Dr. Thomas Jarvis, Department Chair
Phone: (478) 825-6636
Dr. Thomas Jarvis, Department Chair
About the Program
Graduates from the School Counselor Education (MSEd) program will demonstrate knowledge, skills, technical competencies, and dispositions to function proficiently as school counselors in the 21st century. The School Counselor Education program emphasizes experiences in educational settings where our graduates will be sensitive to the context of all students. Proficient school counselors work in primary, elementary, middle, and high school settings and create an atmosphere where all students can learn. The program meets all the educational requirements for the Professional School Counselor Certificate, Level 5. By taking three courses per semester, the program can be completed in almost two years, but most students will take fewer courses and extend their programs to almost three years. The program considers students’ backgrounds and adds knowledge, skills, values, and professional practices, which will allow them to be employed in Georgia schools, to build upon their interests and experiences.
The graduation requirements are a cumulative grade point average of not less than 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, passing scores on the GACE content exams which serve as the departmental comprehensive exam, and successful completion of an action research project.
Fort Valley State University School Counselor Education
The FVSU School Counselor Education program continues to produce proficient school counselors each year; 48 students completed the program within the past 4 years. A majority of our graduates are securing jobs within the school counseling profession after graduation. Some are also choosing to pursue further degrees, such as the Education Specialist degree and doctoral degrees in related fields. Some graduates are pursuing licensure as Licensed Professional Counselors while working in school systems or other behavioral health facilities.
Data from the 2015-2016 academic term confirms the viability of our program:
- Number of graduates: 12
- Completion rate: 86%
- GACE certification exam pass rate: 87%
- Job placement rate: 75% (9 out of 12) of our graduates are working as school counselors or counseling-related positions. Two others are working in the school system.
This data confirms that the majority of students entering our program are completing the program, passing the certification exams, and obtaining employment as counselors. Our cohort model, quality instruction, and the low faculty to student ratio contribute to students’ success in the program.
Applicants must possess an undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited institution (in a related field to meet pre-requisites) and submit the following:
- Admission application and fee
- Two transcripts demonstrating cumulative undergraduate GPA of at least 2.5 from a regionally accredited institution
- Three letters of reference
- A personal or professional statement
- A resume containing prior work, educational, community service, and other relevant experience
- Immunization records and health forms are required except for military students
- GACE Program Admissions (unless exempt)
- GACE Ethics Pre-test
School Counselor Education candidates will also successfully complete the following three assessments during their first semester in the program or be subject to remediation rather than advance in the program:
- Acceptable rating on
- Action Rersearch Rubric
- Disposition and Professional Behaviors Rubric
- Writing Sample
- Clear background check
- Membership in a professional organization
- Proof of liability insurance
Awards are subject to availability, and selection criteria will be applied. Application forms are available in 320 Hubbard Education in Fort Valley or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Students’ writing and reading proficiency will be assessed in Graduate Studies Orientation, and students in need of greater proficiency will be retested before they reach 18 hours.
The School Counselor Education Program requires a minimum of 48 semester hours. The content courses are:
Pre-Cohort Requirements (6 hours)
- EDUC 5503 Fundamentals of Research Design
- EDSC 55133 Introduction to School Counseling
Cohort Requirements (18 hours)
- EDSC 5033 Career Counseling
- EDSC 5143 Counseling Theories
- EDSC 5223 Comprehensive School Counseling
- EDSC 5373 Group Counseling
- EDSC 5233 Counseling Interventions & Prevention
- EDLD 5203 Foundations of Professional Ethics and School Law
Non-cohort Requirements (12 hours)
- EDSC 5013 Evaluation & Testing in Education*
- EDSC 5103 Human Growth & Development*
- EDSC 5303 School & Family Consultation*
- EDSC 5203 Counseling Diverse Populations*
Field Experience (12 hours)
- EDSC 5793 School Counseling Practicum
- EDUC 5793 Applied Research Practicum
- EDSC 5893 School Counseling Internship I
- EDSC 5993 School Counseling Internship II
*Can be taken at any time in the program and are preferred but not required for placement in the Field Experience.
Important Note: If students wish to receive a clear renewable certificate for school counselors, they must complete and pass GACE, state technology competency certification, and the Introduction to Exceptional Child course (EDUC 5253). The Exceptional Child is required in addition to the course work specified on this balance sheet if the student has not previously taken a course in the identification and education of children with special needs, as required by “House Bill 671.”
During the 2014-2015 academic year the program experienced a slight increase in enrollment of 2.6%. Although this does not meet the 3% increase that was targeted, there was an increase. The program also had an increase in non-minority students, with that percentage at about 10% of enrolled students. In addition, the program increased the number of male students by 13%. As we enter into 2015-2016 academic year, the program has a total of 50 students enrolled which is a significant increase for this year. This enrollment increase exceeds the 3% enrollment increase desired.
Student academic and clinical performances continue to be strong. The average scores on academic assessments show that program students are performing at or above the expected outcomes. For example, student research assessments support that research efforts by a majority of program students have consistently exceeded the targeted area in most areas. Students’ writing skills develop over time and at their exit they are at the targeted level for writing, showing comprehension and the ability to apply their knowledge.
Graduation (Completion rate)
Twelve students graduated from the program this past year. The program examined the obstacles that presented barriers to graduation which includes the program comprehensive exam. The program uses the Georgia Assessment of Certified Educators. Students who successfully passed the assessment on the first attempt, prepared differently than those who struggled. The program piloted a 1 credit eight week course that would help prepare students for the assessment. This course was offered in addition to the assessment review provided each semester. According to student evaluations, the eight week course was very beneficial to their preparation. Currently the program has consistently met the targeted goal of 90% completion rate. The cohort format has supported in motivating students through the program as students support each other; the cohort format also provides a sequenced program of study.
Licensure and Certification
Students graduating from the program are eligible to become certified school counselors with the State of Georgia. Program faculty monitors student progress through the program and inform students of the requirements post degree. The State of Georgia requires that all persons seeking certification in school counseling must have completed an Exceptional Child Course and pass the Basic Skills Test, now known as Program Admissions Test (PAT). The BST consists of three assessments in reading, writing, and math. Passing scores on all three must be attained. The faculty monitors if students have completed these items prior to endorsing them for certification. Presently 95% of those students seeking school counseling certification have been certified. Some completers have sought employment in higher education or in the mental health field. These students have expressed interest in pursuing licensure with the State of Georgia as Licensed Professional Counselors. The coursework offered in the school counselor education program does allow for students to sit for the National Counselor Exam (NCE). The program does not have any data at this time as to the success of students pursuing professional licensure, as this is a very new endeavor once students exit the program.
Job Placement Rate. The job placement rate of the program remains at a steady 46% of those graduating. It is expected that within the next few months additional students will become employed in school counselor positions. Two nearby districts have a large number of openings due to retirement and promotions. In addition, more and more of our students are pursuing jobs outside the 50 miles radius, with some moving to other cities / states.
Three semesters of clinical field experience totaling 700 hours are required. During practicum students observe, shadow, and perform minimum tasks (100 hours) to create a service learning project. During internship students perform the actual duties of a school counselor (600 hours) under the supervision of a practicing school counselor. Students should discuss placement with their advisor. Applications for the practicum and internship should be made the semester before practicum/internship field experience begins. Students should pick up a practicum internship handbook and become familiar with its content before application is made. The practicum/internship must be performed in a school setting under the supervision of a certified school counselor.
To be eligible to enroll in practicum and internship, students must possess a cumulative GPA of 3.0 (B Average), and they must successfully complete the Pre-Cohort and Cohort courses. EDSC 5793 (Practicum) the semester before their placement and must have faculty approval. Students must successfully complete EDSC 5893 before they are eligible to enroll in EDSC 5993. Field experiences also are tied to other courses.