Open Calendar
Three students sitting on the grass on campus


Click to print this page

Counseling, MS

Prepare for Counseling Excellence

UCM’s Counseling Program is the only one in the central region—and only one of four public institutions in Missouri—to be nationally accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). The Counseling Program will prepare you to be an exemplary professional counselor in a school or community/clinical mental health setting.


Our small class size allows you to have professional relationships, supervision, and mentoring from our full-time faculty, who are experts in counseling. Applications to the Counseling program are reviewed year-round so you can pursue your education when it is best for you.

Your Future Career

Professional Identity

The term professional counselor is used to refer to individuals who have earned at least a master’s degree in counseling and possess specific skills, knowledge and a professional orientation. Professional counselors are unique among mental health professionals in two main areas: 1) Professional counselors have a strong “wellness” orientation. 2) Professional counselors are trained in career planning and development. Professional counselors are uniquely prepared to help people with personal, social, educational and career problems.

How the Degree Can Be Used

Professional counselors work in a variety of school and community settings to help people make adaptive decisions. Through counseling, consulting, and educational activities, professional counselors help people fulfill their potential and realize their goals.

Professional School Counselors work in elementary, middle and high school settings addressing the emotional, social, educational and career needs of students. They implement and manage comprehensive school counseling programs, oversee the delivery of school counseling curriculum, provide individual and group counseling, coordinate activities and provide consultation to parents and teachers to:

  • Prevent and address learning obstacles.
  • Help students develop the social and emotional skills, knowledge and attitudes needed to live healthy and productive lives.
  • Facilitate student exploration and implementation of academic and career goals.

Clinical Mental Health Counselors work in public and private community counseling centers, businesses, educational institutions, private practice, hospitals and employee assistance programs providing individual and group counseling, implementing and managing community programming and consultation to address:

  • Mental health problems
  • Drug, alcohol and other substance abuse issues
  • Relationship issues
  • Adaptation to life transitions
  • Coping skills
  • Self esteem

Occupational Outlook

According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, positions for school counselors are expected to grow by 7% and by 19% for Clinical Mental Health Counselors through 2024. National median salaries for School Counselors is $54,560 per year; National median salaries for clinical mental health is $44,170 per year.


Program Profile

The Counseling program builds on bachelor’s degrees in a variety of areas to prepare professional counselors to help you and groups with family, mental health, career and educational issues. Our master’s degree meets the educational requirements needed to become licensed as a Professional Counselor or certified as a School Counselor. Our Education Specialist degree provides opportunities to retool your career, develop areas of professional specialization and broaden your career options.

The Counseling program offered through the UCM is organized to reflect the professional standards and competencies designed by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Education Programs, as well as the Missouri Standards for the Preparation of Educators defined by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Coursework addresses:

  • Professional orientation and ethical practice
  • Social and Cultural Diversity
  • Human Growth and Development
  • Career Development
  • Helping Relationships
  • Group Work
  • Assessment
  • Research and Program Evaluation

Vision Statement

The Counseling program at UCM aspires to prepare individuals for exemplary practice as professional counselors in school and community settings.

Mission Statement

The Counseling program at UCM prepares professional counselors at the Master and Education Specialist levels who:

  • Demonstrate all the necessary knowledge, skills and dispositions,
  • Are reflective practitioners,
  • Advocate for clients, the counseling profession and society,
  • Are prepared to serve a dynamic, diverse and complex society, and
  • Adhere to the ethical standards of the American Counseling Association.

Admissions Requirements

To be considered for admission to the Counseling program, applicants must first be admitted to Graduate Studies. Once applicants have been admitted they may request the Counseling application Form. A full application packet to the program contains:

  1. A completed Counseling application form. Please note: the application packet that contains the items listed in steps 1, 4, 5, and 6 is emailed to prospective students upon receipt of their application from Graduate Studies.
  2. Official transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate coursework from any post-secondary educational or professional institution or any other school experience following high school. To be considered for eligibility, it is recommended that the applicant’s GPA must be 2.50 or higher in the total undergraduate coursework, 2.75 or higher in the last 60 hours of undergraduate course work and 3.0 or higher for graduate course work. It is the applicant’s responsibility to request and ensure that all official transcripts are on file. Note-this step is completed through Graduate Studies as part of their application process.
  3. As a part of the Counseling program application process, applicants must submit official scores for the Graduate Record Exam taken within the last three years. Candidates with a minimum combined score of 295 on the verbal and quantitative portions of the examination, and a 3.5 or higher on the analytical writing measure are recommended. However, all GRE scores are considered in the context of application materials. Applicants who have completed a graduate degree from a regionally accredited institution may petition the Admissions and Standards Committee for an exception to the GRE requirement. (See Requirements for Progression in the Program, item 2.)
  4. A resume with complete listing of previous educational and employment experiences.
  5. Three recommendations, prepared within the last three years, on the Counseling Program Recommendation Form. Preferably, one recommendation from a certified or licensed mental health professional, or counselor educator. All recommendations must be from non-relative individuals who have direct knowledge of the applicant’s professional experience and can attest to the individual’s potential to work effectively as a counselor.
  6. An articulate and satisfactory essay explaining the impact of previous employment and professional experiences upon the decision to apply to the Counseling program, reasons for seeking the Master of Science degree or Education Specialist degree and appropriate future professional goals in counseling.
  7. Such other information as deemed necessary and requested of the applicant by the Admissions and Standards Committee.
  8. A personal interview. 

Areas of Concentration

The Counseling program offers three areas of concentration: Elementary School Counseling (54 semester credit-hours), Secondary School Counseling (54 semester credit-hours), and Clinical Mental Health Counseling (60 semester credit-hours). Students complete coursework specific to the settings in which they anticipate working after completing a core of courses common to all Counseling students. All students are required to successfully pass an exit examination.

Student Organizations

The Counseling program at UCM sponsors the Zeta Chi chapter of Chi Sigma Iota Counseling Academic and Professional Honor Society International. Chi Sigma Iota is the international honor society of professional counseling. It was established in 1985 through the efforts of leaders in the profession of counseling whose desire was to provide recognition for outstanding achievement as well as outstanding service within the profession. CSI was created for counselors-in-training, counselor educators, and professional counselors whose career commitment is to research and service through professional counseling.

Zeta Chi is our local chapter of Chi Sigma Iota. For chapter information, please contact the chapter adviser, Dr. Nancy Forth, 660.543.8093, or email

Students are also eligible for student membership in the:

  • American Counseling Association
  • American School Counselor Association
  • American Mental Health Counselors Association
  • Missouri School Counselor Association
  • Missouri Mental Health Counselors Association
  • American Counseling Association of Missouri
  • Central Missouri School Counselor Association
  • Greater Kansas City School Counselor Association


Dr. K. Dale Helmick Memorial Scholarship

For a graduate student pursuing a degree in counseling. This scholarship is made possible by way of a gift from family and friends of Dr. K. Dale Helmick.

William Burl Hammers Memorial Scholarship

For a graduate student pursuing a degree in elementary guidance counseling. This scholarship is made possible by way of a gift from family and friends of William Burl Hammers, ’51.

Student Testimonials

“I believe UCM's Counseling program gave me a solid foundation to become a well-rounded, empathic, and ethical counselor. Because this program is so comprehensive and meticulously follows CACREP guidelines, I believe my career options are greater than counselors who graduated from other universities.”

“By far, I believe the Counseling program prepared me better than peers who graduated from other programs in the area.”

“Thank you for the excellent preparation that you provided me for my career as a professional school counselor!”

“The Counselor Ed program is beyond question the best in the state. The professors hold students to a very high standard and I'm proud to have been part of such a quality graduate program.”

“The counseling program at UCM was and continues to be phenomenal. The faculty and staff are top rate and each went above and beyond to teach, share and provide opportunities for learning, growth and experiences which prepared me well for my career in this field.”

“I have worked with many recent grads from other counseling programs- I am so thankful that I went to UCM. I felt so prepared with my degree and we covered so much more than what some other programs did. The best part of my UCM education was the amazing, caring, brilliant professors. Thank you for all you have taught us.

The counseling program at UCM has an outstanding teaching staff. They are all extremely professional and knowledgeable. All of them are leaders in the counseling field. I am honored that I was able to work with them and grateful for their dedication to helping me become the best counselor I could be.”

Employer/Supervisor Testimonials

“I am extremely impressed with UCM's Counseling program and often encourage those seeking training to pursue it there.”

“UCM's counseling program is by far one of the best around. The expectations of students are extremely high, as they should be when entrusting their students with the precious lives of so many.”

“UCM is best in Missouri!”

Program Evaluation



UCM is the longest continuously CAEP accredited public institution in Missouri


The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs has accredited the Counseling Program (Masters degrees for School and Clinical Mental Health Counseling concentrations) for an eight-year period with conditions through October 31, 2026.


  • facebook
  • twitter
  • youtube
  • linkedin
  • instagram