The primary mission of the University of Central Oklahoma’s Guidance and Counseling Program is to prepare "professional counselors who specialize in the school environment." To do this, we closely adhere to national standards set forth by professional organizations (American Counseling Association & American School Counselors Association), and standards set by the State Department of Education. These standards are linked to the criteria set forth by the National Board for Certified Counselors. This will enable our students to pursue the National Certified Counselor and the National Certified School Counselor designation if they wish. In order to promote professionalism, students are encouraged to obtain these certificates and to actively participate in professional organizations.
The University of Central Oklahoma offers a Masters of Education in Guidance and Counseling degree leading to certification as a school counselor. There is also a certification program for those who already hold a master’s degree.
It is very important that all students who are interested in pursuing either the M.Ed. in Guidance and Counseling or the certificate option (for those who already have a master’s and are teacher certified) read and follow the requirements for admission to the Graduate College and to the Guidance and Counseling Program. It is the responsibility of the student to monitor their progress through the requirements. The UCO Counselor Education faculty wants to help you meet your goals. One way we seek to do this is through graduate advisement. Please contact us as soon as possible. It is important to remember that certification for school counselors is PK-12 even though you may have a primary interest in either elementary or secondary school counseling.
Currently the demand for Professional School Counselors outstrips the supply. It is anticipated that this will continue for the near future as many counselors are approaching retirement. This is true both state wide and nationally.
While the majority of the students pursuing the M.Ed. in Guidance and Counseling desire to work in the school setting there is a growing number of persons who are choosing to work in different settings where they can work with children and adolescents. These include agency work (e.g. DHS, youth and family services, mental health), private practice, youth ministry, etc. Currently the number of available job openings exceeds the number of qualified applicants. It is anticipated that this will continue to be true for the immediate future as there are a large number of school counselors who are approaching retirement. This appears to be true nationally as well as in Oklahoma.
Candidates may apply to either the M.Ed. or Certification (Must already possess a Masters Degree to be eligible for this option) Program in Guidance and Counseling at any time during the fall, spring, or summer sessions. A candidate will need to apply for admission to the Graduate College. Each application has its own process and forms. The Graduate College is located in the Nigh University Center room 404.
The following is the admissions requirement for the Guidance and Counseling Program:
Candidates for the M.Ed. in Guidance and Counseling must:
You must obtain a teacher's certificate or license in order to complete the Guidance and Counseling program. If you do not have a teaching background, you may want to pursue alternative certification in a teaching field related to your undergraduate degree. Contact the State Department of Education for information on alternative teaching certifications. If you obtain an alternative teacher license, you may be eligible to enter the Guidance and Counseling program. The graduate office will allow you to enroll for up to 12 graduate hours while you complete this process.
The vast majority of our students are working full time. They typically take two courses a semester and pick up some courses in the summer. Our program is designed for the working professional. The first classes start at 4:30 p.m. and end at approximately 7:15 p.m. The second round of classes start at 7:30 p.m. Each class meets one night a week during the regular semester.