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School of Education | Master of Arts in Counseling Candidate Handbook

Masters of Arts in Counseling Programs Candidate Handbook

 Educating for the Possibilities:  For Every Child

Authors: Dr. Deborah Haskins and Dr. Brenda Terry-Leonard




Welcome to the Counseling Programs and to the School of Education at Trinity Washington University! You are embarking upon a noble and important professional identity and journey as a school counselor or licensed professional counselor.  We are excited that you chose Trinity Washington University to begin your graduate education and professional counseling career.

This Masters Student Handbook is prepared as a guide to support you during your graduate studies.  While we make references to some academic policies here, candidates must refer to the School of Education Academic Policies listed online, since that is the official University policy and is where updates to the degree are made.  Additionally, we encourage candidates to access the Moodle Masters of Counseling Program Resource site (click on Moodle; scroll down on the right hand side to get access).


The Counseling Programs are structured to meet the needs of working adults. Many of our candidates are working full-time (or close to) and/or involved in multiple roles (such as spouses, partners, parents, family caregivers).  We have developed a curriculum structure to meet this profile.

The Program is a 3-year degree, with the final year including 700 hours of clinical instruction. Candidates will need to think ahead about how they will accomplish the clinical training while engaged in other life roles.  Many candidates are receiving financial aid, which requires 6 credits of enrollment each semester.  Therefore the Program is structured to offer 6 credits each semester from the time of admission to the completion of the final clinical sequence course.  If a candidate experiences personal and/or academic challenges, the program completion could take longer than 3 years.

Program of Study

Candidates receive a Program of Study (POS) for the School Counseling degree (48-credits) or Clinical Mental Health Counseling degree (60 credits, Licensure Track) when they attend the first advising/registration session with the Director of the Counseling Programs.  This document is your official curriculum, which you will follow during your matriculation throughout the degree.  Candidates should be acquainted with the POS, which can also be accessed online through Self-Service; each candidate is responsible for reading and following the POS in the order of sequence of Year 1 courses first, Year 2 courses next, and finally Year 3 courses last.  You will note that there are several classes in which one may enroll during Year 2 or Year 3 (e.g., COUN 561 Principles and Practices of School Counseling).

Candidates should review the POS before each registration period and determine which courses they intend to take before selecting the course/s at registration in the Self-Service.  When a candidate submits registration for a class, the Advisor will review the course after consulting the POS.  If the candidate is not eligible to take the class or there is another class the candidate should take instead, the Advisor may deny the original requested course and recommend other courses.  It is a good idea for candidates to consult the Advisor prior to the registration period session.

We want to stress that the School of Education expects all candidates to familiarize themselves with the POS and to follow it.  Candidates are not encouraged to substitute peer advising for advising with your Faculty Advisor.  Many errors have occurred when candidates do not follow the POS, speak with the Faculty Advisor, and/or rely on peer advising or their own ideas that do not follow the planned POS sequence and curriculum.  We are here to support candidates, but they are expected to be active learners and graduate consumers of their respective Counseling program.

The following are copies of both Programs of Study and summary information.

Please note that in the 3rd column, the POS indicates when the class is offered:  Fall, Spring, Summer (10 week semester, June term or July Term).  Please be sure you attend to when the class is offered, especially for a class that is offered once a year (e.g., COUN 570 Diagnosis in Counseling offered during the Spring semester only).  If you miss the class, this will result in a potential delay in advancing to other courses such as the Clinical Training Sequence (e.g., COUN 631 Practicum in Counseling).  Also, note that now the POS is online (through Self-Service) and looks different than what you see below.

School Counseling Program of Study (48 credits)

 Required Courses  Prerequisites Semester Available  Academic Plan  Grade
Fall   Spring Summer
Foundational Courses (Required Year 1 Courses)
EDCC 510
Human Growth & Development
(Sum Term 1/June)
 EDTE 636
Psychology of
Exeptional Children & Youth
(Sum Term 2/July)
 EDCC 600
Research in Education
(Full Sum Semester)
Counseling Theory and Application Courses      
 COUN 540
Principles & Theories of Counseling*
(Year 1; Semester 1)
 COUN 560
Techniques of Counseling*
COUN 540  Fall/Spring
(Year 1; Semester 2/3)
 COUN 538
Career & Lifestyle Development
 Fall (Year 2)
 COUN 544
Principles & Techniques of
COUN 540
COUN 560
 Fall (Year 2)
 COUN 547
Counseling & Group Process*
COUN 540
COUN 560
 Fall (Year 2)
 COUN 550
Multicultural Counseling
 Spring/Sum (Year 1)
(Full Sum Semester)
 COUN 555
Counseling Children and
COUN 540
COUN 560
 Summer (Year 2)
(Sum Term 2/July)
 COUN 561
Principles & Practices of School
COUN 540
COUN 560
 Summer (Year 2/3)
 COUN 570
Diagnosis & Treatment in
COUN 540
COUN 560
 Spring (Year 2)
 COUN 605
Ethical, Legal & Professional
COUN 540
COUN 560
 Spring (Year 2/3)
 Counseling Practicum & Internship Field Training      
 COUN 631
Practicum in Counseling* (100 hours)
Comprehensive Exam (CPCE)
 Core theory/
application &
faculty approval
(Year 3)
 COUN 640
Internship in Counseling I* (300 hours)
 COUN 631  Fall/Spring/Summer
(Year 3)
 COUN 642
Internship in Counseling II* (300 hours)
 COUN 640  Fall/Spring/Summer
(Year 3)
 COUN 697
Clinical Internship Continuation*
(1-3 credits based on total hours
needed to complete program)
 COUN 642  Fall/Spring/Summer

Student Signature: _________________________________ Advisor Signature: _________________________________

Transfer Credit: _______ Exceptions/Additions to Requirements: _____________ CPCE Date/Pass: ________ / _______

*Courses require minimum “B” grade for advancement. Courses in italics represent eight content areas covered on the CPCE.

Candidates who do not successfully complete the Writing Assessment in EDCC 601—Transitions to Graduate School Seminar are required to take and pass EDCC 511—Introduction to Professional Writing or an equivalent course within their first year of study.

Licensure-Track Program of Study (60 credits)

Required Courses Prerequisites Semester Available Academic Plan Grade
Fall  Winter  Spring  May Summer
Foundational Courses (Required Year 1 Courses)
EDCC 510
Human Growth & Development
Fall/Spring/Summer (Sum Term 1/June)
EDTE 636
Psychology of Exeptional Children & Youth
Fall/Spring/Summer (Sum Term 2/July)
EDCC 600
Research in Education
Fall/Spring/Summer (Full Sum Semester)
Counseling Theory and Application Courses     
COUN 540
Principles & Theories of Counseling*
Fall/Spring (Year 1; Semester 1)
COUN 560
Techniques of Counseling*
COUN 540 Fall/Spring (Year 1; Semester 2/3)
COUN 538
Career & Lifestyle Development
Fall (Year 2/3)
COUN 544
Principles & Techniques of Assessment
COUN 540, COUN 560 Fall (Year 2)
COUN 547
Counseling & Group Process*
COUN 540, COUN 560 Fall (Year 2)
COUN 550
Multicultural Counseling
Spring/Sum (Year 1) (Full Sum Semester)
COUN 553
Alcohol & Substance Abuse
COUN 540, COUN 560 Spring (Year 3)
COUN 555
Counseling Children and Adolescents
COUN 540, COUN 560 Summer (Year 2) (Sum Term 2/July)
COUN 557
Introduction to Family Counseling
COUN 540, COUN 560 Summer (Year 3)
(Sum Term 2/July)
COUN 561
Principles & Practices of School Counseling
COUN 540, COUN 560 Summer (Year 2/3)
COUN 570
Diagnosis & Treatment in Counseling
COUN 540, COUN 560 Spring (Year 2)
COUN 604
Expressive Arts in Counseling
COUN 540, COUN 560 Winter Term
May Term
COUN 605
Ethical, Legal & Professional Issues*
COUN 540, COUN 560 Spring (Year 2/3)
COUN 606
Loss & Bereavement
COUN 540, COUN 560 May Term
 COUN 695
(Elective course can replace COUN 604)
COUN 540, COUN 560 Alternative summers
Counseling Practicum & Internship Field Training     
COUN 631
Practicum in Counseling* (100 hours)
Comprehensive Exam (CPCE)
Core theory/ application & faculty approval Fall/Spring/Summer (Year 3)
COUN 640
Internship in Counseling I* (300 hours)
COUN 631 Fall/Spring/Summer (Year 3)
COUN 642
Internship in Counseling II* (300 hours)
COUN 640 Fall/Spring/Summer (Year 3)
COUN 697
Clinical Internship Continuation* (1-3 credits based on total hours needed to complete program)
COUN 642 Fall/Spring/Summer

Student Signature: ______________________________ Advisor Signature: _________________________________

Transfer Credit: _______ Exceptions/Additions to Requirements: ___________ CPCE Date/Pass: ______ / _______

*Courses require minimum “B” grade for advancement. Courses in italics represent eight content areas covered on the CPCE.

Candidates who do not successfully complete the Writing Assessment in EDCC 601—Transitions to Graduate School Seminar are required to take and pass EDCC 511—Introduction to Professional Writing or an equivalent course within their first year of study.

Year 1

Transition to Graduate School Seminar

Candidates in the School of Education graduate programs are all required to take EDCC 601, Transition to Graduate School Seminar, in the first semester.  This 5-week seminar course is mandatory for all new students.  Trinity is committed to student success, and the seminar will cover essential topics.  Although we do not require the GRE for admissions, the School of Education will administer a Writing Assessment during the first Transition Seminar; this assessment is graded by the School of Education faculty.  Candidates who do not meet the standards of the Writing Assessment will be required to enroll in a mandatory Introduction to Professional Writing class (EDCC 511); the course carries 3 credits and results in additional tuition.  Candidates will be notified about their assessment score and, if writing instruction is recommended, will be directed to meet with their Faculty Advisor, review the Writing Assessment and scoring, and communicate an intention to register (and add the course) within the first year (or sooner) since writing is essential for graduate education and the School of Education desires all candidates to do well.  Candidates will be unable to register for future semesters if the recommendation is not followed.

Candidates who hold a previous master’s degree are required to attend only the first two Transitions Seminar classes.  This attendance ensures that students will learn essential information about Trinity Washington University and the School of Education policies, procedures, and pertinent information.

During Year 1, students also take 9 credits of School of Education foundation courses. These foundation courses are required registrations in the first year for all candidates who will enroll in these courses within their first 2 semesters if taking 6 credits each semester.  Candidates must enroll in:

EDCC 601             Transitions to Graduate Student Seminar  (0 credits)

EDCC 510             Human Growth and Development

EDTE 636              Psychology of Exceptional Children and Youth

EDCC 600             Research in Education

Research in Education is a great class which really prepares you for reading, thinking, and writing for graduate studies and the profession.  But it is a very challenging course and will involve a lot of focus and consistent work.  Candidates should discuss with their Advisor their aptitude in research and consider the best course combinations.  We encourage candidates to plan strategically when enrolling in particular courses.

Other Year 1 courses include:

COUN 540           Principles and Theories in Counseling

COUN 560           Techniques in Counseling

COUN 550           Multicultural Counseling (offered Spring and Summer)

Often, the Advisor will recommend that a candidate begin with EDCC 510 and EDTE 636 or EDCC 510 and COUN 540 if one is registering during Fall or Spring (when COUN 540 is offered).  What is key is that candidates must complete all Year 1 classes before moving to Year 2 classes.  For example, the Advisor will not approve delaying registration in EDCC 600 (Research in Education) until Year 2 or their last year in the Program.


Year 2

During Year 2, you will begin enrollment in many of the Counseling Theory and Application courses.  This is an exciting time in the Program because you will learn key content knowledge and skills to perform as a Professional School Counselor and Licensed Professional Counselor.

 Counselor education courses are different than many academic courses.  A major aspect of counselor education includes our ability to “reflect on self as part of the therapeutic and counseling process.”  It is not enough to have intellectual strengths to function as effective professional counselors.  Because we are entering relationships with students, consumers of counseling services, supervisors, parents/caregivers, and school professionals, etc., we also develop the capacity and skillfulness to strengthen our self-identity, our emotional awareness, and our ability to strengthen our intrapersonal (internal emotional and personal relationship with self) and interpersonal (relationships with others) skills.  The School of Education Professional Dispositions are very important during the counselor education process.  Because we are a reflection not only of Trinity and the School of Education, but also the profession, it is imperative that we conduct ourselves as professionals during our graduate enrollment, in our clinical training experiences, in the profession, and in the world. 

During the 2nd year, you will reflect on where you would like to function in the schools, community agencies, and other settings such as behavioral health, military settings, career counseling, etc.  You will begin the process of identifying potential clinical training experiences.  If you are in the School Counseling Program, you should think about the populations of students about which you would like to develop knowledge and skills. We encourage candidates to have a broad experience base and not limit yourself to one developmental age and setting (e.g., elementary school vs. high school).

You will meet with the Clinical Coordinator during the formal Practicum and Internship planning process beginning in Year 1.  Candidates do not formally apply to the Practicum and Internship Process until Year 2, but we encourage you to attend the clinical training information sessions so that you become familiar with the process early. You should refer to the process and key documents on the Moodle Masters in Counseling Programs Resource page and attend the mandatory Practicum and Internship planning meetings (and appointment) with the Clinical Coordinator.

Candidates will not be given permission to enroll in the clinical training classes unless they have followed the formal application process by the posted deadline, attended the meetings/appointments with the Clinical Coordinator, followed the process (e.g., interviewing with the approved partnership sites to which the Counseling Programs have referred you) and received a firm offer from the partner site.  Candidates will not be permitted to register if they have not followed each step in this process.  Again, remember, you are preparing for the professional role and having attentive planning skills will be critical for your success here as well as in the profession.

Candidates who do not have a site by the communicated deadline before the semester of the intended clinical training enrollment will be advised to drop the clinical-sequence class (COUN 631, 640, 642).  Candidates cannot be enrolled in COUN 631, 640 or 642 unless they have a site that the Clinical Coordinator has approved and confirmed before the semester begins.

Candidates will then need to consult with the Faculty Advisor to identify a substitute course if advised to withdraw from the clinical training course. Additionally, if a candidate encounters a Professional Disposition matter or academic issue that impacts their clinical training enrollment, the candidate may be advised to withdraw from COUN 631, 640, 642.  It is important for candidates to understand that when we place you in clinical training, the partnership site expects strong interns.  They do not expect to “remediate,” and the Counseling Program will not place a candidate in the field that is lacking core knowledge and counselor competencies.  The  School of Education may request a formal Intervention Plan (see the Academic Policies under School of Education for more details) to address any academic or Professional Dispositions that may interfere or affect a candidate’s success in the clinical training sequence and/or the profession.

It is important to understand that key prerequisite courses are necessary as foundational courses when beginning the clinical training sequence.  Candidates should not expect the Counseling Program to modify the graduate curriculum to accommodate their personal needs.  We do not have the flexibility to alter an accredited graduate education program.

A typical Year 2 semester in Fall could include:

COUN 538           Lifestyle and Career Development

COUN 547           Counseling and the Group Process (if successfully completed COUN 540 and 560)

Winter Term      (For Licensure-Track Students; School Counseling Students can elect to add to POS if spaces are available after Licensure-Track Students get Priority Registration)

COUN 604           Expressive Arts


COUN 695           Bibliotherapy (elective offered alternate years).  Students can elect to take COUN 695 in place of COUN 604.

School Counseling Students can elect to add COUN 695 to their POS

A typical Year 2 semester in Spring could include: (and is vital in order to move to Clinical Training in the next term):

COUN 570           Diagnosis in Counseling

COUN 605           Ethical, Legal, and Professional Issues

May Term:

COUN 606           Loss and Bereavement (if prerequisites COUN 540 and 560 successfully completed)

A typical Summer semester could include:

COUN 555           Counseling Children and Adolescents

COUN 544           Principles & Techniques of Assessment

COUN 695           Bibliotherapy (elective in place of COUN 604; also note that School Counseling Candidates can elect to add this course to their Program of Study)


Year 3

You’re almost in the final stretch!  You are now moving into the field.  During Year 3 you will begin your Clinical sequence courses/training as well as prepare to take the Comprehensive Counselor Preparation Exam (CPCE) during the semester when you enroll in the first clinical course (COUN 631).  Below are just highlights of what you can consider as you plan for this critical aspect of your graduate and professional education.  In the next Handbook section, candidates will be introduced to the Clinical Training sequence in depth and provided with information regarding preparation for that part of the degree.  Candidates can refer to the Moodle site for more information and materials (including the formal CPCE application).

Clinical Training Sequence

In your first year of the program, you will have time to think and reflect on your interests, values, personality, aptitude, and abilities as a counselor-in-training.  You may begin to consider the ways you want to function as a counselor and the populations you are interested in working with.  As you move through your courses, you will have many opportunities to read, discuss, and reflect on how you want to practice as a professional counselor.  Many candidates feel they should know exactly what they want to specialize in as a counselor.  Try not to feel pressured. You really do have time. The clinical training courses provide this opportunity to explore your counselor interests and test out what may be the optimal settings for you.  However, your first jobs in the field are also exploration opportunities.  The key is just to begin gaining clinical training experiences in the schools (for school counselor students) or varied counselor settings (for licensure-track students) so that you can gain more awareness, knowledge, and skills in functioning as a professional counselor.

Courses taken in Year 3 include:  (Note the Clinical Sequence Courses will occur depending on your                    matriculation/readiness to begin)

A typical Fall semester:

COUN 561           Principles and Practices of School Counseling (if not taken in Year 2)

COUN 547           Group Process and Counseling (if not taken in Year 2)

COUN 631 or      Practicum in Counseling or

COUN 640           Internship I

Winter Term:   

COUN 604           Expressive Arts (if not taken during Year 2 Winter or May Term) for the Licensure-Track students

Spring Term:

COUN 553           Alcohol and Substance Abuse

Summer Term:

COUN 557           Introduction to Family Counseling


 During clinical training, you will take 3 courses in the final year.  Candidates begin with COUN 631 (Practicum in  Counseling). Next, you will enroll in COUN 640 Internship in Counseling I.  Finally, you will enroll in COUN 642 Internship in Counseling II.  Candidates must earn a grade of “B” or better and demonstrate acceptable Professional Dispositions in order to advance to the next clinical training course.  Dual registration in any of these courses is not permitted.   Note, candidates cannot register for dual registration in COUN 640 and 642 because 640 is a pre-requisite to enroll in 642.  Counselor identity formation is a process and a progressive developmental journey of knowledge and skill identity which happens over time.  Moreover, partner sites prefer a training period to get a candidate acclimated to the school or agency and provide training development.

Candidates will learn that a minimum number of direct counseling hours are needed to satisfy course outcomes in COUN 631-640-642 courses.  If a candidate does not complete all of the direct counseling hours and/or total hours required by the time they complete COUN 642, the student will be required to enroll in COUN 697 Clinical Internship Continuation (new name beginning 7/1/12; formerly titled Directed Research).  Candidates are required to achieve the total hours in each course; however, there may be some circumstances that impact the student’s completion of some hours (for example, client referrals are low, students “no show” for appointments and the clinical trainee may be short some hours.).   Candidates must communicate this information regularly with the University Instructor and site supervisor so that a plan is in place to complete hours.)  However, if a student is enrolled in COUN 642 and does not have the direct counseling and total hours to complete the course, the student must register for COUN 697 to complete the clinical sequence course requirements.

The next Handbook section will describe the process to begin the clinical training sequence and introduce you to key documents you will need while enrolled in the Year 3 clinical training courses.


Clinical Training

Field Education
Practicum and Internship

Trinity’s Counseling Program offers comprehensive field training for advanced graduate candidates in the Masters of Arts in Counseling and School Counseling programs.  Enrollment in practicum and internship are considered critical experiences for successful counselor education.  Primary goals at each phase of field training are to develop counseling skills and to promote the development of the candidate’s professional counselor identity in a school or community setting compatible with their program emphasis.  Practicum and Internship activities take place at approved training sites with appropriately qualified and licensed supervisors where the practicum trainee or intern can work with clients or K-12 children and adolescents from an assigned caseload.  These guidelines and requirements reflect Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) standards, principles for the professional preparation of counselors, and School of Education and Counseling Program policies.

Practicum (COUN 631)

The Practicum is the first field placement experience and is a required component of the Master of Arts in Counseling and the Master of Arts in School Counseling programs.  Candidates enrolled in these programs must apply for and successfully complete the Practicum as a part of their Program of Study.  The Practicum provides entry-level, supervised field training for candidates preparing for careers in counseling and school counseling.

Practicum Requirements

The Practicum requires the successful completion of a minimum of one hundred (100) clock hours of supervised training in key activities at an approved site.  Practicum placement trainees are to complete the one hundred (100) hours in an approved setting under supervision from faculty and site supervisors.  Practicum trainees typically spend six to ten (6-10) hours per week involved in direct and indirect counseling service activities and individual and group supervision.  At least forty (40) of the total one hundred (100)  clock hours must be accrued providing direct service (face-to-face contact). Thirty (30) of the forty (40) direct service hours must be obtained through individual counseling services, and three (3) of the direct service hours must include group counseling.  At least sixty (60) of the one hundred (100) clock hours must be obtained in indirect service activities that are pertinent to the “direct service” functions.  The total hours spent in the weekly on-campus Practicum class are included in the indirect services hours.  Hours in Practicum must be accrued throughout the 15-week semester (or 10-week Summer Term).  Trainees ordinarily earn Practicum hours at a single site.  Faculty must approve requests for completion of any service hours between semesters.

Eligibility for the Practicum

Candidates are eligible to apply for Practicum (pre-internship) on successful completion of preliminary Foundation courses and prerequisite Counseling Theory & Application courses that are outlined in the Program of Study.  A minimum of a “B” grade must be earned in prerequisite Counseling Theory & Application Courses for advancement to the Practicum phase.

1)      Preliminary Foundation courses:  EDCC 601, EDCC 510, EDCC 600, EDTE 636

2)      Prerequisite Counseling & Application courses:

  1. COUN 540, COUN 560, COUN 538, COUN 544, COUN 547, COUN 550, COUN 570, COUN 605
  2. Minimum “B” grade required in COUN 540, COUN 560, COUN 547, COUN 605

Candidates who have earned a grade lower than “B“ in COUN 540, COUN 560, COUN 547, or COUN 605, must repeat the course and successfully complete the course by earning a minimum grade of “B” to be eligible for Practicum.  Any course that must be repeated is to be re-taken and successfully completed prior to the Practicum semester.

Practicum Application Process

Complete the Practicum & Internship Application Form by the deadline and submit the completed form to the Clinical Coordinator.  The candidate’s resume, the signed Candidate Informed Consent, and the signed Ethics Policy & Candidate Contract must be submitted with the application.  Ensure that the required supporting documents are attached to the application and that you have responded to all items on the application.  Incomplete applications will be returned.  Applications are due by the designated date during the semester immediately preceding the Practicum semester.  Candidates are not eligible to enroll in the Practicum course if the Practicum application is not received by the designated deadline.  The deadline dates are as follows:

1)      Application Deadlines (Note the application dates may change and will be announced by the Clinical Coordinator/Director of Program if dates are adjusted)

  1. Fall Practicum – Application due by March 15th
  2. Spring Practicum – Application due by September 15th
  3. Summer Practicum – Application due by February 15th

2)      Supporting Documents (that must accompany the Practicum application)

  1. Candidate’s current resume
  2. Candidate Informed Consent
  3. Ethics Policy & Candidate Contract

Candidates are to confirm their field placement sites with the prospective field supervisor by obtaining an offer letter and/or by completing the Clinical Assignment Agreement & Verification Form.  The Clinical Assignment Agreement & Verification Form must be signed by the candidate and the prospective field supervisor, accompanied by the field supervisor’s resume, and submitted to the Clinical Coordinator no later than one week prior to the end of the semester that immediately precedes the Practicum semester.  All of the remaining supporting documents (e.g., verification of professional liability insurance, TB test if needed, security screening if needed) must also be submitted no later than one week prior to the last day of the semester that immediately precedes the Practicum semester.  If the Practicum is not confirmed by the designated date and all of the remaining supporting documents have not been received by the designated date, the candidate cannot take the Practicum course.

Supporting Documents (that must be received one week prior to the last day of the semester)

  1. Clinical Assignment Agreement & Verification Form
  2. Verification of professional liability insurance (must be obtained before beginning at the placement site)
  3. Health Screening (Tuberculosis test if required by the site) (TB Tests can be done in the Trinity Health/Wellness Center)
  4. Security Screening (finger printing and background check if required by the site)

Enrollment in the Practicum (COUN 631)

The candidate may enroll in the Practicum course (COUN 631) once the approved site has been confirmed and all supporting documents and necessary attachments have been submitted to and verified by the Clinical Coordinator.  Authorization to enroll in the Practicum must be obtained by the candidate from the Clinical Coordinator in consultation with the candidate’s faculty advisor.

Once enrolled in the Practicum course, the candidate must complete and submit to the Practicum Instructor the Practicum/Internship Weekly Field Training Schedule.  This form must be signed by the candidate and site supervisor and submitted not later than the second week of the term.

The Practicum – Internship Weekly Activity Log must be submitted to the instructor as designated.  The signatures of the counseling candidate and the field-site supervisor provide verification of the hours logged, the services provided, and the activity completed.

Practicum/Internship Site Requirements

All Practicum and Internship sites must be pre-approved by the Clinical Coordinator.  Sites must provide the scope of the Counseling program requirements and meet the Counseling program objectives.  At a minimum, approved sites must 1) provide opportunities for on-going individual and group counseling with a designated caseload of clients, 2) provide weekly individual on-site supervision by a qualified and licensed mental health professional, and 3) provide opportunities for video or audio-tape recordings of counseling sessions with the appropriate informed consent.  Work at the Practicum and Internship sites begin only after the candidate enrolls in COUN 631, COUN 640, or COUN 642 and begins attending the university-based seminar training group.

Site Supervision

The site supervisor is the individual at the field site who has primary responsibility for the supervision of the practicum trainee at the field site.  The site supervisor must have 1) a minimum of a Master’s degree in counseling or a closely related field and appropriate certifications and/or license, 2) a minimum of two years of pertinent professional experience, and 3) knowledge of the program’s expectations, requirements, and evaluation procedures.

Field Training at Employment Sites

The following criteria must be met if candidates request the use of their employment site for field training.  “Training phases” must be clearly distinct from “employee” responsibilities including the candidate’s designation as “Practicum trainee” and “intern.”  Candidates must separate the work hours from the training hours and specify when they are in the role of an employee and when they are functioning as a “Practicum trainee” or “Intern.”  There must also be a clear distinction between the client population that is served as an employee and as a “Practicum trainee” or “Intern.”  In addition, supervision must be provided by a qualified and licensed mental health professional who is not the candidate’s employment supervisor.

Extension of Clinical Training

For continuity of care or for accrual of necessary hours, candidates may request continuation at the approved training site through the university breaks (e.g., winter break/spring break).  Candidates cannot continue at the training site unless the Counseling Program is aware and a Counseling Program faculty member is monitoring the experience.  A candidate can only continue at a site if (1) the training schedule is determined with the site supervisor by a designated date, (2) the weekly schedule extension form is completed and submitted to the designated university supervisor by a designated date, (3) weekly reflections documenting the training experiences are sent to the designated university supervisor during the university break, and (4) the trainee commits to completing the weekly logs, having them signed by the site supervisor and submitting the logs to the university supervisor during the first day of class for the next training course (e.g., COUN 640 or COUN 642).  Candidates absolutely cannot continue at a site during the break unless the foregoing process is followed.  This is a quality assurance issue with ethical and legal implications.



The Internship provides intensive field training in the role of professional counselor.  Candidates complete hours of approved service under supervision by a qualified mental health professional and university faculty member.  Emphasis is placed on reflective practice of theory-based individual and group counseling and supportive case management.  Training stresses mastery of culturally responsive core counseling skills, empathic attunement, integration of theory and practice utilizing a guiding counseling model, case study, clinical decision making, self-discovery in the counselor role, and ethical professional disposition.  The Internship is composed of Internship I (COUN 640) and Internship II (COUN 642).  Each phase of the Internship (I and II) is to occur over one semester, with candidates working a minimum of twenty (20) hours per week at the training site during each semester of the Internship.

The internship experience requires a total of 600 hours.  Internship I and Internship II each require the completion of a minimum of 300 hours.  During Internship I and Internship II a minimum of 120 hours must be obtained performing direct service, and a minimum of 180 hours must be obtained performing indirect service activities.  During Internship (as with the Practicum), the department faculty will provide opportunities for discussion of professional and ethical issues related to the practice of counseling through a weekly seminar group. Attendance at this seminar is required throughout field training and until the total internship hours are accrued.  On recommendation by the field or university supervisor, or the Counseling Program Training Committee, candidates may be required to complete additional supervised practice in an additional continued directed training experience (COUN 697).

A candidate is eligible to register for Internship I (COUN 640) on successful completion of Practicum.  A candidate is eligible to register for Internship II (COUN 642) on successful completion of Internship I.


Clinical Internship Continuation (COUN 697)

Clinical Internship Continuation provides candidates the opportunity to complete internship field training activities under the direction of the University Clinical Instructor.  Candidates continuing their Internship must register for 1 credit for each subsequent semester until all required assignments and services hours are completed.


Practicum and Internship Evaluation Process

Candidates will receive a mid-term and final evaluation by the site supervisor.  This data is used to assess the candidate’s performance and to determine the candidate’s final Practicum or Internship grade.  A grade for the Practicum or Internship course cannot be determined until the mid-term and final evaluations are received by the university supervisor.   The candidate is required to complete the Evaluation of Practicum/Internship Site at the end of each training term.

At the end of the Practicum/Internship term, candidates must ensure the completion of the final paperwork which includes:

1)      Practicum & Internship Activity Log Compilation Form

2)      Practicum/Internship Verification of Completion Form

3)      Candidate Performance and Fitness Evaluation – Practicum/Internship Training Group



The completion of various forms is required throughout the field training experience.  These documents are necessary to convey expectations, provide information, track the training experience and accumulation of hours, and to assess performance.  A listing of the forms is below:

1)      Practicum & Internship Application – completed and submitted by the candidate to the Clinical Coordinator the semester prior to the proposed Practicum semester; determines eligibility to begin Practicum.  The application is only submitted to begin COUN 631.  The candidate will communicate directly with the Clinical Coordinator each semester after COUN 631 regarding continued clinical training enrollment (COUN 640, 642).

2)      Candidate Informed Consent – reviewed and signed by the candidate and submitted with the Practicum & Internship Application; outlines the rules and policies of Trinity and the Counseling Program.

3)      Ethics Policy & Candidate Contract – reviewed and signed by the candidate and submitted with Practicum & Internship Application; outlines the contract and refers the candidate to the ethics code.

4)      Clinical Assignment Agreement & Verification – completed by the candidate in collaboration with the site supervisor; confirms the site of field training, the duration of the training, number of hours on site, the site supervisor, and must be signed and dated by both the candidate and the site supervisor; submitted to the Clinical Coordinator by the designated date.

5)      Practicum/Internship Weekly Field Training Schedule – completed by the candidate in collaboration with the site supervisor; confirms the on-site training schedule; must be signed and dated by both the candidate and the site supervisor; submitted to the university-based supervisor/course instructor by the second week of the training semester.

6)      Practicum – Internship Weekly Activity Log – completed by the candidate; signed by both the candidate and the site supervisor; documents the candidate’s weekly direct and indirect service hours; submitted to the university-based supervisor/course instructor each week.

7)      Consent for Audio and Video Recording – completed by the client or client’s guardian to authorize audio and video recording of the counseling session; this written consent must be obtained prior to any form of recording of counseling sessions.

8)      Candidate Performance and Fitness Evaluation: Practicum/Internship Training Group – completed by the university-based supervisor at the end of the training semester to evaluate the candidate’s performance.

9)      Supervisor’s Counselor Trainee Evaluation Form: Midterm – completed by the site supervisor to assess the candidate’s performance at the site; must be completed and returned to the university-based supervisor/course instructor by the date designated on the course syllabus; the Site Supervisor provides a midterm evaluation so that the student and University Clinical Instructor can assess how the candidate is doing and provide timely feedback before the final evaluation.

10)   Supervisor’s Counselor Trainee Evaluation Form: Final – completed by the site supervisor as a final assessment of the candidate’s performance at the site; must be completed and returned to the university-based supervisor/course instructor by the date designated on the course syllabus; this feedback is included in the computation of the candidate’s final grade; a grade for the course cannot be determined without this final assessment.

11)   Practicum/Internship Verification of Completion Form – documents the completion of the specific training phase; provided by the candidate to the site supervisor and due by the date specified in the course syllabus.

12)   Practicum & Internship Activity Log Compilation Form – allows candidates to track the accrued training hours; candidate provides a copy of the form to the university supervisor by the end of each training semester.

13)   Evaluation of Practicum/Internship Site – completed by the candidate and submitted to the university supervisor at the end of each training semester; this feedback assists in monitoring the quality of the site.


Counselor Preparation Comprehensie Exam (CPCE)


Comprehensive Exam

The comprehensive examination (“comps”) is an exit exam required of all counseling candidates. The exam is ordinarily taken in the semester in which candidates are enrolled in Practicum in Counseling (COUN 631). In order to be eligible for the comprehensive exam, candidates must have completed all required foundational courses; most counseling theory and application courses, except internship (COUN 640 & COUN 642); including a minimum grade of B in COUN 540, COUN 560, COUN 547, and COUN 605; and receive approval to sit for the exam by their advisor(see Eligibility Form). Candidates must have an overall average of B or better and be in good standing in the program.

The comprehensive examination the program has adopted is the Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Examination (CPCE). It is an objective and standardized national exam developed by the Research and Assessment Corporation for Counseling (RACC), in conjunction with the Center for Credentialing and Education, affiliates of the National Board of Certified Counselors, Inc. (NBCC). The purpose of the exam is to assess candidate progress toward mastery of essential counseling subject matter, and to provide a summative evaluation of professionally relevant knowledge competency obtained through program coursework deemed important by the training committee and counselor licensing and accreditation boards. It is a highly valid and reliable way to measure and determine whether candidates have attained the level of knowledge in the field of counseling which can ensure competence in the field.

Other benefits of the CPCE include:

1)      Gives candidates comparative strength/weakness feedback.

2)      Serves as a practice exam for the NCE exam taken for licensure in many states.

3)      Provides the program with a comprehensive exam that meets psychometric standards.

4)      Provides the program with an objective view of the knowledge level of candidates.

5)      Allows the program to examine candidate functioning in various curricular areas.

6)      Compares a program’s results to national data.

7)      Promotes longitudinal self-study.


CPCE & NCE: Similarities and Differences

The CPCE is based on the same eight content areas as the NCE. The CPCE is taken prior to receiving your degree; results of the NCE are often used for licensure in many states after you’ve graduated, and for NBCC national certification.

Although both examine the same eight content areas, questions on the CPCE are based on the content that most Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) graduate programs include in their curricula. CPCE questions, developed by consultants to NBCC, cover a variety of topics and concepts and tend to be more detail oriented.

On the other hand, the NCE exam questions are developed by panels of national experts with less focus on CACREP content, material, and textbooks. NCE questions are more likely to be application-oriented and based on practical experience.

Another difference between the CPCE and NCE involves the number of items on the exams and items per content area. The CPCE has 160 questions with 20 questions in each of the eight content areas. Three of the 20 questions for each area are developmental or experimental, so the highest possible score on the exam (number correct) is 136.

The NCE, in contrast, has 200 questions and each of the eight areas has a different number of questions ranging from 36 on Helping Relationships to 11 on Social and Cultural Foundations. There are a total of 40 developmental/experimental questions on the exam, so the highest possible score is 160. NBCC sets the cutoff (passing) score for each form of the NCE which is developed, more than once each year. Examinees are given four hours to complete either exam.


CPCE Pass/Fail Criteria & Retake Policy:

Each graduate program that uses the CPCE sets its own cutoff score for passing. Trinity’s Counseling Program adopted a widely used criterion-referenced method that objectively sets a pass/fail performance standard for the exam. A pass score is determined by the total score received on the CPCE and a cutoff equivalent to or above one standard deviation below the national mean on a particular test administration. The program also adopted an “Opportunity Three” procedure that allows candidates who are unsuccessful on their first attempt to pass the CPCE, up to two more opportunities to demonstrate knowledge competency.

Candidates who fail the exam on the first attempt must meet with their advisor or a faculty member of their choice and develop a plan of study that will help them to be successful in their next attempt. That plan is then filed in the candidate’s Program file. When a candidate is unsuccessful at all opportunities, the faculty reserves the right, on approval by the Dean, to not recommend the candidate for certification/ licensure, not approve the candidate for the degree, or both.  Candidate appeals must be filed with the Dean within four weeks of being notified of the third failure.


Administration of the Exam, Application Fee and Results:

The CPCE will be administered on the Trinity University campus during the Summer, Fall, and Spring semesters.  These dates will be announced by the Department.  An application and eligibility form should be completed and submitted to your advisor (by the 5th week of the semester or by instructions given from the Clinical course Instructor/Program Director) during which you plan to take the exam. Advisor pre-approval is required. Candidates will be notified about the location of the examination several weeks in advance of the exam date.

Candidates are allotted up to 4 hours for the exam. Candidates should bring two No. 2 pencils to the exam. No other material will be permitted in the examination room. Results of the exam are forwarded to the program chair and advisor approximately one week after the test administration.  Candidates are notified about your results shortly thereafter.

A registration fee of $45.00 (Money Order/Certified Checks only–made out to CCE) must be submitted with each application form PRIOR to administration of the test (candidates may bring the  check with them to the exam). The CPCE registration fee is the responsibility of the candidates; candidates will not be permitted to take the exam without paying the registration fee before the exam begins.



Preparing for the CPCE

The CPCE consists of 160 multiple-choice items, with 20 items representing each of the eight core training areas designated by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), and developed from information found in the most commonly used counseling textbooks. The eight content areas include:

  1. Human growth and development – studies that provide an understanding of the nature and needs of individuals at all developmental levels.
  2. Social and cultural foundations – studies that provide an understanding of issues and trends in a multicultural and diverse society.
  3. Helping relationships – studies that provide an understanding of counseling and consultation processes.
  4. Group work – studies that provide an understanding of group development, dynamics, counseling theories, group counseling methods and skills, and other group work approaches.
  5. Career and lifestyle development – studies that provide an understanding of career development and related life factors.
  6. Appraisal – studies that provide an understanding of individual and group approaches to assessment and evaluation.
  7. Research and program evaluation – studies that provide an understanding of types of research methods, basic statistics, and ethical and legal considerations in research.
  8. Professional orientation and ethics – studies that provide an understanding of all aspects of professional functioning including history, roles, organizational structures, ethics, standards, and credentialing.

Each content area measured by the CPCE exam corresponds generally, but not exclusively, to program coursework completed prior to taking the exam. An illustration of corresponding courses and CACREP core content area is provided below:

Eight CACREP Core Related Program Courses
 1)        Human Growth & Development EDCC 510, EDTE 636
 2)        Social & Cultural Foundations COUN 550
 3)        Helping Relationships COUN 540, 560, 553, 555, 557, 561, 570, 604, 606, 631, 640, 642
 4)        Group Work COUN 547
 5)        Career & Lifestyle Development COUN 538
 6)        Appraisal COUN 544
 7)        Research & Program Evaluation EDCC 600
 8)        Professional Orientation & Ethics COUN 605, 631, 640, 642

There are various published study materials available for the CPCE that are commercially available; however, Trinity (and NBCC) does not endorse any product or publication. The exam content of the CPCE is similar to the NBCC National Counselor Examination (NCE).  For more information about the CPCE and NCE, go to the following CCE and the NBCC websites and for lists of study guides.


Comprehensive Exam Study Guide

A sample item from each CACREP content area follows:

Human Growth and Development

1. Erikson described independence as an important issue in the second year of life and identified this stage of development as
A. autonomy versus shame and doubt
B. concrete operations versus object permanence
C. motor versus mind development
D. self versus other differentiation
Social and Cultural Foundations

2. Cultural identity development models typically start with the___________stage.
A. dissonance
B. immersion
C. conformity
D. introspective

Helping Relationships

3. According to Rogers, accurate empathy is most appropriately defined as
A. objective reflection to help identify the client’s feelings
B. non-judgmental acceptance of the client’s reality
C. recognition of the client’s most prominent emotions.
D. subjective understanding of the client in the here-and-now
Group Work

4. A group leader can best enhance a group member’s participation by
A. encouraging social interactions between members outside of group time
B. requiring a commitment that group members not drop out
C. stressing that substantial self-disclosure is expected
D. modeling appropriate behaviors for the group

Career and Lifestyle Development

5. A basic assumption of the trait-and factor approach to vocational counseling is that
A. career decisions should be based on evident needs
B. personality and work environment are synonymous
C. developmental constructs are of paramount importance.
D. there is one best career goal for everyone

6. A primary benefit of converting raw scores to standard scores is that it facilitates
A. simplicity in interpretation of test results
B. interpretation of the results relative to a normal distribution
C. summarizing and organizing other qualitative data
D. statistical analyses having greater quantitative accuracy
Research and Program Evaluation

7. The research design, which manipulates the independent variable and a between-conditions comparison with no random assignment of subjects to conditions is known as
A. quasi-experimental
B. single-subject
C. time-series
D. true experimental
Professional Orientation and Ethics

8. During the late 1970s and early 1980s, members of the American Personnel and Guidance Association (APGA) became aware that the words personnel and guidance did not accurately define or reflect their work. Therefore, in 1983 APGA changed its name to the:
A. Association for Counselor Education and Supervision
B. American Association for Counseling and Development
C. American Mental Health Counselors Association
D. Association of Counseling and Related Educational Professions

1. A,       2. C,       3. D,       4. D,       5. D,       6. B,       7. A,       8. B

Other sample questions are found at: (check them out).

Other sites on the web include exam review texts by Howard Rosenthal and others. A recent publication by Erford, B., Hays, D., Crockett, S. & Miller, E. entitled Mastering the National Counselor Examination and the Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Exam (Pearson, 2011) contains practice tests. Once again, note that Trinity University cannot and does not endorse any such products. NBCC, CCE and other links are intended solely to inform you about test information available in bookstores and elsewhere. It is impossible to determine their benefit or usefulness for you, and there is no attempt to suggest otherwise.


A Few Tips for Success from the Counseling faculty

  1. Don’t take the test lightly.
  2. Ask other candidates and professors about study guides they may be familiar with or have used in the past, and set aside study time at least 2 months before the exam.
  3. Raid the half-priced bookstores or you can find study guides at very low prices by searching online for used study material such as sites like or just to name two to get you thinking.
  4. Create a small study group and meet once a week. Focused and systematic peer groups work.
  5. Candidates suggest not cramming too much material during any one sitting, rather approach each section (break it down) one at a time and try to devote an hour or so to each subject area up to three or four times a week.
  6. Take practice exams others have tried or know about. And, whatever you do, DON’T get discouraged by early results on practice tests (hello!?), they’re intended to take you from anxious to confident-and-practiced!
  7. Explore the following websites: CCE and NBCC
  8. If you know you suffer from test anxiety or need help harnessing your intellectual powers, you might want to seek out services at the Health and Wellness center on campus, and learn some relaxation exercises.
  9.  Review texts from key courses such as theories, group counseling, career, human growth & development, assessment, and research. Use these and class notes as supplementary material.
  10. When it comes to reviewing theories and key principles, pay attention to the language that is associated with the theorist or theory. Sometimes, if you can recognize the theorist/theory and pair him/her or the theory with the right terminology, it will help you answer the question correctly. For example, despair, anxiety, responsibility, loneliness, and freedom are words associated with Existentialism. Existentialism is associated with Rollo May, Viktor Frankl and Irvin Yalom, to name a few.
  11. Memorize the distribution for a normal curve, and review basic research principles (e.g., validity, reliability, etc.).
  12. Statistically speaking, the career and research sections give test takers the most trouble. You might want to spend extra time on these subjects.
  13. Breathe – you’ve made it this far! Get some rest the day before the exam and arrive early for the exam to desensitize yourself to the environment and settle in emotionally.

The CPCE Application and Eligibility Form will be made available to candidates in the Practicum class.


Student Services

The following services are available for graduate candidates.  Follow the links, below, to learn more about these services including their office locations, and contact information.

Disability Support Services

Disability Support Services (DSS) is committed to facilitating the development and attainment of educational goals for Trinity students with disabilities by ensuring equal access to University programs and services as well as promoting student self-advocacy and campus-wide disability awareness.

Office of Career Services and Experiential Learning

Our office strives to assist Trinity students & Trinity graduates in all aspects of career planning, career development and internship and job attainment.  We provide the necessary tools and resources that meet the individual career and educational goals of our students and graduates.  We are committed to empowering our students and graduates for lifelong learning and aim to assist them in building the self-confidence needed for success.

Enrollment Services/Financial Aid

Enrollment Services offers help with financial aid, registering for classes, enrollment verification, transcript requests, classroom assignments and final exam schedules.

Trinity Center for Women and Girls in Sports (Co-ed)

The Trinity Center for Women and Girls in Sports is a $20 million state-of-the-art athletic, recreational and educational complex located in the heart of Trinity College’s campus in northeast Washington. Proudly the nation’s largest facility dedicated to women and girls in sports, the Trinity Center is home to Trinity’s NCAA Division III athletic programs and the Trinity College community.

Health and Wellness Center (including Mental Health Counseling)

All services provide at the health center are confidential. No information can be released without your consent.


The mission of the Sister Helen Sheehan Library of Trinity is to acquire and make available scholarly information to the Trinity community. Recognizing the diverse nature of the community and the importance of intellectual freedom in a democratic society, the Library strives to acquire, organize, and maintain an academic library collection reflecting a broad range of ideas across many fields and accessible in a variety of formats. The Library supports the university’s commitment to lifelong learning and provides instruction to ensure that all members are information literate and self-sufficient in today’s library environment.


Licensure and School Counselor Certification – TIPS


School Counselor Certification

Candidates will be eligible to apply for DC school counselor certification.  We recommend that you apply for DC certification and then transfer your certification to another state since it will be a more efficient process to transfer your certification versus applying for an initial state certification outside of DC.  For example, we have learned that graduates applying for Maryland and Virginia certification had a much easier and efficient process when they applied for DC certification and then applied to transfer the certification to the other state.

Below are tips:

  1. Obtain the information handout in the Department (see the School      of Education administrative assistant) since the DC Office of the      Superintendent of Education (OSSE)requirements tend to change.  We want you to have the most current      process information to reduce any confusion.
  2. Because there is a required background check and      this process tends to take more time (e.g., can range from 6 to 12 weeks)      for the federal background check, students should begin this process      sometime during the COUN 640 enrollment.       You could then have this item as you begin  working on your application packet      during COUN 642 enrollment.  The      OSSE requires that the federal background check be within 1 year of the      certification application date.       Candidates should refer to the different procedure requirement for      OSSE if you have worked for the DC Public School system. 
  3. Because one cannot submit the application before receiving the      professional degree, you are advised to review the process and consult      with your advisor so that you understand what you need  and begin application preparations.  For example, you will need to get copies      of your undergraduate and graduate transcript.  Because you should wait until your      degree is granted to request the official Masters degree transcript, one      could obtain the undergraduate transcript ahead of time.
  4. Many school jurisdictions have different processes for      certification. For example, Maryland differs from the District of      Columbia.  Maryland has      certification personnel in each county that process the application.  In Maryland (similar to many states), a      school counselor applicant does not apply for the certification until  a job offer is given.  Therefore, students must take the initiative      to prepare early, obtain information, ask questions, organize materials,      and be patient.  Certification (and      licensure) are processes that take time and do not happen overnight.  The key is to be informed in advance and      be organized with your application process.

Note:  We will attempt to update the Masters in Counseling Program Resources Moodle page with information and updates as we learn of them.  However, students are responsible for staying abreast of requirements.


Professional Counselor Licensure

Professional Counselor licensure can be a challenging and complex process.  Please read the Masters Licensure Toolkit (below), which provides an overview regarding how to prepare for state counselor licensure.  Consult the state licensure board of your intended practice state (typically there is a website) for licensure information and the application process.  However, the information below offers some information that may guide you.

Because state licensure and regulations change regularly, students should consult the specific state licensure board to stay abreast of these changes and obtain necessary application information.

Note:  We will share information as we can on the Masters in Counseling Program Resource Moodle page; but again students must be responsible for checking the state licensure board websites.

Masters Licensure Tips

Counseling licensure is an arduous process that requires attention to detail, fortitude, and persistence to endure the process.  The following are recommendations to help you during the process:

Boards of Professional Counselors and Therapists

The Professional Counselor Licensure Boards conduct the credentialing of applicants for the masters-level licensure (or doctoral applicants who graduated from counseling or related human services programs).  Typically, the Boards are comprised of volunteers who attend monthly (or other times) meetings.  In many states, these licensure Boards conduct all of the credentialing for applicants.  These are typically volunteer professionals.  They may be responsible for conducting all of the credentialing because the credentialing is done by persons who hold the license and are familiar with the educational requirements.  In some states, there may be a staff person who performs the credentialing.

Candidates should contact the state licensure board to understand what the credentialing process is, when the Board meets, and the timetable for licensure credentialing.  For example, what is the expected time from the point of turning in the application to when the final credentialing is approved for licensure?

Candidates should also know incomplete applications or missing information will delay the credentialing process.  For example, if there is a question about the content of a course and you did not provide the course description, the Board may ask for this additional information before they can complete the credentialing approval; any additional information requested may slow down the credentialing process.

For example, in Maryland, the Board has typically met on the 3rd Friday of the month, and all of the credentialing applications are distributed at this time.  The Board then works on the credentialing between Board meetings.  A typical time period is 4-6 weeks.  However, the clock “begins counting” from the time when the Board meets since the work is distributed at the Board meetings).  Again, the information would not necessarily be apparent, but you should inquire about the time period. (Note: Dr. Haskins served on the Board of Professional Counselors and Therapists in Maryland for 8 years, 2002-2010).

Suggestions to smooth the way:

  • Complete the application and do not leave out any information (e.g., course information, course titles, and a photo if asked).  If the application asks for specific information, you must provide it. Leaving out essential information could delay your application because you may be requested to supply it.
  • Attach course descriptions for every course being reviewed as part of your degree or post-degree (if you took additional licensure courses after the degree).  The key is that you should attach a copy of evidence regarding course content.   Providing course information assists licensure boards to verify what the course is since the professional counselor law requires specific educational requirements and the credentialing process must verify that the applicant took the state mandated course.
  • Attach official transcripts.  Typically official transcripts are required. Additionally, the transcript must show that you actually completed the Masters degree.  This information will be verified.
  • Licensed Supervisors:  Part of the process requires a particular type of supervisor. States specify what type of supervisor they want. For example, in Maryland, an LCPC, LCSW-C (must be a licensed clinical social worker), a licensed psychologist, a licensed psychiatrist, and in some cases a psychiatric nurse will be accepted).  In many states, including Maryland, a certain percentage of the professional experience hours must be done by a Professional Counselor.   Applicants must be sure that they are being supervised by the right kind of supervisor. You will want to get this information early in the process so that as you seek employment you are getting supervision by the supervisor approved in that state licensure law.  If you are supervised incorrectly, you will not be able to count those hours.  Therefore, you will want to ask during the job seeking process, whether you will be supervised by the appropriate supervisor.  Check out the requirements in the state you plan to apply to.  In some states, for LCPC, they may specify that certain # of hours must be done by a professional counselor.

Also, the state licensure law may specify a certain number of the professional hours must be face to face hours.  You will need to keep your own records or counseling logs to monitor the amount of face to face vs. non-face-to-face.  Applicants typically don’t turn in these logs with your application; however, if one is audited by a licensure board you will need to produce this information.

  • Supervision Verification:  At some point when you turn in your application for licensure, you will need to get your licensed supervisor to sign off on your hours.  There is a lot of movement in our field.  Supervisors leave agencies, move out of the area, and in some cases are deceased.  It is recommended that applicants get their professional hours verified when it is known that a supervisor is leaving the company or when you are ending that experience.  It is in your best interest to get your hours signed off at this time. Because in the future, when you are ready to submit your professional hours and attempt to “track down the supervisor,” you may have trouble finding this person.  During your COUN 631-640-642 classes, you will submit clinical hour verification forms before you exit the class; we must have these completed and signed forms in order to complete any future reporting (you will need to send us a form in the future verifying your clinical training sequence hours).  The Clinical Coordinator will verify your hours for the degree and you should forward this licensure verification form in the future to the Clinical Coordinator in the Counseling Programs.
  • Be sure you check out the state requirements regarding the supervision.  In some states, like Virginia, “a plan for supervision” must be submitted to the Board and approved before an applicant begins working in the mental health job.  In states like this, the applicant must submit the credentials of the supervisor and the Licensure Board approves this person as being eligible to supervise the LCPC (or LPC) applicant.  This is not true of every state; however, you should do early homework to discover the process in that state.
  • Be honest.  Applicants should not be dishonest about any information because they are attesting that the information on the application is true and, typically, the forms must be notarized.  Dishonest applications may nullify your application.  A major focus for licensure is one’s character; dishonesty during the process will communicate one lacks the character to provide ethical, professional, and legal services to consumers who are trusting the professional.
  • The applications will often ask if you have any criminal convictions.  In these cases, applicants should follow the application requirements regarding this issue. For example, if one was sentenced, you may need to submit legal documentation and an explanation of what happened.  Applicants should inquire at the licensure board regarding what is needed.



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