School Counseling Emphasis

The school counseling emphasis in the Counselor Education (M.Ed.) Master's Program at Penn State is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) and the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE). The curriculum is also consistent with standards and guidelines of the American School Counselors Association and the American Counseling Association. The school counseling emphasis also meets the academic requirements for Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in Pennsylvania.

School Counseling Emphasis

  • For certification by the State of Pennsylvania and other states to work as school counselors in elementary, middle, and high schools
  • To function effectively in comprehensive, developmental school counseling programs
  • To function effectively as school counselors in culturally diverse schools of Pennsylvania and other states
  • For the various roles of counselor, consultant, collaborator, and leader
  • To effectively assist children and adolescents with their academic, social-emotional, and college and career development
  • With relevant academic work and extensive hands-on experience in schools
  • To prepare students to provide the wide variety of professional counseling services to children and adolescents necessary in a challenging educational system and complex society
  • To function as school counselors who are systemic change agents and social justice advocates to serve a culturally diverse population with complex needs
  • Individual and group counseling, family counseling, classroom guidance and psychoeducation, crisis response, collaboration and consultation, and program development and evaluation
  • Preparing counselor-trainees to meet the academic, social-emotional, career and college development needs of children and youth
  • Skills in peer mediation and conflict resolution, student appraisal, academic remediation, case management, social justice advocacy, college and career readiness programming, and coordination and administration of a comprehensive developmental school counseling program
  • Developing skills to effect curriculum changes, behavioral change strategies for families, and classroom management in order to enhance the potential of all children and youth
  • Preparing students for the school counselor roles of consultant and collaborator and to connect students and families to mental health, social, and academic supports in the community
  • Multicultural counseling, educational equity, and closing success gaps among groups of students
  • Addressing the systemic nature of schools, focusing upon the benefits of counseling for all students, parents, schools, and communities
  • Incorporating counseling theory, skills and techniques into experiential learning modes including role-playing in class and genuine counseling situations through practicum and supervised internship in elementary, middle, and high schools and at the Dr. Edwin L. Herr Clinic
  • Ablending of appropriate didactic experiences with a full academic year of supervised field work in a school setting to promote the translation of theory into effective counselor performance, resulting in skilled and competent school counselors

One of the major advantages of the Penn State School Counseling emphasis is the extensive year-and-a-half supervised experience in schools and the Herr Clinic. The first fall semester all students do videotaped role-play counseling sessions. Beginning in the spring semester of the first year they enter Practicum in the Herr Clinic working with college age students under the supervision faculty and doctoral clinical supervisors. Students most interested in elementary school work also spend one day per week in an elementary or middle school under the supervision of an experienced professional school counselor to gain practicum experience with this younger age group. Fall and spring of the second year, students spend two to three days per week in their school. This extensive field experience provides for application of all aspects of the school counseling experience including individual and group counseling, classroom guidance, and consultation with teachers and parents. Students graduate with the full experience of the school counselor’s year from orientation in the fall to the unique aspects as school nears ending in the spring.

School Counseling Emphasis Curriculum Guide and Course Schedule

Outline for the emphasis (M.Ed. plus Pennsylvania Certification)

Completion of the 61-credit emphasis meets the academic requirements for the Master of Education degree as well as certification Pre-K-12 Professional School Counseling in Pennsylvania.

To become certified by the state of Pennsylvania, students must also pass the Professional School Counselor test (5421, PRAXIS-II). Students seeking to become a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in Pennsylvania and/or a National Certified Counselor (NCC) need to accumulate 61 credit hours and pass the appropriate licensed and/or certification test. Meeting these additional professional requirements is strongly encouraged in order to maximize the professional opportunities available to graduates.

Fall Semester (15 credits)
CN ED 404 (3) Group Procedures in Guidance & Counseling
CN ED 500 (3) Introduction to Counseling & Development
CN ED 501 (3) Counseling: Theory & Method
CN ED 504 (3) Foundations & Practices of School Counseling
CN ED 506 (3) Individual Counseling Procedures

Spring Semester (12-15 credits)
CN ED 505 (3) Foundations of Career Development & Counseling Information
CN ED 530 (3) Family Counseling: Theory & Practice
CN ED 595A (3) Counseling Practicum
SPLED 400 (4) Inclusive Special Education Foundations

Summer Semester (6-9 credits)
CN ED 508 (3) Organization & Administration of Guidance Programs
CN ED 523 or 524 (3) Counseling Children or Counseling Adolescents

Fall Semester (12-15 credits)
CN ED 507 (3) Multicultural Issues in Counseling
CN ED 526 (3) Counseling Research
CN ED 595E (3) School Counseling Internship & Seminar 

Spring Semester (12-15 credits)
CN ED 525 (3) Use of Tests in Counseling (Assessment)
CN ED 595E (3) School Counseling Internship & Seminar
CN ED 596 (3-6) Individual Studies (Master’s Paper/Project)
EDPSY 408 (3) Working with English Language Learners
ELECTIVE (3) (if needed)

Requirements for Pennsylvania Certification when master's degree has been previously obtained

Applicants who have a master's degree and are seeking Pennsylvania certification as a school counselor will have to demonstrate that they have met the certification requirements listed above either previously or after having been accepted as a Certification student in Counselor Education. To become certified by the state of Pennsylvania, students must pass three basic skills tests (PPST) and the school guidance counselor test.

The expectations stated under the M.Ed. Admission Requirements apply to both certification-seeking and degree-seeking applicants.