The program in Counselor Education at the University of Alabama at Birmingham prepares clinical mental health and school counselors at the Masters level to be knowledgeable and skilled professionals who are able to serve a culturally diverse society. The graduate program in counseling serves students native to Alabama, those from neighboring states, as well as international students. The program is designed to train students to make appropriate ethical decisions as counseling professionals. The most important of these decisions is the selection of strategies that empower clients to make personal decisions leading to resolution of problems and resulting in an improved quality of life. Clients represent the multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, and multi-values character of a diverse American Society. Thus, counselors must understand human behavior in terms of its psychological, physiological, and sociological influences and make professional decisions within the legal and ethical constraints that are applicable.
Practicum and internship experiences take place in a variety of community-based and school-based settings, including our own Community Counseling Clinic in the School of Education.
The Counselor Education concentrations in School and Clinical Mental Health counseling are accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). Students acquire core knowledge and clinical skills which enable them to enter the profession of counseling.
Educational, vocational, and school counselors work primarily in elementary and secondary schools and colleges and universities. Other types of counselors work in a wide variety of public and private establishments, including health care facilities; job training, career development, and vocational rehabilitation centers; social agencies; correctional institutions; and residential care facilities, such as halfway houses for criminal offenders and group homes for children, the elderly, and the disabled. Some substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors work in therapeutic communities where addicts live while undergoing treatment. Counselors also work in organizations engaged in community improvement and social change and work as well in drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs and State and local government agencies. A growing number of counselors are self-employed and working in group practices or private practice. This growth has been helped by laws allowing counselors to receive payments from insurance companies and the growing recognition that counselors are well-trained professionals.
The Master of Arts in Counseling degree has concentrations in the areas of Clinical Mental Health and School counseling. The UAB Counselor Education Program's School and Clinical Mental Health Counseling concentations are accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). At the Master's level, students acquire core knowledge and clinical skills which enable them to enter the profession of counseling. The school counseling concentration requires approximately 4 to 5 semesters or 2.5 years to complete. The clinical mental health counseling concentration requires approximately 5 to 6 semesters or 3 years to complete.
The Clinical Mental Health Concentration is designed to prepare students to demonstrate knowledge and skills with several counseling modalities appropriate for a broad range of clients in a multicultural society interact effectively with other helping professionals and referral resources; make appropriate counselor-client related decisions in the context of professional, ethical, and legal guidelines; fill effectively, entry-level positions of professional responsibility within the specialization of agency counseling. Counselors who are graduates in Counselor Education in the Clinical Mental Health concentration work in diverse settings. Career opportunities include employment in mental health agencies, private practice, substance abuse rehabilitation facilities, and other non-profit agencies such as child advocacy centers, crisis centers, women's counseling centers, and family service centers.
The School Counseling Concentration educates professionals responsible for enabling diverse students to achieve success in school and to develop into contributing members of our society. Graduates of our counseling program are ethically obligated to strive toward optimum psychological health and to engage in self-care activities which attend to the physical, mental, spiritual, and psychological dimensions. According to the American School Counseling Association, "the purpose of a counseling program in a school setting is to promote and enhance the learning process." The goal of the program is to enable all students to achieve success in school and to develop into contributing member of our society. We believe that professional school counselors value and honor diversity, equity, and equality of all people. We believe that professional school counselors must be proactive change agents and advocates for all people. We believe that professional school counselors are obligated to confront their own beliefs and assumptions and change biased behavior regarding sexism, ageism, racism, and homophobia We believe that professional school counselors are ethically obligated to strive toward optimum psychological health and to engage in self-care activities which attend to the physical, mental, spiritual, and psychological dimensions. We believe that academic preparation process must emphasize the application of theory to practice and encompass opportunities for experiential learning throughout the program.
Each applicant seeking admission to a counseling program specialty must include with the other required materials, a typewritten statement of professional purpose that reflects the applicant’s background development, pertinent work-related experience, professional career objectives and specified ways that completion of this program will contribute to his/her goal for becoming a professional counselor.
Counselor Education Faculty Review Process
- The application portfolio is reviewed by Counseling faculty and candidates with a) acceptable scores on either the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or Miller's Analogy Test (MAT) and b) acceptable Undergraduate Grade Point Average (GPA). The miniumum acceptable scores are as follows: GRE - 290 and MAT - 388. The minimum acceptable Undergraduate GPA is 2.75 (on a 4.0 scale).
- Applicants who do not meet the acceptable scores for both test scores and grade point average, Counseling Faculty will conclude an applicant is not to be admitted to the program and an official letter will be mailed informing the student of the faculty decision.
- Applicants deemed to have acceptable scores and grades will be invited to the second phase of the admission process. Applicants are required to participate in an on-site group admission interview. Applicants should not infer they have been admitted into the program if granted an admissions interview.
- After the interview, candidates may be given one of three evaluations a) admit, b) admit on probation, or c) denied. Applicants are notified of their admission status by mail within two weeks of the completion of the interview.
- Applicants or potential applicants are encouraged to hold themselves to professional standards and refrain from inquiries about acceptance of their scores prior to official faculty review of applications. Following the review, each applicant will receive a formal letter from Counseling Program faculty. Applicants will either receive a letter of acceptance for an admissions interview or letter of denial of admission.
Enrollment Prior to Admission
Potential students may take classes prior to admission to the Counselor Education Program as "non-degree seeking" students. However, non-degree seeking students are limited to enrollment in 12 hours of coursework. Non-degree seeking students may enroll in elective courses. Non-degree seeking students are not permitted to take "core" counseling courses (see Policy and Procedure manual for the list of core counseling course) prior to admission. There are no exceptions. It is also important to note that student's take coursework as a non-degree seeking student at their own risk. Enrolling and passing non-degree seeking coursework does not guarantee the student admission to the program as admission criteria (e.g., test scores, undergraduate GPA, and interview) are the primary factors considered when reviewing student suitability for the program.
When Counseling faculty conclude a student is to be admitted to the program, an official letter will be mailed informing the student of the faculty decision along with further instructions.
Application Deadlines*Application packets should be submitted to the Graduate School at least 2 weeks prior to deadlines listed below.
School Counseling AdvisorLarry Tyson, Ph.D.
Room EB 152F
901 S. 13th Street
Birmingham, AL. 35294
Clinical Mental Health Advisors
Dr. Sean Hall, Ph.D.
Room EB 152E
901 S. 13th Street
Birmingham, AL. 35294
Dr. Tomeka McGhee, Ph.D.
Room EB 152D
901 S. 13th Street
Birmingham, AL. 35294
Sean Hall, Ph.D.
Counselor Educationsbhall@uab.edu | EB 152-E | Tel 205-975-9392
Tomeka McGhee, Ph.D.
Counselor Educationdrtwmcgh@uab.edu | EB 152-D | Tel 205-934-8334
Bio and Research Interests
Larry Tyson, Ph.D.
Counselor Educationltyson@uab.edu | EB 152-F | Tel 205-975-2491
Bio and Research Interests
What are the application deadlines?
Students are admitted to the Counselor Education Program three times per year. Students will be considered for admission only when all required materials have been received by the Counselor Education Program from the Graduate School by the dates listed below. Students are strongly encouraged to submit materials to the Graduate School at least one month in advance of the dates below to ensure the completed packet is forwarded to the Counselor Education Program prior to the deadline. Packets received by the Counseling Program after the deadlines will be considered for the following term. Admission for Materials must be received by the Counseling Faculty on: Fall Term - June 1, Spring term - October 1, and Summer term - April 1. This will mean that application packets should be submitted to the Graduate School at least 2 weeks prior.
When are classes offered?
Classes are typically offered 5 - 7:30 pm on Monday-Wednesdays until the clinical experience courses which are held on Thursdays. Times and days vary during the summer and for the occasional weekend course(s).
Does the program offer tuition assistance?
The Counselor Education Program, as an entity, does not offer tuition assistance. Any information regarding tuition can be ascertained through the Graduate School and/or Financial Aid office at hhttps://www.uab.edu/students/paying-for-college. Information about various scholarship, calculators, etc. can be found at https://www.uab.edu/students/scholarships. Once admitted to the program, students are encouraged to apply for small student scholarships funded by our Chi Sigma Iota International Honor Society, Zeta.
How long is the program(s)?
The Clinical Mental Health in counseling degree is a 61 hour program and could take up to 3 to 3 1/2 years full time. The School Counseling degree is a 49 hour program and could take up to 2 1/2 years full time.
When do I start?
You will begin the semester of admission by contacting your assigned counseling faculty advisor to develop your Plan of Study (POS). Initial registration is restricted until its completion.
What is the structure of the program?
Students recently admitted to the program will be assigned a Program Advisor according to specialty area (Clinical Mental Health and School). The student should make an appointment with the assigned advisor as soon as possible to draft a program Plan of Study (POS). Initial registration will not be available without the POS. Any changes to the POS must be completed with the signatures of the Advisor and student.
Once the POS is complete, the student may register for courses according to the POS. Students must enroll for the required pre-candidacy courses in Area I upon being admitted to graduate study in the program. Any changes must be conducted with the signed approval of the faculty advisor.
To be entitled to continue with the post-candidacy course work leading to the degree (towards the end of your program of study), the student must be formally "Admitted to Candidacy" for the master’s degree. This occurs when the student successfully passes the Comprehensive Examinations and is recommended by the faculty to proceed in the program. Admission to Candidacy for the master’s degree requires that the student complete the following steps:
Meet with the assigned program advisor upon admission to discuss the goals of the program and to draft a program plan of study so that all prerequisites will be met appropriately.
Complete the pre-candidacy blocks of course work (Areas I & II) by demonstrating seriousness of purpose and the ability to perform academically at the graduate level.
Complete the Application for Candidacy form.
Successfully complete the qualifying comprehensive examination to demonstrate knowledge of the core content.
Demonstrate to the advisor and other counseling faculty that the chosen program is an appropriate one for the student to pursue professionally. * The Admission to Candidacy decision represents the program faculty’s commitment to supporting and assisting the student in his/her pursuit of the master’s degree in the field of professional counseling.