The School Counseling (SC) concentration usually requires eight or nine semesters or about three years, including summers, to complete and consists of coursework, supervised field experiences, and counseling internships. This concentration prepares students to become Licensed Professional Counselors (LPC) who work in schools promoting and enhancing the learning environment and with students (and their families) on cognitive and emotional issues that adversely affect their academic performance and achievement. Since our program emphasizes diversity and equality for all people, our students are challenged to confront their beliefs and assumptions about sexism, ageism, racism, and homophobia. Through experiential learning and with a comprehensive understanding of how theory relates to practice, graduates of our program are prepared to engage with and empower their school communities.

Admissions Requirements

Applicants must have an undergraduate degree in any major from an accredited institution and apply through the UAB Graduate School. Admission candidates must also have a GPA of 2.75 or higher and must submit an official transcript, a personal statement, and GRE test scores. International applicants must also submit official TOEFL or IELTS scores to the Graduate School.

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Coursework and Degree Requirements

SC students take courses in Theories of Individual Counseling, Group Counseling: Process and Procedures, Lifespan and Human Development, Social and Cultural Diversity, and Introduction to Exceptional Learners, among other subjects. They sit for the comprehensive examination after they have completed their core courses, and they are required to attend eight sessions of personal counseling themselves before beginning their clinical experiences. Not only must students participate in a supervised field experience and internship, but they must also make a presentation at a state, regional, national or international conference prior to graduation. Additionally, they are obligated to participate in 15 hours of professional development by attending conferences or monthly seminars sponsored by Zeta, the UAB chapter of Chi Sigma Iota.

In alignment with the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), four courses have been added to the School Counseling curriculum beginning with academic year 2017-18, raising the total number of required hours from 49-51 to 61-64. The added courses are: ECG 653: Counseling Children and Adolescents, ECG 661: Play Therapy, ECG 680: Intersection of Family Community Systems, and EEC 515: Learning Environments.

Clinical Experiences

All students pursuing a master's degree and concentrating in school counseling must complete three clinical experiences (a total of 9 semester hours) through supervised fieldwork (ECG 695 Practicum II) and counseling internships (ECG 697). Upon graduation students have the requisite number of hours to qualify for licensure. The Clinical Placement Coordinator works closely with students to identify training opportunities best suited to their interests and career goals. Our SC students have interned in the following school districts: Bessemer, Birmingham, Fairfield, Homewood, Hoover, Jefferson County, Leeds, Midfield, Mountain Brook, Shelby, Sylacauga, Tarrant, Trussville, and Vestavia Hills.

Career Opportunities

Graduates who hold a master's degree with a SC concentration meet the academic requirement for licensure and are prepared to take the National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification (NCE). They must past the exam and submit an application to the Alabama Board of Examiners (ABEC) in order to earn the designation of Associate Licensed Counselor (APL). Associated Licensed Counselors are required to complete, among other requirements, 3,000 hours of supervised clinical practice in order to qualify for the designation of Licensed Professional Counselor. School Counselors who work in Alabama elementary, middle, and high schools must also apply for certification through the Alabama State Department of Education.