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Helping people overcome their struggles

The SFA professional counseling program provides graduate-level training to develop highly qualified counselors who demonstrate a strong professional identity, engage in ethical and competent practice and effectively serve a diverse population across the state and the nation. As you study to become a counselor to serve in a variety of settings, you’ll receive exceptional training and supervision from caring professors who take the time to get to know their students as individuals.

Professional Counseling Program Mission Statement 

The mission of the Professional Counseling Program is to provide quality master's level training to develop highly qualified counselors who demonstrate a strong professional identity, engage in ethical and competent practice, and are effective in serving a diverse population.

We pride ourselves on a long history of student success:

  • Our graduates are consistently among the candidates of choice for many employers in the area and state.
  • The program has a 100% passing rate on state licensure and certification exams and 100% placement rate of our graduates.
  • At the conclusion of the program, students take the Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Examination, a standardized national exam. Our student scores are consistently at or above the national mean.
  • Our program meets the highest national standards for the training of professional counselors, as evidenced by our accreditations through the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs, the Council on Rehabilitation Education and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education.

Wide-ranging career opportunities

The specialized credential path you choose will impact your job functions. But overall, your master’s degree in counseling opens many doors.

Learn more about career opportunities.

MA in Professional Counseling

A Master of Arts in professional counseling is your pathway to becoming a professional counselor. The 60-hour accredited program consists of core training in professional counseling with three concentration options:

  • clinical mental health
  • clinical rehabilitation counseling
  • and school counseling.

You’ll also participate in internships at the on-campus SFA Counseling Clinic, as well as in a community, school or rehabilitation setting.

Core Curriculum 

Courses in the core curriculum are taken by all students and include: orientation to counseling, theories of counseling, skills and techniques in counseling, research, assessment in counseling, lifespan development, diagnosis and psychopathology, group counseling, career counseling, multicultural counseling, family counseling, drug and alcohol counseling, ethics, practicum and internship. 

All students complete a 100 hour Practicum by seeing clients in the SFASU Counseling Clinic. Upon successful completion of Practicum, students complete a 600 hour internship in a community, school or rehabilitation setting. Students also take electives in their specialization of choice.


Clinical mental health counseling concentration

The graduate program in clinical mental health is designed to provide students with the knowledge, skills and dispositions to be a professional counselor in clinical mental health settings. Students take core classes in counseling and meet the criteria to apply for a license to become a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) through the Texas Behavioral Health Executive Council. This licensure allows graduates to work in hospitals, state agencies, private practices, clinics and non-profit organizations. 

The work of an LPC can be very diverse and ranges from working with well-functioning individuals who would like to improve the quality of some aspect of life to working with individuals who deal with chronic mental illness. The LPC practice includes, but is not limited to, the diagnosis and treatment of mental and emotional disorders, addictions, psychoeducational techniques aimed at the prevention of disorders, consultation with individuals, couples, families, groups, and organizations, and research into effective treatment modalities. 

In order to obtain the licensure in the state of Texas, you must hold a master's degree in counseling or a closely related field, pass the National Counselor Examination, pass the Texas Jurisprudence Exam and complete a 3000 hour post-graduate internship under the supervision of an LPC Supervisor. The post-graduate internship is most often completed as a paid employment position. 

LPC's are the largest provider of mental health services in the State of Texas. They are employed in community mental health centers, agencies, hospitals, and organizations, as well as private practice. They are covered by managed care organizations, health plans and employee assistance programs. 

The skills and techniques used by a Licensed Professional Counselor include: 

  • individual and group counseling
  • assessment and appraisal
  • case management
  • consultation
  • advocacy for individuals, groups and the profession
  • and program evaluation and research. 

Clinical rehabilitation counseling concentration

The graduate program in professional rehabilitation counseling is designed to provide students with the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to be a professional counselor in rehabilitation setting. Students take core courses in counseling and specialty courses in rehabilitation counseling. Students complete internships at rehabilitation counseling sites and meet the education requirements to become a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC), a national credential from the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification. Students also meet the education requirements to become a Licensed Professional Counselor in Texas. 

Rehabilitation Counseling emphasizes empowerment of individuals with disabilities to maximize employability, attain economic self-sufficiency, independence, inclusion, and integration into society. The philosophical foundation of rehabilitation counseling includes the belief in advocacy and the rights of people with disabilities. A rehabilitation counselor is a special type of professional counselor who helps evaluate and coordinate needed services to assist people with disabilities in coping with limitations caused by such factors as cognitive and learning difficulties, environmental and societal discrimination and barriers, psychological conflict/distress, or loss of physical/functional ability (Council on Rehabilitation Education, 2014). 

The skills and techniques used by a Rehabilitation Counselor include: 

  • assessment and appraisal
  • career counseling
  • individual and group counseling
  • interventions intended to facilitate adjustment to disability
  • referral, consultation, case management and service coordination
  • advocacy to remove environmental, employment and psychosocial barriers
  • program evaluation and research
  • and job development and placement services. 

School counseling concentration

The graduate program in professional school counseling is designed to provide students with the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to be a professional counselor in a school setting. Students take core courses in counseling and specialty courses in school counseling. Students complete internships at school counseling sites and meet the education requirements to become certified school counselor in Texas. They also meet the education requirements to become a licensed professional counselor in Texas. 

Certified School Counselors (CSC) are certified educators, mental health professionals and educational leaders who serve in the public schools. In Texas, a CSC must be a certified teacher with a minimum of two years of classroom teaching as the teacher of record and hold a master's degree. CSC's are uniquely qualified to address all students' academic, career, and personal/social development by designing, implementing, evaluating and enhancing a comprehensive school counseling program that promotes and improves student success. CSC's are employed in elementary, middle/junior high and high schools; as well as in district supervisory positions. A CSC plays an integral role in maximizing student success through leadership, advocacy, and collaboration. CSC's promote equity and social justice to ensure equal access for all students to a rigorous educational experience. Supporting a safe learning environment for all students and encouraging respect and dignity for all is a key element of the work of CSC. 

The skills and techniques used by a Professional School Counselor include: 

  • individual and group counseling
  • classroom guidance activities
  • interpretation of assessment and appraisal data
  • consultation
  • advocacy for all students
  • program development to include prevention and intervention strategies, responsive services, classroom guidance, individual planning and system support
  • and coordination of culturally responsive academic interventions.

Applying to the Professional Counseling program

Admission Requirements

Students applying to the Professional Counseling Program are required to have a minimum 2.8 GPA in the last 60 hours of undergraduate work. If a student does not meet the GPA requirement, but has a significant professional work history, provisional admission to the program may be considered. The GRE is no longer required for the application or admission process.

Application Deadlines

All application materials (for the Graduate School and the program) must be received by the Counselor Education Admissions Committee prior to following deadlines: 

Fall admission: March 1 
Spring admission: October 1 

Applications that are not complete by the above stated deadlines may not be considered for enrollment until the following semester.

Application Procedures

The application process involves three steps: 

  1. Applying to the Graduate School
  2. Applying to the Professional Counseling Program
  3. Completion of faculty interview for those applicants approved by the review of the application materials 

Before your application to the Professional Counseling Program can be considered, we require the following: 

Applying to the Graduate School 
  • Application to the Graduate School: Apply online.
  • A $50 application fee paid online
  • Copies of transcripts for all colleges and universities attended

Learn more about applying to graduate school at SFA.

If you have questions about the graduate school application process, please contact the graduate school at 

Applying to the Professional Counseling Program Admissions Committee 

*Do not submit application materials in any type of folder or portfolio. 

  • Autobiographical letter of application - Your responses to the following questions should total 2-4 pages typed and double-spaced. 
    • Why did you choose counseling as a possible career and what life experiences have led you to your decision to enter the counseling profession?
    • What are your professional goals upon obtaining your master's degree in counseling?
  • Three letters of recommendation along with the Professional Counseling Program Recommendation Form. One letter should be from a professional in the field of counseling, if possible. Letters will not be accepted from pastors, family members, or social acquaintances.
  • Current resume
  • Personal Data Form

Program application materials should be emailed to:

Potential Students

Financial Aid

Students interested in applying for financial aid will need to complete the FAFSA and apply through the Financial Aid Services. There are no counseling specific scholarships available through the program. A limited number of Graduate Assistantships are available through the Graduate School. The estimated cost of full time (9 hours) attendance is approximately $3000 a semester, plus the cost of fees, books, and materials.

Class Sequence and Delivery Methods

The faculty of the Professional Counseling Program recognize the increasing demands on the time of students. In consideration of that, some classes are offered in an online format. However, we strongly believe face-to-face interaction and supervision is necessary in order to train highly qualified counseling professionals. Counseling classes meet one night a week for 2.5 hours. Classes begin at 4:30 or 7:15.

See the sample course sequence for additional information.

Graduate Curriculum

Exact sequencing of classes will be determined based upon full or part time attendance. This sample course sequence is an example of a full-time student who enters in a fall semester.

A full description of courses can be found in the Graduate Bulletin.

Professional Counseling Graduate Student Handbook

Program Learning Outcomes & Accreditation Standards 

The program meets the highest national standards for the training of professional counselors as evidenced by our accreditations through the Council for Accreditation of Counseling Related Programs (CACREP). Accreditation assures the quality of the academic preparation of the program and the associated curriculum has been reviewed against professionally approved standards. Graduation from a CACREP accredited program opens doors to some employment opportunities that would not otherwise be available. CACREP accredited programs must engage in a systematic self-review and continuous improvement process, as well as engage in a periodic peer review process. 

Program Learning Outcomes

Professional Orientation and Ethical Practice (CACREP 2.F.1)

Students articulate the elements related to professional identity including the history and philosophy of the counseling profession, the value of professional organizations, the need for legal and ethical practice, and advocating for the profession and clients that are served.

Social and Cultural Diversity (CACREP 2.F.2)

Students demonstrate multicultural awareness, knowledge, and skills necessary for competency in working with a diverse population.

Human Growth and Development (CACREP 2.F.3)

Students differentiate the development across the lifespan and the impact on normal and abnormal functioning.

Career Development (CACREP 2.F.4)

Students analyze career development theory in the development of individualized and developmentally appropriate career development activities and interventions.

Counseling and Helping Relationships (CACREP 2.F.5)

Students apply the skills necessary to engage in an effective and therapeutic helping relationship.

Group Counseling and Group Work (CACREP 2.F.6)

Students demonstrate competency in preparing and facilitation of group counseling.

Assessment and Treatment Planning (CACREP 2.F.7)

Students identify effective assessment strategies in order to facilitate treatment planning.

Research and Program Evaluation (CACREP 2.F.8)

Students evaluate research methods to inform evidence-based practice.

Accreditation Data for Public Review

Program Coordinator:

Dr. Bruce Payette
Office: 936.468.1250

Program Administrative Support:

Jasmine Anderson-Hayes
Office: 936.468.1079


Department of Human Services and Educational Leadership
Faculty Directory

Human Services Building
Suite 302

Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 13019, SFA Station
Nacogdoches, Texas 75962