Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Counselor Education


Educational Leadership, Counseling, and Foundations

Major Professor

Dufrene, Roxane L.

Second Advisor

Paradise, Louis V.

Third Advisor

Riedlinger, Carmen


The focus of this study was perceptions of professional school counselors' (PSC) graduate preparation in their roles as school counselors. The relationships examined were PSCs' roles and the number of hours completed in the school counselors' graduate programs, PSCs' roles and the level of their professional identity, and PSCs' roles and the number of school counseling specialty courses completed in their school counseling graduate programs. The American School Counselor Association (ASCA, 2005) and the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP, 2001) have established standards for school counselors to master in their programs. These standards were used to develop the 30 roles identified in this study. Graduate programs referred to the number of hours PSCs completed in their graduate school counseling programs. Professional identity was defined as the certifications and licensures, the memberships in professional organizations, and the number of professional conferences and workshops PSCs attend. Specialty courses included school counseling courses taken by PSCs in their school counseling graduate programs. PSCs perceived themselves to be somewhat prepared in their overall preparation in their roles as school counselors. Results of the correlations between PSCs' perceptions of their preparation in their roles and the number of hours completed in the school counseling graduate programs, the professional identity of PSCs, and the number of specialty coursed completed were statistically significant but not practically significant. PSCs perceived themselves to need additional preparation in serving students with learning differences, seeking funding sources, and using technology. The factor analysis supported the construct validity of the survey instrument. It validated the roles of PSCs as outlined by ASCA standards (2005) and CACREP standards (2001). The factors included (a) Factor 1, Tasks/Advocacy/Professional Identity, (b) Factor II, Personal/Social/Career, (c) Factor III, Academics, and (d) Factor IV, Cultural/Legal/Ethical Issues. In conclusion, PSCs need additional training in student learning differences, seeking funding sources for school counseling programs, and on-going training in technology. PSCs want the term "educator" to be included in their description of their professional identity. PSCs also want additional specialty courses added to their curricula. They believe that the focus should be on the specialty of school counseling rather than a mental health focus.


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