Master’s in School Counseling – MEd Degree

Master of Education in School Counseling (Leads to Initial Licensure)

Offered By: College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Help Support Pre-K-12 Students Through Informed Guidance and Counseling

The MEd in School Counseling program at Grand Canyon University offers individuals with a bachelor’s degree the opportunity to pursue a career as a school counselor and seek certification. This master’s degree leads to initial licensure and serves as the next step for professional advancement in two fields — education and counseling.

As a teacher candidate, you may choose to obtain a master’s in school counseling to help expand your knowledge base and advance your skill set to become an advocate for pre-K-12 students. Throughout their school years, students may encounter challenging circumstances such as bullying, drug use, questions about sexual orientation, social development, mental health concerns and instances of violence/trauma. Pursuing a graduate degree in counseling equips you with the skills to intervene and provide support for children and adolescents facing these issues. Additionally, you will receive training on effectively collaborating with parents, guardians and school personnel to meet the unique needs of your students.

Benefits of GCU's Master’s Degree in School Counseling

As a Christian university, GCU designs programs with a faith-integrated curriculum that reflects the university’s Christian worldview. At GCU, you have the opportunity to develop into more than a school counselor — you can grow into a compassionate, servant leader with strong ethics and morals that can help make a positive difference in communities and the lives of children.

This master’s in school counseling online program is designed to offer flexibility while supporting a collaborative learning environment. Throughout the program, you will study under knowledgeable faculty and counseling professionals and have the opportunity to network with peers.

The majority of courses in this initial licensure counseling degree program are offered online or through evening classes. In-person practicum and internship hours are also required to meet the necessary field experience for Arizona licensure and the completion of this master’s program.

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Gain Advanced Competencies and Skills Needed for School Counseling

Upon completing the MEd in School Counseling degree, you will acquire the necessary tools to help struggling young learners overcome obstacles, while they prepare for the next step in their educational journey. Continuation of education provides aspiring school counselors with the knowledge to:

  • Address challenges experienced by children and adolescents, such as academic, social and emotional difficulties, low self-esteem and issues they may be experiencing at home
  • Identify risks that lead to mental health and behavioral disorders
  • Strategize ways to foster personal growth
  • Lead in data-informed decision-making and school counseling program development
  • Examine how various non-academic problems affect achievement in the classroom

Career Possibilities With an MEd Degree in School Counseling

Master’s in school counseling graduates can have the career readiness to advocate for student’s well-being and create a supportive learning environment, helping them navigate academic, social, and emotional challenges they may face. As a student, you must have access to pre-approved pre-K-12 schools to complete program requirements. This program includes 25 field experience hours, 100 practicum hours and 600 internship hours for a total of 725 hours.

Graduates with a master’s degree in school counseling may pursue positions in education and counseling that include:

  • School counselor
  • Guidance counselor
  • Career counselor
  • Educational advisor

Earn Your Master of Education in School Counseling From an Accredited Education Program

The MEd degree in school counseling is informed by the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) National Model to support growth in academic achievement, career and social-emotional development. GCU’s school counseling program fosters the development of school counselors in training to advocate for models of school-based collaboration with school stakeholders.

The curriculum for this program is:

  • Institutionally accredited
  • Approved by the Arizona State Board of Education and informed by the American School Counseling Association (ASCA) National Model
  • Tailored to meet the needs of the adult learner with a strength-based approach
  • Facilitated by industry experts with experience and knowledge in child and adolescent development, counseling theory, group and individual counseling, college and career counseling, as well as trauma and psychopathology

Master’s in School Counseling FAQs

If you want to learn more about earning your Master of Education in School Counseling, take a look at our responses to a few common questions about this degree and career field.

Earning an advanced degree in counseling is worth it for anyone who wants to work with students to support their academic, behavioral and social development. School counselors have specialized impact on individuals and are necessary in supporting students, teachers and parents.

You are required to have at least a master’s degree in school counseling in order to work as a school counselor.1 Each state has different certification requirements for school counselors. Be sure to know your state’s requirements before choosing a graduate degree program.

Many universities offer online school counseling programs to work with your schedule. At GCU, the master’s in school counseling online program leads to initial licensure and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. The program requires 60 credits for completion and includes a practicum and internships to meet field experience hours for Arizona licensure.

In 2021, school and career counseling and advisor jobs in the United States totaled about 336,000, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The largest employer of these professionals was elementary and secondary schools, both public and private. These organizations employed about 45% of all school and career counselors and advisors. State, local and private universities, colleges, junior colleges and professional schools employed 38%.2

Graduates with a master’s in counseling and any other required credentials may pursue positions in education and counseling that include school counselor, guidance counselor, career counselor and educational advisor.

 

To start your journey toward becoming a counseling practitioner, apply to the College of Humanities and Social Sciences by filling out the form on this page. Master’s degree requirements and program qualifications are provided on GCU’s admission requirements page. Applicants will also follow the standard application process.

 

TOTAL PROGRAM CREDITS & COURSE LENGTH:
Total Credits: 60
Online: 8 weeks
[More Info]
TRANSFER CREDITS:
The coursework in this program is non-transferable from other institutions.
PROGRAM TUITION RATE:
Online: $590 per credit [More Info]

1 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2022, September 8). School and Career Counselors and Advisors Occupational Outlook Handbook. Retrieved on July 25, 2023.

2 COVID-19 has adversely affected the global economy and data from 2020 and 2021 may be atypical compared to prior years. The pandemic may impact the predicted future workforce outcomes indicated by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics as well. Accordingly, data shown is effective September 2022, which can be found here: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, School and Career Counselors and Advisors, retrieved Oct. 18, 2022.

Course List

Major:
60 credits
Degree Requirements:
60 credits

Core Courses

Course Description

This course begins by acquainting counselors in training with the GCU learning management system, while preparing them to be successful graduate-level counselors in training and future school counselors. Beginning with the history of school counselors, counselors in training then explore and self-reflect on the needed traits to be effective school counselors in a PK-12 setting. An introductory discussion on ethics, credentialing and licensure, and professional organizations, particularly the American School Counseling Association (ASCA), rounds out the course. Practicum/field experience hours: None. Fingerprint clearance not required.

Course Description

This course provides a broad understanding of counseling ethics, legal standards, and responsibilities, including professional identity, report writing, record keeping, and service reimbursement for clinical mental health and school counselors. Additionally, the history of and current trends in counseling are addressed. Important goals of this course are to help students develop a strong personal and professional ethic, as well as an appreciation of the value of professional collaboration and identity.

Course Description

This course provides a comprehensive survey of the major counseling theories and principles. Coursework includes the following theories: psychoanalytic, Adlerian, existential psychotherapy, behavioral, cognitive behavioral, person-centered, reality therapy/choice theory, and rational emotive behavioral therapy (REBT).

Course Description

This course provides a broad understanding of counseling processes, including characteristics and behaviors that influence the helping processes. Included are age, gender, ethnic differences, verbal and nonverbal behaviors, personal characteristics, and orientations. The development of counseling techniques is emphasized, including establishing and maintaining the counseling relationship; diagnosing and identifying the problem; formulating a preventative, treatment, or rehabilitative plan; facilitating appropriate interventions; and successfully terminating the counseling relationship.

Course Description

This course provides a broad understanding of issues and trends in a multicultural and diverse society. Studies in this area include the following: attitudes and behaviors based on such factors as age, race, religious preference, physical disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity and culture, family patterns, gender, socioeconomic status and intellectual ability; individual, family, group, and community strategies for working with diverse populations; theories of multicultural counseling and identity development; multicultural competencies; and issues such as substance use disorders. Students examine a variety of cultural populations, exploring issues and trends that are associated with each population. Cultural considerations for immigrants, refugees, and undocumented citizens are also addressed.

Course Description

This course presents an overview for developing, implementing, and maintaining a school counseling program in the PK-12 setting. Theoretical frameworks of comprehensive school counseling programs are introduced, including a specific focus on the American School Counseling Association (ASCA) National Model for developing a comprehensive school counseling program. Topics include multicultural organizational development, school-based consultation, working in multidisciplinary teams, ethical and legal issues, and advocacy leadership. The following experiential learning hours are in addition to your practicum and internship direct and indirect hours. Practicum/field experience hours: 5. Fingerprint clearance required.

Course Description

This course is a supervised field experience that takes place in either an elementary, middle, or high school setting. During this experience, learners begin by observing day-to-day counseling routines and have the ability to apply listening skills, helping theories, and techniques. The practicum is performed under the supervision of a faculty member and a clinical site supervisor approved by the college or university. Documentation of 100 hours (40 of the 100 hours must be direct service) of school counseling related activities is submitted electronically for verification and tracking. State licensure requirements may mandate additional hours. Counseling interns must review and adhere to their state board's additional requirements. Practicum/field experience hours: 100. Fingerprint clearance required. Prerequisites: SCN-505; a GPA of 3.0 or better; maintenance of student professional liability insurance in the amount of $1 million, $3 million; and college approval.

Course Description

This course provides a broad understanding of group development, group dynamics, group counseling theories, and ethical standards with reference to professional and substance use disorders counseling. The course addresses group process components, appropriate selection criteria, developmental stage theories, group members’ roles and behaviors; and group leadership styles and approaches. The course includes didactic and experiential group learning. Required synchronous group experience: 12 hours. Prerequisite: CNL-515.

Course Description

This course provides an understanding of the nature, needs, and differing abilities of individuals at all developmental levels. Theories of individual and family development, transitions across the life span, theories of learning, theories of personality development, and ethical and cultural strategies for facilitating optimum development over the life span are addressed.

Course Description

This course emphasizes the vital role school counselors play in helping students envision their post-secondary school careers. Theoretical models of career counseling are presented, as well as the development of comprehensive, holistic career development programs; career exploration strategies for PK-12 students; and the utilization of career selection tools and materials. Ethical and legal considerations are also explored, including special considerations for meeting the needs of specific populations within the PK-12 school settings. The following experiential learning hours are in addition to your practicum and internship direct and indirect hours. Practicum/field experience hours: 10. Fingerprint clearance required.

Course Description

In this internship course, counseling interns engage in comprehensive work where they engage in direct service contact with students, families, and school personnel. The internship is performed under the supervision of a faculty member and a clinical site supervisor approved by the college or university. Documentation of 200 hours (80 of the 200 hours must be direct service) of school counseling related activities is submitted electronically for verification and tracking. State licensure requirements may mandate additional hours. Counseling interns must review and adhere to their state board's additional requirements. SCITs may not progress to the SCN-615 School Counseling Internship II course without the required field experience hours submitted and successful completion of all course requirements in the SCN-605 School Counseling Internship I course. No practicum or internship courses may overlap or be taken concurrently. Practicum/field experience hours: 200. Fingerprint clearance required. Prerequisites: SCN-600; a GPA of 3.0 or better; maintenance of student professional liability insurance in the amount of $1 million, $3 million; and college approval.

Course Description

This course introduces research methods and basic statistical analysis, including the following: the importance of research, opportunities for research, and difficulties in conducting research. Research methods such as qualitative, quantitative, single-case designs, action research, and outcome-based research are addressed.

Course Description

This course provides an overview of current issues facing school counselors in the PK-12 setting. Strategies for addressing various problems are explored. Topics include bullying and violence prevention, supporting impoverished and marginalized students, and the increasing role of data and accountability in schools, among others. Candidates explore these present and pressing issues and determine their roles as responsive and flexible professionals in addressing issues as they occur. The following experiential learning hours are in addition to your practicum and internship direct and indirect hours. Practicum/field experience hours: 5. Fingerprint clearance required.

Course Description

This course provides a broad understanding of the theories related to child and adolescent development. Also covered are the variables that directly impact children and adolescents throughout their personal development. Students gain knowledge and understanding of childhood and adolescent disorders.

Course Description

This course provides students with an in-depth understanding of the developmental disabilities occurring in children and adolescents, as defined in the DSM. Students examine the following disorders and disabilities: specific language and learning disorders, intellectual disabilities, autism spectrum disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, sensory processing, and physiological developmental disorders, while learning assessments and measurements used in diagnosing. Students receive an overview of the neurological and cultural perspectives of developmental disabilities, and the unique needs of the families.

Course Description

In this internship course, counseling interns engage in comprehensive work where they engage in direct service contact with students, families, and school personnel. The internship is performed under the supervision of a faculty member and a clinical site supervisor approved by the college or university. Documentation of 200 hours (80 of the 200 hours must be direct service) of school counseling related activities is submitted electronically for verification and tracking. State licensure requirements may mandate additional hours. Counseling interns must review and adhere to their state board's additional requirements. SCITs may not progress to the SCN-615 School Counseling Internship II course without the required field experience hours submitted and successful completion of all course requirements in the SCN-605 School Counseling Internship I course. No practicum or internship courses may overlap or be taken concurrently. Practicum/field experience hours: 200. Fingerprint clearance required. Prerequisites: SCN-605; a GPA of 3.0 or better; maintenance of student professional liability insurance in the amount of $1 million, $3 million; and college approval.

Course Description

This course provides a broad understanding of trauma related issues during childhood and adolescence. Students examine the various types of trauma, including neglect; physical, mental, emotional, and sexual abuse; family trauma; parental substance use; and domestic violence. Students learn assessment and treatment approaches designed for trauma occurring during childhood and adolescence.

Course Description

This course provides students with an in-depth understanding of common disorders among children and adolescents, as defined in the DSM. Studies in this area include the following: disruptive, impulse control and conduct disorders, ADHD, autism spectrum disorders, separation anxiety and selective mutism, trauma and stressor related disorders, PTSD, and adjustment disorders. Students also gain the knowledge and skills needed for treating these disorders.

Course Description

This course provides an overview of various tests and measurements commonly used in education. Beginning with basic statistical concepts, counseling interns explore how assessments can inform education and counseling practices. Topics cover aspects of creation, administration, and interpretation of various assessments in PK-12 setting, including discussions of standardized tests, intelligence and aptitude tests and college and career assessments. The following experiential learning hours are in addition to your practicum and internship direct and indirect hours. Practicum/field experience hours: 5. Fingerprint clearance required.

Course Description

In this internship course, learners engage in comprehensive work where they have the opportunity to engage in direct service contact with students, families, and school personnel. The internship is performed under the supervision of a faculty member and a clinical site supervisor approved by the college or university. Documentation of 200 hours (80 of the 200 hours must be direct service) of school counseling related activities is submitted electronically for verification and tracking. State licensure requirements may mandate additional hours. Candidates must review and adhere to their state board's additional requirements. The SCN-625 School Counseling Internship III course may not be taken until the SCIT has successfully completed SCN-600, SCN-605, and SCN-615. SCITs may not complete the school counseling program without the required field experience hours submitted and successful completion of all course requirements in the School Counseling Internship III course. No practicum or internship courses may overlap or be taken concurrently. Practicum/field experience hours: 200. Fingerprint clearance required. Prerequisites: SCN-615; a GPA of 3.0 or better; maintenance of student professional liability insurance in the amount of $1 million, $3 million; and college approval.

Program Locations

GCU Online Student


Pursue a next-generation education with an online degree from Grand Canyon University. Earn your degree with convenience and flexibility with online courses that let you study anytime, anywhere.

GCU Evening Student


Grand Canyon University’s evening programs cater to the demands of working professionals who prefer an in-person learning environment. Our night classes meet just once per week and offer the interaction and discussion of a typical college classroom.

* Please note that this list may contain programs and courses not presently offered, as availability may vary depending on class size, enrollment and other contributing factors. If you are interested in a program or course listed herein please first contact your University Counselor for the most current information regarding availability.

* Please refer to the Academic Catalog for more information. Programs or courses subject to change.

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