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Master of Education (M.Ed.) in School Counseling


Embark on a fulfilling journey of impact and empowerment by pursuing a Master’s of Education in School Counseling from Merrimack College. 

There are three tracks in our 48-credit master’s degree: two DESE-approved licensure tracks for students interested in working as a licensed school counselor or school social worker/adjustment counselor and one non-licensure track. 

Prepare for rewarding careers in school- or community-based counseling, college readiness, career guidance, transitional services and more.

Quick facts:

  • Online coursework.*
  • Meets DESE licensure requirements.
  • Aligned with the American School Counselors Association (ASCA) standards.
  • Complete your M.Ed. in as little as two years.
  • Three starts per year.
  • No GRE or GMAT required.

*Students seeking an initial license in Massachusetts may be required to participate in occasional on-campus or hyflex coursework.

Learn more about Merrimack’s Master’s of Education in School Counseling.

Massachusetts

No. 3 Highest-paying state for school counselors in the U.S.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Massachusetts ranks third highest in median annual salary for educational, school and career counselors and advisors ($79,670) with nearly 10,000 employed in this occupation throughout the state.

M.Ed. in School Counseling Coursework


Merrimack’s M.Ed. in School Counseling is a 48-credit master’s degree with online coursework* and on-site field-based training in a setting that works best for you. The program can be completed in two years full time or three to four years part time and is eligible for financial aid. 

There are three tracks available in the M.Ed. in School Counseling, two DESE-approved licensure tracks and one non-licensure track:

School Counseling, PK–12, Initial License

A school counselor focuses on the academic, social and emotional development of students. At the high school level, school counselors also help students prepare for post-secondary education. To become a school counselor in Massachusetts, you’ll need an Initial License in School Counseling.

School Social Work/Adjustment Counseling, PK–12, Initial License

A school social worker or adjustment counselor focuses on the mental health needs of students. These counselors often meet with at-risk students one-on-one or in small groups. To become a school social worker or adjustment counselor in Massachusetts, you’ll need an Initial License in School Social Work/Adjustment Counseling.

Non-Licensure Track

Not all career pathways require state licensure but they can benefit from advanced coursework in school counseling. Many students choose rewarding careers in community-based positions, higher education, or policy/research advocacy positions. For students interested in career paths that do not require licensure, Merrimack’s M.Ed. in School Counseling (Non-Licensure) may be a perfect fit. No on-site field experience is required.

Field-Based Training

Students seeking licensure complete 600–1,300 hours of field-based training, including 100 hours of pre-practicum training, typically over 16 weeks. Merrimack has an exceptionally diverse network of partner schools and community organizations, so we can locate a practicum assignment that closely fits your career interests and strengths within a commutable distance from your home.

Program Requirements

A bachelor’s degree is required for this program. While there is no specific undergraduate field of study required, students must have completed courses in human behavior, psychology, and research. Merrimack will complete a transcript review during the application process to determine prior coursework eligibility.

Coursework

Required Coursework (All Tracks) (44 credits)

Foundations of School Counseling covers the underlying theories, models and methods for effective counseling in an academic/school setting. Students will engage in critical analysis of current practices and theories of school counseling through research, application and exploration. Course includes a 25-hour pre-practicum experience directly linked to course content. Credits: 4

The purpose of this course is to familiarize the students with the concepts and paradigms used in counseling diverse populations, and the development of multicultural competencies. Students will study the main characteristics and needs of multicultural and diverse expanding beyond race to look at lifestyles, ability and interests that we use to define ourselves. Students will be able to apply current theories, trends to practice, and identify issues in counseling special populations; relevant skills to work with diverse populations. Students will acquire the ability to study and act as change agents for organizations and communities in relation to our understanding, attitudes, and behaviors toward multicultural groups. Credits: 4

The course explores the study of the nature, problems, and process of learning, cognition, and motivation as related to the educative process, and the psychology of childhood through adolescence as it relates to learning. In addition, students will explore assessment practices and purpose in education and mental health with a focus on interpretation and application. Credits: 4

This course introduces students to major counseling theories that inform case conceptualization and practice in clinical settings. Students will learn to distinguish between different counseling interventions based upon client need and evidence-based research practices. Students will also examine how a counselor’s self-awareness, self-reflection, and self-care impact both treatment and establishing a strong therapeutic alliance. Key counseling theory concepts are introduced through readings and small group exercises. Students will become familiar with the central tenets of each theory and engage in practical application and skill development exercises. Credits: 4

This course provides students with an opportunity to learn about the processes of group counseling by participating in experiential activities that demonstrate the basic principles of group counseling. Students will examine the various types of groups and the different techniques appropriate to each. The course also teaches students to understand the specific roles of group leaders and members. Emphasis will be placed on the ethical guidelines related to group work. Credits: 2

This course builds upon the guiding principles of group counseling that were introduced in SCC 5130: Group Counseling. Topics will include a more in-depth examination of group dynamics, facilitation techniques, group process, methods for selecting group members, counseling theories for group application, and meeting the needs of population-specific groups (elementary, middle, high school, parent) as well as types of groups (e.g., psychoeducational, support). Credits: 2
Prerequisite: SCC 5130

Participants in this two-credit graduate course will complete the National Mental Health First Aid for Youth certification program and explore applications of MHFA to different mental health crisis situations. The course focuses on recognizing signs and symptoms of an emerging or existing mental health issue, developing resiliency factors in young people and noting risk factors. Note: This course has sensitive content and involves interactive units around mental health wellness and crisis. Credits: 2

This advanced course explores and applies theories of human development related to the mental health wellness and social/emotional growth of youth. The key emphasis of this course is on the school counselors’ role in assessment, identification, and interventions related to mental health issues and substance use concerns. Students will examine current research and best practices in the field and create individual and group interventions tailored to school settings. In addition, participants will learn about the prevention of abusive and violent behaviors in preK–12 students and promote intellectual, social, and emotional well-being. Credits: 4 Prerequisite(s): SCC 5010 and CMH 5000 or permission of the program director

This course will focus upon the theories of career development with the objective of establishing a framework for the implementation of techniques and tools which can be employed by educators/counselors at every level to provide students with occupational, educational, and social information designed to help them understand, analyze, and select personal career goals. Participants will develop skills to help individuals evaluate and select education and training options that will help them reach their career goals. Credits: 4

This class will engage students in critical analysis of current research in counseling and education, development of the ability to design, conduct and communicate findings for field-based research, and use this knowledge to effective leadership and advocacy skills. The course will culminate with a completed research-based capstone or applied research study linked to counseling in education or community environments. Credits: 4

This course is concurrent with the Practicum I for school social work/adjustment counseling (SAC). Students examine their practice as school-based workers, expand on their understanding of youth and family counseling and services, and deepen their knowledge of prevention, communication and treatment. Course content will include psychopharmacology and medical considerations in treatment of conditions and illnesses affecting youth.
Corequisite(s): SCC 6560

This course provides training and application of critical techniques of counseling (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Interpersonal Therapy, etc.) for assisting youth and young adults using a systems approach. Special attention will be dedicated to treating issues associated with trauma, anxiety, depression, and behavioral challenges. Students will gain skills associated with case management, treatment planning, goal setting, and closure strategies, with a focus on developing resilience and self-care. Credits: 4 Prerequisite(s): SCC 5100

School Counseling Licensure Track (4 credits)

Students interested in both licenses can complete additional hours to satisfy the requirements for both School Counseling and School Social Work/Adjustment Counseling.

Fall practicum (minimum 250 hours) provides students with an opportunity to observe, engage, and apply skills and knowledge competencies for college, career and developmental counseling. Students complete part I of the SC-CAP (school counselor candidate assessment of performance) and draft portfolio (evidence of skills, abilities and knowledge). Credits: 2

Spring practicum (minimum 250 hours) provides students with an opportunity to observe, engage, and apply skills and knowledge competencies in counseling, advocacy and leadership. Students complete part II of the SC-CAP (school counselor candidate assessment of performance). Additionally, students will complete their portfolio (evidence of skills, abilities and knowledge) and defend as part of the graduation requirements for the program. Credits: 2

School Social Work/Adjustment Counseling Licensure Track (4 credits)

Students interested in both licenses can complete additional hours to satisfy the requirements for both School Counseling and School Social Work/Adjustment Counseling.

Fall practicum (minimum 450 hours) provides students with an opportunity to observe, engage, and apply skills and knowledge competencies in therapeutic counseling, social work services, and advocacy. Course is linked to the capstone seminar where students will complete applied assignments (see SC6055G) in school adjustment counseling. Students will complete part I of the SAC-CAP (school adjustment counselor candidate assessment of performance). Credits: 2
Corequisite(s): SCC 6055

Spring practicum (minimum 450 hours) provides students with an opportunity to observe, engage, and apply skills and knowledge competencies in therapeutic counseling, social work services, and advocacy. Course is linked to the capstone seminar where students will complete an advanced research project in school adjustment counseling. Students complete part II of the SAC-CAP (school adjustment counselor candidate assessment of performance). Credits: 2

Non-Licensure Track (4 credits)

There is no field experience for the non-licensure track.

This course reviews the aspects of addiction in light of the developmental aspects of pre-adolescent through young adulthood. Students will develop an understanding of addictions ranging from alcohol and drugs to gambling and video gaming. How addiction impacts learning, family and participation in society will be explored as part of field-based research. Credits: 2

Participants in this two-credit graduate course will complete the National Mental Health First Aid for Adults certification program and explore applications of MHFA to different mental health crisis situations. The course focuses on recognizing signs and symptoms of emerging or existing mental health issues and reducing stigma. Note: This course has sensitive content and involves interactive units around mental health wellness and crisis. Credits: 2

What Our Students Say

“I have always learned best from doing, so being in an actual guidance office working directly with students is very rewarding…I learn something new every day at my practicum and I know this experience will help me when I am a school counselor one day.”

– Reba

Tune into the Grad Chat Podcast


Throughout this episode, distinguished alumna Jessica Lawrence dives into the significance of her internship experience during her school counseling program, shares insights into her daily life as a school counselor, underscores the challenges and profound rewards inherent in the role and reveals her favorite aspect of her profession.

Tune Into Podcast

It’s Easy to Apply Online

A complete application includes:

  • Online application (no fee).
  • Official college transcripts from all institutions attended.
  • Resume.
  • Personal statement.
  • Contact information for one reference or two letters of recommendation.

GRE and GMAT scores are not required towards this master of education degree.

Key Dates and Deadlines

This Master of Education degree program enrolls three times a year.

Term
Application Deadline
Classes Begin
Fall I
Monday, August 12, 2024
Monday, August 26, 2024
Spring I
Monday, January 6, 2025
Monday, January 15, 2025
Summer I
Monday, April 28, 2025
Monday, May 12, 2025
Fall I
Application Deadline
Monday, August 12, 2024
Classes Begin
Monday, August 26, 2024
Spring I
Application Deadline
Monday, January 6, 2025
Classes Begin
Monday, January 15, 2025
Summer I
Application Deadline
Monday, April 28, 2025
Classes Begin
Monday, May 12, 2025

At Merrimack College, we’re proud of our long history of providing quality degrees to students entering the job market. Our faculty are more than just teachers. We are committed to helping you grow — academically, personally and spiritually — so that you may graduate as a confident, well-prepared citizen of the world.

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    (at schools where doctorate not offered)
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  • Best Value Schools (No. 47)
  • Merrimack College is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).
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