Pursue Excellence

Counseling, M.A.


Transform your future. Make a difference in the lives of others.

The CACREP-accredited Master of Arts in Counseling program offers you a rich and diverse learning experience that prepares you for opportunities in a wide array of professional counseling settings.

Lenoir-Rhyne offers two CACREP-accredited 61-credit hour programs of study in Clinical Mental Health Counseling or School Counseling. Students in the degree program have the opportunity to take additional coursework from the two programs of study to meet the educational requirements for state licensure in North Carolina as a Clinical Mental Health Counselor or School Counselor. Applicants should note that this is not considered a dual-degree program and does not take the place of the educational and clinical experiences of a full program of study, but provides some additional educational opportunities. 

Lenoir-Rhyne sustains longstanding clinical community partnerships in both programs, providing you with vibrant internship and practicum experiences. Our counseling faculty bring years of real-world experience to students seeking to become clinical mental health or school counselors.

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Take the next step toward completing your Masters in Counseling degree at Lenoir-Rhyne University.

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Designed for Working Professionals


A student talks to gathered group during class

You may take classes at your own pace as a full-time or a part-time student. Classes are offered on all three of our campuses in Hickory, N.C.Asheville, N.C. or Columbia, S.C. Some classes may also be offered in an online or hybrid format.

You may begin program studies any semester—summer, fall or spring term. Please note school counseling is only offered at Hickory and Asheville locations.

Experience Professional & Personal Growth


The journey toward becoming a professional counselor is a rewarding one, ripe with opportunities for personal growth and professional development. Most graduates of counseling programs find that the training process transforms their own lives even as they are learning to be change agents in the lives of others.

Challenge Yourself


You will be introduced to new theoretical frameworks and ways of understanding human behavior. You will be challenged to examine your biases and reflect upon how your life experiences affect your work with clients. You will be asked to step outside your comfort zone as you practice new skills and explore new perspectives. And throughout the program, you will be supported as you develop your personal style of counseling.

In counseling, a master’s degree is the terminal degree to practice independently. Our program prepares students with a strong foundation in clinical skills training. Lenoir-Rhyne offers several skills-based classes, including advanced techniques, practicum and two semesters of internship.

Teena Brooks

My internship experience at local non-profits provided valuable hands-on experience and helped me grow both personally and professionally.

Teena Brooks, LCMHC, BC-TMH

Program Overview

  • Mission

    The faculty of the counselor education program is dedicated to educating and training counselor education professionals to function in culturally diverse settings. Lenoir-Rhyne University is located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains and has a large urban population; yet, we also serve suburban and rural communities. From this unique vantage point, we recognize the need to address the economic, educational, and social inequalities that prevail in our community.

    The program acknowledges a commitment both to the students who will pursue preparation as professional counselors and to the larger public served by our graduates, for whom we all share a responsibility. It is due to this commitment that the faculty holds high standards in the process of training professional counselors. As a result, we expect our students to develop a commitment to service to others, and to the pursuit of excellence in the counseling profession.

    The programs are designed to provide a challenging, yet supportive environment that promotes professional orientation, development of a counseling identity, practice, commitment to inquiry, and self-awareness. Graduate education in the Counselor Education program is designed to help students realize their potential as practicing counselor and administrators, engage in professional relationships, and develop a set of meaningful professional values. To this end, the program reflects current knowledge from lay and professional groups concerning current and projected counseling and human development needs of a pluralistic society. Cultural considerations are emphasized so that the experiences provided will be rewarded and useful in today's ever-changing society.

    The faculty is dedicated to the recruitment, retention, education, and training of diverse counseling professionals. The faculty select, encourage and retain students in the counselor education specialties who exhibit the potential to become competent counselors and administrators. In order to prepare competent practitioners, the faculty, through a program of planned educational experiences, attempts to assist our students in becoming knowledgeable, ethical, collegial and self-actualizing agents of change.

    The counselor education program is based on the model that effective counselor must be more than technicians. Rather, they must be professionals who are aware of their personal values, beliefs, and biases, as well as possess vast knowledge and skills related to the profession of counseling. They must be able to analyze, synthesize, and apply their knowledge and skills, utilize research for professional judgments, and assess the effectiveness of their work in order to function as competent, ethical, reflective, practitioner-scientists.

    The counselor education program seeks to develop such professionals through active learning experiences, course work that covers a variety of content areas, and integrated field experiences that provide counseling services to a wide range of clients/students. Multicultural and diversity issues are integrated throughout the program.

  • Conceptual Framework & Program Objectives

    The Counselor Education Program is based on the model that effective counselors must be more than technicians. Rather, they must be professionals who are aware of their personal values, beliefs, and biases, as well as possess vast knowledge and skills related to the profession of counseling. They must be able to analyze, synthesize, and apply their knowledge and skills, utilize research for professional judgments, and assess the effectiveness of their work in order to function as competent, ethical, reflective, practitioner-scientists. The Counselor Education Program seeks to develop such professionals through active learning experiences, course work that covers a variety of content areas, and integrated field experiences that provide counseling services to a wide range of clients/students. Multicultural and diversity issues are integrated throughout the program. Becoming a reflective practitioner-scientist involves an on-going process that can be conceptualized as a pyramid with students' personal and professional knowledge as base. From this knowledge base, students move into the stage of skills acquisitions with the final stage being that of reflective practitioner-scientist.

    Persons completing the Counseling Program are Reflective Practitioner-Scientists who demonstrate:

    1. A high level of interpersonal communication skills, along with an appreciation for the racial and socio-cultural diversity of the populations with whom they will work;
    2. A thorough knowledge of counseling theory and skill in a variety of counseling techniques that are useful with individuals and groups;
    3. Skill in utilizing assessment techniques, research techniques, and career planning materials and techniques;
    4. An understanding of the variety of activities involved in implementing programs in public school and community/agency settings-including treatment planning, diagnosis, consultation, program planning and coordination, group guidance and counseling, crisis intervention, drop-out prevention, and educational placement of exceptional individuals;
    5. An understanding of the legal aspects of service delivery and an appreciation of the importance of practicing in accordance with the highest ethical standards of the counseling profession;
    6. Self-knowledge related to therapeutic processes;
    7. The ability to analyze and evaluate the effects of the therapeutic process;
    8. A devotion to the improvement of, and subsequent changes in, counseling practice as determined through research and scientific inquiry;
    9. Dispositional characteristics consistent with the professional body of literature.

Counselor Examination & Licensure


We are committed to developing professional counselors to work effectively and ethically with diverse clients in a variety of settings, including PreK-12 schools, colleges and universities, community mental health centers, hospitals, as well as private practice and social services agencies.

Upon receiving a Master of Arts in Counseling degree, students meet coursework requirements for eligibility to take the examination to become a National Certified Counselor (NCC) and Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor (LCMHC) in North Carolina and South Carolina. Students satisfactorily completing the School Counseling program requirements and receiving a passing score on the PRAXIS specialty examination are eligible for licensure as a school counselor in North Carolina.

Career Paths


Clinical Mental Health Counselors

  • Counselor work settings may include: community agencies, hospitals, private practice, residential treatment centers, government agencies, VA, and faith-based organizations.
  • Trained to work with individuals, families, couples, and groups.
  • Trained in assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of mental disorders as well as helping clients struggling with normal, developmental issues, and life transitions. Help clients work toward personal goals and holistic wellness.

School Counselors

  • School counselors work in either elementary, middle, or high school settings. School counselors develop and implement comprehensive school counseling programs (through the ASCA National Model) to support students in their academic, social/emotional, and vocational career development. School counselors wear many different hats and serve as liaisons between students, teachers, administrators, and parents.

Program & Student Outcomes


The following provides a snapshot of student outcomes during the 2019-2020 academic year for the Clinical Mental Health Counseling and School Counseling program tracks.

 

Student Outcomes for 2019-2020 Academic Year
Degree Track Graduates Completion Rate Exam Pass Rate Job Placement
M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling 48 100% 100% 100%
M.A. in School Counseling 12 100% 100% 100%

In support of continued efforts to improve the on-campus experience for students, faculty, staff and community members, The Cannon Charitable Trusts have awarded multiple grants totaling $436,990 to Lenoir-Rhyne University.

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Brittany Marinelli ‘17, M.A. ‘21 has been named the director of international education after serving as interim director of international education for the last year.

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