Counselor Education

MS in Counseling

Within the area of counselor education, the School offers a master's degree, certificate programs, and a post-master's certificate of advanced study. The master of science in counseling degree provides its graduates with the counseling knowledge and skills used in school, clinical mental health, and rehabilitation settings. Students study human development and behavior, individual counseling theory, group theory and dynamics, research methodology, and psychological measurement and evaluation, in addition to courses in individual concentrations–school counseling, clinical mental health counseling, and rehabilitation counseling. The Mental Health Rehabilitation Technician/Community (MHRT/C) post-bachelor’s certificate program may be taken independently of the master's degree. The certificate of advanced study in counseling is a post-master's program for current counselors who are interested in pursuing advanced coursework.

The primary mission of the counselor education program is to prepare counselors for ethical practice through high quality, nationally accredited graduate level training. The basic beliefs of the USM Counselor Education Program are (1) People often need assistance, including support and treatment, in addressing typical developmental transitions as well as difficult life situations. (2) Mental health, rehabilitation, and school counselors are trained to help people with these challenges.  The program prepares its graduates to act as facilitators of change in the lives of individuals at all developmental levels. By modeling high standards of professionalism and offering a foundation of knowledge, skills, self-awareness, and practice, the program aspires to prepare counselors of the highest quality to work in schools, mental health agencies, businesses, hospitals, rehabilitation organizations, private practice, and other settings.

Students in the Counselor Education Program will be able to competently:

  • demonstrate knowledge of core curriculum.
  • demonstrate an integration and application of their knowledge and skills in the concentration areas in counseling (school, clinical mental health, and rehabilitation).
  • demonstrate knowledge and skills in addressing issues of diversity.
  • apply individual and group counseling skills and techniques.
  • reflect on their personal and professional strengths, weaknesses, abilities, and challenges to identify professional development needs.
  • analyze and apply relevant technologies for the growth and practice of counseling and rehabilitation.
  • apply ethical decision-making in counseling situations.
  • articulate how their professional identity is grounded in their personal identification with the standards and ethical practices of the counseling profession.

Curriculum includes the core of counseling practice, concentrations and areas of expertise (family systems and substance abuse). The clinical education component with practicum and internship placements provides a practice-based experience in settings locally and regionally throughout Maine.

The Master of Science in Counseling degree provides graduates with the counseling knowledge and skills used in school, clinical mental health, and rehabilitation settings. Students study human development and behavior, individual counseling theory, group theory and dynamics, research methodology, and psychological measurement and evaluation, in addition to courses in individual concentrations—school counseling, clinical mental health counseling, and rehabilitation counseling. The Mental Health Rehabilitation Technician/Community (MHRT/C) post-bachelor's certificate program may be taken independently of the master’s degree. The certificate of advanced study in counseling is a post-master’s program for current counselors who are interested in pursuing advanced coursework.

Depending on the concentration, we offer distance education, face-to-face, or a combination of the two for course delivery. Course instruction includes a variety of teaching and learning strategies, depending on the nature of the course, such as lectures, group discussion (synchronous and asynchronous), in–class exercises, supervised case review, cooperative learning, service learning, guided practice, introspection and critical thinking. In addition to coursework, each student must successfully pass the Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Examination (CPCE).

The counselor education program holds accreditation from the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Education Programs (CACREP) for the clinical mental health and school counseling concentrations, and from the Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE) for the rehabilitation concentration.

PROFESSIONAL CREDENTIALS

A Master of Science in Counseling with the combination of required courses can lead to one or more of these professional credentials:

Students must work with their advisor to ensure eligibility when seeking additional credentials.


I. Clinical Mental Health Counseling Concentration (63 credits)

The clinical mental health counseling concentration requires a total of sixty-three credit hours of coursework and is designed to allow students to learn skills specifically related to treating clients facing acute problems and developmental life issues, as well as clients interested in enriching their present life through the establishment of greater coherence and well-being. Students’ learning is accomplished through our clinical training courses and specialized electives. These specialized electives allow students to choose an area of interest in which may include: children, family systems (which may also become an area of expertise), use of the creative arts, mind-body approaches, human sexuality, spirituality, or college mental health.

New students to the clinical mental health concentration are assured that they will always have the element of taking the program’s clinical courses in an interactive, face-to-face, real-time classroom experience on campus. While technology allows us to have more and more courses offered at a distance, we believe it is important to always have the element of on-campus classes.

Through our classes, students can expect a comprehensive array of studies which integrates the historical, philosophical, societal, cultural, economic, and political dimensions of the mental health and human service system.  The roles, functions, skills, and professional identity of clinical mental health counselors are highlighted. Coursework focuses on the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of mental and emotional disorders, psychological trauma, and the general principles and practices for the promotion of optimal mental health. During the final portion of their coursework, students will intern under the supervision of a licensed mental health clinician

Graduates are eligible to sit for the National Counselor Examination (NCE) and prepared to be licensed as a clinical professional counselor (LCPC) in Maine. Those students interested in substance abuse issues may consider earning an area of expertise in Substance Abuse Counseling as part of this concentration, earning credits toward licensure as a drug and alcohol counselor (LADC). An area of expertise in Family Systems is also available. The clinical mental health counseling concentration holds accreditation from the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Education Programs (CACREP).

Core Courses (36 credits)

EDU 600 Research Methods and Techniques
HCE 500 Orientation to the Counseling Profession
HCE 604 Career Development
HCE 605 Psychological Measurement and Evaluation
HCE 612 Multicultural Counseling: Social & Cultural Foundations of Helping Diverse Families
HCE 620 Fundamentals of Counseling Theories
HCE 621 Fundamentals of Counseling Skills
HCE 626 Group Process and Procedures
HCE 627 Group Counseling Practicum
HCE 668 Human Development 
HCE 690 Individual Counseling Practicum Seminar
HCE 691 Individual Counseling Practicum Laboratory

Required Specialty Courses (21 credits)

HCE 640 Professional Issues for Mental Health Counselors
HCE 642 Perspectives in Chemical Dependency
HCE 644 Crisis Intervention
HCE 645 Diagnosis and Treatment Planning
HCE 686 Internship in Counselor Education (9 credits - 900 hours)

Electives (6 credits)

Expertise Certificate Area in Family Systems

For those persons interested in working in the area of family systems, the counselor education program offers coursework with a focus on counseling families, and in incorporating systemic perspectives even when counseling individuals. This area of expertise is available for master's and CAS students.

The following courses are required for this area of expertise:

HCE 650 Basic Concepts in Couple and Family Counseling
HCE 670 Application of Family Systems Theories
HCE 686 Internship in Counselor Education (3 credits, 300 hours focused on family counseling that is supervised by a supervisor trained in family systems approaches)

Expertise Certificate Area in Substance Abuse Counseling

For those students interested in working in the area of substance abuse, the counselor education program offers coursework which will enable students to obtain a Substance Abuse Counseling expertise area within their master's degree. This expertise certificate area is available as part of the clinical mental health counseling specialty. Students who complete this area as part of their master's degree meet all academic requirements necessary to become a licensed alcohol and drug counselor (LADC) in Maine.

The following courses are required for the expertise area:

HCE 642 Perspectives on Chemical Dependency
HCE 643 Psychopharmacology, Substance-Related Disorders and Integrated Co-Occurring Treatment
HCE 644 Crisis Intervention
HCE 650 Basic Concepts in Couple and Family Counseling
HCE 686 Internship in Counselor Education (6 credits - 600 hours in an in-patient/out-patient substance abuse treatment facility)


II. Rehabilitation Counseling Concentration (54 credits)

The rehabilitation counseling specialty requires a total of fifty-four credit hours of coursework. The specialty is intended to promote quality rehabilitation services to persons with disabilities through the education of rehabilitation professionals, providing services to rehabilitation organizations, and sponsorship of rehabilitation-related research and training. The graduate program's primary goal is to help students acquire the basic foundation, knowledge, skills, and experiences necessary to enter the profession of rehabilitation counseling and practice effectively as rehabilitation counselors.

The concentration’s  mission is to promote quality rehabilitation services to persons with disabilities by (1) preparing qualified rehabilitation professionals; (2) providing services to rehabilitation professionals and organizations; and 93) sponsoring rehabilitation-related research and training. This mission includes the following objectives: To teach students the basic philosophic tenets underlying rehabilitation process and practice, specifically that:  (1) all people have inherent value, resiliency, and capability and must be treated with the empathy, respect and dignity they deserve; (2) all citizens should have access to and opportunities for full societal participation with individuals and in settings of their choice; (3) persons with disabilities should be equal partners throughout the rehabilitation process; (4) rehabilitation should focus on societal, systems, and/or setting changes as much as individual adjustment; (5) the rehabilitation process should offer heightened hope, self-awareness, resources and skills as well as social inclusion and support and public education; and (6) rehabilitation students and professionals adhere to high quality, ethical practice and to the Code of Professional Ethics for Rehabilitation Counselors. To provide practical knowledge and skills so that students become empathic, competent and ethical rehabilitation counselors in a wide variety of settings through the use of class and community experiences that acquaint students with rehabilitation philosophies, history, methods, and organizations; allow for sustained, direct instruction by individuals with disabilities, and offer varied, experiential and field-based learning in community rehabilitation settings.

To offer services, training and research to area rehabilitation agencies, consumer groups, and professional organizations through faculty and student service on local professional and consumer boards and committees, presenting at local and regional conferences, and providing local in-service training/consultations.

This program is designed to provide students with the basic competencies to provide rehabilitation counseling to a broad range of individuals with disabilities in a variety of settings, such as state vocational rehabilitation facilities, independent living centers, rehabilitation hospitals, employment assistance programs, private industry, the veteran's administration, and private-for-profit rehabilitation companies. The rehabilitation counseling specialty holds accreditation from the Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE).

The rehabilitation counseling concentration focuses on the medical, psychological, vocational, and societal issues that surround people with disabilities and the practice of rehabilitation. Students are also offered practicum and internship experiences in community agencies that promote equity and empowerment of people with disabilities. Upon completion of their degree, students are eligible to take a national exam that qualifies them as certified rehabilitation counselors (CRC). Graduates become employed in public, private, and nonprofit rehabilitation agencies in Maine and across the country. The graduate program's primary goal is to help students acquire the basic foundation, knowledge, skills, and experiences to enter the profession and practice effectively and ethically as rehabilitation counselors.

Students are eligible to receive the MHRT/community certificate from the state of Maine upon completion of the degree program.

Core Courses (27 credits)

EDU 600 Research Methods and Techniques
HCE 605 Psychological Measurement and Evaluation
HCE 620 Fundamentals of Counseling Theories
HCE 621 Fundamentals of Counseling Skills
HCE 626 Group Process and Procedures
HCE 627 Group Counseling Practicum
HCE 668 Human Development
HCE 690 Individual Counseling Practicum Seminar
HCE 691 Individual Counseling Practicum Laboratory

Required  Concentration Courses (24 credits)

HCE 510 Introduction to Rehabilitation Counseling and Service
HCE 514  Psychiatric Rehabilitation: Evidence-based Practices
HCE 611 Medical and Psychological Aspects of Disability and Rehabilitation
HCE 612 Multicultural Counseling: Social & Cultural Foundations of Helping Diverse Families    
HCE 615 Vocational Counseling and Placement in Rehabilitation
HCE 619  Recovery-Oriented Origins of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Practice
HCE 686 Internship in Counselor Education (6 credits - 600 hours)

Electives (3 credits)

Specialization in Psychiatric Rehabilitation within the Rehabilitation Counseling Concentration

This specialization is designed for rehabilitation counseling students who have an interest in working within the public mental health system, adhere consistently with the psychiatric rehabilitation (PSR) model/principles and are primarily meeting requirements of the Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC) license with a secondary interest in the Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) credential.

Program Requirements (63 credit hours)

In addition to the above required core (27 credits) and concentration (24 credits) courses in the rehabilitation, students are required to take an additional 12 credit hours:

HCE 640 Professional Issues in Mental Health Counseling
HCE 643 Psychopharmocology, Substance-Related Disorders and Integrated Co-Occurring Treatment
HCE 645 Diagnosis & Treatment Planning
HCE 686 Internship in Counselor Education (3 credits = 300 clock hours)


III. School Counseling Concentration (60 credits)

The school counseling specialty requires a total of sixty credit hours of coursework. Upon completion, students are eligible for certification from the Maine Department of Education in the area of school guidance and counseling, levels K-12. Certified graduates are qualified to become employed in elementary, middle, and secondary schools in Maine. Students are trained to become specialists in the planning and delivery of comprehensive developmental school counseling programs that reflect current research and validated paradigms. Graduates of this specialty are eligible to sit for the National Counselor Examination. The school counseling specialty holds accreditation from the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Education Programs (CACREP).

Core Courses (36 credits)

EDU 600 Research Methods and Techniques
HCE 500 Orientation to the Counseling Profession
HCE 604 Career Development
HCE 605 Psychological Measurement and Evaluation
HCE 612 Multicultural Counseling: Social & Cultural Foundations of Helping Diverse Families
HCE 620 Fundamentals of Counseling Theories
HCE 621 Fundamentals of Counseling Skills
HCE 626 Group Process and Procedures
HCE 627 Group Counseling Practicum
HCE 668 Human Development
HCE 690 Individual Counseling Practicum Seminar
HCE 691 Individual Counseling Practicum Laboratory

Required  Concentration Courses (21 credits)

HCE 607 School Guidance Programs and Services
HCE 609 The Practice of School Counseling
HCE 622 Counseling Children and Adolescents
HCE 642 Perspectives in Chemical Dependency
HCE 644 Crisis Intervention
HCE 686 Internship in Counselor Education (6 credits - 600 hours)

Electives (3 credits)

Certification Note: To receive certification as a school counselor in the state of Maine, students must take an exceptionalities course. This may be an undergraduate or graduate course. For course descriptions, please click here: http://usm.maine.edu/sehd

Tk20 Subscription:

All undergraduate and graduate students who matriculate into an Educator Preparation program or pathway in USM summer 2013 or later are required to subscribe to the Tk20 online data management system. The subscription allows students to use the system for assessment, advisement, field-experience and career portfolio management. The subscription fee of $103 covers some of the expenses related to the administration and assessment of the program. For loan purposes, it will be eligible for consideration as part of costs. The subscription is a one-time payment and must be made by each student during the first semester of program or pathway matriculation (check with individual programs and pathways for specific subscription timelines). Subscription instructions are posted on the Office of Educator Preparation web site: http://usm.maine.edu/educatorpreparation 

Please note Professional Education Council Policy:  In order for USM’s Education Preparation Unit program completers to be recommended by the institution to the state for certification or licensure, the candidate must provide evidence of meeting all certification requirements including proficiency on the standards relevant to his/her state approved professional program and this evidence must be compiled and assessed with in the context of the Unit’s data management system (i.e., Tk20). 

 

 

 

Minimum Requirements

Applicant must have a bachelor's degree, from a regionally accredited college or university, and have earned a cumulative grade point average of 2.5 (on a 4.0 scale) in a baccalaureate degree program; Applicants who do not have a 2.5 overall GPA must enclose a letter asking for special consideration, in which they provide evidence of an ability to complete graduate studies successfully. Without such a letter, applicants who fail to meet eligibility requirements may be automatically denied

Application Deadline

November 15

  • Candidates should submit all application materials to the USM Office of Graduate Admissions, P.O. Box 9300, Portland, ME 04104-9300 by the application deadline.
Application must include:
  • A submitted online graduate admission application;
  • The application fee of $65.00;
  • Test scores from either GRE or MAT (see below);
  • Official transcripts from all colleges or universities attended, excluding the seven campuses of the University of Maine system. A transcript is official when it comes directly from the institution. If an applicant is submitting an official transcript, it must be in a sealed envelope from the institution indicating that it is an official document. If the envelope has been opened prior to arriving at the Office of Graduate Admissions, it is no longer considered an official transcript.
  • Three letters of recommendation attesting to the applicant's knowledge of current scholarship, capacity to connect theory and practice in posing and solving educational problems, achievement of excellence in educational practice, and demonstrated capability and motivation to engage in advanced graduate study. Recommendations are submitted using our online application form. You will need to provide the name and email address for each of your recommenders during the application process. Once you submit your application, an email will be automatically generated to your recommenders directing them to fill out the electronic letter of recommendation;
  • Essay (see below);
  • Certification of finances (international students only);
  • Submission of official TOEFL or IELTS scores (if English is not first language);
  • Current resume.
  • In addition to the above submitted materials, applicants must complete a free Tk20 Application in order for your application to be reviewed. The link to the instructions can be found here: http://usm.maine.edu/sites/default/files/educatorpreparation/How-to-Create-Free-Admission-Application-Account-in-Tk20.pdf
Special Essay Question

In addition to the general requirements of the program, candidates for the counseling master's program should provide a narrative, preferably typed, in the form of a brief autobiography that relates the applicant's experiences that have led to an interest in counseling and application to the counselor education program.

Candidates are also asked to address the following statement: "As counseling professionals, we are constantly seeking areas in ourselves that bear examination and change. As future practitioners, you will be witness to a wide variety of client experiences." Please discuss areas in yourself that may block your ability to empathically listen to client experiences that are different from your own. The entire narrative, including the autobiography and the statement, should be limited to three typewritten, double-spaced pages which will be evaluated in terms of clarity of expression, grammatical construction, and other facets of English composition, as well as the quality of responses.

The admissions process requires a formal interview. Candidates to be interviewed will be rated on three areas of personal criteria:

  • understanding of and commitment to the counseling field,
  • self-awareness, and
  • thinking skills/decision making ability.

As part of the interview, applicants will be required to provide a brief, spontaneous writing sample.

Testing Requirement

Applicants to the counseling program must take the MAT or GRE. One of the tests must be taken within five years of application. For those taking the Miller Analogies Test (MAT) you must have earned a score of 398 or above. For the GRE (Graduate Record Exam) you must have earned a score of 286  or above combined verbal and quantitative scores, or equivalent for candidates who took the GRE prior to September 1, 2011 (this requirement is waived for applicants already holding a graduate degree).You must have earned a score of at least 550 on the paper-based Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), 79 or higher on the Internet-based test, or 213 on the computer-based test, or an IELTS score of 6.5 or higher for students whose native language is not English.

Applicants who did not score 398 or equivalent, on the MAT or 286  or equivalent combined on the verbal and quantitative sections of the GRE must enclose a letter asking for special consideration, in which they provide evidence of an ability to complete graduate studies successfully. Without such a letter, applicants who fail to meet eligibility requirements may be automatically denied.

Transfer Credit

A maximum of six credit hours may be approved as transfer credit, provided these credits were earned no more than three years prior to matriculation and grades of B or better were received. Additional transfer credit may be approved by the program chair in exceptional circumstances, including certificates of graduate study program courses.

Graduate students in master's level counseling programs at other accredited universities may transfer into the program if they take their final 21 hours, including the internship requirement, in USM's counselor education program.

Professional Licensure and Certification Notice

Students with a criminal record who are pursuing degrees leading to application for professional licensure or certification should contact the appropriate licensure or certification body prior to matriculation to ensure eligibility.