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School of Education: Master of Arts in Counseling (MA)

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The Master of Arts in Counseling offers four concentrations: Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC), Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling, Rehabilitation Counseling, and School Counseling.

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The core of the counseling program is the same for all four concentrations Then, each concentration has a set of courses that prepare you to work within different settings. We have only one fully online concentration which is a 48-credit concentration in Rehabilitation Counseling. For our other three concentrations, although a number of courses are available online for our Las Vegas Campus, and Farmington and Santa Fe Centers, there are several courses that are taught via online video technology, and three-four courses which must be taken in-person. Students in the Rio Rancho/Albuquerque area take most of their courses in person. Also, please be aware that only a handful of our online courses are taught completely asynchronously. Most of our online courses do have a scheduled online meeting time.

The Clinical Mental Health Counseling concentration prepares and qualifies graduates to apply to be Licensed Mental Health Counselors (LMHC) with the New Mexico Counseling and Therapy Practice Board, and the applicant is then granted permission to sit for the National Counselor Exam (NCE). The LMHC is the initial license for clinical mental health counselors in New Mexico and is the first step toward becoming a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC) who can work independently. Clinical mental health counselors work in a variety of settings including agencies, school health clinics, private practice, behavioral health institutions, drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers, and community clinics. They work with people individually, in groups, and as families on issues which can range from minor adjustment problems to chronic mental illness.

Clinical Rehabilitation Counselors work in settings as identified below under the 48-credit Rehabilitation Counseling concentration, but also have the additional training needed for licensure as mental health counselors with the general population and qualify to apply to be Licensed Mental Health Counselors (LMHC) with the New Mexico Counseling and Therapy Practice Board.

The School Counseling concentration qualifies and prepares counselors to apply for licensure by the New Mexico Public Education Department. School counselors work in PreK-12 settings following a model such as the one promoted by the American School Counselor Association. School counselors do classroom guidance (preventative education); group and individual counseling; program management; and, student planning.

Our 48-credit Rehabilitation Counseling concentration is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) and graduates are qualified to apply for their Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) credential. Rehabilitation Counseling also meets requirements for licensed rehabilitation counselors in the schools set by the State of New Mexico Public Education Department. Rehabilitation counselors work in vocational rehabilitation settings with people with a variety of disabilities including chronic mental illness, physical disabilities, traumatic brain injury, developmental delays, and drug and alcohol dependence. Rehabilitation counselors work in schools (typically high schools) as transition counselors assisting students with special needs in transitioning into and out of high school. In addition,

Applications for the Counseling Program are reviewed twice each year just after the application deadlines; Spring semester, October 31st, Summer & Fall semesters, April 15th.

In addition to the concentrations described above, the Counseling Department has three certificate programs that lead to licensure in their respective fields. Programs are open to students with a Master’s Degree in Counseling, or a Related Counseling Field as determined by the counseling faculty.  Coursework qualifies a person to apply for licensure. Licensure is conferred by respective state agencies. The Professional Counseling Certificate coursework qualifies a person to apply with the New Mexico Counseling and Therapy Practice Board for the LMHC. The Rehabilitation Counseling Certificate coursework qualifies a person to apply for National Rehabilitation Certification (CRC) under Category R if the applicant meets the requirement of thirty-six months of acceptable work experience, including twenty-four months supervised by a CRC. The School Counseling Certificate coursework qualifies a person to apply to the New Mexico Public Education Department for school counselor licensure. A specialization in vocational evaluation is also available to students in the rehabilitation counseling concentration. Students must complete COUN 646 Vocational Evaluation, Assistive Technology, and Transition Planning and COUN 648 Advanced Vocational Evaluation with an internship in vocational evaluation.

For graduation, students must complete all coursework with a minimum of a 3.0 overall GPA, successful completion of internships, a written comprehensive exam, and a comprehensive case presentation or professional paper. The written exam is the Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Exam (CPCE), which covers the eight core-curriculum content areas. Rehabilitation counseling students can choose to take the Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) Exam that covers ten curriculum areas rather than the CPCE.

As required by the American Counseling Association’s (ACA) Code of Ethics (and the CRC’s Code of Ethics) students who fail to demonstrate personal and professional appropriate and/or ethical behavior may be denied continuation in the program until some form of remediation is fulfilled. If a student demonstrates such questionable behavior, he or she will meet with the faculty of the Counseling Program to discuss the faculty’s concerns. If remediation is deemed necessary, the student will not be allowed to continue in the program until such remediation is completed. The student’s acceptance of admission into the Counseling Program is understood as a tacit acceptance of these terms of admission.

Otherwise, counseling students are assessed by the faculty at three major points: after completion of the pre-practicum course, during and after the practicum, and throughout the two-semester Internship. (As noted above, if there is a concern before these points, the faculty will call a meeting with the student to determine the need for and nature of remediation.) The purpose of these assessments is to determine students’ suitability and potential for development as counselors. If the faculty has concerns at any point regarding a student’s potential for being a counselor, the adviser will be responsible for informing the student of this concern. According to the ACA and the American School Counselor Association (ASCA), it is the responsibility of the counselor educators to monitor the professional development of the student-counselor at all times and to take appropriate measures if indications of behavioral, emotional, or mental problems arise in any given student.

If a student needs remediation, the forms that it may take include the following:

  • The student may be asked to retake the pre-practicum course.
  • The student may be asked to take additional coursework to make up any academic deficiencies that might be noticed.
  • The student may be asked to seek out and engage in personal counseling or psychotherapy. If this is required, the student may be asked to spend a semester out of the program.
  • The student may be asked to dis-enroll from the program altogether.
  • If remediation is required, the student has the option to appeal such decisions. The steps of the appeal process are:
  • The student writes an appeal within one week of receiving the remediation plan stating the reasons why the student believes the remediation to be unjust or inappropriate. The statement is addressed to the student’s adviser and to the chair of the Counseling Department.
  • The adviser and/or the chair meets with the student within a week after receiving the written appeal to hear the appeal and to listen to suggested alternatives.
  • The adviser and chair meet with the other counseling faculty within a week after meeting with the student to discuss the student’s case.
  • If no change is made to the original decision, then the student can take the appeal to the Dean of the School of Education.
  • If no change is made to the original decision the student can take the appeal to the Dean of Students.

At each step, the same process is followed. The student submits a written appeal to the University person involved. A meeting is arranged with the student by that person. The student presents his or her case with suggestions for an alternative remediation. A decision follows.


Faculty

Kathryn Dziekan, Assoc. Prof. Rehabilitation Coun/Guid
Geri Glover, Assoc. Prof Guid/Coun
Doug Main, Assoc. Prof  Rehabilitation Coun
Lori Rudolph, Assist. Prof. Guid/Coun


Program Summary Credit Hours Totals:

Program Totals:

Clinical Mental Health Counseling = 60 credit hours
Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling = 60 credit hours
Rehabilitation Counseling = 48 credit hours
School Counseling = 60 credit hours
Rehabilitation Counseling with Vocational Evaluation Specialization = 54 credit hours


Application Deadlines:

Spring semester, November 16
Summer & Fall semester, April 16

Counseling Program – Student Handbook (PDF)

Practicum Handbook Counseling 634 (PDF)

Clinical Mental Health Counseling –  Program of Study Form (PDF)
Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling –  Program of Study Form (PDF)
Rehabilitation Counseling –  Program of Study Form (PDF)
School Counseling –  Program of Study Form (PDF)


Accreditation

The Rehabilitation Counseling Program (RCP) at New Mexico Highlands University was fully accredited in 2012 by the Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE). Students and graduates are afforded all of the benefits of full accreditation, including the option to seek national certification as a certified rehabilitation counselor as part of the RCP degree.

Over the last three years, performance indicators for the RCP include an average 69 students enrolled, and an average of 13 graduates each year. Our three-year retention rate for students enrolled in the fall of 2011 currently stands at 89%, and the three-year average percentage of our students who are working within six months after graduating is 89%. Our graduates work in state rehabilitation agencies, community rehabilitation programs, school transition programs, independent living centers, tribal rehabilitation agencies, rehabilitation hospitals, and private-for-profit rehabilitation settings. The average cost of attending Highlands University for a resident, graduate student taking nine hours per semester is $19,140 per year.

Students can take the CRC Exam as the comprehensive examination for our program and graduate as Certified Rehabilitation Counselors. 68% of our students who have taken the CRC Exam have passed it. All of our applicants for graduation pass at least one of a combination of assessments used to measure student learning across CORE knowledge domains, and all of our graduates are eligible for state licensure as rehabilitation counselors in New Mexico.


Master of Arts in Counseling (MA)

The program is structured around two components: core curriculum, which includes research and methodology, and concentration specific coursework.

Required core: 39 credit hours

COUN 600 Theories and Practice of Counseling (3)
COUN 601 Professional Counseling and Ethical Practice (3)
COUN 603 Career Development (3)
COUN 605 Essential Interviewing and Process in Counseling (3)
COUN 607 Group Counseling Theory and Practice (3)
COUN 608 Assessment and Testing (3)
COUN 609 Human Growth and Development (3)
COUN 611 Social Justice and Cultural Diversity (3)
COUN 628 Research and Program Evaluation (3)
COUN 631 Addiction Counseling Theory and Practice (3)
COUN 634 Practicum (3)
COUN 698 Internship in Counseling (6)*

* 600 hours over two semesters. Three credits each semester. This can be done in one semester with approval of adviser in special circumstances. In cases where a student is unable to complete the hours requirement by the end of the second semester of internship, the student must continue to enroll for at least one credit hour of COUN 698 until requirements are met. 

Core Total: 39 credit hours

Students choose one of the following concentrations:


Concentration in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Required courses:
COUN 610 Diagnosis and Treatment Planning (3)
COUN 615 Family and Couples Counseling (3)
COUN 619 Issues in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (3)
COUN 629 Trauma and Crisis Intervention (3)

Electives: 9 credit hours
Choose three courses in consultation with an adviser.
Concentration Total: 21 credit hours
Core Total: 39 credit hours
Program Total: 60 credit hour


Concentration in Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling

Required Courses:

COUN 610 Diagnosis and Treatment Planning (3)
COUN 640 Foundations, Case Management, and Job Placement in Rehabilitation (3)
COUN 646 Vocational Evaluation, Assistive Technology, and Transition Planning (3)
COUN 649 Psychiatric Rehabilitation and Co-Occurring Disorders (3)
COUN 673 Medical Aspects of Disability (3)
COUN 674 Psychosocial and Cultural Aspects of Disability (3)

Electives: 3 credit hours
Choose one course in consultation with an adviser.
Concentration Total: 21 credit hours
Core Total: 39 credit hours
Program Total: 60 credit hours


Concentration in Rehabilitation Counseling

Students may choose a specialization in vocational evaluation in addition to this emphasis (see below).

Required courses: 9 credit hours

COUN 640 Foundations, Case Management, and Job Placement in Rehabilitation (3)
COUN 673 Medical Aspects of Disability (3)
COUN 674 Psychosocial and Cultural Aspects of Disability (3)

Concentration Total: 9 credit hours
Core Total: 39 credit hours

Program Total: 48 credit hours


Concentration in School Counseling

Required courses: 15 credit hours
COUN 602 Counseling Children & Adolescents (3)
COUN 615 Family and Couples Counseling (3)
COUN 620 School Counseling P-12
COUN 633 College and Career Planning P-12
COUN 636 Restorative Justice and Conflict Resolution
Electives: 6 credit hours
Choose one course in consultation with an adviser.
Concentration Total: 21 credit hours
Core Total: 39 credit hours
Program Total: 60 credit hours


Specialization in Vocational Evaluation in Rehabilitation Counseling Option

The vocational evaluation specialization in rehabilitation counseling at Highlands is a 54 semester-hour program. Full-time students take the rehabilitation counseling emphasis in the manner prescribed by their adviser. In addition, students take the following courses:

Emphasis in Vocational Evaluation
Required courses: 6 credit hours
COUN 646 Vocational Evaluation, Assistive Technology, and Transition Planning (3)
COUN 648 Advanced Vocational Evaluation (3)
Additional Requirement:
COUN 698 Internship in Vocational Evaluation (3)*

* The vocational evaluation specialization requires one semester of internship in a vocational evaluation setting. This internship must be one of the two semesters required by the rehabilitation concentration.

Specialization total: 6 credit hours
Rehabilitation Concentration: 48 credit hours
Program total: 54 credit hours


Certificates 

The following certificate programs are open to students with a Master’s Degree in Counseling, or a Related Field as determined by the counseling faculty. Coursework qualifies a person to apply for licensure. Licensure is conferred by the respective state agency.

Professional Counseling Certificate (*LMHC)
The Certificate Program in Professional Counseling qualifies a person to apply Licensure through the New Mexico’s Counseling and Therapy Practice Board as an Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC), and the applicant is then granted permission to sit for the National Counselor Exam (NCE).  An LMHC enables the person to practice mental health counseling under supervision while working toward licensed professional clinical counselor (LPCC) Status.

Required courses:

COUN 609 Human Growth and Development (3)
COUN 610 Diagnosis and Treatment Planning (3)
COUN 615 Family and Couples Counseling (3)
COUN 619 Issues in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (3)
COUN 629 Trauma and Crisis Intervention (3)
COUN 698 Internship in Counseling (Clinical Setting) (3)

Certificate Total: 18 credit hours


Rehabilitation Counseling Certificate (CRC, PED K-12)
The Certificate Program in Rehabilitation Counseling qualifies a person to apply for National Rehabilitation Certification (CRC) under Category R if the applicant meets the requirement of thirty-six months of acceptable work experience including twenty-four months supervised by a CRC.

A second option is available for residents of New Mexico and that is to be licensed through the Public Education Department (PED) as a rehabilitation counselor K-12 with the public schools. This PED license will enables a person to work specifically with students who have an IEP (Individualized Education Plan), and with students in transition in the schools

Required courses:
COUN 640 Foundations, Case Management, and Job Placement in Rehabilitation (3)
COUN 646 Vocational Evaluation, Assistive Technology, and Transition Planning (3)
COUN 649 Psychiatric Rehabilitation and Co-Occurring Disorders (3)
COUN 673 Medical Aspects of Disability (3)
COUN 674 Psychosocial and Cultural Aspects of Disability (3)
COUN 698 Internship in Counseling (Rehabilitation Setting) (3)

Certificate Total: 18 credit hours


School Counseling (*PED K-12)
The Certificate Program in School Counseling qualifies a person to sit for the School Counseling exam through the PED. Upon passing this exam, the person can apply for a school counselor license and be eligible to work in public and private schools as a school counselor.

Required courses:
COUN 602 Counseling Children and Adolescents (3)
COUN 615 Family and Couples Counseling (3)
COUN 620 School Counseling P-12
COUN 698 Internship in Counseling (School Setting) (3)
Certificate Total: 12 credit hours


This degree is under the Graduate School of Education