By Erica Guevara
Our Lady of the Lake University is ranked No. 19 among the top online colleges for school counseling by https://www.guidetoonlineschools.com.
SAN ANTONIO, TX- OLLU offers a completely online formatted degree for a Master’s degree of education in school counseling. This program is designed to enable students to become an effective and influential school counselor or more at the primary and secondary levels. According to the website the rankings were based off of tuition rates and salary potential. These factors helped determine the schools that were offering the best value for their students.
Jennifer Vega, future M.Ed School Counselor, from El Paso, Texas is currently enrolled in the program. Vega said, “It is great! The pros are that I can make my own study hours and I can take courses where I want without having to relocate my family. Also, I am able to get my degree from OLLU and skip the weekly commute, like some other colleges. Another pro is that I am only an exam and internship away from being a licensed practicing counselor after finishing the program for school counseling.”
Our Lady of the Lake University offers three specializations for their online Master of arts in counseling program. Vega found the OLLU program through online research; “[looking] up every program in Texas that had online courses in school counseling or LPC.”
The first specialization is School Counseling, which requires 48 credits. This specialization, according to the OLLU website, “helps students of all ages get the most out of their education by assessing and finding solutions to common behavioral and learning problems, promoting psychological health, and implementing effective career development planning.”
The second specialization is Clinical Mental Health Counseling, which requires 60 credits. According to the OLLU website, this specialization seeks out to “become a clinical mental health counselor and support clients of all ages and cultures as they overcome their emotional health challenges. [Students will be] prepared to work in government and non-government facilities, private practice, inpatient or outpatient agencies, and community organizations”.
The third specialization is Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling, which also requires 60 credits. This specialization according to the OLLU website, seeks to “improve the lives of vulnerable populations such as the elderly, veterans, those suffering from chronic illness and disability, and recovering addicts. [Students will] gain the skills to help connect them with employment opportunities and more”.
With the program being online Vega is able to balance her life with schoolwork. “‘The counselors only enroll you in two classes per semester, so it is not too stressful. As for classes, the program is 100% online, it is all about me making time,” Vega said. “I am able to work on things at any time and that makes it easier to balance my work, home, and school responsibilities. The faculty and staff are very supportive as well. They make sure to check in with you and are so helpful. I cannot imagine what it is like on campus because it is amazing online. These professors must be saints!”
The OLLU website also states: “No matter which specialization you choose, you’ll graduate ready to apply for certification and prepared to care for the people who need you most. All three specializations include practicum and internship requirements, ensuring you learn in real-world settings.”