Master of Arts in School Counseling
The Master of Arts program in School Counseling (16 KAR 3:060. Guidance Counselor, provisional and standard certificates, all grades) is designed to prepare candidates for certified positions as School Guidance Counselor. The prerequisites for admission to the Master of Arts in School Counseling program leading to satisfactory completion of the requirements for Kentucky certification in School Guidance Counseling include a bachelor's degree, a 2.75 GPA on a 4.0 scale, favorable letters of recommendation, and a successful interview process by the Graduate Admission and Retention Committee.
The provisional certificate (See 16 KAR 3:060) is a 33 semester credit hour program (exceeding 38 clock contact hours per course) offered through traditional modes (sometimes supported with technologies) to both full-time and part-time candidates, who may hold full time jobs, at a pace suited to their particular circumstances. Courses are offered during the late afternoon, evening, weekends; and, summer sessions to accommodate students with full-time employment are taught by highly qualified full-time and part time faculty who have preparation in the area. A candidate may chose to complete course requirements for the standard certificate by meeting one of the two options delineated in regulation 16 KAR 3:060 which includes the completion of six (6) additional credit hours--SGC 691 and SGC 692). Candidates who complete the Master of Arts in Education degree in Guidance Counseling must demonstrate Kentucky School Guidance Counselor Standards which are aligned with CACREP.
Course Based Field Experiences
A distinguishing feature of the Spalding Guidance School Counselor Program is the strong belief in the importance of practical as well as theoretical learning. The program combines the candidates’ didactic learning with actual experience in a fieldwork setting where they can observe, develop clinical skills and practice the tasks typically associated with the work of a school counselor. As such, all course work integrates field experience that offer a comprehensive view of guidance and counseling. The candidate collaborates with the Director of Field Experiences and the Course Instructor in securing a placement. If the placement is located in a public school, the student must have approval from the supervising school counselor and their principal. Candidates are required to complete a minimum of 180 supervised clock hours.
Assessment tasks, which are woven into courses throughout the program, address critical elements of the conceptual framework providing candidates with many diverse opportunities to demonstrate their progress in analyzing research, reflecting about practice, using technology, and developing the skills needed to lead efforts aimed at facilitating high-level learning and counseling for all students. These assessment tasks are collaborative.
The Practicum courses are offered to counselor candidates in the concluding phase of their studies. By the time candidates are ready to enroll in the Practicum courses, they will have completed a minimum of 24 graduate credits in the Counseling Program. The candidate will prepare a plan which will address the practicum objectives in consultation with the Faculty Supervisor and the Practicum Supervisor. This plan will outline the activities and timelines of the practicum experience. The Faculty Supervisor will meet with the candidates on a regularly scheduled basis for class seminars during the practicum. At other times, the Faculty Supervisor will hold meetings with the candidate and the Practicum Supervisor on as-needed basis. The Faculty Supervisor is the person responsible for assignment of the course grade after consultation with the Practicum Supervisor.
Counselor candidates will be required to complete an array of carefully planned field experiences in diverse settings as they progress through the program. The Course Instructor, the Director of Field Experiences, and Practicum Supervisor determine appropriate practicum activities. Activities could include observing/shadowing, attending staff meetings, advising, co-facilitating psycho-educational groups, doing intake/assessments, administering tests, interviewing professional staff members, studying materials and procedure manuals, and other support functions.
All field experiences activities will be under the direct observation and supervision of a Practicum Supervisor. To meet the program standard that all Counselor candidates have diverse field experiences, the Director of Field Experiences carefully considers each candidate’s previous placements as a basis for making placement decisions. The Course Instructor coordinates the supervision and assessment of the counselor candidates in collaboration with the Director of Field Experiences and the Practicum Supervisor.
Throughout the coursework and systematically planned practica, the Kentucky Code of Ethics is studied and emphasis given based on the increased level of responsibility and involvement of school guidance counselors within the school and its community. In addition, the faculty place emphasis on reflection while offering candidates opportunity to integrate course experiences with Kentucky School Guidance Counselor standards, College of Education Professional Dispositions, and the candidates’ own values and beliefs.
Master of Arts in School Counseling