Texas A&M University-San Antonio’s Department of Counseling, Health and Kinesiology will change the requirements for the Counseling and Guidance program beginning Fall 2018 in an effort to satisfy academic requirements and reach accreditation goals.
Currently, the master of arts in Counseling and Guidance program at A&M-San Antonio is a 48 credit hour degree with two content tracks. These include School Counseling and Clinical Mental Health Counseling, which requires students to become Licensed Professional Counselors (LPC).
Beginning Aug. 23, the Mental Health Counseling track will require students to take an additional 12 hours of courses.
“The state of Texas now requires 60 hours of counseling course work,” said Wendy Hernandez, graduate advisor for counseling and kinesiology. “The recent change took place across the state in 2017.”
This is due to the Texas State Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors changing the required amount of credit hours from 48 to 60, a change which took effect Aug. 1, 2017 according to the organizations website.
Students who chose the Clinical Mental Health Counseling track for the fall 2018 semester at A&M-San Antonio can expect to see a rise in tuition due to an increase in hours.
The additional requirement of 12 hours is just one part of a larger plan to have the campus approved by The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).
CACREP is a national accrediting body for counselor education programs that sets the minimum requirements mental health counseling programs must meet if they want to earn accreditation.
Suzanne Mudge, counseling and guidance program director at A&M-San Antonio, spoke about the steps the university is taking to become accredited.
“We are aligning our programs so we can get approved. Eventually to get licensed, you have to graduate from a CACREP university,” Mudge said. “So everything we are doing is getting things ready for what’s happening in the future.”
The new degree plan will require a 100-hour practicum, a course consisting of practical work in a particular field. Additionally, three 200-hour internships will be required instead of the original two 300-hour internships. This was done in an effort to satisfy CACREP and LPC requirements, as well as to help make the lives of students who are working easier.
The School Counseling track will remain at 48 hours until 2022, which meets CACREP requirements.
“School counseling is different. Dealing with accreditation boards, licensing boards, and certification boards is complicated because they are always changing the rules,” Mudge said. ”We just have to follow the rules they set up. We really struggled to set everything up to ensure our students that whatever they take will satisfy board requirements.”
Students who are interested in learning more about the program and the degree plans can visit and request more information on the Counseling and Guidance page on the campus website.