The school counselor education program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst prepares professionals to create school environments where all students can thrive.
School counselors promote the academic, career, and social-emotional development of all PreK-12 students through data-informed school counseling programs. We believe that all school counselors must be multiculturally competent and committed to social justice and equity in education, ensuring that all students have equal access to resources and opportunities. We also believe that school counselors are most effective when they work collaboratively across the multiple contexts that shape children's development—at the individual level and the classroom, school, family, and community levels. We teach an innovative model of school counseling that understands schools as complex institutions that require classroom-based, small group, and individual school counseling interventions and programs. A key aspect of school counseling is our role as school leaders and advocates for students, working to create safe and supportive learning environments.
At UMass Amherst, 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 provide thorough training in both mental health and the American School Counselor Association’s National Model for School Counseling. Finally, our students also have the opportunity to work with faculty in the UMass Amherst-based Fredrickson Center for School Counseling Outcome Research & Evaluation (CSCORE), a widely respected source for school counseling resources. CSCORE works with professionals across the country to disseminate relevant research and to put knowledge into practice and also hosts an annual national conference for school counselors (ebscc.org).
The UMass school counselor education program offers a combined master’s and educational specialist degree. Students who are admitted are enrolled both degree programs, for a combined required total of 63 credits.
The program satisfies all of the requirements for Massachusetts school counseling licensure, and is in the process of being accredited by the national Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). 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 practicum, and participate in a 600-hour internship 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.