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Empowering children in schools: Ohio University launches online master's degree in school counseling

In response to the growing demand for qualified school counselors, Ohio University’s Patton College of Education launched its new online Master's in School Counseling program in January, 2024. Summer admission with a priority deadline of March 4, 2024, is currently underway.

“This is the first CACREP-accredited online program in school counseling offered by a public university in Ohio,” said Dr. Christine Suniti Bhat, Counseling and Higher Education Department Chair. “The combination of rigorous coursework, attention to skill-building in both individual and group counseling, and practical experiences would help graduates address the social/emotional, academic, and career needs of the students they will serve as school counselors.”

Developed in response to feedback from potential applicants who sought flexibility in their education, the online master’s program provides students with the flexibility to work and study at their own pace while continuing to progress towards degree completion in a timely manner.

“In this ever-changing world with the increasing need to support students, it was a normal progression to offer our school counseling program online,” said program coordinator Dr. Tamarine Foreman.

Also emphasizing the need for student support, Senior Director, Strategy and Operations for Ohio Online Tommy Raimondi highlights the unique needs of online learners in a flexible program.

“We recognize that our fully online students have different needs to be successful in an online environment and the asynchronous nature of the program allows students to work and study at their own pace while continuing to progress towards degree completion in a timely manner,” Raimondi said.

A well-designed blend of coursework and experience

In collaboration with instructional designers, Patton College counselor education faculty have crafted engaging online coursework that immerses students in the school environment. Students learn to assess k-12 student needs, develop and implement counseling interventions, and collaborate with stakeholders to support student learning and development.

Consistent with CACREP-requirements, the program emphasizes practical experience, with a 100-hour practicum and a 600-hour internship. The department will help degree-seekers find field placement settings in their geographic area that provide opportunities to apply their knowledge and skills in real-world settings, working with students of all ages and backgrounds.

While the online program is new, the Patton College of Education’s school counseling master’s program has been fully accredited with the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs since 1985. This accreditation means the program has incorporated the relevant competencies in each course to prepare students for licensure and successful careers in this field.

Why pursue a master's in school counseling

The demand for school counselors is on the rise, driven by an increased focus on student mental health, social-emotional development, and college and career readiness. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, School Counseling is designated as a Bright Outlook Occupation, with growth between 2022-2032 projected to be faster than the average for all occupations.

School counselors play a vital role in supporting students' academic, career, and personal development. They work with students individually and in groups to address a variety of issues, including academic challenges, behavioral problems, social-emotional concerns, and career planning. School counselors collaborate with teachers, parents, and other professionals to create a supportive learning environment for all students.

Benefits of Ohio University's online master's in school counseling program

Ohio University's online master's in school counseling offers a number of benefits for aspiring school counselors, including:

  • Accessibility: The program is fully online and is mainly asynchronous, providing flexibility for busy professionals.
  • Accreditation: The program is accredited by CACREP.
  • Comprehensive curriculum: The program covers a wide range of topics, including counseling theory and practice, child and adolescent development, and comprehensive school counseling programs.
  • Expert faculty: The program's faculty are experienced practitioners and scholars in the field of school counseling.
  • Emphasis on practical experience: The program includes a 100-hour practicum and a 600-hour internship, providing students with hands-on experience working with students in school settings.

Career outcomes for school counseling graduates

Graduates of the online master's in school counseling program are well-positioned for successful careers as school counselors or college and career readiness counselors in public, private, charter or virtual schools. They may also be employed in colleges and universities as advisors or career counselors.

Ohio University's online master's in school counseling program is a valuable investment for aspiring school counselors who are seeking a high-quality, accessible, and affordable education. The program's comprehensive curriculum, experienced faculty, and emphasis on practical experience prepare graduates to make a meaningful impact on student success. Learn more about how the program can help you achieve your goals. Students may begin the program is spring or summer each year, and complete the program in seven semesters.

This article was originally published on Nov. 11, 2023. Last updated on Feb. 27, 2024.

November 14, 2023
Douglas Dennis