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News Release

Dec. 6, 2023

Master’s degree program for school counselors earns recognition from national association

Northwest Missouri State University is among the first to earn national recognition through an educator preparation pathway for school counselor preparation programs.

By earning the American School Counselor Association’s (ASCA) National Recognition for School Counselor Preparation Programs, Northwest’s Master of Science in Education degree program for school counseling is just the second in the nation to achieve the recognition and the first in Missouri.

Northwest’s School Counseling program has ranked among the best in the state of Missouri for some time,” Dr. Terry Long, the director of Northwest’s School of Health Science and Wellness, said. “This recognition from the ASCA affirms the exemplary nature of our program at the national level.

Northwest’s 45-hour, two-year master’s degree program focuses on school counseling in elementary, middle and secondary schools through a cohort setting that enhances individualized support with faculty and students. The program is designed for remote learners and delivered online through a combination of asynchronous and synchronous courses.

It trains students in a developmental approach to school counseling and the Missouri Comprehensive School Counseling Program. Using the approach, Northwest’s program focuses on the three primary functions of the modern school counselor – consultation, coordination and counseling to support P-12 students’ academic, career, and social and emotional development.

“While many programs offer school counseling tracks with just a few courses focused on school counseling, Northwest offers future school counselors a full program of courses in which school counseling is the primary focus,” Michele Veasey, the coordinator of Northwest’s master’s degree program for school counseling, said. “Students who choose Northwest experience courses solely centered on school counseling to prepare them to work in elementary, middle and secondary schools.

“Our cohort size allows specialized attention for our students and faculty to collaborate consistently and efficiently with school counselors in the field, their respective schools and school counselor professional organizations to provide the school-counselor-in-training with realistic professional experiences and a network of professional resources.”

College and university school counselor preparation programs may seek national recognition through ASCA’s Specialized Professional Association (SPA) in alignment with Advancing Quality in Educator Preparation (AAQEP) or the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). The ASCA School Counselor Preparation Program Standards are a unified set of principles guiding school counselor preparation programs in training effective future school counselors in areas of professional practice and ethical behavior.

CAEP and AAQEP maintain standards as the foundation for preparing educators in P–12 schools. Through affiliated professional associations, CAEP and AAQEP also recognize standards established for preparation programs in specialty licensure areas, including teaching fields and other school professionals.

Programs receiving national recognition have affirmed that candidates are prepared to deliver a comprehensive school counseling program and are knowledgeable about the foundations and concepts of school counseling. Graduates of ASCA-recognized school counselor preparation programs demonstrate they have met national standards that are recognized and valued by school districts and administrators.


Dr. Mark Hornickel
Administration Building
Room 215