Counseling Programs FAQ

Still deciding if a master degree in professional counseling is right for you?

See below for a list of frequently asked questions (along with brief answers).  If you have other questions that are not answered below, please reach out to us. 

What is counseling?

Counseling is a professional relationship that empowers diverse individuals, families, and groups to accomplish mental health, wellness, education, and career goals.

How is Counseling different from Psychology? Social Work? 

Counseling was born from the field of education when Frank Parsons matched individuals with jobs that best utilized their strengths.  Counseling is a strengths-based, developmental profession that uses therapy in order to promote wellness and help diverse individuals achieve their unique goals.  Psychology operates within a medical model in which a specific problem is identified and addressed (although positive psychology and counseling psychology incorporate some strengths-based practices). Social work, in general, focuses on harnessing resources and providing systemic therapy. 

How many hours is the program and how long does it take to compete? 

The program is 60 credit hours and can be completed in 3 years. 

What times of day do classes typically meet? 

Typically, 5:30pm-8:30pm during the semester and 5:30pm-9:30pm during summer sessions. 

Can I complete a master degree in counseling at UNCP 100% online? 

At this time, you cannot complete your master’s degree in counseling at UNCP fully online.  Most classes meet in a hybrid format (half on campus, half online), and other classes meet fully online. 

What does hybrid mean? 

Courses taught in a hybrid format are approximately ½ online and ½ on-campus.  Typically, a hybrid course will meet on-campus every other week. 

Can I work full time and complete the field placement requirements for the degree? 

Professional School Counseling students can earn a provisional school counseling license after completing 24 credit hours (i.e., 8 classes) in the program and can work full time as school counselors while completing field placement.  It is difficult, albeit not impossible, for students to work full time in other positions (e.g., teachers, qualified professionals) while completing the field placement requirements.  Dedication, motivation, organization, and family/employer support are key to successfully completing field placement while working full-time. 

How do I find a practicum and internship? 

Students are eligible to begin practicum after they have completed 8 of the 9 core courses.  Students should apply for practicum the semester before they wish to begin on site.  The Professional School Counseling Field Placement Coordinator will ask in the application in which county/school students wish to serve and will coordinate that process with human resources.  The Clinical Mental Health Counseling Field Placement Coordinator will send applicants a list of potential sites, and students are required to contact these sites, or others, in order to secure a field placement site. 

What tests will I need to pass to be licensed? 

All counseling students must pass the Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Exam (CPCE) in order to progress to internship.  Students should compile resources from all core courses in preparation for this exam.  Clinical Mental Health and Professional School Counseling students may choose to take the National Counselor Examination (NCE) in order to earn an LCMHCA (Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor Associate).  Professional School Counseling students may choose to take the Praxis II in order to earn an LSC (Licensed School Counselor, K-12). 

Are Graduate Assistantships or Research Assistantships available?

The Department of Counseling typically hires 4-5 student workers each academic year.  These assistantships offer faculty mentoring, research opportunities, and other professional development opportunities.  A number of our counseling students also work across campus in various positions with offices such as the The Graduate School and the Center for Student Success.