After working in public health, Maggie Latta-Milord saw a need for social emotional learning and mental health services for young students. This realization shifted Latta-Milord’s career path, and she decided to pursue a career as an elementary school counselor. However, she needed a program that would allow her to work full-time while working toward her degree, and NC State’s online Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Counselor Education program offered just that.
“Balancing work and grad school has been a challenge, but the possibility to work while completing the degree is something that has made a huge difference for myself and for many of my peers in my program,” Latta-Milord said. “With counseling, it becomes difficult to keep your work-life balance in check during the clinical experience phase of the program. But, there are ways to make it work. Once you have completed a certain amount of hours toward your degree, you can qualify for a provisional license. Following my practicum experiences, I applied to several school counseling jobs. In my final year of the program, I have been able to complete my internship hours while being employed full-time as an elementary school counselor with Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools at Forest Park Elementary School.”
Latta-Milord shared how the program has not only given her opportunities to jump start her career as a school counselor, but it has also given her the tools to succeed in her field.
“NC State gave me a foundation that helps me to be self-reflective and a critical thinker, and I build upon that foundation everyday as I consider how best to support my students,” she said. “Even while still being a student, I have been able to begin my career as a school counselor and support young students as they build social emotional skills. I have also been able to pursue clinical licensure which allows me versatility in considering my professional paths and goals in the future.”
Gratitude for Program and Instructors
The program offers three tracks for students: school counseling, college and career counseling and clinical counseling. In this, Latta-Milord said she was inspired by her thoughtful peers who made her proud to be in the counseling field. She also mentioned gratitude for her instructors in the program.
“In an online program, our cohort was juggling a lot of priorities outside of school. What made the biggest difference to me with our professors and teaching assistants was that we were never seen simply as students — but also as real people,” Latta-Milord said. “They acknowledged all that we balance and carry through the program personally, professionally or within our personal environments. I not only believe that made us better students, I think it gave us an example of how to be the best counselors we can be.”
Additionally, Latta-Milord acknowledged the value a degree can bring to your career, if you are willing to put in the work.
“Know that there will be sacrifices to make it to your degree — not only from you, but from the community around you as well,” she said. “With that, consider your professional goals and what doors the degree you are pursuing could open. I would absolutely recommend an online program, because it allows you the opportunity to continue the professional and personal path you are on while you begin to pursue a new one.”
Latta-Milord will be attending the in-person graduation ceremony and looks forward to connecting and celebrating the achievements of her cohort “outside of their Zoom boxes.”
Are you interested in completing your bachelor’s degree or advancing your career with a degree from NC State Online? Visit the program pages and online.ncsu.edu for a full list of degree and certificate programs.