The Counseling Externship Training Program at the Counseling Center is designed to be flexible enough to allow externship students the opportunity to sample from a variety of activities to meet their unique training needs. Externs work with their individual supervisors and the Coordinators of Training to design a training program which best suits their training needs and which still meets the needs of the Counseling Center. The choices clinicians in training make are included as part of their Training Agreement.


Students wishing to complete an externship at the Counseling Center must be advanced graduate students in a CACREP accredited Clinical Mental Health Counseling program, must have successfully completed their practicum experience and comprehensive examination and have the approval of the Counseling Program and externship Coordinators. Externs are expected to obtain their own professional liability insurance prior to the start of the externship experience. To avoid ethical issues that may occur when the Counseling Center staff relate to an individual in a role other than as client, all current and former Counseling Center clients will be excluded from training and employment opportunities at the Counseling Center.


Counseling externship students work 25-30 hours per week for the academic year and must complete a total of 900 hours over the course of the externship year; 240 hours of the total must be in direct service activities. Externs are expected to abide by the established policies and procedures of the Counseling Center and the ethical standards of the counseling profession. Externs also are expected to participate in a two-week long orientation to the Counseling Center and the externship prior to the start of the start of the academic year.

Externs from the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Ed. S. program at JMU are paid a graduate assistant stipend by the University for their service during the academic year. They also receive a tuition waiver for a total of 18 hours of academic credit. Unpaid 600 hour externships may be available to graduate students from other CACREP accredited programs depending on space and the availability of supervision.

Typical Direct Service Activities
  • Individual counseling, 9-12 clients per week
  • Intake assessment, 2 hours per week
  • Group counseling, 1.5 hours per week
  • Educational skills programming, 1 hour per week
  • Psychoeducational outreach programming, .25 hour per week
  • Consultation, .5 hour per week
  • Emergency Coverage (spring semester), 2 hours per week
  • After-hours Emergency Coverage (spring semester) – 1 week
Training Activities
  • Individual supervision, 1-2 hours per week
  • Groups Supervision, .25 hours per week
  • Intake/Crisis Meeting, 1.25 hours per week
  • Case Conference/Treatment Team, 1 hour per week
  • Psychiatric Consultation, .25 hours per week
  • Optional Training Seminars, .25 hours per week
Administrative Activities
  • Staff meeting, 1 hour per week
  • Case management, variable
Learning Objectives

Students completing a Clinical Mental Health Counseling externship at the Counseling Center will acquire the following knowledge, skills and experiences. Externs will:

  • develop skill in operational/agency factors related to work in a university counseling center
  • enhance individual counseling skills and knowledge
  • develop skill in intake assessment
  • acquire group co-facilitation skills
  • gain knowledge and skill in crisis intervention
  • improve psychoeducational programming skills
  • demonstrate professional and ethical behavior
  • develop skill in engaging in the supervision process
  • enhance personal qualities relevant to effective counseling practice

Application materials must be received at the Counseling Center by February 1st.

Application Process
  1. Submit the following application materials before the stated deadline:
    1. Cover letter stating interest in the Counseling Center as an externship site and how it relates to short- and long-term career goals
    2. Current resume
    3. Names and phone numbers of two references, at least one of whom must be familiar with your clinical skills
    4. Written clinical work sample using this template (Case Conference Form)
  2. Selected candidates will be scheduled for interviews in early February.
  3. Position offers will be made in mid to late February.

Questions about counseling externship experiences at the Counseling Center should be directed to Nina Critz, LPC ( or Wendy Gerlach, LPC (, Co-Coordinators of Counselor Training, Counseling Center, MSC 0801, 540-568-6552

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