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Lakeland University's master of arts in counseling (MAC) degree is a 48-60 semester-hour professional graduate training program. The MAC program is dedicated to preparing students for one of three professional counseling areas: community counseling, higher education counseling or school counseling. The MAC program is designed with the working professional in mind and offers opportunities for intellectual, moral and spiritual growth. Non-degree-seeking status is available.
Courses are available in 14-week semesters — in the classroom, BlendEd® and/or online. Instructors are practicing professionals — many holding terminal degrees - who blend experiential learning with in-class instruction. Practicums and internships afford ample time for observation and client contact. The MAC program with a community counseling emphasis meets the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services requirements for a Wisconsin Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC). The MAC program with a school counseling emphasis is approved by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction and is approved for licensure and certification as a Wisconsin school counselor.
The MAC program with a community counseling emphasis meets the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS) requirements for a Wisconsin Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC). The MAC program with a school counseling emphasis is approved by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction and is approved for licensure and certification as a Wisconsin School Counselor. The MAC program with a higher education emphasis meets all the standards currently endorsed by the Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS), and professional competencies endorsed by the American College Personnel Association (ACPA).
Lakeland also offers a non-degree seeking category for those wishing to strengthen an existing major, develop a new area of interest, or complete professional requirements.
The The Master of Arts in Counseling (MAC) degree is currently offered at all of Lakeland University centers, and several courses are also offered BlendEd®.
Name: Jacquelyn Hunt
Hometown: Madison, Wis.
Title: Licensed clinical substance abuse counselor
Business: FOSTER Program
Caring mental health professional and 2015 Lakeland University Master of Arts in Counseling graduate Jacquelyn Hunt has accomplished much already, but she can't wait to do even more.
In early 2015, Madison-based BRAVA Magazine featured her as one of the area's "30 Women to Watch — Champions of Change." And the Dane County chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) honored her as an "Unsung Heroine" during a ceremony in March.
"It's very real and very humbling, and the publicity and accolades are much appreciated," she says. "But there is so much work to be done."
Armed with her resolve and empowered by her Lakeland degree, Hunt has launched a program called "Families Overcoming Struggles to Encourage Restoration," or FOSTER. Her goal is to help families in crisis recover from adversity through strong professional support and mentoring.
"Somebody has to be willing to roll up their sleeves and walk alongside the people who are hurting and broken," she says. "For those who connect with me, I am willing to go on the journey to recovery with them."
Deborah Bilzing, director of Lakeland's counseling program, says she can't wait to see the positive impact Hunt has on society.
"Jackie, like all of our graduate students, is going to make the world a better a place," Bilzing says. "Jackie's excitement about always wanting to be in service to others is a testament to her and what this field is all about."
About her new Lakeland degree, Hunt says: "Lakeland has prepared me very, very well. It was a great fit for me."
Jon Kuecken, director of Lakeland's Madison Center, says Hunt has a special aura about her.
"You can tell she is highly motivated, not just to earn a degree, but to make our world a better place," Kuecken says. "She's a great example of someone who is improving the community through what she is doing professionally. Her openness and frankness are so refreshing."
Hunt earned a bachelor's degree from Upper Iowa University, then went after her master's at Lakeland's Madison Center. It wasn't easy. She was working 10-hour days as a licensed substance abuse counselor at Journey Mental Health Center, then returning home to whip up meals before going to night classes year-round for 2½ years. By this time, she had seven children — two of them adopted.
"Reflecting on scripture, a race is not given to the swift or the strong, but to those who endure to the end," she says. "There were nights I thought I would go stark raving mad. Only by the grace and mercy of God did I make it through.
"I had a goal. I knew that to be a role model for my children, to show them that you can overcome, they needed to see me doing this. We did it together. We worked hard. I never could have done this without their support. I am thankful to have kids who believed in me."
Hunt lauds the Lakeland University instructors for their flexibility and patience. During the first class break each night, about 6:30, she would call and check in, "to make sure everyone was doing what they were supposed to be doing." During the second break, about 8, she'd call again to make sure everyone was resting quietly.
"My instructors knew I was checking on my babies," she says. "I kept my phone on silent during class, but if my home number showed up, I quietly excused myself. Lakeland was so good about that."
Hunt is proud of her children — four daughters and three sons who range in age from 13 to 35 — and her seven grandchildren.
"All of my children graduated from high school and went on to college," she says. "Singlehandedly, I raised winners. I am so proud of them."
And Kuecken is proud of Hunt, whose smile and energy have left a lasting impact on Lakeland's Madison Center.
"She makes everyone who works here proud," he says. "She inspires others, she is so genuine and energetic — someone you want to be around. You just know she's a good person with a good heart. We consider it a privilege that she chose Lakeland University as the place to pursue her Master's degree. She is one of those people in this world who stand out."
Adds Bilzing: "One of the many things that make Jackie so special is that she's always open to the perspectives of other people. She'll tell you her story, but then she'll want to hear your story. Her compassion for people is incredible, and will only continue to grow.
"I tell all of our students: this is a field in which you will change people's lives in ways you cannot even imagine. And Jackie certainly will."
Lakeland University now offers post-master's certificates in counseling for any individual who holds a master's degree in counseling from a regionally accredited college or university.
This professional development program is designed for individuals who wish to add to and diversify their counseling skills for different audiences, whether in school counseling, community counseling or higher education counseling.
Individuals who complete the post-graduate certificate in school counseling are eligible to apply for licensure through the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction while individuals complete the post-graduate certificate in community counseling are eligible to apply for licensure through the Department of Safety and Professional Services.
These certificate programs generally require individuals to complete an additional 12 credit hours (four classes) which includes coursework, practicums and internships. Further coursework may be required in some instances. This non-degree program is offered through Lakeland's seven centers.
"Certification programs are time effective and cost effective, and allow individuals to build upon skills they already have," said Deborah Bilzing, director of Lakeland's counseling program. "Certification can open up career opportunities in other specialized areas of professional counseling."
For more information, please contact Deborah Bilzing at (920) 565-1021 x 2119 or
In addition to the standard full-time and part-time classifications for students who have been accepted into the MAC program, there is also a classification for non-degree-seeking students. Registrations for non-degree-seeking students are permitted for students who would like to strengthen an existing major, develop a new area of interest, or complete requirements for a new profession.
This status is reserved for those who, at the time of application for this status, are not pursuing nor have any intention of pursuing a MAC degree at Lakeland University. Non-degree-seeking students who decide to pursue a MAC degree at Lakeland must apply for admission prior to enrolling in more than six credits within the program. Students taking more than six credits with non-degree-seeking status will be denied the opportunity to enter the MAC program at a later date. Students granted non-degree-seeking status are allowed to register for up to 12 credits. Successful enrollment of courses while enrolled as a non-degree-seeking student does not guarantee admission into the program.
Non-degree-seeking student status is available to candidates who possess a bachelor's or higher degree from a regionally accredited institution. A minimum of a 2.75 cumulative undergraduate GPA is required. In order to be considered for non-degree-seeking status, candidates must complete a Graduate Admission Application and are subject to the following unique policies:
Please contact an admissions advisor at one of our seven centers for more information about becoming a non-degree-seeking student, including tuition costs.
Notice for Community Counseling StudentsRecently the Marriage and Family Therapy, Professional Counseling and Social Work Examining Board made significant changes to MPSW 14.01, the Wisconsin statute that oversees anyone applying for a license as a Professional Counselor (LPC). The statute requires anyone applying for a Professional Counselor license in Wisconsin by September 1, 2018 must graduate from a 60-credit Counseling Program — an increase in 12 credits from our current program. Therefore it is safest to say, anyone who graduates from a counseling program after April 2018 must graduate from a 60-credit program.
Over the next two semesters the Lakeland MAC Program will be introducing twelve additional credits (another four required courses) to meet this licensing change. Some of the currently approved courses that have been added to the MAC curriculum to meet the 60 credit requirement are:
Notice for School Counseling StudentsIn addition to Community Counseling moving to 60 credits, beginning in the spring semester 2016 the School Counseling track within the MAC program will be introducing an additional three credit course; Foundations of School Counseling. This course is designed to be taken early in the student's course sequence and includes the role and function of the school counselor including the development, implementation, and evaluation of comprehensive school counseling program, individual and group facilitation skills, classroom management skills, counseling diverse students, coordination with programs inside and outside of the school, referrals, and consultation methods involving parents, educators, and the community. Students will begin working on their school counseling portfolio and be required to view the "Developing your Portfolio" PowerPoint. Students taking this course will find they will be better prepared to be practicum students in school counseling.
Professional school counselors are employed in elementary, middle/junior high, and high schools. Through their leadership, school counselors address all students’ academic, career and personal/social development needs by implementing a comprehensive school counseling program. School counselors provide services to students, parents, school staff and the community. Their major functions include providing direct services to students by delivering school counseling core curriculum (classroom sessions), individual student planning, and responsive services. School counselors also provide referrals for additional assistance, consultation, and collaboration working with parents, teacher other educators, and community organizations.
Students entering the community counseling track intend to focus their work in settings such as community mental health centers, inpatient facilities, vocational or employment counseling agencies, family service agencies, correctional institutions, private practice, or social service agencies. Their work can vary depending on the setting in which they work and the population they serve. Community counselors find themselves working with children, adolescents, adults or families many of whom have multiple issues ranging from mental health disorders and addiction to disability and employment needs.
Students entering the higher education counseling track plan to seek employment in post-secondary settings such as community colleges, technical colleges, public and private colleges, and universities. The foundation of the emphasis in higher education counseling is built on the essential counseling knowledge and skills that promote the success of student affairs professionals. While there are numerous and diverse opportunities in the field of higher education counseling, past MAC graduates have found positions in college and university counseling centers, residence life, admissions, financial aid, career services, academic advising, and special programs such as providing services for culturally diverse and international students on college and university campuses.
Complete one of the following areas of emphasis:
(Prepares students for DPI certification as a PK-12 school counselor)
(Meets Wisconsin state credential requirements for a professional counselor license)
*pending approval by DSPS
The MAC program also offers a number of graduate courses that will help you meet your professional development or continued licensing goals. For more information on registering for a course or courses as a non-degree-seeking student, please contact an admission advisor at a Lakeland location near you.
Before making a decision to apply for the Master of Arts in Counseling (MAC) program there is a lot to think about. Here is a list of frequently asked questions, including answers that we hope will help you make an informed decision. For further information, please feel free to contact a Lakeland University Evening/Weekend/Online admission advisor near you by accessing this website: http://lakeland.edu/Evening-Weekend-and-Online/center-locations.
Lakeland's MAC program is dedicated to preparing students for one of three professional counseling areas: Community Counseling, Higher Education Counseling or School Counseling.
In order to graduate with a master's degree in counseling beginning with the 2016-17 academic year, the Community Counseling program requires 60 credits, the School Counseling program requires 51 credits and the Higher Education Counseling program requires 48 credits.
All MAC courses are 3 credit courses. Students must register for at least 6 credits to qualify for financial aid. To be considered full time, students must register for 9 credits per semester. Most students can complete their degree within 3 years, but a lot depends upon when a student enters the program, which area of emphasis the student decides to pursue and how many courses they are able to take each semester.
MAC courses are offered in each center on a rotating basis in the fall, spring and summer semesters and are designed with the working professional in mind. Most of the MAC courses are 14 weeks in duration except for the summer semester which is a shorter semester. Many of the courses in the MAC program are delivered in a face-to-face format which means these courses are held Monday-Thursday from 6:00 pm-8:30 pm. (end-time may change depending on the length of the specific semester). Some of the MAC face-to-face courses are also approved to be offered in a six-week weekend format and meet on Friday night and Saturday morning. Finally, some courses are offered online and in a BlendEd format. For more information about Lakeland's flexible learning platforms, please check this website: http://lakeland.edu/Evening-Weekend-and-Online/flexibility
Practicums are field experiences that provide the opportunity for graduate students to observe and get a "feel" for how a professional in the student's specialized counseling area performs his or her job responsibilities. Many times during practicum the student is somewhat limited in what tasks the practicum supervisor, practicum instructor and on-site staff feel the student is prepared to handle. In the end, however, all practicum experiences can be different depending upon the placement and the student's prior and current knowledge, skill and disposition for their particular area of counseling. Lastly, the practicum is usually only a couple of hours a week, whereas internships are considered to be full- or half-time placements.
Compared to practicums, internships take on more of a "real job" feel where supervisors encourage students to focus on independent application of their skills and knowledge throughout the placement experience. During internships, supervisors have more of a management role as they oversee students' workload and performance much as an administrator in an actual employment setting would. Internship involves an expansion of task expectations and more of a hands-on involvement with "clients." In addition, the internship instructor is required to observe the intern at least one time during the internship placement to evaluate the student's performance and progress.
Selecting a placement site is one of the most important aspects of the practicum and internship experience. At your practicum and internship site you will be offered a unique opportunity to obtain experience in the type of setting in which you may eventually be employed. Therefore, we believe it is essential that students select sites that are consistent with their professional goals and objectives. Who knows better than you what will work for you and be a good match between you and your on-site supervisor? You will receive guidance and help, if needed, from your advisor.
Students begin looking for and exploring various possible practicum sites between their second and third semester in the program. Students are required to complete about two-thirds of their coursework prior to being approved to register for their practicum.
Finding a suitable internship site can be a lengthy and difficult process, and it is suggested that students begin this process at least one year prior to when they expect to begin their internship. The recommendation is that for a fall internship site, students will need to be networking during the prior fall term in September or October. Internships are the culminating courses within each of the three professional counseling areas.
The current job market for those entering in the field of professional counseling is very promising. The outlook for professional counseling positions continues to increase nationwide at a rate of 26 percent, while school counselors and higher education counselors is increasing at the rate of 12 percent. There are higher needs for professional counselors in all three areas in other parts of the country, so it would be wise to check out the current job market in other states as well.
While most licenses in the state are not guaranteed to be portable, the M.A.C curriculum does prepare our graduates to meet many of the licensure requirements found in many other states in both community and school settings. More information about licensure for community counselors can be found on ACA's website: http://www.counseling.org/docs/licensure/72903_excerpt_for_web.pdf?sfvrsn=2
When you first meet with your MAC advisor, you will be asked to think about one of three counseling areas as your primary focus. Once you have "declared" your primary focus, you are welcome to continue to pursue adding additional areas of emphasis, keeping in mind that you will have to meet all the course requirements found within any additional areas you might consider. In all cases, you are welcome to pursue more than one of the three professional counseling areas.
Yes. Students typically take up to two or three courses during the summer sessions.
Persons applying for admission into the Master of Arts in Counseling program beginning in the 2016-17 academic year must plan to enroll for either the Community Counseling program at 60 credits, the School Counseling program at 51 credits or the Higher Education Counseling program at 48 credits. Persons who desire a Community Counseling degree from Lakeland under the current 48 credits will need to graduate by May 2018.
No. Students who plan to graduate May of 2018 from Lakeland will still be pre-approved to apply for and receive their LPC-IT as long as they apply for their license before 9/1/2018. The Department of Safety and Professional Services will not grant a LPC-IT license for students graduating with 48 credits beginning September 1, 2018.
No. Students approved into the MAC program as of the 2016-17 academic year and beyond are the only students who will be required to graduate under the 51 credit school counseling program. Any re-admit MAC student as of 2016-17 will be required to gradate under the graduation policies that are in place at the time of re-admittance into the MAC program.
No. Once a student falls out of enrollment he/she must re-apply for admission into the MAC program. If approved for re-admission, the student will be required to complete all course requirements listed at the time of re-admission for their area of emphasis.
Students that have enrolled in the MAC Community or School Counseling Emphasis prior to Fall 2016 and have not fallen out of enrollment and do not want to apply for a LPC-IT license will be able to graduate at any point with 48 credits, even if that graduation date falls after September 1, 2018.
All community and school counseling students approved into the MAC program beginning Fall 2016 will have to earn 60 & 51 credits respectively in order to earn a master's in counseling degree from Lakeland University.
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