The following are frequently asked questions and should help orient you as you begin the program:
- What is the office phone number? Hours?
The office phone number is 225-578-2197. Office hours are 10:00 to 4:30 Monday through Friday. Professors' office hours are posted on their doors, but it is best to call for an appointment to meet with professors or your faculty advisor.
- What can I do with a Master's degree in Community Counseling?
Graduates of this program may be employed in community mental health centers, day treatment units, inpatient hospitals, substance abuse clinics, crisis intervention programs, university counseling centers, and employee assistance programs.
- What are the differences between a Master's in Counseling and Social Work or Psychology?
There are differences in the course requirements and the practicum/internships for all three programs. They also differ in the program orientation and emphasis. One area of emphasis in the counseling curriculum is the development of clinical counseling skills; whereas an emphasis in social work is on enhancing and coordinating community services to meet individual or family needs. Psychology focuses primarily on abnormality, illness, or disease and has a stronger emphasis on psychological testing. Graduates of all three programs often seek the same kinds of employment positions.
- What can I do with a Master's degree in School Counseling?
Graduates of this program meet the requirements for certification by the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to serve as school counselors in grades K - 12 in Louisiana.
- How much time do I have to complete this program?
Most students finish within two to three years. You must revalidate courses that are more than five years old.
- Do I have to maintain a certain grade point average? What happens if I fall below that?
The minimum GPA while in the Graduate School is 3.0. If you fall below this minimum, you must schedule a meeting with your advisor to discuss your status with the Graduate School.
- Does it matter in which order I take courses?
The order in which courses are taken is important because courses are only taught once a year and are prerequisites for others. Your first meeting with your faculty advisor will include an overview of the program and suggestions on how to sequence your courses. It is important to consult with your faculty advisor periodically to remain up to date on changes regarding course offerings and departmental and university policies.
- Can I get a double Master’s in Community Counseling and School Counseling?
You must choose one program or the other. School counseling students who want to meet the requirements of licensure as a Licensed Professional Counselor, in addition to meeting school counselor certification requirements, must take Counseling for Disabling Conditions (ELRC 4600) and Introduction to Counseling (ELRC 4602).
- How can I specialize in a particular area of counseling?
Special topics courses, independent studies, and choosing practicum or internship sites that allow some specialization are ways to do this. You may also focus classroom assignments (readings, papers, field experiences) in a special area of interest. Another option is the post Master’s Specialist Certificate, which is a planned program (60 hours total, including your Master’s hours) in which you take additional coursework in your area of counseling interest. We also offer special topics courses in areas such as substance abuse counseling and girls and women’s issues.
- Will I be a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) when I graduate?
A Master of Arts in Education degree with a Concentration in Community Counseling meets all of the academic program course and supervised experience requirements for licensure. However, there are additional requirements. Following graduation, you will need to apply for licensure through the LPC Board of Examiners, complete a minimum of two years supervised experience (3,000 hours), and pass a board exam. Information on licensure is covered in Introduction to Counseling (ELRC 4602).
- Do I have to do a Master’s thesis?
No, most students do not elect to complete a master’s thesis. However, students interested in conducting research may choose to do an independent study involving research in a particular area of interest. These are arranged on an individual basis with a professor and are neither required nor always available to all graduate students.
- What is a Practicum? An Internship?
A practicum is a supervised clinical field experience in which you work directly with clients in a community or school setting. Practicum is only offered in the Fall and is usually scheduled in your second year in the program. It typically requires about 10 hours per week on-site. Practicum sites must be approved by your faculty advisor. During practicum, you must complete a minimum of 40 direct client contact hours. You will receive supervision from your faculty supervisor, on-site supervision, and will attend a Practicum class once a week for additional supervision. The focus of this class is on the development of counseling skills. Practicum is a 3 credit hour class.
Internship is an additional clinical field experience that follows the practicum. It is only offered in the Spring and is usually taken your second year. Internship is a full time clinical experience, requiring a total of 600 hours on-site, of which 240 must be direct client contact hours. Again, you will receive on-site supervision and will attend an Internship class once a week for additional supervision. A full time internship is a 6 credit hour class.
Internship is intended to provide an intensive field experience that reflects the work experiences and responsibilities of a professional counselor. Students are placed at approved school or community counseling sites which allow them to engage in a range of counseling activities relevant to their program of study (i.e., school or community counseling). The majority of students find it necessary to adjust their work schedules to accommodate their clinical field experiences.
- What kind of financial aid is available?
Scholarships and assistantships are available through Counselor Education and other departments at LSU. Grants, loans, and other sources of assistance are available through the Financial Aid Office. The Graduate School also has information on financial aid specifically for graduate students.
- What professional and student organizations are available and how do I join?
Chi Sigma Iota Counseling Academic and Professional Honor Society International has an active LSU chapter for counseling students and alumni. Students also are encouraged to join the American Counseling Association (ACA) and the Louisiana Counseling Association (LCA). ACA and LCA offer special student membership and insurance rates. Information regarding these groups is available in the counseling office or through your faculty advisor.
- Where can I find information regarding student evaluations of the program and faculty?
Summaries of exit interviews, course evaluations, and graduate/employer surveys are kept on file in the Counselor Education office in 122 Peabody Hall.
- What are "COMPS"or the comprehensive examination? When do I take them? How do I prepare?
The Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Examination (CPCE) is the comprehensive examination required for graduation and is taken in your last semester. This is a 160 question multiple choice exam that assesses the student’s knowledge of core areas of counseling. Your advisor will go over the exam format and procedures with you and provide you with references to relevant study materials. The application form to take the comprehensive examination and your application form for graduation should be turned in to the Counselor Education office in a timely manner to allow for processing in order to meet the Graduate School deadline. Check with your faculty advisor for more information.