Residency MS in School Counseling

Master of Science in School Counseling

Residency requirements

Your master’s program requires the completion of two residencies and the corresponding prerequisite (COUN5910 and COUN5911). Residency allows you to interact with fellow students and faculty in person, to gather important information to help you through your program, and to learn and practice basic 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 immeasurable. 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 six-week online course, including self-paced modules, assignments, and assessments. The course opens approximately three weeks prior to the five-day in-person residency, which includes travel days, and finishes two weeks after the residency. The in-person residency experience provides the opportunity to apply the skills learned during pre-requisite courses.

Your residency experience

For each residency requirement, you will complete online components and attend a seven-day in-person residency experience (which includes your travel days) with your faculty and other students in your program. During your residency, you can expect to consult with faculty to receive direction, feedback, and help as well as participate in peer review sessions.

Residency activities include:

  • Presentations
  • Discussions
  • Small and large group exercises
  • Role play and simulation

Learn more about residency

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'll 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

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

After completing COUN5338

Track 2

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 COUN5279

Residency competencies

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

Relationship Building and Theoretically Based Counseling

Build the counseling relationship while you gather information about your client, using empathy, active listening, and basic attending skills. Enhance the counseling relationship through the use of theoretically-based approaches and interventions that facilitate client awareness, growth, and change.

Assessment and Goal Setting

Use questions to help clients tell their story, elicit more information, and determine concerns. Determine realistic and achievable directions in counseling by co-constructing goals with clients.

Risk Assessment and Crisis Intervention

Practice skills in addressing crisis and responding to trauma, including risk for suicide or self-injurious behavior.

Ethical, Legal, and Cultural Relevance

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

Roles of the School Counselor

Explore the varied and complex roles of the school counselor in working with individuals, groups, the school, and community in supporting student success.


Grow personally and professionally by critically reflecting on biases, values, assumptions, and skills.

Scholarly Communication

Use academic and professional language to communicate clearly and effectively in written and verbal 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. Additional costs include airfare, lodging, evening meals, and miscellaneous personal expenses.

With planning, it is possible to finance your residency with Federal financial aid, such as Stafford or Graduate PLUS loans (please note that PLUS loan eligibility is dependent upon a credit check). Capella also accepts all major credit cards and checks. Additionally, Capella has partnered with Delta Air Lines to provide special discounts for Capella events.

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 the number of Capella students in the area. Past locations have included Dallas, Chicago, Atlanta, Orlando, and Arlington.

While you are free to travel with friends and family, only students are able to 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.