Program Description and Outcomes
The School Counseling Program requires 54 credit hours for completion of the Master of Education degree and is obtainable in two calendar years if students begin their coursework in the summer. This program enables graduates to become licensed school counselors in elementary, middle, and secondary schools and is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). Per CACREP requirements, our program will move to a 60-credit hour program by the Fall of 2020. Our unique program includes: training in social-emotional learning, including mindfulness-based interventions in schools with experienced faculty; emphasis on trauma-informed care in school settings; addressing the needs of special education populations; inter-professional collaboration training with seven school-based professions; and learning hands-on creative interventions for children and adolescents.
We offer small, experiential classes that rarely involve more than eight to ten students. Our dynamic and student-focused faculty members have been the recipients of national ACES awards, along with numerous other honors at the regional, state, university, college, and department levels. Students receive constant feedback and supervision throughout their training. We place great emphasis on personal and professional growth and the practical application of skills at our school-based community internship sites. School counseling students are placed at all three levels in K-12 settings throughout their practicum and internship experiences.
During the 2017-2018 academic year, 16 students were enrolled in the School Counseling Program at James Madison University. The total number of graduates during this academic year was eight. In recent years, we have typically admitted eight or nine students into the School Counseling Program each summer session. Our full-time students complete the program in two calendar years and our part-time students usually complete the program in four calendar years. Our combined completion rate for full-time and part-time students in the School Counseling Program is 90%, and during the last two years is 100%. Our 54-credit-hour curriculum fulfills all the coursework, practicum, and internship requirements in order to qualify as a Licensed School Counselor in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Therefore, 100% of the School Counseling graduates automatically qualify for licensure. Eighty-five percent of the alumni who reported their employment status to the program are employed in an occupation that is closely related to school counseling, and in the last two years that percentage is 100%.
The collective objectives of the Counseling Programs and specific objectives of School Counseling Program are as follows:
Professional Counseling Orientation and Ethical Practice: Recognizes and applies professional ethical standards including clear and appropriate relationships with clients (with attention to provision of services to minors), colleagues, and the community
Social and Cultural Diversity: Collaborates with people of diverse ethnicity, culture, gender, sexual orientation, physical ability, religious beliefs and socioeconomic status in schools and other professional settings.
Human Growth and Development: Develops self-awareness about personal development, applies theories of human development including race, gender, and sexual orientation to work with K-12 students, and develops ethical and culturally relevant strategies for promoting resilience and optimum development across the lifespan
Career Development: Applies theories of career development across the lifespan, implements culturally and developmentally appropriate career assessment and intervention strategies, and plans with K-12 students for college and career readiness
Helping Relationships: Establishes and maintains effective counseling relationships.
Group Counseling and Group Work: Recognizes and positively influences intrapersonal and interpersonal dynamics when leading and co-leading groups. Applies group counseling strategies in developmentally appropriate ways.
Assessment and Testing: Gathers information to assess needs and next steps in the counseling process, including evaluation for serious or foreseeable harm and reporting requirements for abuse or neglect of children and vulnerable adults.
Research and Program Evaluation: Critically evaluates research related to core areas of counseling practice. Uses data-informed decision-making practices for program evaluation and management.
School Counseling Profession: Applies trauma-informed care and social-emotional learning best practices, in developmentally appropriate ways, and in socially and culturally responsive ways to students across K-12 educational systems in order to positively impact mental health, behavioral, and academic outcomes