Counseling FAQs

General Questions
Admissions Questions
Clinical Mental Health Counseling Questions
School Counseling Questions

 


GENERAL QUESTIONS

When do the classes meet?

Although classes are occasionally offered in the daytime or on weekends, most classes meet Monday through Thursday from 5 p.m. to 7:50 p.m.

Where do the classes meet?

Classes meet at either the WCU campus in Cullowhee or at WCU Programs at Biltmore Park, in Asheville. Students accepted into the program will be enrolled in classes in both locations. Typically, each semester half of the classes meet at WCU and half of the classes meet at Biltmore Park.

How long will it take to complete the program?

Both the school counseling and clinical mental health counseling programs are sixty semester hours requiring two years and two summers for full time students and about 4 years for part time students, depending on the number of classes taken each semester.

Is the program accredited?

Western Carolina University is accredited by SACS. The Masters of Arts in Education (M.A.Ed.) in school counseling and Master of Science (M.S.) in clinical mental health counseling are both CACREP (Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Education) accredited. CACREP is the accrediting branch of the largest association of professional counselors, the American Counseling Association (ACA). Additionally, the School Counseling program is accredited by NCATE and the North Carolina DPI.

Can I transfer credits from another graduate program?

Unlike undergraduate work, you can usually transfer few hours between graduate programs. The counseling program accepts at most 6 transfer hours. The classes that are accepted for transfer are at the discretion of the department. Transferred credits must not have been applied to a previously earned graduate degree.

Is a thesis required?

No. Instead, students complete field experience and a comprehensive exam.

What is the National Counselor Exam (NCE)?

Graduates of the M.A.Ed. and M.S. programs in school and clinical mental health counseling are eligible for credentialing as National Certified Counselors (NCCs) by the National Board for Certified Counselors. An examination, the National Counseling Exam, is required for NCC & LPC and may be taken prior to graduation.

Which program should I do--school or clinical mental health?

This can be a difficult and personal decision. Think about what kind of environment you want to work in and what kind of population you want to work with.

Who can I contact with questions about the program?

Director of Graduate Counseling Programs: Dr. Lisen Roberts

School Counseling Program Leader: Dr. Lisen Roberts

Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program Leader: Dr. Russell C. Curtis 


 

ADMISSIONS QUESTIONS

Is there a specific bachelor’s degree that determines success in the counseling program?

We have found that persons with a variety of majors can be successful. However, it is recommended that you have courses in the social sciences. Most who apply right out of their undergraduate have majored in education, psychology, sociology, or social work. Those who apply some time after receiving their bachelor’s degree come from a wider range of majors.

What should be included in my goal statement?

As we consider applicants for the program, the faculty develops an idea of events that have occurred in applicants’ lives that bring them to a point of seeking to obtain a Master’s degree in counseling. Generally, applicants discuss in the goal statement a series of events that have convinced them that becoming a counselor is a good career choice and one in which they could have a positive impact on people who present life issues in a counseling setting. Sometimes their events involve formal education and/or paid work or volunteer in helping areas.  Be sure to include all required components.  Guidelines for goal statement.

Can I get a head start on the program by taking classes before I am accepted?

You cannot take Counseling classes before you are accepted into the program.

When do classes start?

Most new students begin in the fall semester following their admission into the program.  However, with advisor counsultation, it may be possible to begin coursework in the summer.

What is the application deadline?

The application deadline is February 1. All application materials must be submitted or postmarked no later than January 31.

Can I submit everything but GRE scores by the February 1 deadline and then submit the GRE scores later?

No. Applications that are incomplete after February 1 will be considered for the following year.

Where can I take the GRE?

Call 1-800-GRE-CALL or visit http://www.gre.org/  to find an exam site nearby.

Can I use the GMAT instead of the GRE?

No. The GMAT is generally used by business schools.

Where can I get information about financial aid?

Visit the WCU graduate financial aid page.

How can I get an out-of-state tuition waiver?

Limited opportunities are available. For details, contact the Graduate Counseling Programs Director, Dr. Lisen Roberts

What is a Graduate Assistantship (GA)?

In the Counseling programs, Graduate Assistantships include teaching an undergraduate study skills class, working in the human services office, helping professors with research and more. Only full-time students are eligible for graduate assistantships. Applicants interested in assistantships will have an opportunity to apply at the group interview.

What will the group interview include?

The group interview includes a campus tour, a question and answer session with professors, a separate Q and A session with current graduate students, a written essay, and a small group interview with faculty.


 

CLINICAL MENTAL HEALTH COUNSELING QUESTIONS

Will I be a licensed counselor when I graduate?

Because the programs are CACREP accredited, students in both programs are eligible to take the National Counseling Exam during their final semester and may apply for credentialing as National Certified Counselors upon graduation. Graduates who successfully complete the National Counseling Exam may also apply upon graduation for eligibility for professional counselor licensure (LPC) in North Carolina to begin the process of post-master’s supervision as required by the North Carolina LPC Board.

What is the typical salary of clinical mental health counselors?

For national statistics, go here.

What’s the job outlook for clinical mental health counselors?

For the national job outlook, go here.


 

SCHOOL COUNSELING QUESTIONS 

What is the 60-hour add-on program?

Persons who hold a school counseling degree from WCU or from another CACREP accredited institution may seek the 60- hour add-on to qualify for advanced degree level salary increase through the NC Department of Public Instruction (DPI). This program is NOT an advanced degree, but qualifies persons for advanced degree level salary increase through NC DPI.

Will I be a licensed counselor when I graduate?

Because the programs are CACREP accredited, students in both programs are eligible to take the National Counseling Exam during their final semester and may apply for credentialing as National Certified Counselors upon graduation. Graduates who successfully complete the National Counseling Exam may also apply upon graduation for eligibility for professional counselor licensure (LPC) in North Carolina to begin the process of post-master’s supervision as required by the North Carolina LPC Board. Additionally, individuals who meet all requirements for licensure in the WCU sixty hour school counseling Master of Arts in Education (M.A.Ed.) are recommended to the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NC DPI) for licensure at the advanced degree level. Students must complete the counseling portion of the PRAXIS exam to be licensed to work in public schools by the North Carolina State Board of Education. 

What is the typical salary of school counselors?

For school counselors in North Carolina, go to http://www.ncpublicschools.org/fbs/finance/salary/ and look under the most recent state and salary schedule. School counselors graduating from WCU get paid under the “advanced degree instructional support salary schedule.” See the national statistics.

What’s the job outlook for school counselors?

For the national job outlook, go to http://www.bls.gov/ooh.

Do you have to be a teacher first before becoming a school counselor?

No. In the state of North Carolina, and most other states, teaching licensure is not required to become a school counselor.

Can I get a school counseling add-on license with my teaching license?

No. Individuals with a teaching license must still complete the full degree program.

Can I do my school counseling field experience at a private school?

Because the license will be for public schools, the answer is usually no. However, exceptions can be discussed for accredited private schools for which you are already employed.

How can I get school counseling licensure with a master's degree in clinical mental health counseling?

You must already have a completed master's degree in counseling, before you can apply to our licensure-only program. In this program, you will have to meet the equivalent of the current 60 hour school counseling program. For more information, contact School Counseling Program Director Dr. Lisen Roberts.

 

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