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Counseling Curriculum and Accreditation

The WCU graduate programs in clinical mental health counseling and school counseling are accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Education Programs (CACREP). In addition, the M.A.Ed. Program in School Counseling is approved by the N.C. Department of Public Instruction. The College of Education and Allied Professions is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). As part of Western Carolina University, the counseling programs do not discriminate against applicants or students based on race, color, national origin, religion, gender, age, sexual orientation, or disability. For more information about WCU's institutional accreditation please visit WCU's accreditation page


The mission of the counseling program is to subscribe to the standards of the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Education Program (CACREP) and prepare ethically bound professional counselors for entry-level counseling positions in clinical agencies and school settings. The faculty teach and supervise across specialty areas (clinical mental health and school counseling) and focus on excellence in the preparation of professional counselors regardless of the setting in which they will be employed. Instruction in counseling is founded upon commitment to the belief that individuals are valuable, responsible, and capable, and that counselors work to create the conditions in which people prize themselves as human beings and act accordingly. The counseling faculty is committed to creating teaching-learning environments that encourage the active participation of students. Students are invited to join faculty in advocating for clients’ and human rights and for professionalism which requires adequate reflection and careful consideration of the interest and welfare of the persons affected by their decisions.

Counseling Curriculum

The Clinical Mental Health and School Counseling Specialties of the Counseling Program at WCU are accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). Both specialties are 60 credit hours. CACREP establishes standards for core curriculum areas for all students and for field placement requirements. The 60 hours are as follows:  

  • 39 credits of core courses
  • A three-semester-credit 150 hour practicum
  • A six-semester-credit 600 hour full-time internship
  • Specific course requirements in each program area, totaling 15 additional credits

Coursework for incoming students typically begins in the Fall, with an optional Summer start if space allows.

Requirements in both programs include 39 hours in specified core coursework:

COUN 602 Professional and Ethical Issues in Counseling  
COUN 605 The Helping Relationship 
COUN 610 Family Counseling 
COUN 615 Cross-Cultural Counseling 
COUN 617 Addictions Counseling or SOCW 520: Addictions 
COUN 625 Developmental Perspectives in Counseling 
COUN 630 Theories and Techniques of Counseling 
COUN 633 Crisis Counseling 
COUN 635 Group Methods in Counseling 
COUN 640 Measurement and Appraisal in Counseling 
COUN 650 Career Development 
COUN 667 The DSM and Effective Treatment in Counseling 
EDRS 602: Methods of Research 

The Clinical Mental Health Counseling Specialty also requires:  

COUN 623 Introduction to Clinical Mental Health Counseling
COUN 686 Practicum in Counseling, a 150 hour field placement in a community counseling setting
COUN 687 Internship in Counseling, a 600 hour field placement in a community counseling setting
9 additional credit hours of guided counseling electives 

Graduates of the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program are eligible to pursue the post-Master's Licensed Clincial Mental Health Counselor (LCMHC-A) credential.

The School Counseling Specialty also requires:
COUN 660 School Counseling Program Development
COUN 620 Counseling Children and Adolescents 
COUN 645 Consultation and Collaboration
COUN 686 Practicum in Counseling, a 150 hour field placement in a school  
COUN 687 Internship in Counseling, a 600 hour field placement in a school 
3 credit hours of a guided counseling elective  

Students who have completed all of WCU’s requirements in the school counseling program, including the PRAXIS exam, will be eligible for K-12 licensure (certification) as a school counselor by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction.  

Graduates of the School Counseling Program also are eligible to pursue a post-Master's Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor (LCMHC-A) credential; however, beginning July 2025 in North Carolina, school counseling graduates must have two additional clinical mental health counseling courses to be eligible. For more information, please see the North Carolina Board of Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselors' webpage.



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