Counseling & Applied Educational Psychology
Graduate Program Options
Essentially, the Northeastern options for graduate study in School Counseling and related concentrations are fourfold:
First Option: There is the basic four-semester, 36-credit hour Master of Science Degree for those with a baccalaureate level of education who are seeking entry-level initial licensure as a School Counselor in Massachusetts, and in approximately 50% of the states in the nation. As it must be stated, those wishing to prepare for initial licensure in any of the states must take an additional four, 3-credit hour courses. Applicants need not have specific prerequisite preparation in particular subject matters at the baccalaureate level, but must have at least a 3.0 grade point average to be considered for admission to the master's program.
Second Option: Those having a master's degree in a field unrelated to that of counseling or school counseling, specifically, may only enroll in the standard 36-credit hour School Counseling Master's Program, preparing graduates for initial licensure as a School Counselor.
Third Option: Applicants who have a master's degree in a field closely related to counseling, generally, or school counseling, and who do not wish to get a second master's degree, may choose to apply to the Northeastern Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study (CAGS) 30-credit hour program. This program entails taking 10 courses or 30 hours of credit beyond the master's level of study and the courses are selected to prepare graduates for initial licensure or in many cases full licensure in School Counseling upon completion of the curriculum. Those with CAGS graduate preparation are usually employed at a higher salary bracket in public education than those with master's level preparation.
Fourth Option (Multiple Credentialing): Applicants who have a master's degree in School Counseling and have initial licensure in Massachusetts as a School Counselor may wish to pursue a CAGS in preparation for several additional, yet related, professional credentials:
- They may wish to fulfill the state-mandated 60-credit hour (beyond the baccalaureate) requirement for becoming fully licensed as a Massachusetts School Counselor via a coherently designed CAGS curriculum, rather than taking a assemblage of courses on an ad hoc basis to achieve full licensure.
- Additionally, they may wish to broaden their range of professional expertise beyond that of school counseling. This CAGS option enables graduates to attain a credential review by the Massachusetts Department of Education for licensure as a School Adjustment Counselor. Further, the curriculum can also lead to Massachusetts state licensure as a Mental Health Counselor, after having graduated from the designated 30-credit hour graduate program, and completed a 3000-hour, supervised internship in a setting focusing upon mental health work. Being employed, for example, as a School Adjustment Counselor can suffice as a suitable setting for this purpose, presuming that appropriate supervision is available at the location. Lastly, this type of broad-based multiple licensure in counseling at the CAGS level of preparation enhances one's salary potential, sustainable employment base, and provides an excellent and attractive preparation for doctoral study in psychology or education.
This fourth option may be exercised by first completing the Master's Program in School Counseling on a full or part-time basis as designated in the First Option, above; then while working as a full-time school counselor, pursuing the CAGS on a part-time basis. Some applicants, however, may wish to pursue the Master's-CAGS sequence on an intensive full-time schedule. This would entail two successive years of full-time study, or four successive semesters, and one or two summers of study, entailing a heavier course load than the 36-credit hour Master's Program.