- Non-degree Seeking/
- Emphases & Curriculum
- Frequently Asked Questions
Lakeland University's master of arts in counseling (MAC) degree is a 48-60 semester-hour professional graduate training program. The MAC program is dedicated to preparing students for one of three professional counseling areas: clinical mental health counseling, school counseling or higher education counseling and student affairs. The MAC program is designed with the working professional in mind and offers opportunities for intellectual, moral and spiritual growth. Non-degree-seeking status is available.
Courses are available in 14-week semesters — in the classroom, BlendEd® and/or online. Instructors are practicing professionals — many holding terminal degrees - who blend experiential learning with in-class instruction. Practicums and internships afford ample time for observation and client contact. The MAC program with a clinical mental health counseling emphasis meets the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services requirements for a Wisconsin Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC). The MAC program with a school counseling emphasis is approved by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction and is approved for licensure and certification as a Wisconsin school counselor.
The MAC program with a clinical mental health counseling emphasis meets the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS) requirements for a Wisconsin Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC). The MAC program with a school counseling emphasis is approved by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction and is approved for licensure and certification as a Wisconsin School Counselor. The MAC program with a higher education counseling and student affairs emphasis meets all the standards currently endorsed by the Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS), and professional competencies endorsed by the American College Personnel Association (ACPA).
Lakeland also offers a non-degree seeking category for those wishing to strengthen an existing major, develop a new area of interest, or complete professional requirements.
The The Master of Arts in Counseling (MAC) degree is currently offered at all of Lakeland University centers, and several courses are also offered BlendEd®.
Jacob Heinemeyer is following the career path his two greatest male role models cleared ahead of him, and Lakeland University's Master of Arts in Counseling (MAC) program helped guide him.
Heinemeyer, 28, is a double Lakeland graduate with a bachelor's degree in criminal justice (2010) and a master's in counseling (2015).
He's now an admissions advisor for Lakeland, having come full circle at the place where his higher education journey began a decade ago.
"There are a lot of similarities between Lakeland's undergraduate experience and the master's program," says Heinemeyer. "The professors truly care and want the students to succeed. They build that rapport, that personal vibe, and they're flexible. My professors were always in my corner."
Coming out of Shiocton, Wis., Heinemeyer was a good student with a passion for sports. Choosing Lakeland because it supported his desire to compete in three sports, he excelled in football and baseball all four years and played basketball as a freshman.
After graduating with his CJ degree, he breezed through police academy and worked security in the Green Bay area for a couple of years.
Meanwhile, Heinemeyer's father, Dino, was making a difference as a special education teacher in Shiocton. Jacob's brother, Mitch, had gone through Lakeland's MAC program and was serving as a high school counselor at Albany (Wis.). He's at River Valley now. With his dad and big brother helping young people reach their potential, Heinemeyer considered a career switch. When the opportunity to serve as a graduate assistant football coach at his alma mater arose, Jacob eagerly returned to pursue his MAC.
"Earning my master's is definitely something I'm proud of, and it has helped me tremendously," says Heinemeyer. "I honestly think I can communicate with people so much better now, using all of the best-practice strategies I learned in the MAC program at Lakeland."
His long-range goal is to remain in higher education and work in student success or academic advising, or advance in admissions. For now, he loves what he's doing, and where he's at.
"It's really rewarding to be back here at Lakeland, the place where I flourished as a student," he says.
Lakeland offers post-masters counseling certification
Graduate counseling certification programs are designed for individuals who have a master’s degree in counseling from an accredited institution, and who are interested in acquiring additional knowledge and skills leading to licensure in Clinical Mental Health Counseling or School Counseling and certification in Higher Education Counseling & Student Affairs.
Graduate coursework in counseling from an earned master’s degree may satisfy requirements where appropriate. To be considered, coursework must parallel current course requirements in the MAC program, be earned within the last ten years, and be assessed at a “B-” or better. Further coursework between 12-24 credits may be required for each certificate program depending on the past graduate coursework of the individual and the intended emphasis. Students working in the counseling field with courses earned prior to the ten (10) year threshold may be granted an exception time waiver for specific courses. In addition, all students approved to pursue a post master’s certification will be required to complete Lakeland’s specific seminar, practicum and internship courses.
"Certification programs are time effective and cost effective, and allow individuals to build upon skills they already have," said Deborah Bilzing, director of Lakeland's counseling program. "Certification can open up career opportunities in other specialized areas of professional counseling."
See specific descriptions and course work requirements for each program on the department website in addition to contacting a Lakeland admission advisor at one of our seven centers across Wisconsin. Pursuing a certificate that leads to licensure may have additional requirements.
Non-degree seeking Master of Arts in Counseling Program registration
In addition to the standard full-time and part-time classifications for students who have been accepted into the MAC program, there is also a classification for non-degree-seeking students. Registrations for non-degree-seeking students are permitted for students who would like to strengthen an existing major, develop a new area of interest, or complete requirements for a new profession.
This status is reserved for those who, at the time of application for this status, are not pursuing nor have any intention of pursuing a MAC degree at Lakeland University. Non-degree-seeking students who decide to pursue a MAC degree at Lakeland must apply for admission prior to enrolling in more than six credits within the program. Students taking more than six credits with non-degree-seeking status will be denied the opportunity to enter the MAC program at a later date. Students granted non-degree-seeking status are allowed to register for up to 12 credits. Successful enrollment of courses while enrolled as a non-degree-seeking student does not guarantee admission into the program.
Non-degree-seeking student status is available to candidates who possess a bachelor's or higher degree from a regionally accredited institution. A minimum of a 2.75 cumulative undergraduate GPA is required. In order to be considered for non-degree-seeking status, candidates must complete a Graduate Admission Application and are subject to the following unique policies:
- All students taking between 3-12 credits of course work as a non-degree-seeking student must meet the admission requirements to the MAC program, including the completion of nine credits of coursework in behavioral sciences or human services with grades of B- or better.
- Non-degree-seeking students are not allowed to register for more than 12 credits in the MAC program.
- Typically, federal financial aid is not available.
- Applicants for non-degree-seeking status must complete the Evening Weekend and Online application. This application can be found online and must be approved by the MAC program director.
- Practicums, internships and independent study courses are not available to non-degree-seeking students.
- Non-degree-seeking students must meet all identified course pre-requisites for the courses in which they enroll.
Please contact an admissions advisor at one of our seven centers for more information about becoming a non-degree-seeking student, including tuition costs.
Ongoing enhancements to Lakeland University’s Master of Arts in Counseling program continue to position graduates for exceptional career flexibility and success.
Lakeland’s MAC program recently earned three new endorsements that will benefit students and graduates for years to come:
- Lakeland’s 60-credit MAC clinical mental health counseling program now includes pre-certification for substance abuse certification. When LU MAC students graduate within the 60-credit program, in addition to having the opportunity to apply for their professional counselor-in-training license, they can now also apply for substance abuse certification.
- Lakeland is ahead of the game when it comes to meeting the 2018 state standard of 60 credit hours required to become a professional licensed counselor. Currently, the law requires 48 credit hours, but this will change. Lakeland’s 60-credit curriculum is already pre-approved by the Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS).
- Students in Lakeland’s MAC program are now eligible to take the National Counseling Exam (NCE) while they are in school. At other institutions, students must wait until after they graduate before taking this critical exam. But at LU, students can take a proctored exam twice a year while they’re completing their MAC degree.
School Counseling Emphasis
Professional school counselors are employed in elementary, middle/junior high, and high schools. Through their leadership, school counselors address all students’ academic, career and personal/social development needs by implementing a comprehensive school counseling program. School counselors provide services to students, parents, school staff and the community. Their major functions include providing direct services to students by delivering school counseling core curriculum (classroom sessions), individual student planning, and responsive services. School counselors also provide referrals for additional assistance, consultation, and collaboration working with parents, teacher other educators, and community organizations.
Clinical Mental Health Counseling Emphasis
Students entering the clinical mental health counseling track intend to focus their work in settings such as community mental health centers, inpatient facilities, vocational or employment counseling agencies, family service agencies, correctional institutions, private practice, or social service agencies. Their work can vary depending on the setting in which they work and the population they serve. Community counselors find themselves working with children, adolescents, adults or families many of whom have multiple issues ranging from mental health disorders and addiction to disability and employment needs.
Higher Education Counseling and Student Affairs Emphasis
Students entering the higher education counseling & student affairs track plan to seek employment in post-secondary settings such as community colleges, technical colleges, public and private colleges, and universities. The foundation of the emphasis in higher education counseling & student affairs is built on the essential counseling knowledge and skills that promote the success of student affairs professionals. While there are numerous and diverse opportunities in the field of higher education counseling & student affairs, past MAC graduates have found positions in college and university counseling centers, residence life, admissions, financial aid, career services, academic advising, and special programs such as providing services for culturally diverse and international students on college and university campuses.
EARN GRADUATE CREDITS AS A NON-DEGREE-SEEKING STUDENT
The MAC program also offers a number of graduate courses that will help you meet your professional development or continued licensing goals. For more information on registering for a course or courses as a non-degree-seeking student, please contact an admission advisor at a Lakeland location near you.
Before making a decision to apply for the Master of Arts in Counseling (MAC) program there is a lot to think about. Here is a list of frequently asked questions, including answers that we hope will help you make an informed decision. For further information, please feel free to contact a Lakeland University Evening/Weekend/Online admission advisor near you by accessing this website: http://lakeland.edu/Evening-Weekend-and-Online/center-locations.
What graduate programs in counseling does Lakeland offer?
Lakeland's MAC program is dedicated to preparing students for one of three professional counseling areas: Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Higher Education Counseling or School Counseling.
How many credits do each of the programs require for graduation?
In order to graduate with a master's degree in counseling beginning with the 2016-17 academic year, the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program requires 60 credits, the School Counseling program requires 51 credits and the Higher Education Counseling program requires 48 credits.
Typically, how long does it take a student to complete the program?
All MAC courses are 3 credit courses. Students must register for at least 6 credits to qualify for financial aid. To be considered full time, students must register for 9 credits per semester. Most students can complete their degree within 3 years, but a lot depends upon when a student enters the program, which area of emphasis the student decides to pursue and how many courses they are able to take each semester.
When are classes offered?
MAC courses are offered in each center on a rotating basis in the fall, spring and summer semesters and are designed with the working professional in mind. Most of the MAC courses are 14 weeks in duration except for the summer semester which is a shorter semester. Many of the courses in the MAC program are delivered in a face-to-face format which means these courses are held Monday-Thursday from 6:00 pm-8:30 pm. (end-time may change depending on the length of the specific semester). Some of the MAC face-to-face courses are also approved to be offered in a six-week weekend format and meet on Friday night and Saturday morning. Finally, some courses are offered online and in a BlendEd format. For more information about Lakeland's flexible learning platforms, please check this website: http://lakeland.edu/Evening-Weekend-and-Online/flexibility
What is the difference between practicum and internship?
Practicums are field experiences that provide the opportunity for graduate students to observe and get a "feel" for how a professional in the student's specialized counseling area performs his or her job responsibilities. Many times during practicum the student is somewhat limited in what tasks the practicum supervisor, practicum instructor and on-site staff feel the student is prepared to handle. In the end, however, all practicum experiences can be different depending upon the placement and the student's prior and current knowledge, skill and disposition for their particular area of counseling. Lastly, the practicum is usually only a couple of hours a week, whereas internships are considered to be full- or half-time placements.
Compared to practicums, internships take on more of a "real job" feel where supervisors encourage students to focus on independent application of their skills and knowledge throughout the placement experience. During internships, supervisors have more of a management role as they oversee students' workload and performance much as an administrator in an actual employment setting would. Internship involves an expansion of task expectations and more of a hands-on involvement with "clients." In addition, the internship instructor is required to observe the intern at least one time during the internship placement to evaluate the student's performance and progress.
Do I have to find my own practicum and internship placements?
Selecting a placement site is one of the most important aspects of the practicum and internship experience. At your practicum and internship site you will be offered a unique opportunity to obtain experience in the type of setting in which you may eventually be employed. Therefore, we believe it is essential that students select sites that are consistent with their professional goals and objectives. Who knows better than you what will work for you and be a good match between you and your on-site supervisor? You will receive guidance and help, if needed, from your advisor.
When do I begin my practicum experience?
Students begin looking for and exploring various possible practicum sites between their second and third semester in the program. Students are required to complete about two-thirds of their coursework prior to being approved to register for their practicum.
When do I begin my internship experience?
Finding a suitable internship site can be a lengthy and difficult process, and it is suggested that students begin this process at least one year prior to when they expect to begin their internship. The recommendation is that for a fall internship site, students will need to be networking during the prior fall term in September or October. Internships are the culminating courses within each of the three professional counseling areas.
What is the current job market like for counselors?
The current job market for those entering in the field of professional counseling is very promising. The outlook for professional counseling positions continues to increase nationwide at a rate of 26 percent, while school counselors and higher education counselors is increasing at the rate of 12 percent. There are higher needs for professional counselors in all three areas in other parts of the country, so it would be wise to check out the current job market in other states as well.
If I complete the program here in Wisconsin, will I be qualified for licensure in another state?
While most licenses in the state are not guaranteed to be portable, the M.A.C curriculum does prepare our graduates to meet many of the licensure requirements found in many other states in both community and school settings. More information about licensure for community counselors can be found on ACA's website: http://www.counseling.org/docs/licensure/72903_excerpt_for_web.pdf?sfvrsn=2
Can I choose to enroll in more than one emphasis?
When you first meet with your MAC advisor, you will be asked to think about one of three counseling areas as your primary focus. Once you have "declared" your primary focus, you are welcome to continue to pursue adding additional areas of emphasis, keeping in mind that you will have to meet all the course requirements found within any additional areas you might consider. In all cases, you are welcome to pursue more than one of the three professional counseling areas.
Do students take courses in the summer too?
Yes. Students typically take up to two or three courses during the summer sessions.
What specific changes are taking place within the MAC program?
Persons applying for admission into the Master of Arts in Counseling program beginning in the 2016-17 academic year must plan to enroll for either the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program at 60 credits, the School Counseling program at 51 credits or the Higher Education Counseling program at 48 credits. Persons who desire a Clinical Mental Health Counseling degree from Lakeland under the current 48 credits will need to graduate by May 2018.
Do I have to graduate with 60 credits if I am currently enrolled in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program?
No. Students who plan to graduate May of 2018 from Lakeland will still be pre-approved to apply for and receive their LPC-IT as long as they apply for their license before 9/1/2018. The Department of Safety and Professional Services will not grant a LPC-IT license for students graduating with 48 credits beginning September 1, 2018.
Do I have to graduate with 51 credits if I am currently enrolled in the School Counseling Program?
No. Students approved into the MAC program as of the 2016-17 academic year and beyond are the only students who will be required to graduate under the 51 credit school counseling program. Any re-admit MAC student as of 2016-17 will be required to gradate under the graduation policies that are in place at the time of re-admittance into the MAC program.
What happens if I fall out of enrollment, do not enroll in courses for one academic year? Can I just pick up where I left off?
No. Once a student falls out of enrollment he/she must re-apply for admission into the MAC program. If approved for re-admission, the student will be required to complete all course requirements listed at the time of re-admission for their area of emphasis.
Will all Clinical Mental Health Counseling or School Counseling students graduating after May, 2018 be required to graduate with 60 or 51 credits respectively?
Students that have enrolled in the MAC Clinical Mental Health or School Counseling Emphasis prior to Fall 2016 and have not fallen out of enrollment and do not want to apply for a LPC-IT license will be able to graduate at any point with 48 credits, even if that graduation date falls after September 1, 2018.
All clinical mental health and school counseling students approved into the MAC program beginning Fall 2016 will have to earn 60 & 51 credits respectively in order to earn a master's in counseling degree from Lakeland University.