College of Social and Behavioral Sciences

School of Applied Human Sciences

School Counseling

Program Overview


"A comprehensive school counseling program is an integral component of the school’s academic mission. Comprehensive school counseling programs, driven by student data and based on standards in academic, career and personal/social development, promote and enhance the learning process for all students."

[Definition from ASCA,]

Program Overview

The UNI School Counseling program has an outstanding reputation and received the NCACES Innovative Counselor Education Master's Degree Program Award in 1999. Our program is based on long-standing tradition and is delivered by highly energetic faculty who are extensively involved in research, practice, and professional service at the local, state, regional, and national levels. Graduates of this program will have the knowledge and skills to implement a comprehensive, sequential, developmental program as described in the National Standards for School Counseling Programs.

The UNI School Counseling Program:

  • Prepares graduates for K-12 certification, which provides greater job mobility because graduates can assume a position at any level.
  • Exposes students to issues at all grade levels, which enhances knowledge about K-12 program articulation.
  • Includes several courses specific to working with children, adolescents, and parents, as opposed to generic counseling courses that do not address concepts specific to school-age populations.
  • Emphasizes practical applications of concepts in all coursework.
  • Includes school-based practicum and internship with weekly individual supervision and group seminars by UNI faculty.
  • Provides multiple opportunities to interact with and learn from school counseling practitioners in the field.
  • Provides numerous opportunities for professional growth and development through UNI-sponsored conferences and networking meetings.

The UNI School Counseling program prepares individuals to practice counseling in elementary, middle, secondary, and K-12 school settings. Graduates of this program will have the knowledge and skills to implement a comprehensive, sequential, developmental program as described in the National Standards for School Counseling Programs. Furthermore, they will be trained to collaborate as well as assume leadership roles in order to promote healthy development for all children and families in a diverse society.

Graduates of this program will recognize that while life is increasingly complex and more young people are growing up in dysfunctional situations which put them more at risk, all children and adolescents struggle to varying degrees with normal developmental tasks which can also create distress. In this program, students will learn how the school counselor works with students, parents, school personnel, and the community to remediate problems after they occur, as well as to promote prevention.

The UNI School Counseling program is unique in that it prepares graduates for K-12 certification. This provides greater job mobility because graduates can assume a position at any level. It also exposes students to the issues at all levels, which enhances their knowledge regarding K-12 program articulation. This program includes several courses specific to working with children, adolescents, and parents. All coursework emphasizes practical application of concepts. A teaching certificate and teaching experience are not required, but non-teaching majors must take 2 additional hours of coursework to meet state department requirements (see program planning sheet for non-teaching majors).

The program includes:

A practicum and an internship totaling a minimum of 150 hours (60 of which are direct client contact hours), an internship totaling a minimum of 600 hours of clinical practice including AT LEAST 240 hours of direct client contact under the supervision of a credentialed school counseling professional, and course work related to each of the core areas designed by CACREP. A program planning sheet which lists all required courses and their appropriate sequencing within the program is available on this website under COURSES. Given the many challenges school counselors confront in their jobs, an extended preparation program is essential to adequately prepare students to work effectively in schools. The 54- or 60-semester hour UNI programs also reflect the national trend for longer preparation programs that include both a practicum and an internship which most students complete with a temporary certificate that allows them to practice as a counselor while receiving supervision and completing coursework. (Please note: students without teaching certificates are not eligible for temporary certification according to State Department regulations unless they are hired as at-risk counselors.)

General Objectives of the School Counseling Program-Measured through Coursework Assignments and Projects (Aligned with CACREP Standards)
  1. To prepare individuals to work effectively with students individually, in small groups, and in classroom guidance [II.D.2].
  2. To prepare individuals to work effectively with parents, families, teachers, administrators, and other members of the pupil personnel team [III.F.4; VII.M.1, M.3, M.5, N.3; VIII.P.2].
  3. To prepare individuals to work effectively with various human service agencies [II.D.5; IV.H.4; VII.M.3, M.7, N.2, N.3, N.5].
  4. To prepare individuals to serve as consultants in the school setting [VII.M.2, M.3, M.4].
  5. To prepare individuals to understand how to conceptualize problems from a developmental and cultural perspective, and employ developmentally/culturally-appropriate prevention and intervention techniques [II.D.1, D.3; III.E.1, E.3, E.4, F.1, F.3; IV.H.1].
  6. To prepare individuals to deal effectively with situational problems impacting children and adolescents such as loss, relationships, changing family structures, and to assess and refer students with more serious problems such as substance abuse, eating disorders, and suicide ideation [II.C.3, D.5; IV.G.1, G.2].
  7. To prepare individuals to implement a comprehensive, developmental K-12 program that includes personal/social, academic, and career development components consistent with state and national standards [I.A.5; II.C.2; III.F.4; IV.G.1, G.3, H.2, H.5; V.I.2, I.3, J.2, J.3: VI. K.1, K.3].
  8. To prepare individuals to accurately assess and diagnose problems presented by children and adolescents [II.D.3; IV.G.1, G.2, H.3].
  9. To prepare individuals with the awareness, knowledge, and skills to work with individuals, families, and groups from diverse populations [II.D.1; III.F.3; IV.H.1].
  10. To prepare individuals who are sensitive, genuine, and show positive regard for others [II.D.1].
  11. To prepare individuals who have high levels of self-awareness and commitment to personal growth [II.D.1].
  12. To prepare individuals with the knowledge, skills, and sensitivity to work with individuals, families, and groups from diverse populations [II.D.1; III.E.3, F.1].
  13. To prepare individuals to begin to develop and consistently apply a counseling theory [II.C.1; VII.M.4].
  14. To prepare individuals to communicate effectively with others and to express themselves effectively in writing using APA standards.
  15. To prepare individuals who can accurately interpret research and apply it to practice [V.I.1, I.5, J.1].
  16. To prepare individuals who are committed to on-going professional and personal development and who will adhere to ethical standards [I.A., A.5, B.1].
  17. To prepare individuals to assume leadership and advocacy roles as school counselors [III.F.2, F.3; VIII.O.4, O.5].
  18. To academically qualify persons to become nationally certified and licensed.

A major objective of the program is to provide students with educational experiences that address the American Counseling Association's (ACA) accreditation (CACREP) training standards for School Counseling. These standards require that students complete a program that exposes them to knowledge and skills in the following core areas:

  1. Professional Identity
  2. Social and Cultural Diversity
  3. Human Growth and Development
  4. Career Development
  5. Helping Relationships
  6. Group Work
  7. Assessment
  8. Research and Program Evaluation

UNI's counseling faculty expect that graduates of this program will:

  • Be highly competent MA school counselors.
  • Advocate for quality counseling services for all students.
  • Have a strong knowledge base as well as clinical skills.
  • Be sensitive to and knowledgeable about diversity.
  • Become accepted as credible school counseling professionals.
  • Promote counselor accountability with the public and the profession.
  • Be psychologically healthy persons who use high levels of self-awareness in their work.
  • Adhere to the ethical standards of the profession.

Ethical Behavior

Students entering Counseling programs are required to adhere to ethical standards as presented in the ACA Ethical Standards. Any behavior which is deemed unethical will be grounds for dismissal from the program. Copies of the standards can be found online here.

Academic Conduct

Cheating on examinations, submitting work of other students as your own, or plagiarism in any form (i.e., failure to document research according to APA guidelines) will result in penalties ranging from an "F" in the assignment to other measures.