Students in Arkansas have more than a few schools from which to choose when searching for programs in school counseling. Such programs lead mostly to master's degrees, although two education specialist programs and one doctoral degree are also available. Some schools offer concentrations or areas of specialty to their graduate students. Completion of practicum requirements, an internship, or a portfolio may be required for graduation. Some programs are open only to currently licensed teachers.
Below is an overview of the nine Arkansas schools that offer a master's degree in school counseling and a table comparing each school's tuition and degree programs. All of the following schools meet the education requirements for a state license.
Arkansas State University - Main Campus
Arkansas State University in Jonesboro offers graduate programs in school counseling and psychology that meet state requirements for school counselors. The Specialist in Education with a major in psychology and counseling program includes a school psychology track. Students with a master's degree can take 33 credit hours of classes to complete the program, while those with a bachelor's degree will need to complete 66 credit hours. The university also offers a Master of Science in Education with an emphasis in school counseling. This program requires 48 hours of coursework.
Arkansas Tech University
Arkansas Tech University is located in Russellville and offers a Master of Education in School Counseling and Leadership program to students with two years of experience in teaching. Students with the appropriate teaching experience can meet the qualifications for licensure as a school counselor. The program consists of 45 semester hours of coursework and practical experiences through an internship. Courses in the program include school counseling program development and leadership, assessment and appraisal, counseling strategies and curriculum development principles. Students must complete a professional portfolio to earn the degree.
Located in Searcy, Harding University offers two degree programs for aspiring school counselors. The Master of Science in Professional Counseling - Clinical and School program requires 48 credit hours for completion and includes an internship and a practicum. To enroll in this program, students must hold an active teacher's license and meet the score requirements on the Praxis II, Miller Analogies Test or GRE. The school also offers an Educational Specialist in Professional Counseling - Clinical and School program for students with a master's degree in counseling.
Henderson State University
Henderson State University, in Arkadelphia, offers a Master of Science in Education in School Counseling degree program that meets the education requirements for licensure in Arkansas. The program allows students to choose an emphasis area in elementary or secondary school counseling. Students must submit a copy of a valid teaching license or certificate to enter the program.
John Brown University
John Brown University is located in Siloam Springs and offers a master's degree program in school counseling. The 49-credit-hour program includes 37 credit hours in coursework, nine hours in practicum and internship courses and an elective course. Students can also choose from three areas of emphasis, including play therapy.
Southern Arkansas University - Main Campus
The main campus of Southern Arkansas University is located in Magnolia, Arkansas, and offers students a graduate degree in school counseling. The master's degree program includes coursework in counseling adolescents and children, group counseling, educational research and development of school counseling programs. Students also participate in internships in both elementary and secondary school counseling to prepare for licensure.
University of Arkansas
The University of Arkansas in Fayetteville offers a master's degree program in counseling that allows students to choose an emphasis in school counseling. The school counseling emphasis requires 48 credits to meet state education requirements. Students complete a counseling core, which includes such courses as counseling theory, group counseling and counseling techniques. The school counselor emphasis requires students to complete courses in counseling children and adolescents, case management and consultation theory. Students must also complete an internship in an elementary or secondary school.
University of Arkansas at Little Rock
In Little Rock, students can pursue the education requirements for a school counselor at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. The Master of Education in Counselor Education program requires students to complete 48 credit hours. Students can learn about counseling interview techniques, group counseling theories and ethical counseling issues. To earn the degree, students must pass the Praxis II, guidance and counseling test.
University of Central Arkansas
The University of Central Arkansas is located in Conway and offers two graduate programs in psychology for aspiring school counselors and psychologists. The master's degree program requires 60 credit hours of training, including coursework and an internship, which takes three years to complete. When students complete 45 credit hours of coursework, the school will award a master's degree, but students must complete an additional 15 credit hours of courses and internship experience to finish the program. The PhD program in school psychology admits four to six students per year and requires dissertation research and a 2,000-hour internship.
The Arkansas Department of Education requires school counselors to have a master's degree in school counseling from a program that requires at least 33 credits of coursework. In addition to a master's degree in counseling, applicants for a counselor's license must be licensed teachers with at least two years of teaching experience or have worked as counseling interns under direct supervision within a school.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type and Setting||School Counseling Degree Programs Offered||Graduate Tuition and Fees (2015-2016)|
|Arkansas State University - Main Campus||4-year, public; small city|| Master of Science in Education in School Counseling,
Specialist in Education with a Major in Psychology and Counseling
|$5,810, in-state; $10,382, out-of-state*|
|Arkansas Tech University||4-year, public; remote town||Master of Education in School Counseling and Leadership||$5,616, in-state; $10,458, out-of-state*|
|Harding University||4-year; private, non-profit; distant town|| Master of Science in Professional Counseling - Clinical and School,
Educational Specialist in Professional Counseling - Clinical and School
|Henderson State University||4-year, public; distant town||Master of Science in Education in School Counseling||$5,766, in-state; $10,572, out-of-state*|
|John Brown University||4-year; private, non-profit; distant town||Master of Science in School Counseling||$13,152 (tuition only)*|
|Southern Arkansas University - Main Campus||4-year, public; remote town||Master of Education in School Counseling||$5,714, in-state; $8,090, out-of-state*|
|University of Arkansas||4-year, public; small city||Master of Science in Counseling with an Emphasis in School Counseling||$8,096, in-state; $18,672, out-of-state*|
|University of Arkansas at Little Rock||4-year, public; midsize city||Master of Education in Counselor Education||$8,752, in-state; $18,112, out-of-state*|
|University of Central Arkansas||4-year, public; small city|| Master of Science in School Psychology,
PhD in School Psychology
|$5,644, in-state; $10,018, out-of-state*|
Source: *NCES College Navigator