A new graduate degree in mental health counseling at The University of Texas at El Paso will help prepare licensed professional counselors in Texas.
The Master of Science (M.S.) in Mental Health Counseling was approved by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to begin in the fall 2017 semester.
The 60-hour program is intended for graduate students in the UTEP College of Education who plan to work as licensed professional counselors in community, agency and private practice settings that provide mental health services.
Approximately 40 students are expected to start the program this fall.
Out of Texas’ 254 counties, 207 are designated as Mental Health Professional Shortage Areas.
The M.S. in Mental Health Counseling will replace the Master of Education in Mental Health Counseling degree previously offered at the college.
With the new Bachelor of Science in Rehabilitation Sciences, UTEP is the only university in the region to offer that particular degree, which will prepare students in the College of Health Sciences for a career in the rehabilitation professions.
Thirty students are expected to enroll in the program in the fall 2017 semester.
The program consists of 120 semester credit hours. It will provide students with the course knowledge, attitudes, values and skills to prepare them to meet the challenges of graduate or professional education in four preparation tracks: physical therapy, occupational therapy, rehabilitation counseling and speech-language pathology.
“The newly approved undergraduate degree in rehabilitation sciences will provide students the foundational information in the rehabilitation sciences and the clinical research skills that are necessary to be competitive for acceptance into graduate programs in occupational therapy, physical therapy, rehabilitation counseling and communication sciences and disorders across the United States,” said Anthony P. Salvatore, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Rehabilitation Sciences at UTEP.
Students who complete the program will meet the prerequisite coursework requirements to apply to graduate programs throughout the country, including the rehabilitation health sciences graduate programs at UTEP.
“One goal of this degree is to streamline the application process, keeping applicants from having to delay graduation or take additional courses after graduation to meet the prerequisite requirements of the different graduate programs at UTEP,” said Stephanie Capshaw, OTD, associate dean in the College of Health Sciences. “Additionally, graduates who complete the Bachelor of Science in Rehabilitation Sciences and choose to enter the workforce will encounter numerous and varied career opportunities.”
Employment opportunities for program graduates include support staff or medical and health services managers in medical settings, rehabilitation centers and skilled nursing facilities, and entry- and mid-level management positions in the healthcare industry.
The new programs bring the total number of master’s degrees offered at UTEP to 75.