Graduate counseling programs provide the advanced clinical training necessary to advance in the mental health field. The two-year cohort program in counseling psychology at RMU prepares students for graduate-level careers in professional counseling. The 60-credit curriculum provides a foundation in counseling theory and skills, assessment, and individual and group therapy, and it provides students with the opportunity to gain supervised practical experience in a formal practicum and internship.
The program is structured so that students will attend class two evenings a week. Graduates of the program will meet the core educational requirements for Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in the State of Pennsylvania and will prepare students to complete additional state requirements for licensure post-graduation.
The first cohort of the Counseling Psychology program at RMU begins in May of 2016.
There are many job openings for qualified, license-eligible counseling psychologists and counselors. For example, the need for substance abuse and behavioral health counselors is projected to grow significantly the rest of this decade. Private practices also employ substance abuse and behavioral health counselors and those with state licenses may operate their own practices.
A 29% percent expected job growth for mental health counselors also bodes well for employment opportunities. Mental health counselors work in a variety of settings that may include clinics, schools, hospitals, human service agencies, human resources, and in private practice. Students in this field can specialize in a broad range of mental health issues widening the scope of practice opportunities.
Graduate counseling programs provide the advanced clinical training necessary to move ahead in the mental health field. Potential earnings depend on the industry and location, but, according to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, counselors with a master's degree can make from $30,000 to $70,000 a year.
The required courses are as follows (all are three credits):
Counseling Psychology: Orientation and Ethics. Overview of the aspects of professional functioning in counseling psychology including history, roles, ethics and professional practices, and credentialing.
Advanced Developmental Psychology. A study of the physiological, cognitive, and psycho-social changes and needs of individuals at different life stages. Emphasis will be placed on developmental changes that impact the counseling relationship.
Theories of Counseling. Survey of theoretical approaches and associated techniques used in the process of counseling individuals and consultations.
Psychopathology. A study of the categories of psychological disorders, their symptomatology, etiology, the diagnostic process, and an overview of efficacious treatment approaches.
Counseling Skills. Acquisition of basic counseling skills and development of the therapeutic relationship.
Advanced Psychological Assessment. Provides an understanding of individual and group approaches to assessment and evaluation. Psychometrics of tests are also covered.
Assessment, Appraisal, and Treatment Planning. Application of assessment strategies, including assessment instruments and diagnostic interviewing, diagnosis, and treatment planning.
Career Development. Examines theories of career development, use of occupational assessment instruments, and career counseling.
Research and Program Evaluation. An examination of types of research methods used in counseling psychology and ethical and legal considerations in research.
Counseling Psychology Practicum. This beginning counseling practicum includes a minimum of 100 hours of supervised experience observation, feedback, and experience using a variety of counseling modalities.
Foundations of Multicultural Counseling. Develops intercultural sensitivity and competence in understanding diversity through the application of social psychological principles as applied to counseling. Differences in ethnicity, race, sexual orientation, and gender are included.
Foundations of Addiction. Basic understanding substance abuse and addictive behaviors including theory and physiology associated with symptomatology, etiology, incidence, treatment, and prevention.
Group Therapy. A study of group development, dynamics, counseling theory applicable to group work, and group counseling methods and skills.
Couples and Family Counseling. Provides and overview of family systems theory, the family life cycle, and predominant systems approaches for couples and family counseling. Applications of theory to practice are included.
Supervision and Consultation. Examines theory, research, and practice of clinical supervision. A lab component is included whereby students are supervised in providing supervision and consultation.
Child and Adolescent Counseling. Examines counseling theories and techniques as applied to individual and group counseling of children and adolescents. Applications and consulting with teachers and family will be included.
Grief and Bereavement. Theories of grief, loss, and life transition across the lifespan are examined. Focus is placed on development of grief counseling skills. The interplay between grief and bereavement and clinical syndromes is examined.
Advanced Counseling Skills. Includes a study of counseling skills, process and strategies. Focus is placed on developing individual approaches to therapy consistent with the needs of the client and attributes of the therapist. The development of technical and case conceptualization skills and self-awareness are included through supervised practice.
Counseling Psychology Internship I. A minimum of 300 hours of supervised clinical experience in an approved off-campus internship setting.
Counseling Psychology Internship II. A minimum of 300 hours of supervised clinical experience in an approved off-campus internship setting.
Section 1: Program Requirements
Minimal requirements for acceptance to the MS in Counseling Psychology Program include the following:
- Completion of an RMU graduate application. To apply for free online click here.
- 3.0 cumulative undergraduate GPA.
- Successful completion of a personal interview.
- Official undergraduate transcripts from all universities attended
- Submission of an essay (to email@example.com) addressing the questions listed in Section 2:Essay
- Transcript review: additional core undergraduate psychology classes may be required for full admission.
*Please note that admission to the program is competitive. Limited spaces are available and application does not guarantee acceptance.
Section 2: Required Essay
It is important for prospective students to give due consideration, and reflect on, themselves and their interest in training to become a professional counselor. Hence, in addition to the other materials and criteria listed above, the admissions committee is interested to know what has led you to pursue a career as a professional counselor. Please provide a typed essay (500 word limit) that addresses the following questions:
- What kind of career in professional counseling are you interested in pursuing and how did your interest develop?
- What is your current conceptualization of what a counselor does? What personal strengths and weaknesses would you say that you have that could impact your effectiveness in this role?
- What led you to the Counseling Psychology program at RMU, and how do you think the RMU program can benefit your career aspirations?
Please submit the essay to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact the Graduate Admissions Office at 1-800-762-0097, or email@example.com.
For more info on graduate programs at RMU click here: rmu.edu/Graduate.