School Counseling Program

"The purpose of psychology is to give us a completely different idea of the things we know best." ~ Paul Valery

Our Mission

The mission of the counselor education program is to prepare intellectually informed, interpersonally skilled, and culturally competent professional counselors who promote and provide services that meet proactively and reactively the needs of youth, adults and communities by effectively employing the best practices of the counseling profession. The USA Counselor Education Program is committed to creating a community of learners comprised of individuals with experiences, backgrounds and perspectives that reflect the diversity of the world. We affirm the concept of diversity encompassing and emphasizing both acceptance and respect. We believe embracing diversity requires moving beyond recognition and tolerance to a position of valuing and celebrating differences.

We believe it is our responsibility to provide an educational and professional training environment that supports diverse perspectives and voices in the pursuit of intellectual inquiry. Thus, we are committed to recruiting and educating a diverse student community of scholars. Beyond recruitment, our social justice framework is built in part on a foundational commitment to secure and nurture practicum and internship settings that will provide our students multicultural clinical experiences, thereby enabling students to broaden the base and practicality of their cultural counseling skills.

School Counseling Program Primary Educational Goals

The USA Professional School Counseling Program will prepare students to:

  1. Demonstrate knowledge of the foundations of school counseling to include history, current trends/issues, role, functions, professional identity, leadership/advocacy strategies and laws/legislation
  2. Facilitate P-12 students’ growth and development within the framework of the American School Counselors Association’s (ASCA) National Standards (academic development, career development, and personal/social development)
  3. Utilize technology as applied to school counseling
  4. Demonstrate cultural sensitivity, competency, and responsiveness with all students and their families
  5. Develop, implement, and evaluate a comprehensive, data driven guidance program using the ASCA National Model
  6. Demonstrate effective and meaningful individual counseling, group work, and classroom guidance with diverse students with diverse needs
  7. Serve as culturally responsive and empowerment-based consultants with students, families, and school personnel concerning the developmental needs of diverse students
  8. Demonstrate skills related to assessment of students, including administration and interpretation of assessment instruments to students, parents/caregivers, teachers, and administrators

Counselor Education Program Instructional Objectives

Students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate professional and ethical competence in interactions with the faculty, peers, supervisors, and clients.
  2. Demonstrate knowledge in key curricular areas: professional orientation and ethics, social and cultural diversity, human growth and development, career development, helping relationships, group work, assessment, diagnosis, research, and program evaluation.
  3. Demonstrate a commitment to cultural competence, including being respectful of the dignity of all humans, affirming of diversity, and self-aware of personal strengths and/or limitations in working with a variety of populations.
  4. Demonstrate a commitment to the high level of personal and professional behavioral standards expected of students in counselor education.
  5. Demonstrate competence in counseling individuals.
  6. Demonstrate competence in leading small groups (task, psycho-educational, counseling, and therapy).
  7. Demonstrate writing competence in the form of documents, records, and professional papers.
  8. Demonstrate a personal commitment to building competencies required of working in a variety of teamwork roles, including both leadership and supportive roles.
  9. Demonstrate a proactive commitment to lifelong learning.
  10. Demonstrate a working knowledge of technology particularly as data acquisition and processing interface.

Program Admission Process 

The Counselor Education Program admits students into a new cohort  at the beginning of the summer semester in each of the two graduate programs, Clinical Mental Health Counseling, and Professional School Counseling. The program prefers applications for summer admission, but will consider all others. Students admitted in fall or spring semesters are somewhat restricted in their selection of courses until a new cohort is admitted for summer matriculation and a new sequence of courses begins. The admissions deadlines are as follows: 

  • Summer semester cohort deadline - March 1st

Applicants must submit the following materials to the graduate school admissions office:

  1. A completed application for admission to the Graduate School.
  2. One official copy of all undergraduate and graduate transcripts.
  3. Three letters of recommendation from persons familiar with the applicant’s academic and/or professional abilities.
  4. A typed double-spaced statement of 2-4 pages in length regarding the applicant’s career goal(s) and purpose(s) for pursuing a graduate degree in Counselor Education.
  5. Recent (within 5 years) results of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Miller Analogies Test (MAT).
  6. A Professional Vita.
  7. An applicant whose application portfolio is deemed to be acceptable will be invited to participate in a required personal interview with the counseling program faculty.

Applications, transcripts, letters of recommendation and all supporting materials should be submitted to the USA Office of Admissions, 2500 Meisler Hall, 390 Alumni Circle, Mobile, Alabama 36688-0002 by the deadlines noted above.

To apply please follow the procedures and application deadlines outlined on the Graduate Admissions web page:

Faculty Advisor:

Amy Upton, Ph.D.

Ph: (251) 380-2664