M.S. in Counseling Psychology Frequently Asked Questions
What are the similarities/differences between the two different counseling psychology options?
First, the 60-credit practitioner specialization requires more coursework to complete the master’s degree, as well as much more fieldwork (thus hands-on) experience than the general counseling psychology track. Practitioner specialization students complete 700 hours of clinical experience (across three semesters, students complete one 100-hour practicum and two 300-hour internships). The 700-hour requirement is part of what makes the Practitioner Specialization accredited by the Master’s in Psychology and Counseling Accreditation Council (MPCAC). Students finishing the specialization are better trained for work in the field and closer to the necessary hours of supervised experience needed for licensure by the time they are finished. The 48-credit general counseling psychology track tends to be a better fit for students who must work full-time throughout the program, because it only requires 200 hours of clinical experience (two 100-hour practicum courses). It can be a good choice if a student has an interest in pursuing licensure (when combined with the post-master’s Certificate in Professional Counseling Studies (CPCS) program, which allows the student to complete all 60 graduate credits for licensure), as well as for students who want to complete a shorter master’s program prior to pursuing a doctoral degree.
Is it possible to work full-time while completing an internship?
It would be quite challenging to attempt internship (two full semesters at approximately 25 hours a week on-site) and work full-time. For students unable to complete internship due to the demands of working full-time, considering the general counseling psychology track is recommended. This track requires only two semesters of practicum (about 10-12 hours a week on site to accrue the required 100 hours of professional experience at the site). General counseling psychology track students can then apply to seamlessly transition from the master’s program to the CPCS program and take the remaining 12 credits of graduate coursework needed to fulfill the 60 graduate credits required to meet the academic requirements for professional counselor licensure in Maryland.
Would it be possible to take time off in between finishing the MS degree and completing the Certificate in Professional Counseling Studies (CPCS) program? If so, would it be possible to find a job in the field prior to completing the CPCS?
Yes, students can take time off between the programs. There are jobs available in the substance abuse field where students can obtain a different credential to work under. However, it is not possible to get a job doing counseling until licensed-the licensure law requires this.
Can you switch to another counseling specialization after starting with a different one?
It is understandable that a student’s career goals may change once they begin their coursework. So the short answer is yes. You should meet with the program director or academic advisor to see what the implications of the switch will be and how it will affect the timeline to graduation.
When will I be eligible to sit for the National Counseling Exam (NCE)?
Please refer to the NCC FAQ sheet for detailed information.
When should I apply to the post-master’s CPCS program?
To be eligible for the CPCS program, you need to complete your M.S. requirements first. This means you will need to apply to graduate with your master's.
To apply to the CPCS program: first, email/call Graduate Admission and let them know you're one of our APPL master's students who is intending to transfer to the CPCS program. They should waive your application fee (giving you a code for the online application to do so).
Second, go to the UBalt webpage and fill out an application online, indicating that you are applying to the CPCS program and what semester you plan to enter the CPCS program. Make sure you designate the right semester for which you'd enter the CPCS program--the semester following the one you graduate with your M.S. On the application itself, make sure you check the box that says "Former UBalt Student" so that your transcripts are applied to your CPCS application (saving you from having to submit them again); however, if there are any problems with transcripts, work with Admission on this. In the personal statement, a one-sentence statement will suffice: "I am completing my M.S. in Counseling Psychology at UBalt and wish to finish the academic requirements for licensure in Maryland by completing the CPCS program." Again, make sure that on your application, you state which semester you are applying to the CPCS for (this will be the semester AFTER you graduate with your M.S. degree, so the first semester you intend to take coursework in the CPCS program).