SECTION 1: THE LEARNING ENVIRONMENT
The following Standards apply to all entry-level and doctoral-level programs for which accreditation is being sought unless otherwise specified.
- The academic unit is clearly identified as part of the institution’s graduate degree offerings and has primary responsibility for the preparation of students in the program. If more than one academic unit has responsibility for the preparation of students in the program, the respective areas of responsibility and the relationships among and between them must be clearly documented.
- The institutional media accurately describe the academic unit, the core counselor education program faculty, and each program and specialty area offered, including admissions criteria, accreditation status, methods of instruction, minimum degree requirements, matriculation requirements, and financial aid information.
- The institution is committed to providing the program with sufficient financial support to ensure continuity, quality, and effectiveness in all of the program’s learning environments.
- The institution provides opportunities for graduate assistantships for program students that are commensurate with graduate assistantship opportunities in other clinical programs in the institution.
- The institution provides support for counselor education program faculty to participate in professional activities, scholarly activities, and service to the profession.
- The institution provides learning resources appropriate for scholarly inquiry, study, and research relevant to counseling and accessible by all counselor education program faculty and students.
- The institution provides technical support to all counselor education program faculty and students to ensure access to information systems for learning, teaching, and research.
- The institution provides information to students in the program about personal counseling services provided by professionals other than counselor education program faculty and students.
- The institution provides adequate and appropriate access to counseling instruction environments (on or off campus) that are conducive to training and supervision of individual and group counseling. The counseling instruction environments include technologies and other observational capabilities as well as procedures for maintaining privacy and confidentiality.
- Entry-level degree specialty areas in Addiction Counseling; Clinical Mental Health Counseling; Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling; and Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling consist of approved, graduate-level study with a minimum of 60 semester credit hours or 90 quarter credit hours required of all students. Until June 30, 2020, Career Counseling, College Counseling and Student Affairs, and School Counseling specialty areas require a minimum of 48 semester hours or 72 quarter hours. Beginning July 1, 2020, all entry-level degree programs require a minimum of 60 semester credit hours or 90 quarter credit hours for all students.
- The academic unit makes continuous and systematic efforts to attract, enroll, and retain a diverse group of students and to create and support an inclusive learning community.
- Entry-level admission decision recommendations are made by the academic unit’s selection committee and include consideration of each applicant’s (1) relevance of career goals, (2) aptitude for graduate-level study, (3) potential success in forming effective counseling relationships, and (4) respect for cultural differences.
- Before or at the beginning of the first term of enrollment in the academic unit, the program provides a new student orientation during which a student handbook is disseminated and discussed, students’ ethical and professional obligations and personal growth expectations as counselors-in-training are explained, and eligibility for licensure/certification is reviewed.
- The student handbook includes (1) the mission statement of the academic unit and program objectives, (2) information about professional counseling organizations, opportunities for professional involvement, and activities appropriate for students, (3) matriculation requirements, (4) expectations of students, (5) academic appeal policy, (6) written endorsement policy explaining the procedures for recommending students for credentialing and employment, and (7) policy for student retention, remediation, and dismissal from the program.
- Counselor education programs have and follow a policy for student retention, remediation, and dismissal from the program consistent with institutional due process policies and with the counseling profession’s ethical codes and standards of practice.
- Students in entry-level programs have an assigned advisor at all times during the program who helps them develop a planned program of study.
- The academic unit makes continuous and systematic efforts to recruit, employ, and retain a diverse faculty to create and support an inclusive learning community.
- The academic unit has faculty resources of appropriate quality and sufficiency to meet the demands of the program. For entry-level programs, the academic unit must employ a minimum of three full-time core counselor education program faculty members who teach in the entry-level program. Core counselor education program faculty may only be designated as core faculty at one institution.
- To ensure that students are taught primarily by core counselor education program faculty, for any calendar year, the combined number of course credit hours taught by non-core faculty must not exceed the number of credit hours taught by core faculty.
- For any calendar year, the ratio of full-time equivalent (FTE) students to FTE faculty should not exceed 12:1.
- The teaching and advising loads, scholarship, and service expectations of counselor education program faculty members are consistent with the institutional mission and the recognition that counselor preparation programs require extensive clinical instruction.
- Clerical assistance is available to support faculty/program activities and is commensurate with that provided for similar graduate programs.