Counseling and Human Services
The Department of Counseling and Human Services of East Tennessee State University prepares culturally responsive, competent, ethical, self-reflective, and caring counseling and human services professionals committed to improving the human condition and affirm the unique intersectional identities of the individuals they serve through supportive wellness, counseling, advocacy, leadership, and educational services. In addition, we seek improvement in accessibility, accountability, and coordination of services for all. Each of our degree and service programs provides students with the skills, knowledge, and awareness to succeed in their chosen field.The Department of Counseling and Human Services, and the program within, do not condone or engage in discrimination based on age, color, culture, disability, ethnic group, gender, gender identity, religion, sexual/affectional identity, marital status, veteran status, or socioeconomic status. See our Mission, Purpose, and Goals statements.Specific opportunities and curricular/extracurricular requirements are listed under the respective programs. Each of our programs incorporates clinical or service opportunities, such as practicums, internships, or other field placements congruent with program standards and the professional goals of students.This is an exciting time for us. We continue to have new initiatives as well as review current offerings to assure we are offering quality programs and services to our students, the Clemmer College, ETSU, and our community. Our continued educational goals include a trauma-informed and anti-racist approach to education for counseling, human services, and leadership professions. We hope you find what you are looking for on our site. Please contact us for more information!
The undergraduate program in Human Services leads to the Bachelor of Science (B.S.) and is designed to provide a human, social, and behavioral science background for persons to work in a variety of settings for a broad range of organizations dedicated to helping others transition through their developmental and contextual issues and processes.
We offer three minors that are complementary to a variety of majors: Human Development and Learning, Family Studies, and Trauma and Resilience The HDAL minor is designed to provide students with a solid knowledge base in human development through the life span. The Family Studies minor offers students a theoretical and practical understanding of the family as a social institution and a vital social system.
Our brand new Child Life concentration is now available to Human Services undergradate students as well! This concentration will help you understand the developmental impact of illness and injury and the potentially traumatic events that can impact a patient’s ability to cope and provide tools to reduce fear, anxiety, and pain in hopes of improving the overall experience of patients and their families.
The M.S. degree in Individual, Family, and Community Sciences enhances the capability of human service professionals to implement key services competently while addressing a variety of client needs throughout their life stages. Graduate preparation maximizes the academic and professional growth of students seeking additional qualifications to advance in their careers.
Both programs are available fully online or on-ground and in person.
The Counseling Program prepares highly skilled practitioners to work in a wide range of professional settings. Our Master's of Arts degree in Counseling has two CACREP accredited concentrations:
This degree is only offered on-ground and in-person on the Johnson City campus.
The Graduate Certificate in Community Leadership provides key leadership skills and credentials for those working in any field including government, civic, healthcare, nonprofit, education, financial, small business. The certificate is especially designed for those who are in or seeking to become a director, team leader, or community organizer.
The Graduate Certificate in Nature-based Therapy critically examines a wide array of nature-based therapeutic contexts and perspectives. In addition, the certificate develops skills relevant to individual and community healing, development, and wellness, including practical skills for programming logistics, implementation, administration, and risk management. Additional topics covered throughout the certificate include ecopsychology, ecotherapy, Leave No Trace (LNT) philosophy, land stewardship practices, common US nature-based program models, multicultural perspectives in nature-based therapeutics, and outdoor behavioral healthcare.
Site Supervisor Spotlight - Amanda Ward and Ashlee Simerly
During the Fall 2022 semester, we are shining a spotlight on two site supervisors who partner with the ETSU Human Services Program – Amanda Ward and Ashlee Simerly. As Certified Child Life Specialists at Niswonger Children’s Hospital, both Amanda and Ashlee have willingly supervised the fieldwork of ETSU students interested in pursuing a career in child life.
Amanda and Ashlee go above and beyond by providing an array of meaningful learning opportunities to ETSU students preparing for a career in child life. Some of these opportunities include observing and assisting Certified Child Life Specialists with the delivery of therapeutic activities to patients in the pediatric emergency room, through the St. Jude’s affiliate, on the PEDS floor, and in the PICU. Students are invited to attend team meetings and are provided a binder with activities to help them prepare for the Child life Professional Certification Examination after graduation.
Amanda has since left the Child Life Department for another opportunity within Ballad Health, but her previous service as a site supervisor continues to be recognized among faculty, staff, and students in the ETSU Human Services Program. In response to this recognition, Amanda stated, “It is an absolute honor to receive this recognition! Child Life will always hold a huge piece of my heart and will always remain a big part of my personal story. I feel a bit undeserving because it is simply second nature to want to provide educational opportunities to those that are interested in the field. It’s what we do! But please accept my greatest appreciation. Thank you for taking time to recognize us in such a special way."
Ashlee continues to provide exceptional service as a site supervisor, and we are very excited to continue working with her for, what we hope will be, many years to come. In response to this recognition, Ashlee stated, “Thank you so much for this recognition, it is such an honor! I have only been serving in this role for a short time, but it has been a joy to help students better understand Child Life and become involved in a hospital setting. I truly love my job and enjoy providing this type of opportunity.”
Thank you, Amanda and Ashlee, for partnering with the ETSU Human Services Program as site supervisors. We are grateful for the services you and your team provide patients and their families and for your willingness to foster the growth and development of students interested in the child life profession. Click here to learn more about the Child Life Services provided at Niswonger Children’s Hospital.
Field Site Spotlight - Child Life Dept at East Tennessee's Children's Hospital in Knoxvile
During the Fall 2022 semester, we are shining a spotlight on one of the field sites where human services graduate and undergraduate students complete field experience hours – The Child Life Department at the East Tennessee Children’s Hospital in Knoxville. The East Tennessee Children’s Hospital Child Life Department partners with the ETSU Human Services Program to provide field experience opportunities to students preparing to become child life specialists.
The East Tennessee Children’s Hospital Child Life Department started in 1978 as the first program of its kind in Tennessee, predating the Association of Child Life Professionals, the governing body of the child life field. Since then, a growing team of Certified Child Life Specialists have helped young patients develop ways to cope with the anxiety, fear, and separation that often accompany a hospital experience. These trained professionals cover all inpatient units, the emergency department, outpatient clinics, outpatient surgery, and the radiology department of the hospital.
In addition to the work done within the hospital, child life staff and students offer a program to the kindergarten classes in Knox County Schools. The program is called “Hello Hospital” and provides hands-on play with medical equipment and a fun video explaining a visit to East Tennessee Children’s Hospital. The goal is to reduce fears and anxiety related to a hospital visit.
To the amazing Child Life Team at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital, thank you for partnering with the ETSU Human Services Program as a field site for students interested in the child life profession, and thank you for the invaluable services you provide patients and their families.
To learn more about the East Tennessee Children’s Hospital Child Life Services, click here.