The M.S. in Counseling program meets the requirements for the academic coursework and academic clinical training for licensure as a Professional Counselor (LPC) in the state of Virginia. Postgraduate supervision of clinical experience in addition to the academic clinical training within the program is required for licensure in Virginia. While the standards for licensure in Virginia are similar to other states, students who wish to pursue licensure from another state should research the requirements for the state in which they intend to practice.
To assist you in your research, we recommended the American Counseling Association website page on Licensure Requirements (https://www.counseling.org/knowledge-center/licensure-requirements). Any individual who wishes to become licensed is solely responsible for knowing and complying with the licensing requirements for the state in which he/she plans to practice.
Any program changes to help a student gain the additional courses to be licensed in another state must be approved by the student's advisor and dean early in the program.
All states require a minimum of two years postgraduate supervised practice that typically requires about 3,000 hours of postmaster's supervised experience in professional counseling, including 1,000 hours of direct client contact and 100 hours of face-to-face supervision. Students are solely responsible for knowing and complying with the licensing requirements for the state in which he/she plans to practice.
A criminal history may or may not affect the ability to obtain a professional license in your state.
DMU does not warrant or guarantee professional licensing governed by state or similar boards. The MSC program meets the "educational" requirements for the Licensed Professional Counselor in the State of Virginia. Other state and foreign licensing boards may have additional requirements beyond the educational degree (i.e. state law exam, background check, and additional coursework, etc.).
ADDITIONAL PROGRAM INFORMATION
Divine Mercy University’s M.S. in Counseling program is defined as a hybrid on line program. This means that while the majority of course content is taught in an online platform, there is a residency component that is required in order for the student to move forward in the program. Residencies will be held in a hotel conference setting.
Specifically, our master’s program requires the completion of three (3) residencies in the corresponding courses (COUN 510 Foundations and Ethics of Clinical Mental Health Counseling, COUN 580 Counseling Skills and Helping Relationships, and COUN 690 Counseling Practicum/Advanced Clinical Intervention Skills). Residency allows you to interact with fellow students and faculty in person, to gather important information to help you through your program, and to learn and practice basic skills necessary to be an effective counselor. Taking time from your work and family can be a challenge, but the value you will gain from this experience is immeasurable.
Each residency for this program requires students to be available for a four-day extended weekend. The residencies occur three times during the program, where the student travels to a hotel conference setting. Students will join fellow cohort members, stay nearby and engage in daily full-time course work and clinical training. The residencies are hosted by DMU’s School of Counseling and led by the Dean of the School of Counseling. It is important for students to understand that residency is full-time engagement in the pursuits of counseling education. Due to the highly structured schedule of each residency, students are discouraged from bringing family and tourism outings are not possible.
The residencies are pre-planned and students will be made aware of the residency dates through the school of counseling website. Students will be required to pay for travel to and from residencies, cost of hotel, and ground transportation if needed, and meals (lunch is provided by DMU). Federal loans may be taken to cover these out-of-pocket program expenses. Students will be required to attend the first residency at the end of the first course. Students will need to plan time off, expenses, etc. as residency attendance is not optional and cannot be waived. Students with physical, emotional, ADD/ADHD, or learning differences needing academic accommodations for the residencies should contact the university’s ADA Officer to discuss specific needs. Any information regarding a student’s disability will remain confidential and will only be used to provide academic accommodations as necessary. Because many accommodations require early planning, requests for accommodations should be made as early as possible.
Additional information about residency can be found on DMU’s website under the School of Counseling section. When you sign the Application for Admission document, you are also recognizing and agreeing to the residency component of this program.
Students are required to complete a supervised counseling practicum experience that totals a minimum of 100 clock hours over a full academic term that is a minimum of 10 weeks with at least 40 clock hours of direct service with actual clients with weekly individual and group supervision to develop counseling skills. After successful completion of the practicum, students must complete 600 clock hours of a supervised counseling internship with at least 240 clock hours of direct service with actual clients with weekly individual and group supervision.