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Help Young Students Thrive With a Master’s in School Counseling

From family issues to cyber-bullying, today’s preK–12 students can encounter an array of challenges as they grow and develop. Help them overcome these obstacles and shape successful futures with an MS in School Counseling degree from Walden.

Our CACREP-accredited online master’s in school counseling program focuses on practical application, including virtual simulations and field experience. Graduate from your program feeling confident, inspired, and ready to make a difference for your students and your institution.

A master’s in school counseling program academically prepares students to pursue licensure or certification as a school counselor and provide support to diverse youth in preK–12 settings.

Why Complete Your Online MS in School Counseling Degree at Walden?

Get Support at Every Step

Throughout your program, receive personalized guidance and support from faculty who are invested in your success.

Build Your Confidence

Our program incorporates cutting-edge technologies and opportunities to help you practice and refine your skills.

Gain a New Perspective

Interact with diverse faculty and students and engage in coursework designed to help you work with students of all backgrounds.

Pursue Your Passion

Choose our General Program or one of four specializations to tailor your coursework to your career goals.

Program Savings

Speak with an Enrollment Specialist to learn about our current tuition savings.

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Program Details

Curriculum - General Program

Completion Requirements

  • 75 quarter credits
    • Core courses (66 cr.)
    • Field experience (9 cr.)
  • 2 Pre-practicum Labs (6 weeks online with 4 days face-to-face)
  • Group Lab (9 weeks online with 10 hours of live synchronous group)

This sequence represents the minimum time to completion. Time to completion will vary by student, depending on individual progress and credits transferred, if applicable. For a personalized estimate of the number of your transfer credits that Walden would accept, call an Enrollment Specialist at 855-646-5286.

Courses

Course Code Title Credits
COUN 6110

Foundations of Graduate Study in School Counseling

Students in this course are introduced to Walden University and to the requirements for successful participation in an online curriculum. Students are provided a foundation for academic and professional success as scholar-practitioners and social change agents. Topics include the relation of mission and vision to professional goals; development of the program of study and Professional Development Plan; strategies for online success; introduction to the online library; and introduction to critical thinking, professional writing, and academic integrity. Students view the New Student Orientation and read and agree to the Counseling Student Guide. The focus of the course assignments is on the practical application of writing and critical-thinking skills and the promotion of professional and academic excellence as they relate to practice in school counseling.

(1 cr.)
COUN 6111

Introduction to School Counseling

This is a foundation course designed to introduce students to the school counseling profession. Students taking the course explore the history of the profession; the roles, functions, and professional identity of the school counselor; and the current models of school counseling programs such as the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) national model. Students develop knowledge of the current issues and directions for the profession, as well as the requirements and challenges of being a professional school counselor.

Prerequisites

  • COUN 6101

(5 cr.)
COUN 6301

Theories of Counseling

This course introduces theories of counseling and psychotherapy to prepare students to conceptualize problems and respond with appropriate, evidence-based interventions and techniques. Students will become familiar with the origin, key concepts, and interventions and techniques of each of the theories presented. Students will develop an awareness of how counseling theories drive the treatment process and apply theories to diverse case studies. A major focus of this course is to support students as they develop their personal theoretical orientation.

Prerequisites

  • COUN 6110

(5 cr.)
COUN 6302

Counseling Techniques in the Schools

Students in this course focus on principles and skills related to interviewing and observation as well as related legal, ethical, and cultural issues. Students gain practice in conducting interviews, making behavioral observations, collecting and interpreting data during an interview, and developing written reports of findings.

Prerequisites

  • COUN 6111
  • COUN 6301

Note: In addition to the course materials listed by the university bookstore, students are required to have access to a video recording device, a tripod, and an audio recording device, which they will begin using the first week of class.

(5 cr.)
COUN 6210

Ethics and Legal Issues in School Counseling

In this course, students are provided with an introduction to the field of professional counseling and the foundations of school counseling. Students address the following topics: history, philosophy, client and counselor advocacy with an emphasis on the counselor's role as social change agent, cultural dynamics, consultation, and trends in professional counseling. The counseling profession's ethical standards are also addressed with an emphasis on the American School Counselor Association and American Counseling Association code of ethics and counselor ethical decision-making processes.

Prerequisites

  • COUN 6301

(5 cr.)
CPLB 601L

Pre-Practicum 1

By participating in a Walden Pre-Practicum, students gain skills in their development as scholar-practitioners. Through Pre-Practicum experiences, students expand their network of peers and faculty members while they develop their professional skills and identity. In Pre-Practicum 1, students begin to apply the core skills and techniques introduced in the Techniques course. Students also continue to develop the multicultural competencies needed for counseling. Per program requirements, there is a synchronous experience. Students will receive specific information about their upcoming field experience and credentialing.

Prerequisites

  • COUN 6316

(0 cr.)
COUN 6311

Leadership, Advocacy, and Consultation in the Schools

Students in this course explore the role of leader and consultant in a school setting. The development of a data-driven comprehensive school counseling program is emphasized in this course along with specific strategies for communicating with key stakeholders, working to close the achievement gap, and working within the mission of schools to advocate for student needs.

Prerequisites

MS in School Counseling

  • COUN 6302

MS Dual Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and School Counseling

  • COUN 6316
  • COUN 6306

(5 cr.)
COUN 6214

Lifespan Development

In this course, students are provided with an advanced overview of development through the lifespan, including prenatal, childhood, and adolescent phases. Basic developmental processes and theories are examined and applied to developmental milestones that occur within these phases of development. Themes of diversity are highlighted throughout the course. Additional topics include ethics, research, global perspectives, and social change.

Prerequisites

  • COUN 6210

(5 cr.)
COUN 6312

Multicultural Counseling

Students in this course have the opportunity to increase their awareness, knowledge, skills, and advocacy related to working with clients from a multicultural perspective. Students foster self-understanding of their own cultural-identity development, biases, stereotypes, values, and strengths while gaining self-awareness of the effects of power, privilege, and marginalization within the counseling relationship. Further, students can gain knowledge of various issues within diversity. Students explore various theories of multicultural counseling and the role of social justice and advocacy in counseling.

Prerequisites

  • COUN 6311

(5 cr.)
COUN 6317

Child and Adolescent Counseling

Students in this course are provided with an overview of empirically supported theories and techniques for working with children and adolescents in the counseling process. The course is designed to enhance students' theoretical and practical understanding of the systemic interplay among children, adolescents, families, and the stakeholders in their lives. Emphasis is given to a family-systems view of intervention, with specific attention to developmental, cognitive, behavioral, educational, multicultural, and environmental issues. Students will be exposed to a distinct group of empirically supported interventions aimed at improving individual and family functioning. Legal and ethical issues related to counseling children and adolescents will be explored.

Prerequisites

MS in School Counseling

  • COUN 6311
  • SPLB 671L

MS Dual Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and School Counseling

  • COUN 6626
  • CPLB 601L

(5 cr.)
COUN 6320

Group Counseling and Guidance in the Schools

In this course, students are prepared to work with groups in school settings. They examine group theory, process, and dynamics and apply them through the creation of a small group plan. Using relevant literature, media resources, and practitioner based approach, students develop an understanding of ethically, culturally, and contextually relevant group practice, group leaders' roles and responsibilities, the relevance and purpose of group work, and strategies for using groups to foster social change.  

Prerequisites

  • COUN 6317
  • SPLB 671L

(5 cr.)
GRPL 6100

Group Lab

This is an experiential lab in which students learn by doing (i.e., participate in a small group activity). This lab is provided to students as part of their program requirements set forth by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). To maintain CACREP accreditation, all students must participate in a minimum of 10 hours of small group activity over the course of one academic term (CACREP, 2016, 2.F.6.h.).

(0 cr.)
COUN 6322

Crisis, Trauma, and Disaster Response

This course is designed to provide students with an understanding of the personal and systemic impact of crises, disasters, and other trauma-causing events on children, adolescents, and families within schools and communities. Students examine theories and response models as they relate to sexual trauma, crisis in individuals and families, crisis in the community, crisis in the school, and crisis in the nation and in the world. They explore topics including crisis assessment, counselor competencies, vicarious trauma and countertransference, specific related diagnoses, and advocacy. Students consider cultural, legal, and ethical issues related to crisis, trauma, and disaster events and response.

Prerequisites

  • COUN 6311
  • SPLB 671L

(5 cr.)
COUN 6324

Assessment in Counseling and Education

Students in this course are provided with an overview of individual and group approaches to assessment and evaluation used in a variety of counseling and educational settings. Students examine the psychometric properties used to develop and evaluate these instruments. Topics include a historical perspective of assessment, basic concepts of standardized and nonstandardized testing, measures of central tendency, normative sampling and standardization, reliability and validity, assessment report writing, test score interpretation, and test construction. Students also address the ethical, legal, and multicultural issues related to selecting, administering, and interpreting assessment and evaluation instruments and techniques in counseling.

Prerequisites

  • COUN 6317
  • SPLB 671L
  • COUN 6322

(5 cr.)
CPLB 602L

Pre-Practicum 2

In Pre-Practicum 2, students continue to develop core skills from Pre-Practicum 1 and integrate advanced skills in their development as scholar-practitioners. Through their Pre-Practicum experiences, students expand their network of peers and faculty members while they continue to develop professional skills and identity. In Pre-Practicum 2, students begin to develop group leadership skills, integrate counseling theory, and continue to demonstrate cultural competency skills. Students will engage in developing their upcoming field experience plan and continue credentialing skills activities.

Prerequisites

  • COUN 6250

(0 cr.)
COUN 6354

Academic and Career Counseling

Academic and career counselors are concerned with student life on all levels to support the personal and educational development of each student. Students in this course examine educational, developmental, and counseling theories related to academic and career counseling. The focus of this course is on academic and career development from elementary school through college. Students will explore intellectual and emotional intelligence, multicultural issues, attitudes, values, and psychosocial needs of the life-long learner. Students will gain skills required to assist a highly diversified student body in academic planning, career exploration, decision making, and personal growth.

Prerequisites

  • SPLB 671L
  • COUN 6322
  • COUN 6320

(5 cr.)
COUN 6328

Research and School Counseling Program Evaluation

Students in this course are provided with a foundation in research methods, statistical analysis, needs assessment, and program evaluation in counseling. They are introduced to qualitative, quantitative, and mixed-method approaches; single case designs; action research; and outcomes research. Students can learn how to identify a topic for research, conduct a literature search, and use research to inform evidence-based practice. They also learn the importance of scholarly writing. Students examine the principles, models, and applications of needs assessment and program evaluation, and they learn to use the findings to effect program modifications. Emphasis will also be on the ethically and culturally relevant strategies for interpreting and reporting the results of research and/or program evaluation studies. Statistical methods used in conducting research and program evaluation are reviewed.

Prerequisites

  • COUN 6320
  • COUN 6324

(5 cr.)
COUN 6401

School Counseling Practicum

The Counseling Practicum is an introduction to the capstone experience. During the practicum course, students begin to synthesize and apply the knowledge, skills, and professional dispositions learned throughout their program of study. Students must secure a field experience site, apply with the Office of Field Experience within the published application window, and earn approval before being eligible for practicum enrollment. Once enrolled, students will spend a minimum average of 8–10 hours per week at the site that they have secured. They will complete direct counseling hours, weekly individual or triadic supervision with their site supervisor, administrative duties, and other activities as assigned by the site. Concurrently, students will participate in weekly case conceptualization activities, 2 hours of group supervision per week with their faculty supervisor, and other clinically relevant assignments directly related to the work at the site. There are multiple synchronous components in this course. Students must be prepared to be flexible in meeting the demands of this course.

Prerequisites

  • CPBL 602L
  • Approval from the Office of Field Experience

 

(3 cr.)
COUN 6500

School Counseling Internship I

Counseling Internship I is the first of a two-part capstone experience. During the Internship I course, site and faculty supervisors guide and evaluate students on their ability to synthesize and apply the knowledge, skills, and professional dispositions learned throughout their program of study. Students must secure a field experience site, apply with the Office of Field Experience within the published application window, and earn approval before being eligible for Internship I enrollment. Once enrolled, students will spend a minimum average of 25–35 hours per week at the site that they have secured. They will complete direct counseling hours, weekly individual or triadic supervision with their site supervisor, administrative duties, and other activities as assigned by the site. Concurrently, students will participate in weekly case conceptualization activities, 2 hours of group supervision per week with their faculty supervisor, and other clinically relevant assignments directly related to the work at the site. There are multiple synchronous components in this course. Students must be prepared to be flexible in meeting the demands of this course.

Prerequisites

  • Office of Field Experience approval required

(3 cr.)
COUN 6501

School Counseling Internship II

Counseling Internship II is second of a two-part capstone experience. During the Internship II course, site and faculty supervisors guide and evaluate students on their ability to synthesize and apply the knowledge, skills, and professional dispositions learned throughout their program of study. Students must secure a field experience site, apply with the Office of Field Experience within the published application window, and earn approval before being eligible for Internship II enrollment. Once enrolled, students will spend a minimum average of 25–35 hours per week at the site that they have secured. They will complete direct counseling hours, weekly individual or triadic supervision with their site supervisor, administrative duties, and other activities as assigned by the site. Concurrently, students will participate in weekly case conceptualization activities, 2 hours of group supervision per week with their faculty supervisor, and other clinically relevant assignments directly related to the work at the site. There are multiple synchronous components in this course. Students must be prepared to be flexible in meeting the demands of this course.

Prerequisites

  • Successful completion of Counseling Internship I
  • Office of Field Experience approval required

(3 cr.)
VIEW ALL COURSES Less Courses

MS Dual Degree Program

You have the opportunity to switch to our MS Dual Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and School Counseling program at any point during your studies. This option gives you greater professional flexibility by allowing you to earn two counseling master’s degrees at the same time.

International Counseling Honor Society

Omega Zeta—Walden’s chapter of Chi Sigma Iota, the international counseling honor society—offers many ways to get involved and make your voice heard. This includes participating in Learning Communities—biweekly groups of students and faculty who gather to talk about counseling topics such as play therapy, private practice, and telemental health. Learning Communities are one more way to practice your skills, develop your professional school counselor identity, and forge lasting connections with like-minded peers.

Admission Requirements

Program Admission Considerations: A bachelor's degree or higher.

General Admission Requirements: Completed online application and transcripts. Please note that the materials you are required to submit may vary depending on the academic program to which you apply. More information for international applicants.

Tuition and Fees

FINANCIAL AID

Many Walden degree-seeking students—67%—receive some form of financial aid.* Create a customized plan that makes sense for you.

*Source: Walden University’s Office of Financial Aid. Data reports as of 2018.

Find Ways to Save

Program Savings

Speak with an Enrollment Specialist to learn about our current tuition savings.

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Specializations

General Program

Build a solid foundation in school counseling theories, approaches, and best practices while gaining hands-on classroom experience.

Addiction Counseling

Learn to help students cope with self-addiction and the emotional challenges of watching a loved one struggle with dependence.

Crisis and Trauma

Study human behavior following a crisis, psychological disorders that can stem from trauma, and the fundamentals of emergency planning.

Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling

Learn how to support the well-being of your students as they cope with complex personal and family challenges.

Military Families and Culture

Gain insights into military culture as well as the unique emotional needs of children of active military personnel and veterans.

Program Outcomes

Counselor Education Focused on Today’s Field

Walden’s master’s in school counseling program reflects professional standards set by the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) and accreditation standards set by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). This helps ensure you’re well-prepared for today’s preK–12 environment.

In addition, we are one of the few institutions to fully integrate the counseling session simulation software Theravue into our curriculum. This technology empowers you to refine your counseling skills through intensive practice, opportunities for reflection, exploration of alternatives, and faculty assistance.

Career Outlook

With rising student enrollment in elementary, middle, and high schools, qualified school counselors are in demand. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 8% employment growth for school and career counselors through 2029—a rate much faster than the national average.1

Earning an MS in School Counseling can prepare you for a rewarding career in a number of scholastic settings. Empower students of all ages to conquer their challenges and develop the social and academic skills they need to thrive.

An MS in School Counseling program can prepare you to work in settings such as:

The BLS projects 

8%

projects 8% employment growth for school and career counselors through 2029.1
  • Public schools
  • Private schools
  • Charter schools
  • Online K–12 schools

Career positions may require additional experience, training, or other factors beyond the successful completion of this degree program.

Learning Outcomes

As a graduate of our online master’s in school counseling program, you will be academically prepared to:

  • Analyze the different roles and settings of a counselor.
  • Apply sound ethical and legal practices in the work of a counselor.
  • Analyze cultural development theories and models.
  • Examine empirically based theories of human development.
  • Evaluate approaches of career development appropriate to diverse needs and life experiences.
  • Examine appropriate evidence-based counseling practices for prevention and intervention.
  • Apply essential counseling skills across multiple settings.
  • Select group facilitation strategies that are culturally and ethically relevant.
  • Analyze assessment procedures to support planning for appropriate counseling interventions.
  • Evaluate research methods commonly used in the counseling profession.

Read our MS in School Counseling Program Outcomes Report and Annual Data Report and on the School of Counseling DATA webpage.

Resources

Meet Your Academic Team

  • Tracy Senstock

    Tracy Senstock

    Senior Academic Program Director

    Dr. Senstock has been training counselors and counselor educators since 1988. She has served in program administration since 1990 and has helped achieve CACREP accreditation for many programs. Dr. Senstock is a licensed professional counselor in Colorado and a National Certified Counselor.

  • Ariel Harrison

    Ariel Harrison

    Academic Coordinator

    Dr. Harrison is a licensed school counselor in Virginia, a certified school counselor in Georgia, and a licensed professional counselor in Georgia. She has worked as a school counselor for almost 12 years in elementary, middle, and high school settings that include private, public, and charter schools.

  • K. Elizabeth McDonald

    Program Director

    Dr. McDonald has worked in a residential setting for juveniles, a county jail, university counseling and psychological services settings, and community agencies. She is a licensed professional counselor in Minnesota, a National Certified Counselor, and a Board-Certified TeleMental Health Provider.

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