, I believe that I received an excellent education in the program which prepared me for a satisfying and accomplished career."


"It's a great program and we love our interns and employees."


None of the employers reported that they would not hire one of our graduates again.

Students (64 in total) were consistently satisfied with their interactions with faculty, noting that faculty were open, accessible, flexible, and knowledgeable. Students valued faculty enthusiasm for what they teach and appreciated that they were actively involved in research, yet still available to students outside of the room (average scores ranged in the 4 to 5 [highest], scale).


List of things students most appreciated about the Counselor Education Program:


  • How supportive the administrative staff is

  • The breadth and depth of the program

  • Relevancy of the content provided

  • Feeling well prepared to join the world of work as a counselor

  • The multicultural counseling focus of the program (they noted that this focus was infused throughout all of their courses)


Other assets students noted:


  • The warm and welcoming environment in the department

  • The opportunities to create a community (e.g., Mentoring program provided by Rho Alpha Mu Chapter of CSI, meeting doctoral students, recreational and academic gatherings) 

  • The practical and applied focus of many of the courses


A new Assessment of Key Performance Indicators was developed.


All courses now share the same syllabus format.


An extended orientation to the program was offered this year and will continue offered given positive comments from our new students.


Following admission, the program continues to put in contact first and second-year students. Second-year students support the beginning of the program of first-year students. Second-year counseling students are also paired with first-year students to promote interaction. In addition, doctoral students also mentor master’s level students.


CNED 497 Trauma Informed Care for School and Health Professionals, developed for graduate students who will likely work with people at risk for child maltreatment and other traumas, including having to report suspected child abuse, will continue to be offered as part of our courses. The risk and protective factors associated with trauma, the associated outcomes, the populations most at risk, the interventions, screening, and procedures for reporting, are included, among other topics to prepare counseling students to work with those impacted by trauma and child maltreatment.              


Clinical Mental Health Counseling Specialty continues to add sites and require audio or video recording at all sites. Sites for internship include but are not limited to: Foxdale; Friend’s School; Young Scholars; State College High School; Shippensburg University; Bellefonte High School; Taking Flight; Mount Nittany Behavioral Health Center; Volunteers in Medicine; and Crossroads Counseling. In addition, new mental health services were offered in our school district.


The curriculum in CNED 510: Foundations of Clinical Mental Health Counseling in Schools and Communities was completed. The curriculum now includes DSM-5 information and meets CACREP 2016 standards. Also updated were the textbooks, assessments, and activities of CNED 532: Diagnosis Counseling to expand opportunities to engage in the practice of diagnosis using the DSM-5 and ICD-10 codes. Information about evidence-based practices and the characteristics of specific medications was also expanded.


The School Counseling specialty is now fully compliant with CACREP 2016 Standards. The final number of credits is 61. School Counseling Credit hour requirements were 55 hours required. Now, students take 61 hours to meet PA Licensure requirements. The two additional 3-hour courses are electives. Changes were made to the student handbook and website by fall 2019.


School counseling revised both the elementary and secondary school counseling so that they now both qualify for the new Pre-K-12 school counseling certification in the State of Pennsylvania.  The introductory course (CNED 503) is now a combination of the old 503 (elementary) and 504 (secondary) introductory courses. The course now has a Pre-K-12 focus while still allowing some special elementary or secondary emphasis in assignments.  The School Counseling Internship (CNED 595E) is now a combination of 595E (elementary) and 595F (secondary) internships. Students in the new CNED 595E spend the bulk of their 600-hour internship in either an elementary or secondary site to give a full year experience with one group of students and one school, but they will spend additional hours sometime during the year in the alternate school level, giving them additional experience.   


The Herr Clinic facility has been updated so that all sessions are recorded using new digital recording technology, IVS. Clinic notes continue to be all electronic and processes have been updated to meet state and HIPAA guidelines.  Also, clients continue to use iPads for the intake and weekly assessments, like the Counseling Center Assessment of Psychological Symptoms. In addition, a new set of procedures were implemented regarding clients’ risk assessment.


Continue collaborations with local schools focusing on younger children. Both school and non-school counseling trainees can get experience counseling youth in the community as part of their practicum and internship experiences.


The monthly Specialty Coordinator’s meeting continues to share progress, advances, and potential concerns related to students, faculty, and the Counselor Education Program. The focus of the 2020 meetings will include ways to address the suggested topics for improvement described by respondents: Awareness of cyber footprint. Increase multicultural competencies, counseling skills, and qualitative research skills. Adding more preparation regarding the administrative demands in higher education and more training in the use of testing materials.

For more information on Counselor Education accreditation, please contact Dr. Carlos Zalaquett:

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (814) 867-6252

Office address:

327A CEDAR Building
University Park, PA 16802

(Updated 1/2020)

Herr Clinic

The Dr. Edwin L. Herr Clinic is run by the Department of Educational Psychology, Counseling, and Special Education. The Herr Clinic serves two purposes: the Counselor Education Master's and Doctoral Programs use the Herr Clinic for clinical practicum in which they serve the University student population and the School Psychology Doctoral Program uses the clinic to provide services to children, adolescent, and young adult referrals from the community.

Learn more about the Herr Clinic

National Recognition

Top 10

US News and World Report

Program Credibility


Over 50 years of excellence



Job Placement