The 60 credit Master of Arts in Counseling, combined school counseling and LPC option will provide students with the coursework required by the New Jersey Department of Education to qualify for a school counseling certificate for K -12 schools, as well as the coursework necessary for students to meet the 60 credit licensed professional counselor (LPC) coursework distribution. As an LPC (more likely Licensed Associate Counselor since you will not have the requisite number of supervised clinical hours) students will be able to work in community organizations, counseling and mental health centers, hospitals, private for profit centers and counseling practices while working under supervision to complete the 4,500 supervised clinical hours. The School Counseling part of this option is CACREP accredited; however, this option does not meet the Clinical Mental Health Counseling requirement to work in the Veteran's Administration, or Department of Defense.
The Master of Arts in Counseling, Clinical Mental Health Counseling option was accredited by CACREP in January 2012 (formerly accredited as Community Counseling) and provides education and training in professional counseling for work in a variety of settings including agencies, community organizations, mental health centers, hospitals, private practice, etc. Kean's program is CACREP accredited and the outcome standards and assessments reflect CACREP's processes, which are intended to accredit counselor preparation program. Also, the profession is moving toward national portability and common licensing standards, hence the emphasis on accredited programs.
The program meets the 2015 requirement for students who also pass the National Clinical Mental Health Counselor (NCMHC) Exam to qualify for employment by the Veteran's Administration, Department of Defense and receive TRICARE reimbursement.
The program provides comprehensive training involving the knowledge and skills required to work effectively as a professional counselor. Based on the CACREP standards, graduates from this program will have completed the requirements for the New Jersey Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC). Students may take the National Counselor Exam (NCE) prior to graduation and will be eligible to apply for the Licensed Associate Counselor (LAC), opening up opportunities to work in for-profit and private practice settings under supervision while accruing hours toward the LPC.
The intent of the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Master's degree is to provide a terminal degree that allows graduates to apply for the LAC in New Jersey (and elsewhere), while accumulating the remaining part of 4,500 hours toward the LPC while under supervision. Students may take the National Counselor Examination (NCE) as part of licensing process while enrolled in the program, or wait until after applying. The courses are practitioner-oriented, skills based experiences (essentially a vocational training program) that equip students with the clinical skills necessary to meet the counselor licensing laws across the country. The scope of practice ranges from assessment, diagnosis, treatment, consultation, and prevention. Typically graduates go on to work in community agencies initially.
The primary orientation is that of a counselor, not a psychologist, and the professional affiliation is the American Counseling Association. The ACA code of ethics and scope are consistent with moves to make counselor licenses portable nationwide. It is not a research oriented program as students do not write a master's thesis, and in 95% of the cases, students do not intend on pursuing a doctoral degree in Counselor Education and Supervision; therefore, it is not an ideal preparation for those seeking to go on for a terminal degree in psychology. The curriculum does not prepare students for an orientation as a psychologist, nor does it offer the prerequisite courses that would offer a strong application to APA clinical or counseling psychology programs.
For a complete list of course descriptions and degree requirements, click here.