Professional, Ethical, and Legal Issues in School Counseling – COSC 501

CG • Section 8WK • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020 • Modified 07/28/2020

Course Description

This course introduces students to the professional functioning of counselors with an emphasis on school counselors in relation to other human services and education professionals, including history, professional identity, roles, professional organizations, ethics, legalities, standards, and credentialing. Current issues, trends, and best practices in a variety of professional counseling settings are explored with an emphasis on the specialty of professional school counseling.




Developing excellence in the field of professional counseling requires a thorough understanding of current professional, ethical, and legal issues related to counselor functioning in a variety of settings. A focus on learning how to systematically evaluate ethical issues from both a biblical and clinical perspective is critical and will enable the student to develop a solid foundation for facing the complex and challenging ethical issues that await in the field of counseling.


Measurable Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Describe the main ethical and legal issues involved in professional counseling.
  2. Compare and contrast the relevant ethics codes of professional organizations and credentialing bodies.
  3. Differentiate the counselor’s roles and responsibilities as a member of an interdisciplinary emergency management response team in a variety of settings.
  4. Identify the role of the counselor in advocating for the profession and in addressing institutional and social barriers that hinder clients’ access to mental health care.
  5. Apply the counseling and state board ethics codes to common clinical situations.
  6. Identify signs of counselor impairment while developing a personal plan of counselor wellness.
  7. Identify models and ethics of counseling supervision.
  8. Identify ethical methods of spiritual integration within the counseling setting.


Course Assignment

Textbook readings, lecture presentations, and websites

Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in Module/Week 1.

Discussion Board Forums (5)

Discussion boards are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the student will create a thread in response to the provided prompt for each forum. Each thread must be 350–400 words and demonstrate course-related knowledge. The assertions for each thread must be supported with at least 1 scholarly source cited in current APA format. Acceptable scholarly sources include textbooks or professional journals. In addition to the thread, the student will reply to at least 1 classmate’s thread. Each reply must be 200–250 words. (MLO: A, B, C, D, F, H).

Ethical Vignette Papers (2)

The student will view the Ethical Vignettes segments that discuss relevant topics to the counseling field. After watching the presentations in the assigned modules/weeks, the student will write a 2–4-page response paper. The paper must include at least 2 references and be in current APA format. (MLO: A, B, E).


The student will review the ACA Ethical Decision-Making Model and apply this to a case. The paper must be 6–9 pages, be in current APA format, and include at least 2 references. (MLO: B, C, E, H). This paper MUST be submitted to Livetext.

Quizzes (8)

The student will complete 8 quizzes during this course (one in each module/week). Each quiz covers content directly from the assigned module/week’s reading assignments. The student will have 1 hour to select the best answer for 20 multiple-choice questions. Each quiz is open-book/open-notes. Each quiz may only be taken once. (MLO: A, C, D, F, G).


The student will submit evidence of purchasing criminal background check.

Verification of Orientation Completion

The student will submit evidence that verifies completion of orientation (Gate 2).