The Department of Counselor Education offers a 60 credit-hour program leading to the Master of Arts in School Counseling for licensed teachers. Additional coursework is required for students without a teacher license.  The School Counseling program is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). Find out more information at Counselor Education’s accreditation, licensures, and credentialing.

Counselor Education also offers a Non-Degree School Counselor Endorsement leading to licensure as a school counselor for individuals with an advanced degree in counseling or related fields. 

Admission Requirements For Master of Arts in School Counseling:

Counselor Education admits students twice a year, in January and August. The deadline to submit a complete application for the program for the spring term is Aug. 15. The deadline to submit an application for the fall term is March 15. Counselor Education deadline dates differ from other Northeastern M.A. program deadline dates.  

To formally apply, applicants must submit the following to Graduate Admissions and Records, Northeastern Illinois University, 5500 North St. Louis Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60625-4699. Applicants must also attend the Preadmission Workshop (PAW) as part of the application process:

  • Application for Admission to Graduate Programs (print out) or use the online application
  • $30 application fee
  • Counselor Education application  (Print a hard copy of the application, complete and sign it. The completed application may be emailed to Graduate Admissions at graduateadmissions@neiu.edu. Otherwise, it may be mailed to Graduate Admissions.) 
  • Official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended OR transcripts sent electronically to Northeastern Illinois University through Parchment or E-Script (transcripts CANNOT be sent to a personal email address).
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Current resume (may be emailed to graduateadmissions@neiu.edu)
  • A two-page essay, typed and double-spaced (instructions are on Page 2 of the Counselor Education application). The essay can be substituted for the Statement of Goals on the Graduate College application.  (May be emailed to graduateadmissions@neiu.edu)
  • Mandatory attendance at the Preadmission Workshop (PAW). The PAW involves applicants participating in a series of group discussions facilitated by Counselor Education faculty. Dates and times to attend a PAW session are located on Page 2 of the Counselor Education application. Failure to attend the PAW will defer your application to the next application deadline. 
  • Optional: GRE (Graduate Record Exam) scores may be submitted by applicants with a lower GPA and/or as one measure in support of exceptionality. General Test only. Northeastern's Institution code is 1090; the Department/Major Field code is 3802.

School Counseling applicants are also required to submit evidence of the following as part of their application to the program:

  1. Copy of current Illinois Professional Educator License (PEL) [for applicants to School Counseling who hold the Illinois Educator License].
  2. Evidence of taking and passing the basic skills test component for the State of Illinois (for all applicants to School Counseling). There are three options:

    Test of Academic Proficiency (TAP) 
    ACT Plus Writing
    SAT

  3. Evidence of taking the State and Federal Fingerprint Background Check (for applicants to School Counseling who do not hold the Illinois Educator License).

See Additional Requirements for School Applicants to submit basic skills test scores and background checks.

Approximately two weeks after the application deadline, Counselor Education sends an email to applicants reminding them of their PAW date. Please contact the Department at (773) 442-5550 if you applied to the program but have not been contacted regarding your PAW confirmation.

PREREQUISITES

An Illinois Professional Educator License (PEL) meets the requirement.  

Applicants to School Counseling who do not hold a PEL are required to complete four of the six courses listed below. These courses can be taken as a student-at-large or prior to the start of Practicum, if admitted. Please note that taking these courses does not guarantee admission into the program:

  • BLBC 440 Methods Teaching ELL in Diverse Classrooms
  • SPED 509 Methods I: Spec Curriculum in Special Education
  • LTCY 402 Issues in Literacy Instruction OR LTCY 501 Literacy Instruction in Elementary Grades
  • LTCY 502 Literacy Instruction Content Areas Secondary Grades OR LTCY 513 Literacy Instruction for Middle Level

MINIMUM STANDARDS FOR ADMISSION TO THE PROGRAM

Graduate Admissions and Records has established a minimum grade point average of 2.75 for undergraduate degrees. Applicants with undergraduate GPAs below 2.75 will not be admitted unless their overall application suggests areas of exceptionality. Applicants who have earned M.A. degrees are exempt from this requirement:

  • In no case will an applicant with an undergraduate GPA of 2.25 be admitted.
  • An applicant with an undergraduate GPA below 2.75 and a verbal score on the GRE below the 25th percentile is not eligible for admission.
  • Problematic or poor performance during the PAW will make an applicant ineligible for admission.
  • Meeting the minimum requirements is no guarantee of admission.
  • Admission to the Counselor Education Department is competitive. It is possible for an otherwise acceptable applicant to be denied admission due to the competitive strength of the applicant pool. The number of applicants that can be admitted to the program is limited. Those not selected for admission may reapply only once.

ADMISSION DECISIONS

Admission decisions are based on the following:

  • Academic: Undergraduate GPA/Advanced Degree; Essay (writing sample)
  • Experience: Recommendations; Work/Volunteer Experience
  • Interpersonal: Preadmission Workshop (PAW); Spontaneous Writing Sample
  • Exceptionality (optional): GRE (other test results)/Other Factors

Non-Degree School Counselor Endorsement

The Non-Degree School Counselor Endorsement through the Department of Counselor Education is designed for individuals who have completed a graduate degree in counseling or a closely-related field and are seeking to meet the academic and clinical requirements to be eligible for endorsement as a School Counselor in the State of Illinois. Upon successful completion of endorsement requirements and passing of the #181 Content Test, students will be eligible for the Illinois Professional Educator License (PEL) with an endorsement as a School Counselor, Pre-K-Age 21.

Admission Requirements for Non-Degree School Counselor Endorsement:

  • Evidence of a graduate degree in counseling or a closely-related field
  • Graduate College Application
  • Department of Counselor Education Non-Degree School Counselor Endorsement Application 
  • Transcripts from all universities and colleges attended
  • 2 letters of recommendation
  • Current resume
  • Essay
  • Informed Consent
  • Evidence of passing the basic skills requirement for the State of Illinois.  There are three options: Test of Academic Proficiency (TAP); ACT Plus Writing; or SAT
  • Submission of a state and federal fingerprint background check (non-PEL applicants only)

Eligibility to Enroll in Classes

Once applicants are officially admitted to a program, they may register for classes during online registration periods. Those who have not yet been reviewed for selection may take only one course before being admitted: COUN 401 Professional Orientation and Legal/Ethical Practices. If an applicant is formally accepted into the program, the credits for the course will count towards their degree requirements. However, taking a course as a student-at-large does not guarantee admission to the program. Applicants admitted to the fall semester may begin taking classes in the summer semester.

The Department of Counselor Education allows non-degree seeking students to take courses as a student-at-large under certain circumstances, such as completing deficiencies for licensure.  To request approval to take a course as a non-degree seeking student, please click on the following link and complete the form:   https://www.neiu.edu/academics/college-of-education/content/permission-take-courses-counselor-education-student-large. We will contact you with an answer within five working days of receiving your form.

Authorization to enroll in courses as a non-degree seeking student in Counselor Education does not constitute admission to any of the Department's programs.  Students who wish to pursue a master's degree in counseling must submit a formal application to Graduate Admissions.  Non-degree seeking students can enroll only in courses for which they have been authorized by this Department.  Some of the courses in the Department are not open to non-degree seeking students.

Master of Arts in School Counseling

The Department of Counselor Education offers a 60 credit-hour program leading to the Master of Arts in School Counseling, for licensed teachers. Additional coursework is required for students without a teacher license.

Students in the School Counseling Program who have a Professional Educator License (PEL) are required to take the following courses:

School Counseling required courses:
COUN-401Professional Orientation & Legal/Ethical Practices3
COUN-402Developmental Counseling3
COUN-403Theories Of Counseling3
COUN-404Assessment And Evaluation In Counseling3
COUN-405Individual Counseling Skills3
COUN-406Group Counseling3
COUN-408Research Seminar3
COUN-409Career Development3
COUN-410Seminar In School Counseling3
COUN-411Post Secondary College & Career Counseling3
COUN-412Topics In School Counseling3
COUN-415Children And Youth In School And Family Systems3
COUN-425Addictions Counseling3
COUN-427Diagnostic Systems For Counseling3
COUN-430Social & Cultural Diversity In Counseling3
COUN-442Practicum I:Group Supervision In School Counseling3
COUN-462Internship I:School Counseling3
COUN-472Internship II:School Counseling3
Elective #1 (Consult with Advisor)3
Elective #2 (Consult with Advisor)3
Total Hours60

Students in the School Counseling Program who do not have a Professional Educator License (PEL), are required to take the following additional courses: 

BLBC-440Methods For Teaching English Learners In Diverse Classrooms3
LTCY-402Issues In Literacy Instruction3
or LTCY-501 Literacy Instruction In Elementary Grades
LTCY-502Literacy Instruction In Content Areas In Secondary Grades3
or LTCY-513 Literacy Instruction For Middle Level
SPED-509Methods I:Specialized Curriculum & Methods In Special Education3

Program Completion Requirements

School Counseling students must complete all course requirements for their degree and obtaining Professional Educator License (PEL),  and pass the Content 181 exam prior to beginning Practicum/Internship.

Program Transition Levels:

Students must successfully complete all the program transition levels. Students cannot obtain more than two grades of “C” in graduate work as per the College of Graduate Studies and Research Policy. Students are required to earn a grade of "B" or better in their clinical courses (e.g., COUN 405, COUN 406, Practicum and Internship).

Transition Level I

  • Successful completion of prerequisites for clinical skills training courses
  • Completion of first-semester student survey
  • Demonstration of appropriate professional and ethical behaviors and dispositions
  • Minimum GPA of 3.00
  • Passing key program assessments for level I

Transition Level II

  • Successful completion of clinical skills training coursework
  • Demonstration of appropriate professional and ethical behaviors and dispositions
  • Minimum GPA of 3.00
  • Satisfactory rating on professional disposition evaluation
  • Complete the Practicum application and submit to the Coordinator for Clinical Experiences
  • Passing key program assessments for level II

Transition Level III

  • Successful completion of clinical experiences including Practicum and Internship
  • Completion of minimum of 100 hours of Practicum
  • Completion of 600 hours of Internship
  • Satisfactory ratings on all evaluations from site and university supervisors
  • Demonstration of appropriate professional and ethical behaviors and dispositions
  • Minimum GPA of 3.00
  • Passing key program assessments for level III

Transition Level IV

  • Completion of Exit Survey
  • Passing of the departmental proficiency examination (DPE) prior to graduation

Exit requirements for degree completion:

  • Successful completion of all transition levels and required credit hours
  • Minimum GPA of 3.00

Clinical Experience

During the fall semester of the year before planning to do Practicum/Internship, students meet with their advisor to review readiness for Practicum and to sign the application form. Applications for clinical experience are distributed at the mandatory Practicum Orientation meeting or may be printed from the forms tab of the Department website. Applications for Practicum/Internship are due November 1 for fall placements of the following year. Students must attend a mandatory orientation meeting before submitting the application form. The date and the place of the orientation meeting are posted on the Department website, listserv, and Departmental bulletin boards. All applications must be reviewed and signed by the student’s advisor. The student may then submit the signed application and the student’s resume to the Coordinator of Clinical Experiences. 

Practicum

Practicum is a 100 hour, field-based experience which requires a minimum of 40 hours of clinical contact with clients (contact hours), and is a prerequisite for Internship. Practicum is offered in the Fall semester.

Internship
Internship is a 600 hour, field-based experience which requires a minimum of 240 hours of clinical contact with clients. Students earn six credit hours for Internships I and II.

Departmental Proficiency Examination

Prior to graduation, all students are required to pass a comprehensive examination. The DPE application must be completed and signed by the student and their advisor and submitted to the Department of Counselor Education no later than two weeks prior to the exam date. School Counseling students may take the examination after completion of 27 credit hours of the following coursework:

COUN-401Professional Orientation & Legal/Ethical Practices3
COUN-402Developmental Counseling3
COUN-403Theories Of Counseling3
COUN-404Assessment And Evaluation In Counseling3
COUN-405Individual Counseling Skills3
COUN-406Group Counseling3
COUN-408Research Seminar3
COUN-409Career Development3
COUN-427Diagnostic Systems For Counseling3
COUN-430Social & Cultural Diversity In Counseling3

Requirements for Non-Degree School Counseling Endorsement

To complete the requirements for Non-Degree School Counseling Endorsement students with Professional Educator License (PEL) must successfully pass the following courses: 

COUN-410Seminar In School Counseling3
COUN-411Post Secondary College & Career Counseling3
COUN-412Topics In School Counseling3
COUN-415Children And Youth In School And Family Systems3
COUN-442Practicum I:Group Supervision In School Counseling3
COUN-462Internship I:School Counseling3
COUN-472Internship II:School Counseling3

To complete the requirements for Non-Degree School Counseling Endorsement students without Professional Educator License (PEL) must also complete the following additional courses: 

BLBC-440Methods For Teaching English Learners In Diverse Classrooms3
LTCY-402Issues In Literacy Instruction3
or LTCY-501 Literacy Instruction In Elementary Grades
LTCY-502Literacy Instruction In Content Areas In Secondary Grades3
or LTCY-513 Literacy Instruction For Middle Level
SPED-509Methods I:Specialized Curriculum & Methods In Special Education3

Notification of Student Recess

Once having begun the Counselor Education program, if a student does not attend classes for more than two consecutive semesters (Fall, Spring, Summer), the student must notify the College of Graduate Studies and Research and the advisor of his/her intent to continue in the program. Faculty members reserve the right to review the student’s course work upon reentry by the student and to require that certain courses be repeated if necessary. Students have a maximum of six years in which to complete their degree programs.

This sample curricular map is provided to guide program planning for graduate students who plan to attend as full-time students. This guide should not replace regular consultations with your program advisor. For specific recommendations of courses not identified, please consult your program advisor. Please note that students may choose to attend either full-time or part-time, depending on their need. Graduate students in School Counseling without a Professional Educator License (PEL), will need to take additional courses to meet the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) educational requirements for PEL. 

The Plans of Study for the programs in Counselor Education should be used as general guidelines for the completion of courses.  These plans suggest how a student might complete a program in two calendar years by beginning in the fall semester and attending through two summer semesters.  There are many factors that affect how students complete their programs, including whether they begin in the fall or spring semesters and whether they attend full-time or part-time.  The plan for school counseling is based on the student possessing a teacher or professional educator license.  School counseling students who are not licensed must complete an additional three courses outside of the Department of Counselor Education.

All students in Counselor Education will have a mandatory orientation at the beginning of their programs and have a faculty advisor who will help in the planning of each student’s course of study.

School Counseling (for student with Professional Educator License)

First Year
Term 1Hours
COUN-401Professional Orientation Legal/Ethical Practices3
COUN-402Developmental Counseling3
COUN-403Theories Of Counseling3
COUN-410Seminar In School Counseling3
 Term Hours12
Term 2
COUN-404Assessment And Evaluation In Counseling3
COUN-405Individual Counseling Skills3
COUN-412Topics In School Counseling3
COUN-430Social Cultural Diversity In Counseling3
 Term Hours12
Term 3
COUN-406Group Counseling3
COUN-409Career Development3
COUN-411Post Secondary College Career Counseling3
 Term Hours9
Second Year
Term 1
COUN-442Practicum I:Group Supervision In School Counseling3
COUN-415Children And Youth In School And Family Systems3
COUN-427Diagnostic Systems For Counseling3
 Term Hours9
Term 2
COUN-408Research Seminar3
COUN-425Addictions Counseling3
COUN-462Internship I:School Counseling3
 Term Hours9
Term 3
COUN-472Internship II:School Counseling3
Elective #13
Elective #23
 Term Hours9
 Total Hours: 60