Residency General School Counseling

Master of Science in School Counseling

Residency requirements

Your master’s program requires the completion of two residencies embedded within a 10-week online course. Residency allows you to interact with faculty and fellow students in person, to gather important information to help you through your program and to learn and practice skills in your specialization area.

Taking time from your work and family can be a challenge, but the value you will gain from this experience is significant. In fact, Capella students tell us much of their success is a direct result of the time and effort put into their residency experience.

Residency structure

Each residency is embedded within a 10-week online course that includes self-paced modules, assignments and assessments. During the 10 weeks you will engage with your instructor and peers in online coursework which prepares and supports the in-person residency component. The residency component offers the opportunity for you to apply the clinical knowledge you have developed in your courses to hands on activities during the 5-day in-person residency. Your faculty instructor is there to provide timely feedback and support the development of clinical skills, preparing you for the clinical practice courses.

Your residency experience

You will attend an in-person residency experience which consists of five days of academic activities which include your travel with faculty and other students in your program. While attending in person, you will have opportunities to engage directly with faculty members and your peers in the program.

Residency activities include:

  • Informal presentations
  • Discussions
  • Small and large group exercises
  • Role-playing activities

Special accommodations (e.g., sign language interpreters, mobility assistance, extra time in the courseroom) can be made for students who need additional support.

Residency: your roadmap to success

Residencies are designed in an optimized, sequential format that allows you to augment your online coursework. The residency experiences give you the time to collaborate and build a strong learning community – a factor that can help strengthen and maintain motivation so that you will continue moving toward your degree.

When it comes to your residency requirements, timing is key. Your coursework builds the foundation for your residency and your experience at residencies will keep you on track in your program. Your residency tracks are scheduled so you can create quality work and complete all tasks for each track before moving on to the next one. On time completion of the residency tracks can significantly decrease your time to graduation and overall cost of your degree.

What you’ll learn and when

Track 1  COUN  R5861

Develop and practice fundamental clinical skills that will prepare you to work with students in individual counseling sessions in schools.

After completing COUN5217, COUN5239, COUN5280, and COUN5336

Track 2  COUN  R5863

Enhance the skills you learned in track 1 by incorporating advanced clinical skills and approaches to the practice of individual and group counseling.

After completing COUN5106, COUN5238, COUN5241, COUN5420, and COUN-R5861

Residency competencies

As you advance through the residency tracks, you will gain mastery in each of these critical areas:

Relationship building

Joining with students through use of core facilitative conditions including use of empathy, rapport building, demonstrating positive regard and appropriate non-verbal behaviors and communications.

Assessment and goal setting

Assessing client concerns through appropriate use of questions, interviewing strategies, basic assessment techniques and the effective use of diagnosis strategies. Determining realistic and achievable directions in counseling by co-constructing goals.

Risk assessment and crisis intervention

Practicing skills with crisis-related clinical situations, including suicide assessment and appropriate responses.

Ethical, legal, and cultural relevance

Examining the ethical codes and legal standards of the counseling profession and applying them to real scenarios. Gaining awareness and skills for working with diverse students, parents and staff.

Application of theory

Exploring how theory supports key interventions with clients. Additional focus on group leadership, group facilitation, group planning and group interventions is provided in your second residency course.

Scholarly communication

Identifying and cultivating academic communication skills in verbal and written interactions.

Residency costs and financing

Residency is part of the four-credit course tuition. Included are lab activities as well as continental breakfast, lunch and snack breaks on each full day of the in-person residency experience. You are responsible for airfare, lodging, evening meals and miscellaneous personal expenses.

It is possible to finance your residency using Stafford and GradPLUS loan funds. Capella also accepts all major credit cards and checks. 

Residency locations

Residencies are offered throughout the U.S. at alternating locations each year and are held at hotel conference centers. To reduce travel costs, locations are chosen based upon the number of Capella students in the area. Past locations have included Arlington, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas and Orlando.

While you are free to travel with friends and family, only students can attend sessions and meals. Childcare is not provided.

Ready for the next step?

Learning online doesn't mean going it alone. Help is here. From faculty, coaches, advisors and more. Plus a supportive community of students who are as passionate about their careers as you are about yours.