Date of Award

Summer 2008

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Counseling and Human Services



Committee Director

Theodore P. Remley, Jr.

Committee Member

Danica G. Hays

Committee Member

Dana Burnett

Committee Member

Ed Neukrug


This study examined the professional identity of master's level students enrolled in a CACREP accredited training program. Professional identity was assessed through two instruments: the Beliefs about Counseling Scale and the Professional Identity and Engagement Scale which was developed for this study. The constructs of professional identity represented in the scales included belief in the acquisition of licensure and credentialing, the distinctiveness of professional counseling among other mental health professionals, pride in the counseling profession, agreement with the counseling philosophy, and behaviors exhibiting professional engagement.

Participants were 1,011 students enrolled in 79 CACREP accredited master's level training programs. The student participants provided demographic information used for this study. Information on student level (beginning, intermediate, or advanced), enrollment status (full-time or part-time), years of paid professional counseling-related experience, and whether a student was attending a program that also offered a doctoral program or was in a master's only program was gathered.

Results indicated a strong agreement with the counseling philosophy and a presence of professional engagement behaviors. Additionally, participants expressed a high degree of agreement with the other criteria represented in the Beliefs about Counseling Scale. Further findings revealed that some of the conceptualized components of professional identity were being uniformly presented across the counseling training programs.