School Counseling Program

Counseling Program Mission Statement

The mission of the WWU Clinical Mental Health and School Counseling Program is to prepare knowledgeable, skilled, collaborative and ethical  counselors who value diversity, equity and social justice and meet the relevant licensing and credentialing standards for practice in mental health and educational settings in the state of Washington.

We believe this is best accomplished in a small rigorous program in which students have substantive opportunities to acquire evidence-based knowledge and develop their professional and interpersonal skills under the supervision of faculty who are committed to training exceptional counselors.

Graduate Program

Director: Dr. Shaun Sowell

Graduate study in the M.Ed. School Counselor Program at Western Washington University prepares students to provide professional counseling services in educational settings. The program requires two years of full-time graduate study (minimum of 90 credit hours) and is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).

Upon completion of the program, students are recommended for certification as K-12 public school counselors in the State of Washington. Admission to the program is based upon a profile of characteristics including grades, academic preparation, compatibility of applicant goals with program goals, letters of reference, and previous professional and volunteer experience. It is not necessary to hold a valid teaching certificate in order to be recommended for certification as a school counselor or to be considered for admission to the program. It is the policy of the Department of Psychology that School Counselor program graduates will be endorsed only for those licenses or certificates appropriate to the emphasis of their training. It is further understood that this endorsement will be made only upon successful completion of practicum and internship experiences. 

The department also offers M.S. degrees in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and Experimental Psychology and houses the Center for Cross-Cultural Research. Coordination with these programs greatly enhances the experience of students in the School Counseling Program.

If you already hold a master’s degree in counseling and seek a school counseling certificate, Western does not offer a “certification-only” program. Please contact the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) for eligible programs.

Learn about the School Counseling Program outcomes and view recent program evaluation annual reports please see the School Counseling Program Outcomes and Resources page.

Counseling Program Objectives

As faculty, we strive to prepare counselors who:

  • Demonstrate the knowledge and skills outlined in the CACREP Basic and Specialty Standards.
  • Think critically about professional issues and engage in ethical, reflective decision-making.
  • Advocate for equity and social justice and demonstrate self-awareness in developing multicultural competence.
  • Utilize current research and evidence to implement and evaluate effective counseling services and programs.
  • Engage in respectful, collaborative relationships with clients, colleagues and community partners.


Download the Counseling Program Student Handbook