The graduate program in Counseling at Johnson State College program is designed to meet the needs of counseling personnel in public agencies, schools and higher education institutions. It provides professionals with an understanding of and beginning proficiency in counseling theory and skills.
Students in the Counseling program complete these requirements, for a total of 60 credits:
- A core of required courses totaling 36 credits;
- Additional specialization course work in the area of interest/specialization;
- A documented personal growth experience;
- A 1,000-hour internship (600-hour internship for School Counseling and General Counseling /non-licensure track students) in a local agency, school or college, with a corequisite three-credit internship seminar; and
- A comprehensive exam and oral exit interview
No thesis is required. Whenever possible, the Counseling faculty attempt to individualize the program to meet a student’s specific career objectives. Individually designed internships are developed by working closely with area agencies, schools, businesses and colleges.
Most courses are offered in the late afternoons or evenings, on weekends and in the summer. There are occasionally online courses or online components to courses. Electives may be taken at JSC or at other approved institutions. The student’s Plan of Study will address how these elective requirements will be met.
Students generally require three to four years to complete the master’s degree; all students are required to complete their programs within five years. Selected courses are open to non-degree students on a space-available basis.
The JSC program in Counseling continues to meet community demand for more trained counselors by offering new, creatively designed course work.
JSC has engaged with outside training organizations to make academic credit available for students who participate in those training opportunities. Students are encouraged to be in communication with program faculty regarding these opportunities.
Applicants must meet general admission standards that allow enrollment in graduate courses and are asked to address the following questions as their admission writing sample:
- What interests you about being a counselor?
- What previous experiences have you had with counseling? Discuss the type of experience, duration and the results or outcome.
- What qualities or personal qualifications do you possess that will contribute to your effectiveness as a counselor?
- Have you experienced any significant changes in your life-style, or major transitions in the past two years (e.g. divorce, separation, death of a loved one, job change, move, etc.) If yes, please discuss how you have coped, or are coping, with these changes. If not, no response is required.
Students must be interviewed by a member of the Counseling faculty. Students are also strongly recommended to have completed undergraduate psychology courses, including at least one course each in introductory psychology, developmental psychology and quantitative research methods.
Successful applicants to the Johnson State College Counseling program should be able to demonstrate a history of significant work experience and/or outside learning experiences. Students seeking admission into the program who have just completed an undergraduate degree on campus at JSC will be encouraged to consider other graduate program options.
Advancement to Candidacy
Acceptance into the graduate Counseling program does not guarantee acceptance as a degree candidate. To be advanced to candidacy for the degree, students will be reviewed by faculty and must have demonstrated satisfactory progress at two stages of review:
- An initial progress review upon completion of CSL-5010 , CSL-5030 and either CSL-5910 or CSL-6632 ; and
- An advancement to candidacy review upon completion of 36 core course credits with a B average or better.
Students who have been granted advancement to candidacy are required to file a Plan of Study with the Graduate Office identifying elective course work and potential internship sites.
The faculty of the graduate Counseling program may defer candidacy until students complete any additional steps deemed necessary by the faculty to be fully prepared or capable of effectively carrying out professional counseling responsibilities.
If at any time during participation in the Counseling program, whether before or after advancement to candidacy, a student has not sufficiently demonstrated the personal capacity to carry on the work of a counselor in agency or public school work, in the professional judgment of the faculty, that student will be dismissed from the program or required to take a leave of absence to engage in recommended personal growth activities.
Personal Growth Experience
Counselor education involves two major components. First, Counseling students learn the theory, methods, philosophy and values of the profession through course work and an internship. Second, students must be committed to learning as much as possible about themselves, because counseling relationships are more likely to be successful (i.e., of assistance to the client) if the counselor possesses a high level of self-awareness. Courses and internship requirements also address this second component.
This self-awareness component is also developed in a 50-hour personal growth experience during the program (after acceptance for course work and before graduation). Students work closely with their faculty advisor to identify appropriate experiences. A written proposal must be submitted to the faculty advisor for approval before the student begins such an experience. (The 50-hour requirement can be split among two or three activities.) The types of activities that could fulfill this requirement include individual therapy, group therapy, personal awareness or growth workshops, self-help or support groups and training workshops where growth is the focus.
The identification and completion of this requirement is the responsibility of each student in collaboration with his or her faculty advisor. The exact nature of each student’s experience is a private matter. The only official notation in the student’s file is that the requirement has been met.
The internship, which requires application of classroom knowledge, is the final, important chapter of the student’s professional counseling development. Students must have advanced to candidacy and have completed 36 of the 42 core course credits before embarking on the internship. The 1,000-hour (600-hour internship for School Counseling students) internship, which is worth nine credits is typically a September-to-May learning experience.
The internship seminar, which accompanies the internship, is three credits. The internship is generally a non-paid position.
Students will demonstrate appropriate content knowledge, interpersonal skills and the practical application of interpersonal skills within professional standards.