FAQs

1. How do I apply to the School Counseling Program at UNC Charlotte?

Applying to UNC Charlotte’s School Counseling Program requires completing an online application through The Graduate School. More information on this process is available here

2. Do I need a master’s degree to be a school counselor?

Yes. Becoming licensed as a school counselor in the state of North Carolina requires a minimum of a master’s degree from a School Counseling Program.

3. How long does it take to complete a master’s degree in School Counseling at UNC Charlotte?

Depending on how many courses a student takes per year, the degree can be earned in 2 or 3 years.

4. I currently work full-time. Can I begin this degree without quitting my job?

Yes. UNC Charlotte’s Department of Counseling offers courses during the day and evening, allowing students to work full-time, if needed.

5. Are there funding opportunities for graduate students in the School Counseling Program?

Yes. Departments across the UNC Charlotte campus offer a number of graduate assistantships to master’s and doctoral students. Students must apply to these job postings via each department to pursue them. Historically, UNC Charlotte counseling students have received graduate assistantships from the UNC Charlotte Career Center, Academic Advising, and Housing.

6. I already have a master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, but I now want to be a school counselor. What can I do?

If you already have a master’s degree in Community or Clinical Mental Health Counseling from a CACREP-accredited institution and are interested in being a school counselor, UNC Charlotte’s Post-Master’s Certificate in School Counseling may assist you. The certificate consists of 12 credit hours, including a supervised school counseling internship. Successful certificate completion will enable you to be recommended for licensure in school counseling from the university to the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. More information on the certificate can be found here.

7. I would like to be a school counselor, but one day I might want to do clinical mental health counseling or work in private practice. Will a master’s in School Counseling from UNC Charlotte allow me to do that?

Yes. Successful completion of a master’s in School Counseling from UNC Charlotte will enable you to be recommended for school counseling licensure to the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. Moreover, the program of study includes all courses needed to become a Licensed Professional Counselor Associate (LPCA) in the state of North Carolina. If you become a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) after earning a master’s in School Counseling, you will have the credential needed to work in private practice or clinical mental health counseling. Students interested in this career path are encouraged to take clinical mental health courses such as CSLG 6143, Diagnosis & Treatment in Counseling, as electives.

8. If I enroll in UNC Charlotte’s School Counseling Program, will I take classes with other counseling students?

Yes. Students in UNC Charlotte’s Department of Counseling benefit from taking core courses with peers in the School Counseling, Clinical Mental Health, and Addictions Counseling programs. School Counseling students also take three courses with only school counseling students.

9. Are practicum and internship site placements assigned in the UNC Charlotte School Counseling Program?

No. If students have a preferred internship or practicum site in mind, they are able to choose a site if it has been approved. If students have a preferred school district in mind, they are encouraged to work with district placement coordinators to find an ideal site. If students need assistance in finding a practicum or internship site placement, faculty members are able to do so.

10. If I successfully earn a master’s degree in School Counseling from UNC Charlotte, do I need to take a licensure exam to work as a school counselor?

Yes. Students are required to pass the North Carolina Praxis II Test 5421 in School Guidance and Counseling before UNC Charlotte can recommend them for school counseling licensure in North Carolina. The minimum passing score is 156.

11. If I earn a master’s degree in School Counseling from UNC Charlotte, will I be qualified to work in states other than North Carolina?

Yes. UNC Charlotte’s CACREP-accredited School Counseling Program meets the requirements for working as a school counselor in many other states. You will need to examine a state’s specific school counseling  course and exam requirements to be certain, though.

12. Do faculty members in UNC Charlotte’s Department of Counseling have experience working as school counselors?

Yes. Six of the department’s full-time faculty members have worked as professional school counselors. Several faculty members regularly conduct research in school counseling and are involved in the American School Counselor Association (ASCA), The Reach Higher initiative, and the Association for Counselor Education and Supervision School Counseling Interest Network.

13. Do I need teaching experience to be a school counselor?

No. Although former teachers are welcome in the school counseling profession, teaching experience is not required for admittance into the UNC Charlotte School Counseling Program or to become licensed as a school counselor in North Carolina.

14. Is a “school counselor” the same thing as a “guidance counselor”?

As the school counseling profession underwent changes in the 1990s and 2000s, researchers and practitioners embraced the term “school counselor” over “guidance counselor” to symbolize the enhanced role of working with all students on academic, social/emotional, and career development. “Guidance counselor” has come to represent an older model of school counseling with less emphasis on working with all students. Thus, this program will prepare you to become a professional school counselor.

15. Do graduates from UNC Charlotte’s School Counseling Program find school counseling jobs?

Yes! In recent years, UNC Charlotte’s School Counseling Program has had a high job placement rate. Students pursuing jobs in the Charlotte area, in particular, have had great success finding jobs. Some school counseling students have even started positions as school counselors before finishing their degrees