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Practicum and Internship Field-Experiences

Please submit your applications for Practicum and Internship through our Blackboard NIU Counseling Program Community.

  • September 15 deadline for Spring internship and practicum applications
  • January 15 deadline for Summer internship applications
  • January 15 deadline for Fall internship and practicum applications
  • 586/786 Internship must be applied for every semester in which you intend to accrue hours
  • Applying for 586/786 Internship in Counseling course enrollment is separate from applying to be a CCTC intern
  • All internship documentation for interns and site supervisors is submitted via Blackboard course

Counseling Practicum

M.S.Ed and Ph.D. Practica in Counseling work takes place in the Community Counseling Training Center (CCTC) in Graham Hall 416, where students, faculty/staff, and community members are able to take advantage of the counseling services offered. The CCTC has multiple counseling rooms, including a group and play therapy room. All sessions are observed for supervision via live and recording observations. Training observations allow practicum counselors the opportunity to observe one another, to provide constructive feedback, and to enhance their own counseling skills.

M.S.Ed. Counseling Practicum (CAHC 550)

First and foremost, it is important for prospective Practicum Counselors to read, in its entirety, the Community Counseling Training Center Handbook attached to the Blackboard NIU Counseling Program Community. The CCTC Handbook includes requirements, policies and procedures for successfully completing counseling practicum in the CCTC.

The required sequences for advancement into CAHC 550 Practicum include the following:

  • Participate in the Pre-Admissions Workshop (P.A.W.)
  • Have completed the following courses with a B or better
    • CAHC 500:Professional Identity and Ethics in Counseling
    • CAHC 501: Diagnosis of Mental Health Issues in Counseling
    • CAHC 511: Career Counseling
    • CAHC 521: Counseling with Children (ONLY required for School Counseling Practicum)
    • CAHC 525: Counseling Skills and Strategies
    • CAHC 530: Counseling Theories and Practices
    • CAHC 533x: Standardized Testing
    • CAHC 540: Group Counseling Theories and Practices
  • Obtain liability insurance through ACA/ASCA/AMHCA or other provider, and provide proof of insurance
  • Complete a Criminal Background Check through the State of Illinois.

The Counseling Faculty make final decisions for advancement into Practicum after mid-term of the semester of application before students’ anticipated practicum semester. Counseling Faculty make all of the final practicum section placements. Once finalized, you will be notified via your student e-mail of your group supervision course section and a permit number for enrollment.

Ph.D. Advanced Counseling Practicum (CAHC 750)

Advanced Practicum in Counseling is an important element of a doctoral student’s development in the Counselor Education and Supervision program. Advanced Practicum is an assessment of the clinical skills of doctoral students prior to approval for internship in counseling. One hundred hours of counseling activities, of which 40 are direct hours, are required. Fifteen of the 40 direct hours may be earned through co-facilitation of master's level counseling groups. Additionally, students participate in weekly individual and group supervision sessions.

Ph.D. students are expected to complete Advanced Practicum during their first semester of their program. Contact cahc_internship@niu.edu for a permit number to enroll.

Counseling Internships

An internship is defined as a supervised learning experience designed to provide a student with the opportunity to implement in an actual work setting the knowledge and theory acquired in the course work. Therefore, the core curriculum and other practical course work must be completed before the internship is started. The internship program at NIU is part of the nationally accredited CACREP program. CACREP regards internship as a distinctly defined, post-practicum supervised clinical experience intended to enable the student to refine and enhance basic counseling or student development skills, and integrate professional knowledge and skills appropriate to the student's specialization and initial post-graduation professional placement.

M.S.Ed. Counseling Internships (CAHC 586)

The nature and placement of the internship is determined by the student's career goals and program of study. Students are expected to identify and do their internship in a setting that is congruent with their program. Because of the diversity of career goals, student characteristics, and the learning experiences of each student, the internship must be individually developed. It is the responsibility of the student to do this in consultation with their adviser, the field-experience coordinator, and the site supervisor. Placement sites must be able to provide the diverse and comprehensive experience needed for a successful internship experience. Counselors in Training should plan six to nine months in advance for applying to potential internship sites. Review the Master's Counseling Internship Handbook for complete outlines of current information and expectations for successfully completion of internship.

Ph.D. Internships (CAHC 786)

Students in the Counselor Education and Supervision program are required to enroll in and complete a minimum of 9 credit-hours of CAHC 786 Internship Seminar. The credit hour minimum is not equated to clock-hours of experience. Internship is planned in consultation with the student's program advisory chair and approved by the internship coordinator. There are minimum experience expectations for doctoral internship, and some experiences have course or related experience hierarchical prerequisites. Review the Ph.D. Internship Handbook for complete outlines of current information and expectations for successfully completion of internship. Internship hours must be completed in the five facets of Counselor Education and Supervision:

  • Counseling: Doctoral students further develop their counseling skills through work with clients in the community and within the NIU student-body in the areas of individual, group, family, and couples counseling, and play therapy. Successful completion of CAHC 750 - Advanced Practicum in Counseling is required.
  • Teaching: Doctoral students are expected to co-teach master-level counseling classes with faculty, with the potential of solo teaching upon faculty approval. This experience provides students training and experience to be successful in teaching master’s counseling students the knowledge and framework of the counseling field. Successful completion CAHC 701 - Professional Seminar in Counselor Education and Development or faculty consent is required.
  • Supervision: Doctoral students amplify their supervision skills through individual, triadic, and group sessions with students in the master’s counseling program by co-leading CAHC 550 - Practicum in Counseling. Successful completion of CAHC 752 - Supervision in Counseling and supervision of CAHC 525 - Basic Counseling Skills are required.
  • Research: Doctoral students are encouraged to participate in research throughout their time in the doctoral program. They will work alongside professors to collaborate on projects, research assignments, and professional presentations and publications. There are no prerequisites.
  • Leadership: Doctoral students are encouraged to become involved in the leadership and support of professional organizations. They are also encouraged to be active members in the Northern Illinois University Counseling Association (NIUCA) and participate in volunteer, social, and educational activities. There are no prerequisites.

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