Certificate of Advanced Study in Counseling
The post-master's Certificate of Advanced Study (CAS) in Counseling is designed to offer a broad range of professional development opportunities for practicing counselors. The overall goal of the certificate program is to enhance and enrich the counselor's educational foundation and to give focus to advanced knowledge and skills that will shape future professional practice. Many applicants utilize the CAS to augment their existing degree in counseling to fulfill the requirements for state certification in rehabilitation or school counseling, as well as for state licensure in mental health counseling or as a substance abuse counselor.
The CAS includes 30 credit hours of graduate coursework, 18 of which must have a counseling focus. If not already documented through an applicant’s master’s degree, three (3) of these credits must reflect an introduction to the counseling profession (HCE 500 Orientation to the Counseling Profession; HCE 510 Introduction to Rehabilitation and Services; or HCE 640 Professional Issues in Mental Health Counseling). Students will work cooperatively with faculty to design a certificate program that is substantive, developmental, and focused on career goals. Matriculation into this certificate program qualifies students for financial aid.
Focus Area (30 credits)
The CAS in Counselor Education is self-designed, allowing students to develop a professionally relevant focus area of their own with the assistance of a faculty advisor. It is important that students consider a cohesive focus when designing their program of study.
Counseling courses may be chosen from the full menu of options offered through the USM Counselor Education Program. For course information and descriptions please see the Course Listing connected with the program. Some courses may be grouped together for students to pursue specific interests. (Please know that courses or specialty areas may change with changes in program faculty.) Example interest areas might include:
HCE 650 Basic Concepts in Couple and Family Counseling
HCE 670 Application of Family Systems Theories
HCE 507 Spirituality and Religion in Counseling
HCE 619 Recovery-Oriented Origins of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Practice
HCE 641 Mind/Body Techniques
Play Therapy (summers only):
HCE 623 Theories and Applications of Play Therapy: Summer Institute
HCE 624 Child-Centered Play Therapy
HCE 625 Adlerian Play Therapy
HCE 642 Perspectives in Chemical Dependency
HCE 643: Psychopharmacology, Substance-Related Disorders & Integrated Co-Occurring Treatment
Students develop a professional portfolio describing progress toward professional goals while in the CAS program. Portfolios are used in final seminars as the basis for discussion, summary, and sharing among completing students.
At the completion of the required 30 credit hours, students will develop a professional portfolio describing progress toward professional goals while in the CAS program. Portfolio requirements are to be scheduled at the end of each student’s program. These presentations typically take place during the last semester of internship. For those CAS students who are not enrolled in an internship class, the portfolio presentation will be scheduled with the aid of the faculty advisor.
At minimum, candidates should have a master’s degree in counseling or allied field from a regionally accredited college or university. It is also preferred that candidates have a minimum of two years of experience in professional practice.
Application Procedures and Required Materials
- Fall matriculation: applications must be received by May 1
- Spring matriculation: applications must be received by October 15
- Summer matriculation: applications must be received by March 15
Once the materials are reviewed, an admissions interview will be scheduled. After completion of the interview, admission is voted on by program faculty. You will then be notified of the decision.
Applicants are required to provide the following materials:
- Application: Online Application
- Application fee: Waived for all applicants
- Transcripts: Official transcripts from all colleges or universities attended, excluding the seven campuses of the University of Maine System (UMS transcripts are accessible to USM). A transcript is official when sent directly from the institution.
- International College transcripts: In addition to an official copy of the transcript, an official evaluation of college-level transcripts from a NACES (National Association of Credential Evaluation Services) approved transcript analysis agency is required
- Resume: Submit a resume or CV that outlines professional, volunteer, and community experience.
In addition to the general requirements of the College, candidates should provide a proposed plan of study for the CAS that includes:
- A brief essay which includes a short autobiography and the applicant’s reason(s) for pursuing advanced graduate study in counseling.
- The proposed focus of the applicant’s program, including specific courses if known.
- An explanation of how the proposed program fits the applicant’s personal and professional goals.
- Recommendations: 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.
- TOEFL or IELTS: Students whose first language is not English are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and submit official scores as part of the application process. See additional information below regarding test scores.
Where to send transcripts and application materials
Official transcripts and other supporting documents can be sent to:
Application Processing Center
University of Maine System
P.O. Box 412
Bangor, ME 04402-0412
Colleges and universities that participate in electronic submission of transcripts can send official transcripts to firstname.lastname@example.org. Resumes, essays, and other documents can also be sent to email@example.com.
For a transcript or recommendation to be considered official, it must be sent by the institution or the person writing the recommendation
In addition to the standard application materials, international students must also provide the following materials:
- College transcript evaluation: official course-by-course evaluation of college-level transcripts from a NACES (National Association of Credential Evaluation Services) approved transcript analysis agency
- Declaration of Finances form accompanied by the appropriate financial documentation
- International students whose first language is not English are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and submit official scores as part of the application process. Only applicants with TOEFL scores of 79 or higher on the internet-based test, 550 or higher on the paper-based test, or 213 or higher on the computer-based test; or IELTS scores of 6.5 or higher will be considered for admission to a graduate program.
English Proficiency Test Scores
Official English proficiency examination scores are required from international applicants and/or applicants whose primary language is not English, unless the applicant has received a degree from an English-speaking institution. The University of Southern Maine accepts the following score reports sent directly from the testing agency. TOEFL scores of 79 or higher on the internet-based test, 550 or higher on the paper-based test, or 213 or higher on the computer-based test; or IELTS scores of 6.5 or higher will be considered for a graduate program.
Students may not transfer courses that were part of a master's degree of fewer than sixty credits toward the CAS. Up to six post-master's graduate credits may be accepted by the CAS admissions committee, provided these credits were earned no more than three years prior to matriculation in the CAS and were completed with a grade of B or better.
Students may be able to apply up to twelve credits that were part of a master's degree that required sixty or more credits toward the CAS. These courses must be directly related to the student's proposed CAS program of study, provided these credits are approved by the counselor education program faculty and were completed with a grade of B or better.