One of the main tasks of the school counselor is to integrate the school counseling program into the total school curriculum, by systematically providing knowledge and skills to assist PreK-12 students in maximizing their academic, career and personal/social development. The Tennessee State Department of Education has established standards and goals for school counselor preparation programs. Therefore, based on licensure standards set by the Tennessee State Department of Education, the M.S. in School Counseling degree program at Lee University will provide the prospective candidate with the knowledge and skills to develop the following outcomes:
- An understanding of the nature and needs of students in grade levels PreK-12 as well as the ability to apply knowledge from the area of human growth and development and learning theories; to identify learning problems; and to assist teachers and parents in responding to counseling and guidance interventions with students.
- An understanding of the process of social and cultural change with respect to various racial, gender and ethnic groups, knowledge of differing cultural and lifestyle patterns, and the ability to develop plans and programs to prevent person and substance abuse, discrimination, and dropping out of school.
- An understanding of the philosophical basis underlying the helping process and the ability to facilitate student growth and development through both counseling and consulting activities, including contributing to the development and implementation of the individualized educational programs (IEPs) for students with special needs.
- The ability to lead large and small group counseling and guidance activities related to personal and interpersonal growth, self-help and problem solving, and career development.
- An understanding of changes in society and technology and the influence of changes on work and learning as well as the ability to develop and implement a comprehensive career development program.
- The ability to assist in curriculum advisement and career counseling using a variety of materials, strategies, and technologies.
- An understanding of appropriate tests and other assessments to assist students and their parents in making effective educational, social and career decisions as well as the ability to use group administered educational and psychological measurement and appraisal instruments.
- An understanding of research and research design as well as the ability to conduct research and evaluation projects related to the outcomes of counseling and guidance services.
- The ability to plan, manage and evaluate a comprehensive PreK-12 program of guidance and counseling services.
- An understanding of the ethical and legal standards of guidance and school counseling professionals.
- The ability to work with teachers, school social workers, school psychologists and family resource center staff in meeting student needs.
- The ability to inform students, teachers, parents and the community about the purposes and activities of the school guidance and counseling program.
- The ability to work with parents and conduct parent education activities.
- The ability to use community resources and referral processes and develop effective partnership arrangements with community agencies.
- Establish a professional identity as a School Counselor.
Program of Study
The Master of Science in School Counseling (PreK-12) prepares individuals to work as school counselors. Requirements lead directly to licensure as a School Counselor by meeting all of the requirements of the Tennessee State Department of Education. The requirements for this track include a 48-semester hour curriculum that includes a full year placement in a school setting. This curriculum includes 48 semester hours of required courses. The program is composed of a minimum of four semesters of approved graduate study. The typical full-time student will complete the program in approximately two full years.
The program core will provide educational preparation in school guidance and counseling programs, human growth and development, social and cultural foundations of counseling, cross-cultural issues in counseling, a Christian perspective on psychology, helping relationships, group work, career and lifestyle development, appraisal, research and professional issues. The program core will also provide supervised counseling experience working in schools with culturally diverse students in grades PreK-12. The program furnishes additional training in family systems, human sexuality, crisis intervention and collaboration.
Clinical experiences in a school setting are an integral part of a degree in school counseling at Lee University. The counseling practicum and internship placements provide an opportunity to practice skills and to utilize acquired knowledge in both elementary and secondary school settings. Fieldwork activity follows a developmental model consisting of a sequence of training experiences of increasing complexity and responsibility. Each level of training is designed to accommodate the student’s particular level of professional development.
Practicum refers to the experience of working with students and teachers within the setting of a formal course, under direct supervision of a faculty member. Students are required to complete a minimum of 100 hours of practicum prior to entering an internship. A minimum of 40 clock hours must be in direct contact with clients. The remaining hours can be indirect in nature, i.e., the student may participate in role-playing, observe counseling sessions, review taped sessions, and so on.
Internship refers to a formalized arrangement by which the student is assigned to a school in order to gain experience in the many facets of the role of a school counselor, including but not limited to direct services to clients. The internship experience includes two separate placements: (1) an elementary school and (2) a secondary school. Students are required to complete a minimum of 600 clock hours of internship. A minimum of 240 clock hours must be in direct contact with clients. The remaining hours can be used to provide the student with opportunities for a variety of professional activities in addition to direct service (e.g., record keeping, supervision, information and referral, in-service and staff meetings, IEP meetings and consultation, etc.).
Students are required to obtain liability insurance through the graduate office prior to beginning field experiences.
All students are required to obtain a background check through the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation prior to beginning classes. Applications must be obtained through the graduate office. Prior background checks may not be valid due to the age of the previous report and the level completed.