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Counselor Education

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Counselor Education

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The Counselor Education Department at NNU offers master's degrees in Marriage, Couple and Family Counseling, School Counseling and Clinical Mental Health Counseling.  Each program prepares students with the professional competencies necessary for entry level counseling and therapeutic direct service delivery.  It also provides a base for those students who wish to pursue doctoral level study. 


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Department Chair Name
Lynda Gray
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Program Outcomes

Program graduates typically complete all requirements for licensure while enrolled in the program (including the national exam), and apply for licensure as a counselor after graduation. School Counseling and Clinical Mental Health Counseling tracks are also offered in Twin Falls where we will start another cohort fall of 2019.
In the 2016-2017 academic year, NNU graduated 68 students from the Counselor Education Master’s in Science program. There were 35 students graduating from the Clinical Mental Health Counseling track, 21 students from the School Counseling track, and 12 students from the Marriage, Couple and Family Counseling track. The completion rate in each track are 95% in Clinical Mental Health, 92% in School, and 90% in Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling tracks. We are pleased to report that 100% of our 2016 graduates who took the licensure exam, passed the first time. We are proud of the job placement rate of our graduates with 72% from Clinical Mental Health, 80% from School Counseling, and 50% from Marriage, Couple and Family placed in jobs in their final semester, and the remainder had job offers after graduation. We believe this job placement rate is a significant indicator of the reputation of NNU’s Counselor Education program.
The Northwest Nazarene University Department of Graduate Counselor Education was recently re-accredited. The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs presented a certificate of accreditation for successful fulfillment of the standards to the Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Marriage, Couple and Family Counseling, and School Counseling programs through the year 2025.

Program Objectives

The NNU Counselor Education faculty have worked diligently to solidify wording and accurate descriptions of the program objectives to align with the 2016 CACREP standards. As a result of this work, Program Objectives related to core themes of the department were constructed and identified as follows:
Critical Analysis: The Counselor Education Department seeks to educate academically prepared counselors. Critical Analysis is defined as the capacity to expand knowledge through critical thinking, evaluation, and synthesis of literature and research, as well as developing the capacity to engage with the body of knowledge by conducting original research and utilizing existing research in guiding clinical assessment, planning, and decision-making.
Professional Identity and Development: The Counselor Education Department aims to produce counselors who establish and maintain a strong connection to the profession. Professional Identity and Development refers to the intentional identity transformation as a professional counselor; including intellectual, social, and experiential engagement in appropriate professional activities and making contributions to the field of counseling.
Relational Knowing: The Counselor Education Department aims to prepare skilled and relationally competent practitioners. Relational Knowing is defined as the capacity of the student to cultivate positive, caring professional relationships with individuals, groups, supervisors, colleagues, and peers, as well as exhibit strong social and counseling skills for working within systems and within the broader community.
Social and Cultural Responsiveness: The Counselor Education Department intends to produce multiculturally competent and socially minded practitioners. Social and Cultural Responsiveness is defined as cultural self-awareness, diverse social awareness, intentional advocacy within appropriate social and professional counseling contexts, and purpose-driven service to the broader culture and the counseling profession.
Dispositions: The Counselor Education Department aspires to prepare dispositionally appropriate counselors who are a good fit for the profession. Dispositional Inquiry refers to the goodness of fit between the individual, the NNU graduate counseling program, and the overarching field of counseling. This also includes the student’s personification of the characteristics of professional helpers, as well as the broader characteristics associated with being spiritually grounded, emotionally healthy, mature adults. Central to NNU program outcomes is dispositions. While CACREP has few standards related to dispositions, the person of the counselor and his/her appropriateness for the field is believed by the NNU counselor education faculty to be central to competence in performance outcomes.
Incorporated into these five program objectives are 14 student learning outcomes related to the core curriculum and corresponding 23 key performance indicators. The department embraces a concept that students need to demonstrate effectiveness in the core curriculum in order to have the capability of demonstrating effectiveness in the program standards.
The faculty of NNU’s Counselor Education program are committed to ongoing evaluation and assessment as we endeavor to educate, train, and prepare competent, compassionate, and spiritually grounded counselors to assist members of our diverse society.


NNU's graduate counseling programs are accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), a specialized accrediting body recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), which is a requirement for licensure in many states. NNU's Adventure Play Therapy Center (Center) is an approved Center of Play Therapy Education by the Association for Play Therapy (APT).

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