Where do I get information about the program?
To receive materials via mail,
receive materials via the web, visit the
How many credits are required?
The program requires a minimum of 83 credits to be completed in two years of full time graduate study. The degree is a Master of Education (M.Ed.)—School Counselor.
Does the program require a thesis?
A thesis is not required. Students are required to complete a written comprehensive examination in school counseling prior to completion of the program.
Can I attend part time or take classes in the summer or evening?
The program does not lend itself to part time study because of the highly structured nature of the practicum and internship experiences. While a few classes are taught during the evening, most classes meet during the day. Program classes are not offered during the summer.
Do you have a satellite program?
The program is offered on the campus in Bellingham only.
How large is the program?
We accept six students per year. The program is intentionally small in order to maintain small student/faculty ratios and class sizes.
Is the program accredited?
The program is approved by the State of Washington to offer a Residency K-12 certificate in school counseling. We are also nationally accredited in school counseling by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).
Do I need a teaching certificate to become a school counselor in Washington?
Certification as a school counselor does not require teaching experience or a teaching certificate. However, if you are still an undergraduate considering a major and you might be interested in teaching at some point, it is a good idea to consider completing a teacher certification program. Some school districts give preference in hiring to counselors with teaching credentials. However, teaching certification is not a program requirement and many of our students do not have experience as teachers.
Can I be certified in other states?
Every state has its own requirements and some do require previous experience as a teacher. You will need to contact the State Department of Education for specific information about each state. In general, people certified in one state by a CACREP accredited program can become certified in other states. However, the issue of teaching certification may be a factor.
What is the Certificate in Washington?
Upon completion of an approved program in the State of Washington, the student is recommended for a Residency ESA Certificate for K-12 School Counseling.
What does ESA mean?
ESA stands for Educational Staff Associate. This is a special category of credential for persons working in schools in supporting professional roles including school psychologists and school social workers.
When should I start my application?
Applications are due February 1 of each year. It is a good idea to complete the Graduate Record Examination in the fall and to contact a member of the school counseling faculty well in advance of the February 1 deadline.
Should my references be faculty members or work supervisors or does it matter?
It is advisable to have a mix of recommendations. Identify at least one faculty member who can address your ability to complete graduate level work. It is also advisable to select a reference who can discuss your potential as a counselor.
May I include extra information in my application?
Absolutely. It is a good idea to include a resume and cover letter that describes your interest in becoming a school counselor. Be sure to let us know about your related work experience.
What about program interviews?
The faculty screening committee will review all applications to the program and select a group of 10-15 applicants for personal interviews. Those interviews are usually scheduled for late February.
I've heard it is really hard to get admitted. How do I know if I stand a chance?
Our program is small and we receive many fine applications. However, this should not necessarily discourage you. If you believe that you have special qualities that we should consider such as related work experience with children or other documented success in a similar role, be sure to let us know. We do consider grades and test scores, but we consider other things as well.
Who are the counseling faculty?
There are seven faculty members within the department who have significant responsibility for the two graduate counseling programs: Robinder Bedi, Christina Byrne, Tina Du Rocher Schudlich, Deborah Forgays, Jim Graham, Diana Gruman, and Arleen Lewis. All seven of us have regular teaching responsibilities in both programs and participate in the selection of students for both programs. Furthermore, you'll have the opportunity to take classes from several other faculty within the department as well.