Counselor Education Department
The Counselor Education Department at NNU offers master’s degrees in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC); Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling (MCFC); and School Counseling (SC). 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.
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 another cohort began in the fall of 2022 (and will not graduate until 2025).
From the Nampa Campus in the 2022-2023 academic year, NNU graduated 26 students from the Counseling Master in Science program. Nineteen students graduated from the CMHC track, zero from the MCFC track, and seven from the SC track. The completion rates in each track were 79% for CMHC and 78% for SC (with no data for MCFC due to no graduates). Of the Fall 2022 and Spring 2023 graduates who reported their NCE results to us, 100% of students passed. Among those seeking jobs, 53% of CMHC and 86% of SC students placed in jobs in their final semester (with no data for MCFC due to no graduates).
The Northwest Nazarene University Department of Graduate Counselor Education was re-accredited in 2017. The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs presented a certificate of accreditation for successful fulfillment of the standards for Clinical Mental Health Counseling; Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling; and School Counseling programs through the year 2025.
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 20 key performance indicators. The department embraces the 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.
Mission Statement: The mission statement of the NNU Counseling program is to prepare competent and compassionate counselors to assist members of our diverse society as they face life challenges and mental health issues in nonmetropolitan community, family and school settings.
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).