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

Approximately half of the students in our School Counseling program are career changers without a background in education or teaching. They have their original degrees and experiences in all fields of business, medicine, social work, law, religion, the arts, math and science, and other diverse fields. 

School Counseling Program Goals and Objectives

Program Goals

The School Counseling program at Northeastern Illinois University prepares students for employment as school counselors in elementary, middle and high schools. Students completing the master's degree in school counseling will meet the educational requirements for the Professional Educator License (PEL) in Illinois with an endorsement as a School Counselor, Pre K-Age 21. The degree also meets the educational requirements for licensure in Illinois as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC). The School Counseling program is nationally accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). The School Counseling program emphasizes a developmental counseling approach integrating the philosophy and standards of the American School Counselor Association's (ASCA) National Model, the Developmental Counseling Model for Illinois schools, the Illinois State Standards for School Counselors, and (CACREP).


The School Counseling program trains counselors to work as school counselors who will be knowledgeable of, and demonstrate skills in the following:

  • Common core, integrated understanding of theory and practice for all professional counselors: professional orientation and identity; human growth and development; counseling theories; assessment; helping relationship and individual counseling; group counseling; research and program evaluation; career development; social and cultural diversity; and ethical and legal practice.

  • History, future issues and trends, and professional identity development of school counseling.

  • Roles and functions of school counselors in grades Pre K-12 within the context of the comprehensive developmental school counseling models proposed and/or mandated by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), Illinois Developmental Counseling Model, ASCA National Model, and CACREP.

  • School counselor roles of leadership, advocacy, teaming and collaboration, counseling and coordination, and assessment and use of data.

  • Delivery of services to students, parents, school staff, and community in the following areas: (a) individual student planning; (b) responsive services (e.g., individual, crisis, and group counseling); (c) indirect student services (e.g., consultation, collaboration, referrals); and (d) school counseling core curriculum (e.g., structured lessons, psychoeducation).

  • Professional issues dealing with ethics and the law in school counseling.

  • Understanding larger sociocultural factors impacting the academic, career, educational, and personal/social development of diverse students in Pre K-12 settings, and effective strategies for building coordinated, systemic, school-based interventions.

Curriculum in School Counseling, M.A.

The courses required to complete the School Counseling program are:

Foundation Counseling Courses:

  • COUN 401 Professional Orientation & Legal/Ethical Practices (3 cr)

  • COUN 402 Developmental Counseling (3 cr)

  • COUN 403 Theories of Counseling (3 cr)

  • COUN 404 Assessment & Evaluation in Counseling (3 cr)

  • COUN 405 Individual Counseling Skills (3 cr)

  • COUN 406 Group Counseling (3 cr)

  • COUN 408 Research Seminar (3 cr)

  • COUN 409 Career Development (3 cr)

  • COUN 415 Children & Youth in School and Family Systems (3 cr)

  • COUN 425 Addictions Counseling (3 cr)

  • COUN 427 Diagnostic Systems for Counseling (3 cr)

  • COUN 430 Social & Cultural Diversity in Counseling (3 cr)

School Counseling Courses:

  • COUN 410 School Counseling Seminar

  • COUN 411 Post Secondary College & Career Counseling (3 cr)

  • COUN 412 Topics in School Counseling (3 cr)

  • Elective #1 Consult with faculty advisor

  • Elective #2 Consult with faculty advisor

Advanced Clinicals:

  • COUN 442 Practicum: Group Supervision in School Counseling** (3 cr)

  • COUN 462 Internship I: School Counseling** (3 cr)

  • COUN 472 Internship II: School Counseling** (3 cr)

In addition, school counseling students without a current, valid Professional Educator License (PEL) must complete four of the following seven courses prior to Practicum:

  • BLBC 440 Methods in Teaching ELL in Diverse Classrooms (3 cr)

  • SPED 404 Survey/Field of Special Ed (3 cr)  OR SPED 509 Methods I: Spec Curriculum in Sped (3 cr)

  • LTCY 402 Issues in Literacy Instruction (3 cr) OR LTCY 501 Literacy Instruction in Elementary Grades (3 cr)

  • LTCY 502 Literacy Instruction Content Areas Secondary Grade (3 cr) OR LTCY 513 Literacy Instruction Middle Level (3 cr)


Practicum and Internship consist of 700 hours of documented field related experience, of which a cumulative 280 hours of face-to-face counseling is required. COUN 442 Practicum: Group Supervision in School Counseling, is a 100-hour, field-based experience requiring a minimum of 40 hours of direct contact with clients. COUN 462 Internship I: School Counseling and COUN 472 Internship II: School Counseling, together consist of a 600-hour, field-based experience requiring a minimum of 240 hours of clinical contact with clients. When appropriate, the practicum and internship may be taken at the student's place of employment. A passing score on the #181 School Content Test is required before beginning Practicum.

Departmental Proficiency Examination (DPE)

All Counselor Education students are required to pass a comprehensive departmental proficiency examination (DPE) prior to graduation. This exam is offered annually in February, June and October. See Calendar for specific dates.

Apply to the M.A. in School Counseling program