Master’s degrees are a significant tool within the helping professions to promote career advancement. With so many tiers of jobs in professions related to counseling and human services, a high-level degree opens doors for adult learners. “In order to advance, you need additional education that provides both more effective skills and personal growth; on the career side, the degree opens the door to better paying jobs,” says Lynelle Buchanan, Ph.D., M.S.C.M., L.P.C., N.C.C., chair of Clarks Summit University’s Counseling Department.
CSU offers a Master of Science in Counseling that is designed for adult learners. All master’s classes, with the exception of modules, are offered online, or students can take classes on campus in the evening. Three on-campus modules are required, with one week spent on campus to jump start the remainder of study at home.
The Master of Science in Counseling program prepares students for career opportunities in professional positions that require state licensure and for doctoral work in the fields of counseling or psychology. Since the beginning of the program more than 20 years ago, every graduate of CSU’s Master of Science in Counseling program who went on to take the National Counselor Exam for licensure passed on the first try. With six specialization tracks, students can focus on the area that most interests them.
Jeanna LaCava of Old Forge, Pennsylvania, is working towards her Master of Science in Counseling at CSU. She says, “The professors here are graciously involved and are genuinely interested in every student’s growth and future success. Personally, I have been immeasurably helped by the one-on-one time that they have all taken to discuss questions and philosophies, and each of them have been instrumental in expanding my vision of ministry possibilities within the counseling world.” LaCava, who would like to teach counseling on the collegiate level as well as be a counselor, had the opportunity to split her practicum hours between counseling and being the graduate teaching assistant for Buchanan, giving her practical experience towards both of her goals. “I cannot stress enough how God has used my interactions with the students and faculty to deepen my knowledge of Him and the field in a way that I feel both confident in what I know, but also excited to learn more,” she adds.
Students in the master’s program have ranged in age from their 20s to their 70s, which students and professors say is a valuable benefit. “Those who are already in the field and understand true dynamics of field are so helpful; they bring this priceless wealth of experience, including real illustrations that help other students have more realistic expectations and true applications of what is being taught. They’re very encouraging to our younger students, and it adds so much richness to our class,” adds Buchanan. Jojo Matchett, a senior counseling major, from Atco, New Jersey, says “The professors are so willing to share their own life experience. Observations in the on-campus counseling center help translate academics into real-life application.”
CSU’s Counseling program uses the Word of God as the focus, filter and foundation, equipping students to communicate clearly to enable real change. Buchanan furthers, “The program equips individuals to provide wise, biblical counsel in a wide range of roles. Students better understand people, grow in their awareness of how God’s Word applies to life and help resolve human struggles.”
Unique opportunities, such as learning at the on-campus Foundations Christian Counseling Center, are available. Counseling classes are taught by experienced professors who are nationally certified counselors.
“The impact of the professors in our program is beyond what words can describe,” says Hannah Scarborough of Basom, New York. “They have challenged us to be the best counselors we can be and take every opportunity to learn more, so we can be better equipped for helping people in the future… They have prayed for us and remind us to have someone else we can talk with. What is taught is not just book knowledge, but practical knowledge they have gained from their own experiences. Through this training, we are growing more in how we should follow Christ’s example of love towards the people we will counsel.” Scarborough is in the Accelerated Counseling program at CSU, which means she’s working on both her bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in Counseling at the same time, earning both degrees in just five years. Her goal is to work with children who have experienced trauma.
People who have a heart for the hurting are intrigued by personal dynamics and want to help others become who God desires them to be find CSU’s Counseling program an excellent fit to help them reach their goals.
Clarks Summit University also offers other degrees related to counseling, including both a longstanding on-campus and newly introduced online Bachelor of Science in Counseling. Associate degrees with a counseling concentration are also available on campus and online. CSU’s unique Accelerated Counseling program allows students to earn their Bachelor of Science in Counseling and Master of Science in Counseling degrees in five years.