FAQ About The Program

Our award-winning and nationally recognized faculty are collectively committed to addressing issues of social justice in counseling. As leaders in the profession, they are here to support their students develop their own passions for counseling while ensuring students are competent in the services they deliver with the diverse communities they serve. Our research-active faculty are also here to support students who may have an interest in engaging in faculty-led research and conference presentations, which can provide important foundational experiences for students who may be interested in pursuing their doctoral degrees in counselor education.

The faculty are relationally focused and meet regularly with students for the purpose of formal and informal advising. Faculty value the contributions and connections they have formed with practitioners placed in a variety of settings in the Central Oregon community including community agencies, non-profits, private practices, and schools. Additionally, our faculty members hold current counseling licenses, engage in continuing education, and provide a variety of services to the community.

OSU-Cascades also maintains an active chapter through Chi Sigma Iota, a national counseling honor society. Through CSI, students have an opportunity to engage in various leadership opportunities, continuing education, and engage in peer-mentorship relationships.

Yes. The program is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). CACREP is an independent agency recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) and is the gold standard in graduate counseling programs. Accreditation provides assurance that the educational activities of an institution meet specific standards and therefore meet the needs of students.

The program is also recognized by the Oregon Board of Licensed Professional Counselors and the National Board of Certified Counselors as meeting the coursework requirements for state licensing and national certification. This accreditation allows students to take the exams needed to meet initial eligibility requirements for licensure as an Oregon Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC). 

Note: It is important to examine the accreditation status of any graduate program under consideration before accepting admittance to the program. Accredited programs typically align their curriculum and field experience requirements with state licensing boards, which ensures that students will be able to successfully navigate the licensing process upon graduation. Without the assurance of accreditation, graduates risk being required to take additional classes in order to meet the state licensing requirements.

The Master of Counseling faculty is comprised of five core members. Throughout the program, students will gain instruction, supervision, and collaboration experiences with an additional six to eight practicing mental health and school counseling professionals who serve as associated faculty. Associated faculty provide students a multitude of perspectives from a range of professional contexts. See faculty and staff directory.

Both Clinical Mental Health (CMH) and School Counseling (SC) tracks are a blend of content classes and field experience. Our program values interdisciplinary collaboration, and the majority of the classes are taught with both tracks together. However, some classes are track-specific.

Classes cover various topics including counseling theories, fundamental counseling skills, group counseling, family counseling, social justice and cultural competencies issues, research, assessment, ethical and legal issues, diagnostics, psychopharmacology and career counseling. The full list of course offerings can be accessed here.

Most of our skills-based classes involve video recording, critique, and live supervision with an emphasis on increasing students' awareness, knowledge, skill development, as well as intentional, appropriate and effective technique use prior to entering the field experience. Some classes may be hybrid in format, so openness to online learning is recommended.

All counseling graduate students select one of the following options:

Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMH) or School Counseling (SC)

Two major options exist in the MCOUN program:  1. The school counseling (SC) option (78 or 81 credits) and 2. The clinical mental health counseling (CMHC) option (90 credits).

The degree option for which the student is admitted will be the degree transcripted on their final transcript. Once enrolled, a student cannot change tracks without approval from faculty. The student must petition to change tracks and approval of the petition is not automatically granted. A change in major option depends on the student’s career goals, dispositional factors, as well as availability of field (internship) placement. In cases where the student’s petition is not granted, the student must re-apply to the desired program.

It is NOT possible to complete both major options. Only one major option can be included on the student’s transcript.

Yes. Please visit the Oregon Board of Licensed Professional Counselors & Therapists (OBLPCT) website for the most updated information regarding LPC credential requirements. While general advisement is provided, it is the student’s responsibility to ensure they meet any and all licensure requirements set forth by the Board. Below includes the general requirements school counseling students must complete to be eligible to apply for LPC-Intern status upon graduation from the program.

Given the stringent coursework criteria set forth by TSPC this is NOT possible. The only option would be for the CMHC student to change his or her major option to SC mid-program (which is not automatically granted), according to the criteria described above. There is no post-degree option at OSU Cascades to complete school counselor licensure requirements.

The program offers a part-time option and a full-time option. Students choosing the part-time option take, on average, two classes per term, while students choosing the full-time option average four classes per term.

Students electing the part-time option typically complete the program in three years. Full-time students complete the program in two years. All program requirements must be completed within seven years of initiating the program.

Each class typically meets one time per week (Mondays-Thursdays) from 4 - 6:50 p.m. in the evenings (fall, winter and spring terms) and 4 - 7:50 p.m. summer term. Occasionally, full-day Saturday classes occur during the program. Fall, winter and spring terms are ten weeks long (11th week is exam week). The summer term is eight weeks. The full-time option includes two summer terms and the part-time option includes three summer terms. The program begins in June of each year.

OSU operates on a quarter system. The Clinical Mental Health track is 90 credit hours (equivalent to 60 semester hours) and the School Counseling (SC) track is 81 credit hours (or 78 credits if you possess documented teacher training/experience/licensure to include teaching observation and lesson plan delivery). 

No. The Master of Counseling degree is a non-thesis program. Instead, students must pass a comprehensive examination in order to be granted their degree. Currently, the program requires a passing score on a national counseling examination called the Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Examination (CPCE). 

Students must achieve a 3.0 cumulative GPA or better in order to graduate from the program. If you have questions or concerns regarding your GPA, please contact our recruitment coordinator.

Yes. In addition to completing all coursework and field experiences, students are required to complete 10 sessions of individual counseling with a licensed clinician prior to graduation as well as attending a professional counseling conference. The value of the counseling requirement is as follows: Greater understanding of the counseling process from a client’s perspective, improving life balance and personal growth, and experience working with and observing a practicing professional.

On average, the full time two year program costs between $41,000 and $46,000 in resident tuition (plus an additional $2,000 and $4,000 in books/materials, and conference attendance and personal counseling fees). These figures are averages and therefore subject to change.

Some Financial Aid is available. Federal Financial Aid applications are due prior to a student’s first term in the program and students are encouraged to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) prior to acceptance notification, or risk receiving adequate aid during the first term (summer). See www.fafsa.ed.gov for more information, or call OSU-Cascades at 541-322-3100.

Internally, OSU offers a limited number of Oregon Lottery Scholarships. OSU also participates in the AmeriCorps Students in Service (SIS) program (www.studentsinservice.org). The SIS goals closely align with counseling program field experiences and therefore funding can often be obtained through the SIS program. We encourage students to apply to this program early due to the limited availability of SIS slots.

To learn more, contact OSU financial aid.

We also encourage students to apply to external scholarships when available and appropriate.

Each academic year there are a select number of part-time teaching and research assistant positions (e.g. data collection or review of literature). These experiences are not guaranteed and availability varies quarter to quarter. Once admitted, you can inquire with the program coordinator for opportunities. These assistantships are paid hourly and are not tied to tuition remission.

Enjoy on-campus living in the OSU-Cascades residence hall. Graduate student housing at OSU-Cascades is designed to give you a living environment full of amenities that's close to all campus resources. Our residence hall offers a state-of-the-art fitness center, bike/ski/snowboard storage, no deposits or utility fees, laundry and high-speed internet access. Learn more.

FAQ About Field Experiences

All counseling students complete a practicum and internship experience. Clinical mental health students need to complete 100 practicum hours (40 direct client contact and 60 indirect hours) and 900 internship hours (240 direct client contact and 660 indirect hours) as part of their field experiences. School counseling students complete 200 practicum hours (75 direct student contact, 125 indirect) and a 600 hour internship (240 direct student contact and 360 indirect) as part of their field experiences.

CMHC: CMHC students complete their practicum experience at the OSU community counseling and research clinic and their internship with an approved mental health agency.

School Counseling: School counseling students complete their practicum and internship with local school districts in Central Oregon.

To learn more about field experiences, click here.

During Practicum and Internship, students receive a minimum of one hour per week of individual or triadic supervision and one and a half hours per week of group supervision. Individual and triadic supervision is generally provided by mental health clinicians and school counselors at practicum and internship sites. Group supervision is provided by OSU program faculty.

FAQ About Admissions

No. There are no prerequisite courses for the program.

Go to the admissions webpage application information.

Each application is reviewed for the applicant's goals in pursuing the degree, undergraduate degree, work, life, volunteer and diversity experience. Selected candidates are then invited to an in-person Interview Day, which usually takes place near the end of January.

The essence of the Interview Day is determining goodness of fit with the program and to the profession, as well as goodness of fit of the program and profession to candidates and their goals. Goodness of fit is also considered in relationship to the future clients and students the counselors will serve.

The Interview Day begins with introductions/interview orientation. Interviews are usually conducted by two interviewers; typically a combination of core faculty and community professionals. In addition to answering questions, candidates may engage in a role-play activity, and we encourage candidates to ask questions about the program and faculty during the interview.

Notices of acceptance or denial are delivered early in winter term, from the end of January to the beginning of February. Classes begin summer term (typically the third week of June).

Prospective students and current students are expected to uphold the ethics of the American Counselor Association (ACA). Students should be familiar with the ACA’s stated values: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; Integrity; Proactive Leadership; Professional Community & Relationships; Scientific Practice and Knowledge; Social Justice and Empowerment. In addition, prospective students need to consider the time, financial, self-care, and emotional commitment required for a master’s level counseling program. Students need to consider the alignment of their professional goals with the program’s vision, culture, and purpose.

For more information, visit: https://www.counseling.org/about-us/about-aca/our-mission 

Professionals who work in the helping field and former faculty members are recommended. These individuals are in the strongest position to speak to applicants’ previous academic performances and professional fit.

FAQ About Professional Identity

The American Counseling Association (ACA) is an educational, scientific, and professional organization whose members work in a variety of settings and service in multiple capacities. The ACA defines counseling as a professional relationship that empowers diverse individuals, families, and groups to accomplish mental health, wellness, education, and career goals.  Prospective students are strongly encouraged to review the ACA website for additional information: https://www.counseling.org

Those interested in becoming a school counselor can find more information here: https://www.schoolcounselor.org

Both Licensed Professional Counselors (LPC) and Social Workers (LISW/LCSW) engage in course work focused on helping others. LPCs who graduate from CACREP programs (such as OSU) focus primarily on individual and group modalities for the purpose of increasing individuals’ level of function in school and mental and behavioral health agency settings. Social Workers have historically focused on case services and connecting people with resources. However, some of our graduates (LPCs) are working jobs with an emphasis on case services; and some Social Workers are primarily focused on providing clinical counseling services. Both degrees place a high emphasis on social justice and advocacy for underrepresented populations.

The simplest answer is the underlying philosophy and training behind Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) programs and Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) programs. MFT's receive specific and in-depth training working with and treating relationship systems. In other words, the client is the relationship between people. MFT's follow the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy's Code of Ethics. Licensed Professional Counselor's receive training to empower individuals, families, and groups to accomplish mental health, wellness, education, and career goals and follow the American Counseling Association’s Code of Ethics. LPC's usually use a wellness-focused model whereas MFTs and LCSWs use systems-focused models.  Both professions are licensed under Oregon State Legislature (ORS) 675 beginning at .705. More information can be found here: https://www.oregon.gov/oblpct/Documents/BLPCT_Statutes-OARs.pdf

Our recommendation is for applicants to research all types of programs, curriculum, field experiences, and professional identities and then make a decision based upon the program that will best enable the candidate to achieve their professional goals.

FAQ About Post-Graduation Experiences

Upon completion of all program requirements, graduates are license eligible in the state of Oregon as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) or a Licensed School Counselor. Licensing boards place several additional requirements on graduates in order to gain licensure, such as achieving a certain number of supervised hours and obtaining passing scores on licensing exams such as the National Counselor Exam. Licensing requirements vary from state to state. For Oregon, visit the OBLPCT website (for LPC licensure) and TSPC website (for School Counselor licensure) for specific requirements.

Licensing requirements vary from state to state. To learn more, contact the licensing board of the state in question. Reciprocity (transferring a license from Oregon to another state) also varies from state to state, but is generally quite good. Contact OBLPCT (for LPC licensure) or TSPC (for School Counselor licensure) for specific requirements.

Currently, Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) hiring continues to be strong, projected to grow by 24%, and occurs in a wide range of settings (State, Federal, for profit and nonprofit agencies, group and private practice). School Counselor positions are projected to grow by 14%, with hiring especially strong in rural areas. Salaries vary depending on setting/agency. $33,000 to $55,000 is the typical range, with $42,000 being the average.