Counseling Services (M.A.)

Program Overview

The Master of Arts in Counseling Services (school counseling concentration) is a 48-credit program that prepares students for school counseling positions in elementary and secondary public and private schools. This program meets the educational requirements for state certification as a K-12 school counselor in New Jersey, and meets the certification requirements of most other states. In addition, the program prepares students for the eight core content areas of the National Counselor Exam (NCE), required by the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC) in order to become a National Certified Counselor. Students completing this program will also have met the educational requirements for Board Certified Coach (BCC) and, with two additional courses, for the Student Assistance Coordinator (SAC) certificate. 

In keeping with the University's core mission, this program is student-centered. Courses are offered in the evenings with full-time and part-time enrollment options available to meet the needs of returning and professional students with busy lives. Cutting-edge instruction, hands-on practice in schools, and supportive faculty who are dedicated to mentoring students are core program components. The faculty and training are focused on wellness counseling and positive psychology, with an emphasis on the strengths of the individuals served, rather than on deficits.

Curriculum Overview 

All students in this area of study are required to complete 48 credits of coursework and to take classes that cover the theories of counseling and psychotherapy, ethical and legal issues, counseling children, adolescents and their families, along with an elementary school counseling or secondary school counseling practicum and two internships. The practicum and internships require 700 hours of fieldwork in preparation for professional practice. Fieldwork placement occurs through close collaboration with Rider's clinical coordinator and is supervised by both practitioners in the field and professors in the classroom. 

All degree candidates must purchase student professional liability insurance once they enter the field.

Degree Offered

M.A. in Counseling Services

Contact

Christina Hamme Peterson, Psy.D., BCC
Associate Professor, Director of School Counseling and Coaching
Memorial Hall 202
609-895-5487
cpeterson@rider.edu

Program Website: Counseling Services
Associated Department: Department of Graduate Education, Leadership, and Counseling


Accreditation Information: The Counseling Services program (school counseling concentration) has been accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) since 1999. The program is accredited until October 31, 2022. 

Related programs

Counseling Services (School Counseling Concentration) Program Requirements

Refer to Counseling Services Handbook for course sequence and prerequisites.

Courses Required Before Practicum
CNPY 502Theories of Counseling and Helping Professions3
CNPY 514Psychpathology3
COUN 500Introduction to Counseling and Helping Professions3
COUN 503Group Counseling3
COUN 530Legal and Ethical Issues in Counseling and Psychotherapy3
COUN 550Counseling Techniques Laboratory3
EDPS 503Human Growth and Development3
EDSO 501Foundations of Counseling in Educational Settings: Referral Sources for Students and Students With Special Needs3
Courses Required Prior to or Concurrent with Practicum
COUN 505Vocational/Career Development3
EDPS 520Measurement,Tests and Assessments in Counseling/School Psychology3
EDSO 510Sociological and Cultural Foundations of Education3
Practicum. Choose one of the following:3
Elementary School Counseling Practicum and Student Assistance Coordinator Practicum
Secondary School Counseling Practicum and Student Assistance Coordinator Practicum
Elementary School Counseling Practicum
Secondary School Counseling Practicum
Courses Required at the End of the Program
COUN 590Internship in Counseling I3
COUN 591Internship in Counseling II3
Courses that Can Be Taken at Any Time
CNPY 518Counseling Children, Adolescents and Families3
EDUC 500Introduction To Research3
Total Credits48

Highly qualified undergraduate psychology majors are eligible to apply in their junior year for the accelerated BA-MA program in School Counseling. This program enables students to take graduate courses during their senior year that count toward both the bachelor's and master's degrees.

Applicants for this accelerated program must have a GPA of at least 3.0 and must meet the same admission requirements as all other applicants. Students must apply by February 10 of their junior year. Those admitted must maintain a 3.0 GPA throughout the bachelor’s part of the program. In addition, performance in graduate-level courses is subject to all academic policies and requirements of the Department of Graduate Education, Leadership, & Counseling.

Students accepted into the School Counseling accelerated program who would like to complete the BA/MA in 5 years will take the following 15 credits of graduate courses during their senior year, in addition to the necessary undergraduate courses:

COUN 500Introduction to Counseling and Helping Professions3
CNPY 502Theories of Counseling and Helping Professions3
COUN 503Group Counseling3
COUN 550Counseling Techniques Laboratory3
EDSO 501Foundations of Counseling in Edu Settings: Referral Sources for Studetns /Students with Special Need3

* Undergraduate students who would like to take fewer than 15 graduate credits during their senior year are also eligible to apply for the accelerated program. Taking fewer than 15 courses as an undergraduate student may mean that it will take longer than 5 years to complete the BA/MA.

Following successful completion of the undergraduate program, students will automatically be matriculated into the School Counseling MA-degree program, where they will complete the remaining MA-level coursework.

Note: The graduate credits taken during the student’s senior year would appear in the GPA and credit hours of the undergraduate transcript until the student matriculates as a graduate student into the counseling program. This ensures that all decisions about the undergraduate student while he/she is still in the psychology program will be on the basis of his/her complete academic performance. After the student receives the bachelor’s degree and matriculates into the Master’s program, all graduate courses will then be included on the graduate transcript in the GPA and credit hours, and a note to that effect will appear on the undergraduate transcript. Course credits will not be counted on both transcripts.

Courses and Descriptions

CNPY 502 Theories of Counseling and Helping Professions 3 Credits

Introduces the theoretical constructs of the primary contemporary counseling psychology theories being used in the counseling profession today. The theoretical constructs will be explored for use for self-reflection and self-development and to serve as the basis for development of psychological maps for understanding purposes of clients’ behaviors.

Prerequisite(s): COUN 500 or as corequisite.

CNPY 514 Psychpathology 3 Credits

A survey of the study of abnormal psychology. Includes classification, assessment, and treatment and prevention of psychopathology. Characteristics of healthy psychological functioning are examined. Biological, psychological, and sociocultural bases of well-adjusted and maladjusted behavior patterns are considered. Stress, anxiety, and milder forms of psychopathology are considered, as are more severe psychopathological conditions.

CNPY 518 Counseling Children, Adolescents and Families 3 Credits

This course will emphasize counselor and consultant behaviors that facilitate the helping process with children, adolescents, and their families. Information and activities will be provided that address age, ethnic, and developmental considerations in counseling children and adolescents. Issues and practices related to crisis intervention will be explored.

CNSC 580 Elementary School Counseling Practicum and Student Assistance Coordinator Practicum 3 Credits

A 100-hour supervised experience in counseling and consultation in an elementary school setting. Students will obtain a minimum of forty (40) contact hours with clients. The course will also provide an historical overview of the school guidance and counseling function. Current practices for assessing, organizing, implementing and evaluating school counseling services will be reviewed. Students will develop knowledge and skills in the development of primary, secondary, and tertiary interventions designed to promote the academic and social development of children of elementary school age. Students will apply knowledge and skills developed in pre-practicum experiences in addressing the needs of school children. Students must be supervised by a Substance Awareness Coordinator (SAC).

Prerequisite(s): COUN 515 or COUN 516.

CNSC 581 Secondary School Counseling Practicum and Student Assistance Coordinator Practicum 3 Credits

A 100-hour supervised experience in counseling and consultation in a secondary school setting. Includes seminar discussions, interview analyses, videotape observations, and individual supervision with the faculty supervisor. Provides the counselor in training with the opportunity to develop and practice skills and techniques necessary for the effective delivery of counseling services in the secondary school setting. Reviews current practices for assessing, developing, organizing, implementing, evaluating, and reflecting on counseling services as they address the special needs of secondary school students. Students must be supervised by a Substance Awareness Coordinator (SAC).

Prerequisite(s): COUN 515 or COUN 516.

COUN 500 Introduction to Counseling and Helping Professions 3 Credits

Educational, social, and psychological foundations of counseling services. Basic theories, principles, and techniques of counseling and related helping professions, such as coaching, and their applications to professional services. Emphasizes self-awareness as related to becoming a facilitator of helping skills. The team approach to counseling services and the contribution of the various specialties within the total counseling services program are stressed.

COUN 503 Group Counseling 3 Credits

Analyzes the historical development of group treatment methods, theories, practices, methods for appraising outcomes of treatment, and research findings. Includes critique of recordings, demonstrations, and students’ own group experiences as counseling group members.

Prerequisite(s): COUN 500, CNPY 502.

COUN 505 Vocational/Career Development 3 Credits

Includes organizational change and vocational development theories, research, and literature in the field to inform practice with clients with vocational/career concern. The problems and techniques of using occupational and career information, assessment tools, educational and vocational goal setting, conflict management strategies, and individual and group processes are stressed. Includes concepts of career/life planning and counseling and coaching techniques, lifespan transitions, and the interrelationships among work, family, and other life roles.

COUN 530 Legal and Ethical Issues in Counseling and Psychotherapy 3 Credits

Examines and analyzes the legal, ethical, and professional parameters of counseling and psychotherapy. Discusses legal liabilities and malpractice cases arising from constitutional, tort, contract, family, privacy, and criminal laws. Examines client rights and counselor duties and responsibilities. Explores legal, ethical, and professional implications of third party payment, informed consent, medication, case documentation, client termination and abandonment. Advertisement of counseling services, crisis and case management, consultation and supervision, "duty-to-warn" and court appearances of an expert witness will be explored. Special attention will be given to child abuse reporting issues, dual relationships and to regional legal and ethical developments.

COUN 550 Counseling Techniques Laboratory 3 Credits

A basic laboratory pre-practicum for counseling services majors which provides opportunities for both observation of and participation in counseling activities. The purpose of this course is to provide students with their initial counseling experience under closely supervised conditions. The focus of this course is the development of basic counseling skills through an emphasis on techniques (basic and advanced listening and helping skills), strategy (the counseling process), and self development (the student as counselor) grounded in professional counseling theories.

COUN 580 Elementary School Counseling Practicum 3 Credits

A 100-hour supervised experience in counseling and consultation in an elementary school setting. Students will obtain a minimum of forty (40) contact hours with clients. The course will also provide an historical overview of the school guidance and counseling function. Current practices for assessing, organizing, implementing and evaluating school counseling services will be reviewed. Students will develop knowledge and skills in the development of primary, secondary, and tertiary interventions designed to promote the academic and social development of children of elementary school age. Students apply knowledge and skills developed in pre-practicum experiences in addressing the needs of school children.

Prerequisite(s): To be taken semester prior to COUN 590.

COUN 581 Secondary School Counseling Practicum 3 Credits

A 100-hour supervised experience in counseling and consultation in a secondary school setting. Includes seminar discussions, interview analyses, videotape observations, and individual supervision with the faculty supervisor. Provides the counselor-in-training with the opportunity to develop and practice skills and techniques necessary for the effective delivery of counseling services in the secondary school setting. Reviews current practices for assessing, developing, organizing, implementing, evaluating, and reflecting on counseling services as they address the special needs of secondary school students.

Prerequisite(s): To be taken semester prior to COUN 590.

COUN 590 Internship in Counseling I 3 Credits

An internship that provides 300 hours of on-the-job experience, including all activities that a regularly employed staff member would be expected to perform. The internship placement is selected on the basis of the student’s career goals. School and agency counselors who supervise interns determine the structure and the content of the internship in cooperation with the Rider supervisor. The approval and cooperation of the student’s superintendent, principal, or other appropriate administrative personnel must be obtained the semester before the counselor candidate’s internship is scheduled.

Prerequisite(s): all other required course work must be completed or in progress and permission of the Rider supervisor must be obtained; any exceptions must be approved by the instructor.

COUN 591 Internship in Counseling II 3 Credits

The continuation of an internship that provides a 300-hour field experience including all activities that a regularly employed staff member would be expected to perform (n.b., a regularly employed staff member is defined as a person occupying the professional role to which the student is aspiring). The internship placement is selected on the basis of the intern’s career goals. School and agency counselors who supervise interns determine the structure and the content of the internship in cooperation with the faculty supervisor. The approval and cooperation of the intern’s agency or school field supervisor must be obtained the semester prior to the actual placement.

Prerequisite(s): COUN 590 and all other required course work must be completed or in progress and permission of the faculty supervisor must be obtained; any exceptions must be approved by the faculty supervisor.

EDPS 503 Human Growth and Development 3 Credits

Provides an overview and broad understanding of life span developmental theories and research applied to counseling services with special emphasis on developmental processes, individual differences and mental health. Includes strategies for working with developmental issues across the life span.

EDPS 520 Measurement,Tests and Assessments in Counseling 3 Credits

This course covers the use of assessment instruments in counseling practice. Topics include descriptive statistics, reliability and validity, social and ethical considerations in testing, the appropriate selection and usage of standardized tests, and the communication of their results. At the conclusion of the course, students will be able to administer, evaluate and interpret assessment instruments commonly used in the counseling profession.

EDSO 501 Foundations of Counseling in Edu Settings: Referral Sources for Studetns /Students with Special Need 3 Credits

The course provides overview of the foundations of counseling in educational settings, including the historical roots; current and future trends, roles, and functions in multicultural schools and higher education settings; comprehensive developmental counseling programs; ethical school and higher education counseling practices; and individual and group counseling and consultation strategies, and evidence-based interventions and evaluations. In addition, the course will address community social services and educational-based programs (including special education and disability laws and accommodations) available to special needs students, other individuals and groups experiencing learning disabilities, and other temporary or chronic maladjustment. Reviews principles and methods utilized by social agencies, schools, and higher education settings.

EDSO 510 Sociological and Cultural Foundations of Education 3 Credits

The American public school as a social organization which influences and is influenced by local, national and international cultural evolution. An exposition and analysis of the vibrant multicultural issues that sometimes determine the outcome of public education. An exploration of contemporary educational problems and challenges resulting from changing social and cultural conditions. A perceptive and reflective placement of these changes in a historical context to enable students put the future in perspective.

EDUC 500 Introduction To Research 3 Credits

This course will provide students with the tools to evaluate the claims and uses of research related to teaching, counseling, and psychology. Students will learn how to find and critique the literature, and will be able to conduct some of their own basic evaluative research to assess the efficacy of their practice and programs. At the conclusion of the course, students will have developed an understanding of rigorous research and evaluation design, and will have skills in data analysis and interpretation.