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Master of Arts in Counseling (MA)

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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NMHU COUNSELING PROGRAM

The Department of Guidance & Counseling in the School of Education offers a Master of Arts in Counseling with the choice of four different concentrations: Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC), Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling, Rehabilitation Counseling, and School Counseling. Students who already have a Master’s in Counseling or a closely related field as determined by the counseling faculty, can obtain a Certificate in Professional Counseling, Rehabilitation Counseling and/or School Counseling to qualify for additional licensure or certification opportunities.

During the Spring of 2018, the Counseling Department began in earnest, its pursuit of national accreditation through the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).  Although the program and its concentrations have always endeavored to follow national standards, in pursuing accreditation, the Counseling Department has taken this opportunity to conduct a complete review of the core of the counseling program and each concentration with special attention to the CACREP standards introduced in 2016.  The revisions approved by our NMHU Academic Affairs Committee meet the standards through the addition of new courses, revision of old courses, clarification of course descriptions, and changing course titles.  In addition, in order to meet proposed CACREP requirements, the School Counseling Concentration has been increased from 48 credits to 60 credits. The Rehabilitation Counseling Concentration will remain at 48 credits and will be re-evaluated before 2023 when an increase to 60 credits will be required for CACREP Accreditation to continue.

Students who began their coursework prior to the Fall of 2018 will continue with their current program of study.  In some cases, course substitutions may need to be made when a course has been removed from the program and is no longer being taught.  All students who begin their coursework as of the Fall of 2018 will follow the programs of study outlined on this website.

COUNSELING CURRICULUM (As of Fall 2019)

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.

MASTER of ARTS in COUNSELING

CORE REQUIREMENTS
(39 credits)

COUN 6000 Theories and Practice of Counseling
COUN 6010 Professional Counseling Orientation & Ethical Practice
COUN 6030 Career Development
COUN 6080 Assessment & Testing
COUN 6110 Social Justice and Cultural Diversity
COUN 6250 Human Growth & Development
COUN 6050 Essential Interviewing & Process in Counseling
COUN 6070 Group Counseling Theory and Practice
COUN 6310 Addiction Counseling Theory and Practice
COUN 6340 Practicum in Counseling
COUN 6280 Research & Program Evaluation
COUN 6980 Internship in Counseling I*
COUN 6980 Internship in Counseling II*

* 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 6980 until requirements are met. 

Core Total: 39 credit hours

Students choose one of the following concentrations:

CONCENTRATIONS – SPECIALITY AREAS

CLINICAL MENTAL HEALTH COUNSELING (CMHC)
(Total of 60 credits)

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.

COUN 6100 Diagnosis and Treatment Planning
COUN 6150 Family & Couples Counseling
COUN 6190 Issues in Clinical Mental Health Counseling
COUN 6290 Trauma & Crisis Intervention

ELECTIVES (9 credits)

CLINICAL REHABILITATION COUNSELING
(Total of 60 credits)

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.

COUN 6100 Diagnosis and Treatment Planning
COUN 6400 Foundations, Case Management, and Job Placement in Rehabilitation
COUN 6460 Vocational Evaluation, Assistive Technology, and Transition Planning
COUN 6490 Psychiatric Rehabilitation and Co-Occurring Disorders
COUN 6730 Medical Aspects of Disability
COUN 6740 Psychosocial and Cultural Aspects of Disability

REHABILITATION COUNSELING
(Total of 48 credits)

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.

COUN 6400 Foundations, Case Management, and Job Placement in Rehabilitation
COUN 6730 Medical Aspects of Disability
COUN 6740 Psychosocial and Cultural Aspects of Disability

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:

Required courses: 6 credit hours

COUN 6460 Vocational Evaluation, Assistive Technology, and Transition Planning (3)
COUN 6480 Advanced Vocational Evaluation (3)

Additional Requirement:

COUN 6980 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: 6-9 credit hours

Rehabilitation Concentration: 48 credit hours

Program total: 54-57 credit hours

SCHOOL COUNSELING
(Total of 60 credits)

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.

COUN 6020 Counseling Children and Adolescents
COUN 6150 Family & Couples Counseling
COUN 6200 School Counseling P-12
COUN 6330 College and Career Planning P-12
COUN 6360 Restorative Justice and Conflict Resolution

ELECTIVE (6 credits)

Dual Concentrations

According to the 2016 CACREP Standards, students must complete 600 clock hours of supervised counseling internship in roles and settings with clients relevant to their specialty area.  A student who wishes to complete two or more concentrations within one degree will be required to complete 600 clock hours of supervised experience for each concentration.  The Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling Concentration is already designed to meet requirements for licensure and certification for Clinical Mental Health Counseling and Rehabilitation Counseling.

The Master of Arts in Counseling Core Requirement is 33 credits before the 600 clock hours/6 credits of Internship.  The Specialty Area coursework for Dual Concentrations is described below.

CMHC/SCHOOL COUNSELING
(33 credit CORE before Internships + 39 credits = Total of 72 credits)

CLINICAL MENTAL HEALTH

COUN 6100 Diagnosis and Treatment Planning
COUN 6150 Family & Couples Counseling
COUN 6190 Issues in Clinical Mental Health Counseling
COUN 6290 Trauma & Crisis Intervention
COUN 6980 Internship I (Clinical – 300 hours)
COUN 6980 Internship II (Clinical – 300 hours)

SCHOOL

COUN 6020 Counseling Children and Adolescents
COUN 6150 Family & Couples Counseling
COUN 6200 School Counseling P-12
COUN 6330 College and Career Planning P-12
COUN 6360 Restorative Justice and Conflict Resolution 
COUN 6980 Internship I (School – 300 hours)
COUN 6980 Internship II (School – 300 hours)

REHAB/SCHOOL COUNSELING
(33 credit CORE before Internships + 36 credits = Total of 69 credits)

REHABILITATION

COUN 6400 Foundations, Case Management, and Job Placement in Rehabilitation
COUN 6730 Medical Aspects of Disability
COUN 6740 Psychosocial and Cultural Aspects of Disability
COUN 6980 Internship I (Rehab – 300 hours)
COUN 6980 Internship II (Rehab – 300 hours)

SCHOOL

COUN 6020 Counseling Children and Adolescents
COUN 6150 Family & Couples Counseling
COUN 6200 School Counseling P-12
COUN 6330 College and Career Planning P-12
COUN 6360 Restorative Justice and Conflict Resolution
COUN 6980 Internship I (School – 300 hours)
COUN 6980 Internship II (School – 300 hours)

CLIN REHAB/SCHOOL COUNSELING

(33 credit CORE before Internships + 45 credits = Total of 78 credits)

CLINICAL REHABILITATION

COUN 6100 Diagnosis and Treatment Planning
COUN 6400 Foundations, Case Management, and Job Placement in Rehabilitation
COUN 6460 Vocational Evaluation, Assistive Technology, and Transition Planning
COUN 6490 Psychiatric Rehabilitation and Co-Occurring Disorders
COUN 6730 Medical Aspects of Disability
COUN 6740 Psychosocial and Cultural Aspects of Disability
COUN 6980 Internship I (ClinRehab – 300 hours)
COUN 6980 Internship II (ClinRehab – 300 hours)

SCHOOL

COUN 6020 Counseling Children and Adolescents
COUN 6150 Family & Couples Counseling
COUN 6200 School Counseling P-12
COUN 6330 College and Career Planning P-12
COUN 6360 Restorative Justice and Conflict Resolution
COUN 6980 Internship I (School – 300 hours)
COUN 6980 Internship II (School – 300 hours)

Counseling Certificate Programs

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 (typically a related counseling field). Coursework qualifies a person to apply for licensure. Licensure is conferred by the respective state agency.

Students apply to a Counseling Certificate Program through the same process as they did to be admitted initially into the Counseling Department. They must have received a Master’s Degree in Counseling or a related field as determined by the Counseling faculty. Certificate programs are eligible for financial aid.  The Certificate Programs will not be CACREP Accredited.

Professional Counseling Certificate (LMHC)

The Certificate Program in Professional Counseling qualifies a person to apply for licensure through the New Mexico’s Counseling and Therapy Practice Board as an 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 6100 Diagnosis and Treatment Planning (3)
COUN 6150 Family and Couples Counseling (3)
COUN 6190 Issues in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (3)
COUN 6250 Human Growth and Development (3)
COUN 6290 Trauma and Crisis Intervention (3)
COUN 6980 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 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 6400 Foundations, Case Management, and Job Placement in Rehabilitation (3)
COUN 6460 Vocational Evaluation, Assistive Technology, and Transition Planning (3)
COUN 6490 Psychiatric Rehabilitation and Co-Occurring Disorders (3)
COUN 6730 Medical Aspects of Disability (3)
COUN 6740 Psychosocial and Cultural Aspects of Disability (3)
COUN 6980 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 6020 Counseling Children and Adolescents (3)
COUN 6150 Family and Couples Counseling (3)
COUN 6200 School Counseling P-12
COUN 6980 Internship in Counseling (School Setting) (3)

Certificate Total: 12 credit hours

COURSE SCHEDULING

COURSE #

FA

SP

SU

COUN 6000 Theories and Practice of Counseling

X

X

 

COUN 6010 Professional Counseling Orientation and Ethical Practice

X

X

 

COUN 6020 Counseling Children and Adolescents  (Prereq 6000 & 6010)

 

X

X

COUN 6030 Career Development

X

X

X

COUN 6050 Essential Interviewing and Process in Counseling (Prereq 6000 & 6010)

X

X

 

COUN 6070 Group Counseling Theory and Practice (Prereq 6000 & 6010)

X

X

 

COUN 6080 Assessment and Testing

X

X

 

COUN 6100 Diagnosis and Treatment Planning

 

X

X

COUN 6110 Social Justice and Cultural Diversity

X

X

 

COUN 6150 Family and Couples Counseling (Prereq 6000 & 6010)

X

 

X

COUN 6190 Issues in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

 

X

X

COUN 6200 School Counseling P-12

X

 

X

COUN 6250 Human Growth and Development

X

X

 

COUN 6280 Research and Program Evaluation

X

X

 

COUN 6290 Trauma and Crisis Intervention

X

 

X

COUN 6310 Addiction Counseling Theory and Practice

X

X

X

COUN 6330 College and Career Planning P-12

 

X

X

COUN 6340 Practicum in Counseling                  (Prereq 6000, 6010, 6050, 6070)

X

X

X

COUN 6360 Restorative Justice and Conflict Resolution

X

 

X

COUN 6400 Foundations, Case Management, and Job Placement in Rehabilitation

 

X

X

COUN 6460 Vocational Evaluation, Assistive Technology, and Transition Planning

X

 

X

COUN 6490 Psychiatric Rehabilitation and Co-Occurring Disorders

 

X

X

COUN/SPED 6730 Medical Aspects of Disability

 

X

X

COUN/SPED 6740 Psychosocial and Cultural Aspects of Disability

X

 

X

COUN 6980 Internship in Counseling (3 hrs)  (Prereq 6000, 6010, 6050, 6070, 6340)

X

X

X

COUN 6980 Internship in Counseling (3 hrs)  (Prereq 6000, 6010, 6005, 6070, 6340)

X

X

X

COUN 6XXX Electives

X

X

X

A variety of electives and special topics are available over the course of several semesters including: 

COUN 6140 Existential Counseling
COUN 6160 Overview of Art Therapy & the Creative Process
COUN 6170 Art/Sandtray Counseling
COUN 6210 Grief, Loss and Expressive Arts Therapy
COUN 6220 Play Therapy                                        
COUN 6230 Foundations of Addiction: Alcohol Abuse     
COUN 6240 Found. of Addiction: Drug Abuse         
COUN 6260 Treating Individuals with Alcohol Abuse     
COUN 6270 Treating Individuals w/Drug Abuse     
COUN 6480 Advanced Vocational Evaluation             
COUN 6520 Death, Dying, & Bereavement in Coun   
COUN 6540 Sexuality in Counseling                   
COUN 6350 Special Topics

Counseling Department Vision, Mission and Program Objectives

Vision

To be a premier counselor education program that prepares counselors as agents of social change who transform the lives of individuals and communities they serve.

Mission

The mission of the Highlands’ Counselor Education Program is to train entry-level counselors who are prepared for positions in community service agencies as mental health counselors, in school systems as school counselors, and in rehabilitation settings as rehabilitation counselors. We are committed to continuous improvement of quality and excellence that fosters critical reflection, integrates theory and practice, and promotes advocacy through a culturally responsive and inclusive approach.  

Program Objectives

The Highlands’ Counselor Education Program is designed to prepare students to be effective, proactive professionals who can develop, organize, and implement outstanding and comprehensive counseling services and programs.  The program prepares students who:

  1. demonstrate the ethical practice of counseling aligned with a professional counseling orientation in accordance with the standards and credentials of the counseling profession;
  2. understand multicultural and pluralistic characteristics within and among diverse groups nationally and internationally while developing strategies for identifying and eliminating barriers, prejudices, and processes of intentional and unintentional oppression and discrimination;
  3. demonstrate knowledge of factors associated with human growth and development across the lifespan;
  4. understand career development theories and strategies for personal growth and vocational opportunities in a global economy;
  5. utilize theoretical foundations of individual counseling, and skills in essential interviewing, counseling, and case conceptualization to promote client understanding of and access to a variety of community-based resources;
  6. utilize theoretical foundations of group counseling and group work to plan ethical and culturally relevant strategies for designing and facilitating groups;
  7. utilize methods of effective assessment relevant to academic, educational, career, personal, and social development;
  8. understand the importance of research in advancing the counseling profession, including how to critique research to inform counseling practice; and,
  9. exhibit a capacity for self-reflection and an openness to feedback to evaluate and improve personal and organizational practices.

The Counseling Program is part of the NMHU family. We contribute to the University Vision and Mission and support the Core Values of the institution.

UNIVERSITY VISION, MISSION AND CORE VALUES

SCHOOL OF EDUCATION: VISION, MISSION AND CORE VALUES

Expectations of Students

Students are expected to conduct themselves in line with the ethical expectations that guide the counseling profession on three levels:

Personally

Maintain constant mental-wellness availing yourself of personal counseling experiences. Counseling students are expected to develop insight and self-awareness.  Students are encouraged to establish congruence between their identities and the counseling profession. Biases are explored with adequate opportunities provided for personal, professional and intellectual growth.

“Carl Rogers (1961) stated that the person of the counselor has a greater impact on the therapeutic process than the skills and techniques used. Cavanagh (1982) supported Rogers’ supposition indicating that the personality of the counselor is more important than skills and knowledge. In the counseling process, the person of the counselor is the instrument through which the services are provided. While different counselors may use the same techniques, the delivery of these techniques will not be the same because the instruments being used to deliver the services are not the same” (Pierce, 2010, p. 48).

Students in the NMHU Counseling Program will be evaluated on the following dispositions several times throughout their programs to insure understanding and progress toward their future roles as counselors.

  1. Empathy (the counselor senses accurately the feelings and personal meaning that the client is experiencing and communicates this acceptant understanding to the clients).
  2. Genuineness (client is willing to be authentic, open, honest within the helping relationship).
  3. Acceptance (being able to regard clients unconditionally, despite differences in cultural heritage, values, or belief systems).
  4. Open-Mindedness (freedom from fixed preconceptions and an attitude of open receptive that which the client is expressing).
  5. Cognitive Complexity (ability to view an individual within both an individualistic and systemic framework).
  6. Psychological Adjustment (willingness to self-reflect and promote one’s psychological well-being).
  7. Competence (monitoring one’s effectiveness, knows when to consult with others, keeps current on newest trends in the field).
  8. Sensitive to issues of diversity (competent in counseling diverse clients).

Academically

You are encouraged to maintain constant interaction with your advisor and instructors about expectations. We expect you to master the content of your study and acquire the skills needed to practice professionally.  We also expect you to communicate effectively with awareness of cultural differences and exhibit critical and reflective thinking skills.  Students in the counseling program need to use technology effectively and responsibly and maintain high ethical standards in regard to academic integrity.

Professionally

Counselors are expected to stay up-to-date with current developments in the counseling field.  As a student, it is your primary goal to develop a foundation in counseling knowledge and skills while also learning to evaluate and use current research to enhance your future career.  In addition, you are encouraged to join one of the many counseling organizations as you prepare yourself to become a professional counselor.

PROGRAM PROCEDURE

Matriculation Requirements

  • One-time non-refundable application fee of $15
  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution of higher learning with a 3.0 Grade Point Average (GPA).
  • Sealed official transcripts from all colleges/universities attended.
  • Resume
  • Letters of Recommendation (2 Minimum)
  • Compose an essay of between 350-500 words which specifically describes what motivates you to become a counselor and what you hope to contribute to the counseling profession.
  • No graduate admissions test is required.

International Students should check for additional requirements

Visit NMHU Graduate Catalogue for details

Application Deadlines

Spring semester: November 15th.

Summer & Fall semesters: April 15th.

Recruitment of Students

It is the policy of the Counseling Program at NMHU to actively recruit students from a variety of backgrounds, experiences, and cultural influences. The NMHU Counseling Program values diversity and plans to engage in activities and strategies that will broaden its student population and faculty resources and student experiences to include persons representative of ethnic/racial minorities, various religions, different sexual orientations, both genders, persons with disabilities, various age groups, persons who speak languages other than English, and people from a variety of socio-economic backgrounds.

Academic Requirements

The Student’s Advisor

The faculty advisor serves as a mentor as well as an adviser and should be consulted about registering for classes; about career plans and opportunities; about possible practicum  and internship experiences that would be consistent with the student’s goals; about courses that might enhance the graduate training program; and, about matters relating to transfer of credits from other universities or colleges. 

Your acceptance letter includes the name of your faculty advisor who will partner with you in your progression through the program. Schedule an appointment with your advisor around the middle of your first semester, to review expectations for the program and to prepare an official Program of Study (POS).

Program of Study (POS)

A Program of Study is your course schedule for the duration of your program.  It contains the courses you ought to take each semester.  It is important to communicate with your advisor early in your program to prepare your POS.  It may need to be updated to reflect any changes that occur over your course of study. To graduate, students must have an accurate POS filed in the Registrar’s office.

Visit Online document find POS in your concentration field.

Technology Requirement

Desire-to-Learn (D2L) is the interactive Learning Management System adopted by NMHU for synchronous and asynchronous teaching, traditional instruction and dissemination of information. Faculty regularly post coursework, materials and assignments on D2L and most faculty require you to submit assignments through D2L.

You are assigned a student identification number and school e-mail when admitted and enrolled into NMHU.  This ID# and the password you set up allow you to access secure webpages for NMHU; i.e., registration, payments, D2L, Degree Audit, schedules, etc.

For help with D2L and any other technology questions, send a mail to itshelpdesk@nmhu.edu or call 505-54-3496.

Credit Transfer

Incoming graduate students of NMHU are allowed to transfer up to 25% of qualified graduate credit from accredited higher education institutions; however, only graduate credit that has not been used as part of an earned graduate degree is accepted.  This process of transferring credits is conducted with the assistance and approval of your advisor. Transfer of credit forms are filed alongside course substitution forms. The advisor forwards these forms to the Department Chair for additional processing. 

To transfer more than 6 credits, an academic-petition is filed with the aforementioned forms, detailing the request.

Visit Online documents to find FORMS.

Professional practice (Field Placement)

For Professional practice according to the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP, 2016), counseling students must complete approved and supervised field placement experience. Typically, this experience takes place during you final 3-4 semesters after you have successfully completed most of core requirements, but in particular, your Essential Interviewing and Group Counseling courses.

Practicum Requirement

  • Students must complete a supervised counseling practicum experience of minimum 100 clock hours, over a full academic term of 10 weeks minimum.
  • Participate in at least 40 hours of direct service with actual clients that contribute to the development of counseling skills.
  •  Have a weekly interaction of average 1 hour with supervisors; or triadic supervision with faculty member, supervisor or site supervisor during practicum.
  • Participate in a regular schedule of group supervision of average 1 hours weekly, throughout practicum.

Internship Requirement

  • After Practicum, students complete 600 clock hours of a supervised counseling internship in roles and settings similar to their specialty areas.
  • Complete at least 240 clock hours of direct service.
  • Have weekly interaction of average 1hour with supervisors or triadic supervision with faculty member, supervisor or site supervisor during internship.
  • Participate in a regular schedule of group supervision of average 1 hours weekly, throughout internship.

Liability Insurance

All Students registering for Counseling Practicum or Counseling Internship are required to acquire adequate liability insurance.  Professional Liability Insurance for counseling students is available through the American Counseling Association (800-347-6647), as well as other mental health organizations.  There is a list of websites at the end of this manual.  Proof of insurance must accompany the completed and signed copy of the Learning Agreement.

Selection of Site

The first consideration in arranging placement is the particular interests of the individual student.  Each potential internship student is asked to indicate the type of school or client population with which he or she would like to be involved.  Lists of recommended and/or approved internship sites are then surveyed in an attempt to match the student’s interests with the available school or agency.  Placement procedures are arranged by the student with guidance from the University internship supervisor.

Grading of Professional Practice

Practicum and Internships are graded pass or fail which does not affect GPA. Practicum must be passed to enroll in the first internship, and the first internship must be passed to enroll in a subsequent internship.  Internship grading is based on:

  • Class Attendance
  • Completion of Required Internship Hours
  • Site Supervisor Verified Record of Internship Hours
  • On-Site Supervisor’s Formal Evaluations
  • Professionalism
  • Positive Assessment of Counseling Dispositions

Practicum and Internship Letter Grades

“S” means Satisfactory:

  • Course requirements completed timely and professionally.
  • Strong Counseling Skills
  • High Personal & Professional Standards
  • Willingness to Learn
  • Co-operative and Resourceful in Work environment
  • Commitment to Counseling Profession

“U” means Unsatisfactory:

  • Unprofessional and Incomplete Course Requirements
  • Lack of Developmentally Appropriate Counseling Skills
  • Lack of Professional Standards
  • Unwillingness to Learn
  • Inadequate Commitment to the Program

“PR” means Progress:

A PR typically results from failure to meet required internship clock hours within the specified time. Unless under specific arrangement with faculty supervisor, failure to meet the specified requirements by the following semester a “PR” can become a “U” with associated consequences.

REVIEW OF PROGRESS

EXIT CRITERIA FOR GUIDANCE AND COUNSELING

Completion of all coursework with a minimum of a 3.0 overall GPA

  1. Successful completion of internships
  2. A written comprehensive exam: 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. Students will take the Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Exam (CPCE) on a specified day, to be arranged each semester. Exams are usually given in the months of October and March.
  3. A comprehensive case presentation or professional paper.

Early in the semester, prior to graduation, students must complete a Degree Check with the Graduate Office.

Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Exam (CPCE)

The Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Examination is published by the National Board for Certified Counselors. It is a required exam for all Highlands Counseling Program students and must be passed in order to receive a diploma.

Students need to score a minimum of 70 points calculated from all 8 areas to pass. This score is not a percentage but a raw score which means you need to answer correctly on 70 test items. For those who do not pass the test, you can retake the exam.  If you retake the exam, and do not meet the minimum score, an alternative may be provided. [Current alternative: If you do not pass the exam, an alternative set of tests that correlate to each of the 8 areas may be provided which is administered through the Counseling Department, self-paced, open-book, and can be taken as many times as necessary to meet the minimum scores required.]

Review of Counseling

The counseling student will be assessed by the faculty after completing Counseling Practicum  in Clinical Mental Health/School and Rehabilitation Counseling.  (If concern is raised, this process can begin at any level.) The purpose of this review is to inform the student of her/his potential for development as a counselor as specified both by New Mexico Highlands University and the American Counseling Association (ACA) and the American School Counselor Association (ASCA).

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

Faculty

Geri Glover, Ph.D., Assoc. Prof Guid/Coun
Kathryn Dziekan, Ph.D., Assoc. Prof. Rehabilitation Coun/Guid
Kevin Ensor, Ph.D., Assist. Prof. Coun
Chris Graham, Rh.D., Term Prof. Rehabilitation Coun
Anna M. Koch, Ph.D., Asist. Prof. Coun
Doug Main, Ph.D., Assoc. Prof  Rehabilitation Coun
Michael Morad-McCoy, Ph.D., Term Prof. Coun
Lori Rudolph, Ph.D., Assist. Prof. Guid/Coun

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.

This degree is under the Graduate School of Education

Frequently Asked Questions (and Answers)

  1. How will I know if I’m ready to graduate? Students are responsible for insuring that they have completed all department and NMHU requirements in order to be eligible to graduate. Once the student is certain that he/she is ready to graduate, he/she must complete and submit a degree application by the appropriate deadline.
  2. What if I receive a grade of Incomplete? Students will complete a “Grade of Incomplete” form with the instructor which stipulates the details of the remaining work to be completed and by what deadline. All work must be completed within one year or by the date agreed upon between the instructor and the student, or the Incomplete grade will automatically turn into an “F.”
  3. What do I do if I want to take a year off from school? Students should first speak with their advisorto determine if other viable solutions exist. If the student determines that a leave of absence is still necessary, his/her status after one semester of non-enrollment will become inactive. To return, he/she will need to re-apply to the university and then meet with his/her advisor to update his/her plan of study. If the student’s leave of absence is greater than one year, he/she may have to retake earlier courses, especially those that will be older than seven (7) years from the time of his/her anticipated graduation.
  4. Can I transfer credits from another school? Students are limited to transferring no more than six (6) semester credits as substitutes for current courses in their plan of study. Course equivalency is determined by the faculty who will evaluate a student’s courses by reviewing syllabi, course requirements, relevant program/university accreditation, and required text(s). Students may petition to transfer additional credits beyond the maximum 6 and this request can be reviewed by the Education faculty and accepted in certain circumstances.
  5. Can I do a school counseling internshipin the same school in which I work as a teacher?  Yes, provided that a licensed school counselor at the student’s site agrees to provide the student with the required supervision. Also know, however, that it is unethical to serve as a counselor to the students for which the student serves as a teacher.
  6. What is the advantage of becoming Nationally Certified? Being a Nationally Certified Counselor (NCC) by the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC) or the National Board for Professional Teachers Standards (NBPTS) means that the student has been assessed for having the minimal knowledge of counseling information and skills viewed as important for providing appropriate counseling services. For a list of frequently asked question about the NCC credential, visit the NBCC (http://www.nbcc.org) or NBPTS (http://www.nbpts.org/candidates/guide/whichcert/27SchoolCounseling.html) websites.
  7. Can I take the courses I need to become licensed in schoolcounseling, vocational rehabilitation counseling, and/or professional counseling if I am currently licensed in only one area?  Talk to an advisor to set the appropriate course of study in a Certificate Program.
  8. Can I complete my counseling program more slowly or quickly than a standard program sequence? The counseling program recommends 6-9 credits per semester of course work and supervised experiences. Students may enroll in as few as 3 credits per semester with a sequence of courses as planned by the student and his/her advisor. However, we do not recommend this plan because it prolongs graduation.
  9. Do I need to save my syllabi and other course materials? Not necessarily although it is highly recommended. Syllabi are legally recognized as documents which explain program requirements and provide course descriptions (in support of the student’s graduate transcript) so that the student can document (whenever necessary) that he/she covered the subject matter required by law for the certification(s) and/or license(s) sought after the student graduates. Students may also need all handouts, notes, etc. to study for the NCE.
  10. What types of computer technology will I need to use? The counseling program requires students in its courses to have comprehensive access to a computer so that they can perform the required tasks and assignments needed to meet course objectives and goals. Assignments are to be word-processed and regular use of e-mail is expected. Computer requirements vary by courses and are continually updated as the computing environment continues to change. In general, students can expect to need access to a computer capable of generating printed output and running the most current versions of software for Internet access, word processing, spreadsheet, multimedia, treatment planning, and potentially web-authoring software. The computer also must have video and audio capabilities because many classes are provided online. Brightspace, formerly called Desire-to-Learn (D2L), is the interactive Learning Management System adopted by NMHU for synchronous and asynchronous teaching, traditional instruction and dissemination of information. Faculty regularly post coursework, materials and assignments on Brightspace (D2L) and most faculty require you to submit assignments through Brightspace (D2L). You are assigned a student identification number and school e-mail when admitted and enrolled into NMHU.  This ID# and the password you set up allow you to access secure webpages for NMHU; i.e., registration, payments, Brightspace (D2L), Degree Audit, schedules, etc.  For help with Brightspace (D2L) and any other technology questions, send an email to itshelpdesk@nmhu.edu or call 505-426-2215.
  11. How does graduate schoolwork compare to undergraduate studies? Graduate school tends to be more demanding of the student’s time, and professors clearly expect that students have the ability to work independently. It is imperative that you complete reading assignments when they are due – you cannot expect to just “get by” with lectures and class discussion. Readings will not necessarily be covered in class, although students are encouraged to ask questions or bring up points of discussion about reading material. Class work is in addition to readings and should add to and enrich what you can acquire on your own. The reason our expectations and demands are so high is that this is your chosen profession. You will be leaving here ready to become a practicing professional We feel a heavy responsibility to ensure that you receive the best preparation possible. We also expect that you will take advantage of every opportunity to learn, by attending workshops, lectures and other special events and programs.
  12. What kind of grades can I expect? In the beginning, you may not receive the kinds of grades you were accustomed to receiving as an undergraduate. Keep in mind that grades improve with practice and that this is a new field you are learning. If you already knew all you needed to know, you wouldn’t be here! Related to this is the expectation of many people that psychology and especially counseling is “just common sense”. Many people think that they will become good counselors because people often come to them for advice. This is a belief with which our profession has had to struggle. Counseling is a profession that involves many skills that must be learned. As you practice these skills, you will become a better counselor. Focus on the learning process, not the outcome grade. We promise you that none of your clients will ever ask you what grade you received in any course but they will want to know that you have learned what you need to know to help them. With this being said, grades in graduate school differ from undergraduate grades. You will be expected to maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0, which means that any grade below a B is indicative of performance below what is expected for graduate students. In this program, no more than two grades below B are acceptable.
  13. What is the difference between counseling and related fields, such as clinical psychology and social work? This is an important question. Many people are confused about the distinctions between the different helping professions, and this lack of understanding can lead to muddled professional identities. There are many commonalities to all the helping professions, such as a desire to make a difference, the understanding of the need for diverse perspectives, and the types of settings in which these professionals work. However, counseling is unique in several ways. First, counseling is focused primarily on understanding and working with the normal developmental themes, transitions, and challenges throughout a person’s life. Therefore, while we address and treat dysfunction where it exists, we emphasize strengths, mental health, and wellness versus pathology. Counseling professionals often refer to themselves as followers of the developmental versus the medical model, though it is important to be able to function in both realms. Relatedly, counseling is often focused on primary and secondary prevention as opposed to remediation and treatment. This indicates that counselors work diligently to help people remain healthy or to receive assistance as soon as possible after encountering psychological difficulty. We believe that this model is more respectful of peoples’ strengths and is more humane in that we strive to help people develop fully and avoid spending our time “putting out fires.” Counselors also work with people in crisis to both stabilize the condition and help the client(s) gain a perspective that will hopefully help them in future times of distress. Third, the counseling profession has also evolved from a career guidance and educational model. Therefore, we work to deftly combine psycho-education with counseling, and recognize that people’s educational and career needs must be addressed as they interact continuously with mental health. Finally, like clinical social work, counseling is a masters-level profession. This means that practitioners who have the appropriate qualifications can gain an independent license with a terminal master’s degree. Counseling and clinical psychology require a doctoral degree for an independent practitioner license.
  14. Is the counseling program accredited? NMHU is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and approved by the New Mexico Counseling & Therapy Practice Board and the New Mexico Public Education Department. The School Counseling Program is accredited by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).  The Rehabilitation Counseling Program has been accredited by the Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE) since 2008, and in 2017, it became accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) when CORE merged with CACREP.  The Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program is currently aligned with CACREP and its accreditation is in process.  CACREP accreditation also is in process for the Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling Program and the School Counseling Program.
  15. How big are the classes? Class sizes range from 6 to 20 students. Classes are capped at 20 students.  Most of the earlier classes that students take in their first several semesters consist of close to 20 students. Later classes typically have 10 to 12 students.
  16. What time do classes meet? During the academic year, classes meet between 3:00-10:00 on weekday evenings and on weekends.  We aim to provide a manageable program for working adults.
  17. Are summer courses available? A limited number of courses are available over the summer. It is recommended that you take your electives then, as many of the core curriculum classes can only be taught over the academic year.
  18. Are classes taught online or in person? Most courses are taught online according to scheduled meeting times using ZOOM, a video communications system that supports live, online lectures, full-class discussions, small-group video breakout rooms, and screen sharing.  A few courses are available online completely asynchronously (pre-recorded lectures that students can independently watch at any time).  Several courses are provided in person.  A few in-person courses are convened at the Las Vegas Campus, and the Farmington and Santa Fe Centers.  Students in the Rio Rancho / Albuquerque area take a greater amount of their courses in person.  Faculty advisors will provide students with guidance regarding which courses must be taken in person.
  19. Will I be expected to conduct a thesis project? Students are not required to conduct a thesis project.  As part of the program’s exit criteria, students are required to prepare a comprehensive case presentation.  As an alternative to the case presentation, students have the option to choose to write a professional paper.  Often, students who plan to join a doctoral program will choose the option to prepare a profession paper because they can use it as a writing sample for their application to the doctoral program.  During their internships, students are required to prepare case formulations and progress notes regarding their counseling clients.
  20. Do students have to undergo personal counseling themselves? Students are not explicitly required to undergo counseling, but we highly recommend that they complete 6-10 sessions of personal counseling during their first two semesters. First, self-disclosure is an important part of the learning process. Your ability to discuss your own issues affects how you can work with others. Second, it is helpful to understand from your own perspective the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors often encountered by clients. Third, it is likely that you will encounter some personal issues through your experience in graduate school as we will be discussing many sensitive topics and undergoing intensive self-exploration. Finally, how can we reasonably expect people to open up to strangers, even if they are professional counselors, if we are not willing to take that risk ourselves? Simply stated, undergoing personal counseling will help you become a better counselor.
  21. How long will it take me to complete the program? It can take anywhere between 2 ½ and 6 years. Most students finish in three, depending on their outside commitments and professional plan.
  22. What is the difference between the Clinical Mental HealthCounseling emphasis, the School Counseling emphasis, and the Rehabilitation Counseling emphases? 
  • The ProfessionalCounseling emphasis consists of 60 credits and requires one 100-hour practicumand two 300-hour internships.  There are 5 emphasis-specific courses and 9 credits in electives required to complete this emphasis.
  • The SchoolCounseling emphasis consists of 48 credits and requires one 100-hour practicumand two 300-hour school-based internships.  There are 3 emphasis-specific courses and 3 credits in electives required to complete this emphasis.
  • The RehabilitationCounseling emphasis consists of 48 credits and requires one 100-hour practicum and two 300-hour internshipsin appropriate sites.  There are 4 emphasis-specific courses required to complete this emphasis.  The Rehabilitation emphasis also has an optional specialty area called Vocational Evaluation which can be completed in conjunction with the degree bringing that emphasis to 51 credits.
  1. Will I be eligible for licensurewhen I graduate? Each of these emphases qualifies you to apply for the corresponding licensure in New Mexico and most other states. 
  2. What types of jobs will be available to me after I graduate? Graduates of our program typically go into diverse settings upon graduation. The most popular places of employment include community agency counseling, hospital-based work, schools, vocational rehabilitation settings, and private practice. However, counselors also work in other areas such as employee assistance programs, organizational consulting, public health, and higher education. Many students go on to complete further areas of study, such as doctoral programs in counseling psychology or counselor education.