College of Education and Public Policy

Welcome to the Counselor Education Program at IPFW. This program began in 1979 as a school counselor licensing program. In 1987 the program was enlarged by adding a master’s degree in counseling. The current program features two specialty areas: Couple and Family Counseling and School Counseling.

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Is this a graduate degree program?
Yes, it is a master's degree program. When you graduate, you will have a master's degree in counseling with a specialization in school counseling, couple and family counseling, or student affairs counseling.
Are classes online or in-person?
All of our classes (with rare exceptions) are in-person. We believe counseling is a relational field, and therefore, is best learned interpersonally.
How long does it take to complete the program?
3 years, part-time (typically 2 nights per week).
Can I work in while in the program?
Yes, our program is designed to meet the needs of working professionals. Most of our students work full-time. Classes are in the evenings beginning at 4:30pm. Time management and flexibility is important, particularly in the 3rd year (internship) when you will be spending 15-20 hours a week in a local school or agency, but many of our students continue to work even in the third year.
When does the program start?
The program starts one time per year, in the summer (last week of June or first week of July).
Do I have to declare a specialization?
Yes, when you apply you must specify which track you would like to pursue- school counseling, couple and family counseling, or student affairs counseling. Students do sometimes switch tracks during the program and many students come back to complete classes for the other tracks after they graduate.
What academic preparation must I have?
You must have an earned bachelor's degree by the time the program begins. We take students from all majors and there are no specific class pre-requisites.
What undergraduate GPA must I have?
Students should have an undergraduate GPA of 3.2 or higher for highest consideration. We do realize that undergraduate GPAs do not always reflect a student’s potential- if your GPA is below 3.2, you might consider taking the Graduate Record Examination (GRE; to show that you have the aptitude for graduate level study. Other students choose to take a few additional undergraduate classes to boost their GPAs or take a few graduate classes elsewhere (like an online program) to show capability to succeed in graduate school.
What characteristics do you look for in potential counseling students?
We look for compassionate, open-minded, non-judgmental, hardworking, self-motivated people who are committed to working with diverse populations and who are committed to social justice.  We also seek students who are emotionally stable with appropriate interpersonal boundaries, those who are willing to challenge themselves personally and professionally, and who are able to work effectively both independently and in groups. Strong oral and written communication skills are highly valued. Lastly, we strive to admit students who are passionate about the profession of counseling and who are willing to engage with our student organization and professional counseling associations.
What is a cohort program?
In our program, students take classes in cohorts. This means that the people you start the program with are the people you take every class with throughout your time as a student. This leads to deep relationships between students and is a great opportunity to build your professional network before you even leave graduate school! Many of our students find life-long friends and colleagues during their time in the IPFW Counselor Education Program.
Is there a thesis or exam at the end of the program? 
We do not require a thesis. Students in the school counseling track will need to take the Indiana Licensure Exam upon graduating in order to obtain their license. Students in the Couple and Family Track will need to take the LMFT (Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist) exam and/or the LMHC (Licensed Mental Health Counselor) exam in order to be eligible for the state associate license.
What kind of salary can I expect to make?
This is dependent upon many factors. General information about salary and job outlook for school counselors can be found at: for Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFTs) can be found at: for Mental Health Counselors (LMHCs) can be found at: for Student Affairs Professionals can be found at:
Can I transfer to IPFW’s Counseling Program from another Counseling Program?
If you are interested in transferring from another master’s degree program (online or on-campus), please contact the Program Director, Dr. Fineran at The amount of credit hours that can be transferred into the program is often limited, but we can often accommodate transfer students depending on class availability.
What if I already have a master’s degree? What does it take to become a counselor?
If you have a master’s degree in another filed, you will likely need to complete the whole master’s program for counseling - a few courses may count towards our degree program, but due to accreditation and licensing standards, the counseling curriculum is fairly static. If you have a degree in counseling and wish to pursue another specialization (example: you have a school counseling degree and wish to obtain a mental health license), please set an appointment with the Program Director, Dr. Fineran, at to discuss options.
I want to apply but the deadline has passed. What can I do?
Please send in your application materials anyway. Occasionally, we have spots open up at the last minute or are able to accommodate students in certain classes at other times of the year. If no spots become available, we will hold your application for the next application cycle.
How can I get more information about the program?
Please consider attending one of our program information nights (typically held in October and January) to meet the faculty, talk with current students, and learn about what the program has to offer! Send your name and email address to Program Director, Dr. Fineran, at to be added to our announcement email list. We will send you dates and times for information nights as well as important dates and announcements, such as application deadlines. You can also get lots of information on our website,
How can I apply?
Online applications are coming next year. As of right now, you will need to print in your application materials (found at or contact our department secretary, Dawn Adams, at to have her send you an application packet. You will need to submit an application form, application fee, brief essay, official transcripts from all universities you have attended, and 3 professional letters of recommendation. You may drop your materials off in the office in Neff Hall (240), mail, or fax them. Interviews are usually required and typically take place in December for early admission and in March for regular admission.
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View the Counselor Education Program Philosophy

Photo of Amy Nitza, Ph.D.Dr. Amy Nitza
Associate Professor / Chair of the Department of Professional Studies


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Great things are happening in IPFW's Counselor Education Honor Society.  Learn more through the Chi Eta Sigma Newsletter.

Student Testimonial

I choose IPFW because of the dedication to helping me meet my goals for the future. I felt encouraged that I would not only get a valuable education that would be directly applicable to my future, but I would get vast support throughout the program. The professors have followed through immeasurably by allowing me ample opportunity to participate in research, professional conferences, and a graduate assistantship. I am so grateful to the IPFW staff for the enthusiasm and commitments they have toward helping me meet my future goals!

Heather Reynolds, Counseling Student