Commonly Asked Questions


When did the School Counseling Master's program begin at Gallaudet University?

The professional training program in School Counseling, leading to a Master of Arts degree, began at Gallaudet University in 1971.

What were the reasons for starting this program?

The School Counseling program was initiated because of a national need to provide appropriate counseling and guidance services to deaf and hard-of-hearing children, adolescents, and their parents in educational settings.

Has the program changed over the years?

The School Counseling program now includes a focus on mental health counseling for deaf students, and deaf students with special needs.

Does there continue to be a significant need for School Counseling professionals, in educational programs serving deaf and hard of hearing students?

The need for qualified school counseling personnel in educational programs serving deaf, hard-of-hearing and deaf special needs people is as important today as it was in 1971. The impact of Public Law 94-142 as well as Public Law 99-457 and IDEA have expanded the educational horizons of deaf, hard-of-hearing and deaf special needs children, resulting in the need for specialized professionals in traditional public schools as well as schools for the deaf. There is an increasing awareness that counseling and guidance services must begin at the pre-school and elementary level, increasing the job opportunities for school counselors at day, residential, and main streamed elementary schools for deaf, hard-of-hearing, and deaf special needs children. The impact of expanding job opportunities, the increasing options for higher education, and the moral, medical, and emotional stresses of our society have solidified the role of counseling and guidance professionals in high school settings for deaf, hard-of-hearing, and deaf special needs adolescents.

Are there other programs in the U.S. that specialize in counseling the deaf and hard of hearing?

We are the only graduate training program in the world that specializes in preparing School Counseling personnel to work with deaf and hard-of-hearing people as well as those with additional disabilities in pre-school, K-12 and post-secondary educational institutions. This unique status brings monumental responsibility to Gallaudet University and the Department of Counseling faculty to provide quality education in preparation for full-time employment upon graduation.

What are the qualifications of the program's faculty?

To this end, the Department of School Counseling has gathered eight full-time and four part-time faculty members whose credentials in the fields of counseling and deafness are nationally and internationally recognized.

What other resources are made available to graduate students?

The resources of Gallaudet University, including the world's largest collection of printed material on deafness, nationally and internationally recognized faculty, the National Missions program, the Clerc Center, and the undergraduate liberal arts program for deaf and hard-of-hearing young adults, add immensely to the strength of our graduate training program.

Is there hands-on training, or fieldwork at the graduate level? Where would that take place?

Two practica experiences for a total of 350 clock hours in a school setting with deaf, hard of hearing and deaf children with additional special needs, in the Washington, DC metropolitan areas is an important component of the counselor's training. It is through this hands-on experience that students begin to apply principles and practices of professional counseling with deaf, hard-of-hearing, and deaf with additional special needs. Additionally, during the last phase of the program, all students are required to complete a semester long (600 clock hours) internship in a K-12 school setting with deaf, hard-of-hearing and deaf with additional special needs children outside of the Washington, DC area. As with the practicum experience, the Department of School Counseling assists with the site selection and placement of the student in an area of his/her choice.

What are the sign language expectations at Gallaudet and practicum/internship placements?

We believe that school counselors working with deaf students, must be proficient in a variety of communication styles in order to be effective helpers. Therefore, a high level of sign language proficiency is required of all students in order to begin the field work experience.

What are the requirements for being admitted into the School Counseling Program?

Students applying to the School Counseling Program (mental health emphasis) must initially meet general requirements established by the graduate school: evidence of a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university, a 3.0 average in undergraduate work, four letters of recommendation, a completed application, and two official transcripts of all college work. Applicants must also complete and submit three (3) personal essays required by the Department of Counseling related to their interest in the field of school counseling and deafness. Additionally, students must have a minimum of nine (9) credit hours in Psychology including undergraduate courses in Child Development, Abnormal Psychology, and one other psychology course of their choice.

Can credits be transferred from other college/university graduate programs?

Students are expected to complete at least 67 hours of core courses at Gallaudet University. A select number of course credits (maximum of 9) may be transferred from other college/university graduate programs, with prior approval of the Department of Counseling faculty.

When are applications due?

Applications are welcome at anytime, but it is best to apply by February 15th if you wish to start full time school counseling studies the following Fall semester.

What types of financial aid are available?

All full-time counseling students are encouraged to work with the Office of Financial Aid at Gallaudet University in order to secure assistance.

The Department of School Counseling strongly suggests that students attempt to secure financial assistance (if needed) from local community service organizations and agencies within the state of residence. Many volunteer, community-oriented agencies set monies aside to assist professionals-in-training with educational expenses.

In addition, the faculty of the Department of School Counseling is committed to pursuing funds for our students by submitting grant proposals to any and all possible sources.

Where do graduate students live?

Students are encouraged to live on Gallaudet's campus. The faculty believes that the experience of interacting with deaf and hard-of-hearing undergraduate and graduate students on campus is a valuable learning experience that lends itself to our program objectives and competencies.

Is the School Counseling Program at Gallaudet accredited?

Full accreditation was awarded by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) during the spring of 2000. With this accreditation, graduates are eligible to take the National Counselor Licensing Examination immediately upon graduation from the program.

In addition, the School Counseling Program is accredited by the the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) most recently reviewed in 1997. Approval of our program prepares graduates seeking certification in most states.

Finally, the School Counseling Program was accredited by the District of Columbia (which abides by standards established by the National Association of State Directors of Teachers Education Programs, (NASDTEC). Graduates of our training program are eligible for certification as school counselors in the District of Columbia and the states with which the District of Columbia has reciprocity agreements.

Will I meet national certification requirements upon graduation from the program?

Students are also encouraged to seek information on specific certification requirements of school counselors in states where they are likely to seek employment. A few states require a teaching certificate to be employed as a school counselor; however, most states do not have this requirement. Information can usually be obtained from the Offices of Licensing and Certification and/or Departments of Education in the State Capitals.

The Graduate School and Professional Programs also maintains an office to assist students regarding certification and licensing requirements in special education.

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