Master’s in counseling comes to the Visalia Center

The FPU Marriage, Family and Children’s Counseling program is coming to Visalia in fall 2012—and the opportunities are wide open. “I’m excited,” said program director David Rose. “We’re going to do it well.”

“There has been a long history of demand for counseling the way we do it—Christ-centered—in the South Valley,” Rose said. Students from Visalia to Bakersfield already attend MFCC classes on the Fresno main campus, and the region has a shortage of mental health professionals. 

In addition, several area agencies already offer FPU students the practica and internships required for state licensing and are ready to do more, Rose said. (Students must serve a total of 3,000 supervised hours; the practicum comes before graduation and takes care of 300-400 hours. The balance is served after graduation in the internship.) “There are a lot of reasons to open a program in Visalia,” he added.

MFCC is part of the university seminary, and the first seminary program to be offered at one of FPU’s regional centers. (In addition to Visalia, there are centers in North Fresno, Bakersfield and Merced.)

The first group of 10-15 students should start in August and one each year after that. Students wishing to finish the 65-unit program in 33 months, the shortest time possible, attend class two nights per week and take one or two weekend courses per semester as well as occasional online classes. Part-time options are also available.

Costs and financial aid are the same as at the Fresno program. Visalia students can take Fresno courses, and vice versa, whatever best meets their schedules. “It is designed to interface well with our current program,” said Andy Johnson, director of seminary admissions.

A full-time program director will be located at the Visalia Center to advise students and teach some courses. Faculty will be a mix of those teaching in Fresno and Visalia-area professionals. “We’re able to be very particular about who our adjuncts are,” Rose said.

Students will come from everywhere: right out of college, beginning a second, or third, career and from many cultural and economic backgrounds. “We don’t have a typical student,” Rose said.

Successful MFCC candidates do share:

  •  A commitment to become an excellent counselor. “If you’re going to counsel in Christ’s name, you’d better do it well,” Rose said.
  • A commitment to a Christ-centered education. “We integrate Jesus into our whole curriculum. He’s not just a unit on top,” he said.
  • A sense of calling. “That’s why people come here—they’re coming to serve Christ, not just have a career,” he said.

What can MFCC grads do? In addition to being therapists, alumni are ordained ministers in a variety of denominations, psychologists, researchers, writers, teachers/professors and agency administrators.