Student Affairs certificate with a Master's degree in counseling?


10+ Year Member
Jul 2, 2008
First I would like to thank everyone on this forum for your help in the past.

As the tick is ticking for college apps I still sit on the fence in regards to what would be best suited for me. My dream job would be to counsel and advise students at the college level in both academic and mental health problems. I love student orientations and helping students discover themselves. I also love teaching (I taught design courses part time) so I would like to be able to teach basic 101 courses in the future as well.

This has left me thinking that it would be best to get a master's degree in counseling and getting a certificate in student affairs. Below is the student affairs certificate.

Do you feel having both of these would give me the best options in being both a counselor and yet still being able to obtain a job in a university setting?

I personally find the majority of student affair courses through a normal program not to be my cup of tea, they seem to be watered down admin courses/legal for the most part, while I would like to focus on career/new student programs/conflict/grades/courses.

I also posted this in a student affairs forum however I feel it is important to hear from counselors and social workers their thoughts as well. I also like the freedom as a counselor to be able to work in a variety of settings and with different types of problems people might have.

Many thanks.


10+ Year Member
Apr 14, 2008
I have 4 friends who work in student affairs now @ pretty big schools and they all have masters degrees in student affairs. As for working in counseling centers, those seem to be pretty competitive positions. Basic mental health needs would be addressed by student affairs case managers in the dean of students arena but then referred to the counseling center.

Is that making any sense? Ok, I'm sleepy, ha. I woke up way too early today to try and find a new apt.

I think the watered down stuff must be at least somewhat important since that degree is the standard for those types of positions in higher ed. I'm sorry I can't offer more information. All I can say is that I don't know a single social worker who works in a student affairs position (but I don't know every social worker in the world, or even close, so that's not necessarily a representative sample).

As for professional counselors w/student affairs, I'd guess that'd be good enough for some positions... like the case management student stuff or career counseling or admissions... but I don't know about the more administration positions like assistant deans, etc.

I feel your pain though...With a friend, I just looked over the doctoral coursework for student affairs @ UGA just last week... it didn't look interesting to me in the LEAST! ha.

good luck, I bet it's a fun career to pursue!!!!


10+ Year Member
Jan 13, 2009
Other Health Professions Student
There are some counseling master's programs that have student development in higher education tracks, such as the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. This may be the route you want to pursue. For what you're interested in doing, I think a counseling degree is your best bet! Student affairs/higher education administration programs are relatively new, and the majority of student affairs professionals often have counseling degrees, particularly in areas such as career services, advising, multicultural affairs, service learning, etc....

I'm currently in the student development in higher education track at UNCG, so if you'd like to learn more about it, feel free to send me a PM!


10+ Year Member
Jan 15, 2009
I agree - check out MS in Counseling programs with a Student Development emphasis. This will allow you to gain the counseling/therapy instruction and practice as well as higher ed admin and student affairs work.

If you're willing to relocate, California State University has a few really good programs - CSU Long Beach is one of the more competitive ones.

PM me if you want more info!
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