Dual licensure in school and clinical counseling produces “highly valuable employees”, say some employers. Concordia offers certification in both areas.

A significant need for mental health support

We are in a time when the mental health of our entire population, especially our children, is at an all-time low. This includes our mental, emotional, and behavioral health. Mental health affects all areas of life. It impacts how we relate to others, handle stress, learn, and carry out our day-to-day responsibilities. According to the CDC’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey, in 2021, over 4 in 10 (42%) students felt persistently hopeless.

We are in need of more professionals to help our children. ASCA notes that the average student-to-counselor ratio is 311 to 1. A very limited number of schools have a sufficient amount of school counselors. In fact, in the US, 11 million high schoolers are enrolled in a school without enough school counselors (ASCA, 2021). The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates that from 2021-2031, job openings in the mental health field will increase by 22%. This quickly outpaces other job markets. School counselors are in high demand.

Dual-certified school counselors as a solution

School counselors play an integral role in our schools by “leading, advocating, and collaborating to promote equity and access for all students by connecting their school counseling program to the school’s academic mission and school improvement plan” (ASCA, 2023). With the growing need for mental health support, it can also be extremely beneficial for a school counselor to earn their credentials as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC).

One benefit of dual licensure is adding value to your role as a school counselor. Dr. Jill Hubble, an adjunct instructor for the Graduate Counseling program, says. “I have been told by agency directors and Principals that having a school counseling and clinical counseling degree makes me ‘highly valuable’ in both arenas.” 

Adjunct instructor Heidi Schildt, MSE, LPC, also agrees. She says, “I have found that being licensed in both worlds has helped at the clinic and school.  I find myself explaining how the school world works during our weekly supervision at my clinic, and I’m often helping families/school professionals understand how the clinical aspects of therapy might benefit their children/students.”

Increased demand for skilled employees

Not only can you add value to your position, but demands for counseling and therapy are increasing. Dr. Amanda DeSua, M.A. Ed., Ed. D, NBCT, adjunct instructor, states, “The need for school-based therapy is growing. When counselors have their professional counseling license, they can provide therapy on-site to students who may not otherwise receive this level of support due to transportation barriers. Having an understanding of the school environment as well as the therapeutic process is an incredible asset.”

Receiving dual licensure also broadens your education and understanding of the whole person and the mental health field as a whole. Adjunct instructor Rick Hudson articulates, “As a school counselor, obtaining my LPC has given me a greater appreciation and understanding of the world of mental health accessibility, treatment, and practice. It has also helped to both narrow the focus of my time with students as well as expand my efforts for all with ASCA mindsets and behaviors through social and emotional learning.”

The Concordia solution

In an effort to meet these increasing needs, Concordia University Wisconsin’s Counseling programs offer those who want to help our children in this capacity a flexible way to accomplish their goals. We offer a 45-48 credit School Counseling Program and a 60-credit Professional Counseling Program. There are also options for those who have school counseling licensure to complete coursework to gain professional licensure. Courses are available 100% online. Our online courses allow students to work the program into their busy lives. Both programs are pre-approved for licensure in the state of Wisconsin.

Our program delivers a rich experience and breadth of content. Our courses are primarily taught by practitioners in the field who are current school and professional counselors. This brings vast and practical knowledge, updated research, and current topics to our classrooms and discussions. While all coursework is online, students are expected to complete a practicum field experience in the school or professional counseling setting.

Want in?

Are you a school counselor looking to add to your professional licensure or simply interested in becoming a counselor? Reach out to Concordia University today to see how our flexible, online master’s degree in Counseling can help you reach your goals!

—This article is written by Assistant Director of Graduate Counseling Laura Adameak