The school counselor education program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst prepares professionals to create school environments where all students can thrive.
We believe that all school counselors must be multiculturally competent and committed to social justice and equity in education, that they must ensure that all students have equal access to resources and opportunities, as well as full support as they pursue college acceptances. We also believe that school counselors are most effective when they work collaboratively with the multiple contexts that shape children's development—at the individual level and also at the level of the school, family, and community system.
Our school counseling education program is ahead of the curve in professional practices. We teach an innovative model of school counseling that is classroom-based, promotes group interventions, and understands schools as complicated structures that the counselor can influence. Our students develop an appreciation for the broad issues impacting the practice of school counseling, knowledge of current models and evidence-based interventions, and an understanding of the research base that supports practice. We also ensure that our graduates have thorough training in mental health, which is not always an element of school counseling programs. Finally, our students also have the opportunity to work with faculty in the UMass Amherst-based National Center for School Counseling Outcome Research & Evaluation, a widely respected source for school counseling resources. The center works with professionals across the country to disseminate and put knowledge into practice. It also hosts an annual national conference for school counselors.
The UMass school counselor education program offers a master’s and an educational specialist degree. We admit all students at the master's degree level and they have the option of obtaining a master’s and then completing additional course work to earn the Ed.S.
Our program is small: we typically admit 10-15 students per year so that we can work closely with everyone, and we only admit students who we anticipate will develop into exemplary school counselors and leaders in the field.
The program satisfies all of the requirements for Massachusetts school counseling licensure, though our expectations exceed these requirements. Our curriculum ensures that graduates demonstrate knowledge and skills in individual, group, career, and academic counseling, implementing evidence-based interventions, leadership, advocacy and systems change, teaming and collaboration, program coordination, assessment and data use, and technology. Our students also build a strong understanding of national and international perspectives on school counseling and as well as of issues in educational equity.
In addition to their course work, school counseling students complete 100 hours of a pre-practicum, and participate in a 600-hour practicum under the joint supervision of a certified school counselor and a program of study faculty member. Students who complete the program of study are recommended for provisional licensure with advanced standing (grade levels preK-8, 5-12, or preK-12) in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.