Gallaudet's Department of Counseling, founded in 1971, prepares highly qualified master's-level counselors eligible for licensure as professional counselors in most states. We offer accredited graduate counselor training programs with specializations in working with deaf and hard of hearing individuals.
Many of our recent Department of Counseling alumni are employed in the counseling field. Read more about our alumni outcomes.
The training provided in this department uniquely prepares graduates to work with individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing, with or without additional disabilities, by developing a core set of competencies in all students with specializations in school and mental health counseling.
Programs of study are broadly designed to include formal classes and extensive supervised practicum and internship experiences leading to the Master of Arts degree. The curriculum is comprised of courses that align with national accreditation, and also satisfy the educational requirements of many state licensing boards. Elective courses are also available through the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area. All counseling programs are open to deaf, hard of hearing, hearing, physically disabled and physically able people who are eligible for admission to the Gallaudet University Graduate School. All classes are taught in American Sign Language (ASL).
Faculty and Resources
In addition to the full-time teaching faculty, a large number of outstanding professionals from around the country lecture and participate in the training programs. Practicum sites are available on and off campus. They include mainstream, day and residential schools for deaf students as well as public and private mental health agencies serving deaf people. Internship sites are located around the country and include residential schools and postsecondary programs, community-based counseling centers and mental health agencies.
Federal grant funds, stipends and tuition assistance are often available for students in our programs. For example, the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program has had long-term training grants through the Rehabilitation Services Administration, and for school counseling majors (in the Summers and Online option) through the U.S. Department of Education.
Successful communication with deaf, deaf-blind and hard of hearing clients who utilize sign language as their preferred mode of communication requires professional counselors to achieve a minimum ASL proficiency level. Therefore, all Department of Counseling students are expected to demonstrate a required level of proficiency in American Sign Language on the ASLPI (American Sign Language Proficiency Interview) before being allowed to begin field work.
Full program accreditation continues to be a priority with the Department of Counseling. As a result, graduates of the counseling programs have the opportunity to become fully certified and licensed in their fields after graduation.
The M.A. program in school counseling is fully accredited by the District of Columbia, the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC), and under the 2009 Standards of the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).
The M.A. program in mental health counseling earned full CACREP accreditation on its first application in 1992 and, to this day, continues full accreditation status (currently under the 2009 Standards).