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School of Education Counseling Department Programs

Program Overview | Admission Requirements | Job Prospects | Mission | Why Highlands | Recruitment policy | Apply

Counseling Department Programs

Clinical Mental Health Counseling | Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling | Rehabilitation Counseling | School Counseling  | Certificates

Counseling Program – Student Handbook (PDF)
Clinical Mental Health Counseling- Program of Study form
Rehabilitation Counseling-  Program of Study Form
Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling-  Program of Study Form
School Counseling –  Program of Study Form


Counseling

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

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, Farmington & Santa Fe Centers, there are several courses that would be taught via interactive television, 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.

Clinical Mental Health Counseling and Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling are both 60-credit concentrations. 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.

The Clinical Mental Health Counselor concentration qualifies and prepares counselors to apply to be Licensed Mental Health Counselors (LMHC) with the New Mexico Counseling and Therapy Practice Board. 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 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.

School Counseling and Rehabilitation Counseling are 48-credit programs which prepare you 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 & individual counseling; program management; and, student planning.

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, 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. Our 48-credit Rehabilitation concentration is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). Rehabilitation Counseling also meets requirements for licensed rehabilitation counselors in the schools set by the State of New Mexico Public Education Department.

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 the respective fields. 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 respective state agency. The Professional Counseling Certificate coursework qualifies a person to apply with the New Mexico Counseling and Therapy Practice Board for the LMHC. The Rehabilitation Certificate coursework qualifies a person to apply for National Rehabilitation Certification (CRC) under Category R if applicant meets 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 concentration. Students must complete COUN 646 and COUN 648 with an internship.

For graduation, students must complete all coursework with a minimum of a 3.0 overall GPA, 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, the American School Counselor Association (ASCA), and the Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE), 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 such remediation is needed, 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.

Resources and Facilities 
The Victoria D. de Sanchez Teaching Education Center is a modern three-level building housing classrooms, two Interactive Television rooms, Smart classrooms, faculty offices and an instructional materials evaluation center. Courses are also offered online, IN Rio Rancho, Santa Fe, and Farmington Campuses.


Program Summary Credit Hours Totals: 
Program Totals:
Clinical Mental Health Counseling = 60 credit hours
School Counseling = 48 credit hours
Rehabilitation Counseling = 48 credit hours
With Vocational Evaluation Specialization = 54 credit hours
Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling = 60 credit hours


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: 36 credit hours
COUN 601 Professional Orientation (3)
COUN 603 Theory & Practice of Career Development (3)
COUN 605 Pre-Practicum in Counseling Skills (3)
COUN 606 Theories & Principles of Individual Counseling (3)
COUN 607 Group Techniques of Counseling (3)
COUN 608 Appraisal of the Individual, Group, & Family in Counseling (3)
COUN 611 Multicultural Counseling (3)
COUN 634 Practicum (3)
COUN 698 Internship in Counseling (6)*
GNED 605 Statistics for Educators (3)
GNED 610 Educational Research Interpretation (3)
* 600 hours over two semesters. Three credits each semester. This can be done in one semester with approval of adviser in special circumstances.
Core Total: 36 credit hours 
Students choose one of the following concentrations:


Concentration in Clinical Mental Health Counseling 

Required courses: 15 credit hours 
COUN 612 Mental Health Ethics, Law and Practice (3)
COUN 610 Assessment & Treatment Planning in Counseling (3)
COUN 615 Family Counseling (3)
COUN 629 Trauma and Crisis Intervention (3)
COUN 625 Counseling the Individual Across the Lifespan (3)
Electives: 9 credit hours
Choose three courses in consultation with an adviser.
Concentration Total: 24 credit hours 
Core Total: 36 credit hours 
Program Total: 60 credit hours 

Concentration in Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling 

COUN 640 Foundations of Rehabilitation (3)
COUN 642 Case Management & Job Placement in Rehabilitation (3)
COUN 673 Medical Aspects of Disability (3)
COUN 674 Psycho-cultural/Psychosocial Aspects of Disability (3)
COUN 610 Assessment and Treatment Planning (3)
COUN 612 Mental Health Ethics, Law and Practice (3)
COUN 615 Family Counseling (3)
COUN 625 Counseling Across the Lifespan (3)
Concentration Total: 24 credit hours
Core Total: 36 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: 12 credit hours
COUN 640 Foundations of Rehabilitation (3)
COUN 642 Case Management & Job Placement in Rehabilitation (3)
COUN 673 Medical Aspects of Disability (3)
COUN 674 Psycho-cultural/Psychosocial Aspects of Disability (3)
Concentration Total: 12 credit hours 
Core Total: 36 credit hours 
Program Total: 48 credit hours 


 Concentration in School Counseling 
Required courses: 12 credit hours
COUN 602 Counseling Children & Adolescents (3)
COUN 615 Family Counseling (3)
COUN 620 Organization & Administration of School Counseling (3)
Electives: 3 credit hours
Choose one course in consultation with an adviser.
Concentration Total: 12 credit hours
Core Total: 36 credit hours
Program Total: 48 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 Foundations of Vocational Evaluation (3)
COUN 648 Advanced Vocational Evaluation (3)
Required:
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 sit for New Mexico’s Counseling and Therapy Practice Board’s Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) exam, the National Counselor Exam (NCE). Upon passing this exam, the student can apply for licensure as an LMHC. This license enables the person to practice mental health counseling under supervision while working toward licensed professional clinical counselor (LPCC) status.
Required courses: 15 credit hours
COUN 610 Assessment & Treatment Planning in Counseling (3)
COUN 612 Mental Health Ethics: Law & Practice (3)
COUN 615 Family Counseling (3)
COUN 619 Management of Counseling Programs (3)
COUN 625 Counseling Individual Across the Lifespan (3)
Certificate Total: 15 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 enable a person to work specifically with students in Special Education and with students in transition in the schools.
Required courses: 18 credit hours
COUN 640 Rehabilitation Foundation (3)
COUN 642 Case Management /Job Placement (3)
COUN 644 Foundations of Transitions Planning (3)
OR
COUN 646 Foundations of Vocational Evaluation (3)
COUN 698 Internship in Rehabilitation Counseling (3)
COUN 673 Medical Aspects of Disability (3)
COUN 674 Psycho-cultural/Psychosocial Aspects of Disability (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: 12 credit hours
COUN 602 Counseling Children and Adolescents (3)
COUN 615 Family Counseling (3)
COUN 620 Organization & Administration of School Counseling Programs (3)
COUN 698 Internship in School Counseling (3)
Certificate Total: 12 credit hours