The mission of the Hunter College Counseling Program is to prepare highly competent counselors who concentrate in school, rehabilitation, or mental health. The program is committed to matriculating, supporting, and graduating exceptional students from diverse backgrounds (i.e., ethnic, age, racial, sexual orientation, gender/gender identity, class, religious, and ability groups) to provide counseling services within the broad and complex school, rehabilitation, and community mental health environments of New York City and State. Counseling curriculum and supervised internships prepare ethical, self-aware, and sensitive counseling professionals in the areas of: multicultural counselor competency, evidenced based practice, leadership, advocacy, and social justice.
Hunter College offers three specialized graduate-level counseling programs to qualified students:
The School Counseling Program prepares graduates for careers in a variety of school settings, including elementary schools, junior high schools, senior high schools and colleges. School counselors can also be employed by organizations that are not primarily educational, such as correctional facilities, hospitals, and a wide variety of community-based organizations.
The Rehabilitation Counseling Program prepares students to assist people with disabilities to realize personal goals and maximize their physical, emotional, social, intellectual and vocational potential. Rehabilitation counselors work with youth and adults in a variety of community-based settings such as hospitals, rehabilitation centers, colleges, chemical dependency agencies and career/vocational counseling programs.
The Mental Health Counseling Program prepares graduates to work as mental health counselors in hospital, agency and community settings as well as in private practice. This program leads to professional licensure in New York State; professional licensure is required to practice mental health counseling.
Each M.S.Ed. program leads to a different external certification. Those students specializing in school counseling may apply individually for the New York State provisional certificate for school counselor at the completion of 30 credits and a school-based practicum experience. Permanent certification recommendation is made after graduation.
In addition, school counseling students fluent in Spanish and English have the option of obtaining a New York State Department of Education Bilingual (Spanish/English) Extension in Pupil Personnel Services.
Students in the mental health counseling program are eligible for licensure by New York State. Students in rehabilitation counseling may take the national certification examination for the Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) status after completing 75% of their course work.
Philosophy of the Graduate Programs
Central to all counseling approaches is the belief that people can develop, assume responsibility, achieve autonomy, and engage in problem-solving. Effective counseling requires that counselors understand and accept clients, develop rapport, and establish collaborative working relationships. To achieve these ends, counselors need a background in the psychology of human development, counseling theories, and cultural similarities and differences, as well as skills in individual and group counseling, mastery of assessment techniques, and knowledge of current issues and research.
The curriculum at Hunter includes basic core courses for the three counseling programs and specialization courses. Mental Health Counseling students select one elective and Rehabilitation Counseling students select two electives from a sequence of predetermined courses. School Counseling students do not take electives. The curriculum integrates theory and practice through a carefully sequenced series of courses with emphasis on fieldwork in urban settings.