NEIU’s Counseling Department strives to remain committed to equity, diversity and inclusion throughout our scholarship, service, advocacy, leadership, mentorship and teaching. Therefore, we seek candidates who advocate for social justice and antiracist policies, and utilize culturally relevant teaching, clinical practice, research and service. We are dedicated to preparing counselors who are leaders and advocates in social justice and who will provide professional counseling services to adults, children, youth, individuals, couples, groups and families.

The Department of Counselor Education offers a 60-credit hour program leading to the Master of Arts in School Counseling. Students without an active Professional Educator License (PEL) have additional coursework required by the Illinois State Board of Education (see details below).

The School Counseling program is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). Find out more information at Counselor Education’s accreditation, licensure and credentialing page. 

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. 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, and the Illinois State Standards for School Counselors. NEIU school counseling program emphasizes social justice and advocacy in schools and data-driven practices, particularly to affect systemic change in educational settings to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion.

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). 

Program Objectives

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

  1. CACREP's core content areas of: professional counseling orientation and ethical practice; social and cultural diversity; human growth and development; career development; counseling and helping relationships; group counseling; assessment and testing; and research and program evaluation.

  2. History, models, issues/trends, and assessment in school counseling.

  3. 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.

  4. Promoting the academic, career, and social/emotional development of all Pre K-age 22 students through evidence-based, data-driven school counseling programs.

  5. The importance of advocacy, leadership, and social justice work as a school counselor, working within the context of the school system.

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

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

  8. Developmental, college- and career-readiness counseling to support students and their families in the post-secondary planning process from Pre K-age 22.

Curriculum in School Counseling, M.A.

Courses required to complete the School Counseling program:

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 Diagnosis & Treatment of Addictive Disorders (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 program advisor
  • Elective #2 Consult with program 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, the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) requires school counseling students without a current, valid Professional Educator License (PEL) to complete coursework from the following four content areas prior to Practicum:

  • ESL/Bilingual Methods: BLBC 440 Methods in Teaching ELL in Diverse Classrooms (3 cr)
     
  • Special Education: SPED 404 Survey/Field of Special Ed (3 cr) OR 
    SPED 509 Methods I: Spec Curriculum in Sped (3 cr)
     
  • Reading Methods: LTCY 402 Issues in Literacy Instruction (3 cr) OR 
    LTCY 501 Literacy Instruction in Elementary Grades (3 cr)
     
  • Reading in the Content Area: LTCY 502 Literacy Instruction Content Areas Secondary Grade (3 cr) OR  LTCY 513 Literacy Instruction Middle Level (3 cr)

CLINICAL EXPERIENCE (PRACTICUM AND INTERNSHIP)**

School counseling students find placements in Pre K-12 schools where they can work with an approved, practicing school counselor in a comprehensive school counseling program. Placements must allow the student opportunities to counsel students in academic, social/emotional, and career-related development. 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. A passing score on the #181/235 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.

SC Program Planning Guide

Use the SC program planning guide to outline your proposed plan of study.

sample plan of study (for student with a PEL)

School counseling students who do not hold a professional educator license (PEL) must complete additional coursework.

Sample Three-Year Plan
Year 1
Fall Spring Summer
COUN 401
COUN 403
COUN 410
COUN 402
COUN 430
COUN 412
COUN 404
COUN 409
Year 2
Fall Spring Summer

COUN 405
COUN 415
COUN 408
Apply for Practicum

COUN 406
COUN 425
COUN 411
Take school content exam (235)
COUN 427
Elective
Elective
Year 3
Fall Spring  
COUN 442
Take DPE in October
Apply for graduation
COUN 462
COUN 472
Optional: take NCE
 

 

Sample Four-Year Plan
Year 1
Fall Spring Summer
COUN 401
COUN 403
 
COUN 402
COUN 404
COUN 430
Year 2
Fall Spring Summer
COUN 405
COUN 410

COUN 406
COUN 412

COUN 425
Elective
Year 3
Fall Spring Summer
COUN 408
COUN 415
Apply for Practicum
COUN 409
COUN 411
Take school content exam (235)
COUN 427
Elective
Year 4
Fall Spring Summer
COUN 442
Take DPE in October
Apply for graduation
COUN 462
COUN 472
Optional: take NCE
 
 

Apply to the M.A. in School Counseling program