Athabasca or Yorkville for Counselling?

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by BlueMason, Mar 21, 2017.

  1. BlueMason

    BlueMason Audaces fortuna juvat

    Would anyone here have any experience with either:

    Athabasca University's Master of Counselling in Counselling Psychology or

    Yorkville University's Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology?

    I am looking for an accredited Counselling degree that won't break the bank. (The province I am in won't accept any Masters degree obtained primarly via online/distance learning, so no sense in going after that to be a Psychologist).

    Both of the aforementioned programmes allow to register as a Certified Canadian Counsellor in order to work in or operate a practice.

    *EDIT: OK, since applications closed for Athabasca for this year, the focus is now on Yorkville...

    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 21, 2017
  2. Stanislav

    Stanislav Well-Known Member

    I used to teach Math for Yorkville for couple of years before washing out due to lack of time. The class struck me as rather well-designed, much better than the equivalent class at Meritus (and I assume University of Phoenix). Academic team at Yorkville seems to know their stuff. Counselling Psychology is their first program, so probably the most stable one.

    Of course, keep in mind that Yorkville is a for-profit, while Athabasca is a public university. Privates are still novelty in many places in Canada, so some bias probably exists. Yorkville is being proactive in opening avenues for certification, so that might help in many contexts.
  3. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

    I think the standard advice in these matters is that it's the license to practice that really counts, not the degree. So with that in mind I'd suggest going with the less expensive alternative (whichever that is). On the other hand, it could be argued that the better program (regardless of cost) will better prepare the students for the licensing exam. So with that in mind you might want to see if the schools provide licensing exam pass rates for their grads.:dunno:
  4. BlueMason

    BlueMason Audaces fortuna juvat

    Thanks for the input!

    - Stanislav: I haven't found anything negative about Yorkville; yes, it is for-profit (but really, which Universities in North America aren't? The tuition at Public Universities is nearly as much) but it is an accredited institution;

    - Kizmet: The licensing is a matter of having a program that meets their criteria for membership - the gold standard in .ca is the "Certified Canadian Counsellor" (CCC), as well as provincial licensing bodies, for which this program (as well as Athabasca, U of Lethbridge) qualify. There is no "less expensive alternative" - at least in .ca, that I have found. I see that there are a few US Universities which offer something similar (MA or MS in Clinical Mental Health Counselling) such as Walden (also for-profit but RA). The "CCC" would accept a degree from the US as long as it's RA and meets other criteria (

    The only hesitation I have about Yorkville at this point is that if I want to pursue a PhD or PsyD, I don't want to be turned away (even though it is a recognized degree granting institution in Canada).

    Well - I just saw that my Alma Matter (FHSU) has a Master of Science in Counseling available online! The cost would likely be less than Yorkville, or equivalent as there are three four-day sessions that would have to be done in person.... interesting... very interesting!
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 21, 2017
  5. CLSeibel

    CLSeibel Member

    One of my neighbours was working on the program through Yorkville. When last I spoke with her about it, she didn't sound especially impressed with her experience.

    Being in northern Alberta, I have had a chance to learn a fair bit about Athabasca. I really like the interesting array of programs they offer. My neighbour across the street (a different neighbour!) teaches for them.
  6. BlueMason

    BlueMason Audaces fortuna juvat

    Update: I started with Yorkville and dropped out after three weeks. I didn't get a good feel from Yorkville and did not enjoy how the first course was structured; after having earned two degrees via DL/online, I had to trust my gut feeling. I am glad I did as I just read that they are increasing tuition - it is definitely a for-profit University and will be my first and last experience with that (and the 3 weeks still ended up costing me nearly $1000! Ripoff extraordinaire!) .

    I enrolled into the University of the Cumberlands' MAPC, majoring in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and am starting my studies at the end of August - the enrolment process felt better (including an interview) and it just has ... well, credibility. I am also thrilled that upon completion of the first masters, taking four more courses will lead to a 2nd Masters in Addictions Counseling! The 'feeling' I get from UC is much more comforting than the apprehension I felt at Yorkville - always listen to your 6th sense... always :)

    @CLSiebel : Your neighbour's experience is quite right.. I also spoke to a couple of grads (while I was enrolled) who did not find the program challenging nor stimulating. After a mere three weeks, I had to concur. At least I got out quite fast and saved myself wasting more money and headaches.
  7. Bruce

    Bruce Moderator Staff Member

    Sorry you had a bad experience at Yorkville, but I'm glad you found a program to your liking!
  8. BlueMason

    BlueMason Audaces fortuna juvat

    haha unless you're working for YU now, no need to apologize :D
  9. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    Yorkville is technically only recognized at the provincial level while Athabasca is a public University recognized at the national level.
    Counseling is tricky as some provinces regulate it while others don't. In Ontario for example, counseling is limited by the psychotherapy regulation so it is very limited what you can do with a degree in counseling. Social workers also can do counseling so their association limits the kind of work you can with a counseling degree and so educational psychologists that control career counseling.
    The CCC thing is technically not a license but just a certification that has little value other than qualifying for insurance rates.
    In few words, for the counseling work that you can do that is not regulated, you don't need a degree, many insurance companies require the degree for insurance purposes.
    I have an unaccredited degree in counseling from a metaphysical american school, I have been a member of several counseling associations and have been able to get insurance with the unaccredited degree.
    In few words, either schools would work to be a counselor but Athabasca would just be seen better if you want to work for an employer. If you want to be self employed, the degree will just tell your customers that you are qualified but you main selling point is a good insurance and references.
    There are many unaccredited schools online that sell training in counseling that can also work to be a member. In the Toronto area, many private companies are licensed to provide recognized training towards psychotherapy licenses.
    My problem with Yorkville is cost, if you want to be a counselor, you can get private training from a local school or online and it would work to be a member of a counseling association at a lower cost but you will not be able to display a diploma that says Masters.
  10. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Not so. Canadian Universities have Provincial Charters -and are recognized nationally. That's the way it's done. And Yorkville has operations in Ontario and BC as well as its native New Brunswick. Only difference I see is that Athabasca is also RA, which is attractive to American students. No Credential Evaluation hoops to jump through.

    That's alarming! Who are these associations?

    What? Licenses for people without "real" degrees in the field - or possibly without any degrees at all?

    Relevant quotes from the Yorkville Site, MA in Counselling page:

    "Yorkville University is a Canadian national university that delivers leading professional degree programs..."

    "Yorkville University is a Canadian university with operations in British Columbia, New Brunswick and Ontario."

    "Completing the program makes you eligible to apply for significant designation opportunities like the CCC, and opens membership prospects with highly regarded national and provincial organizations such as CCPA, CPCA, CRPO, APA, BCACC and NSCCT amongst others."

    The degree also requires a 400-hour supervised practicum:

    ""A practicum consists of 400 hours of practical, applicable and relevant counselling experience in a professional counselling setting. 200 of these hours will be devoted to direct, supervised contact with clients in a clinical environment."

    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 9, 2017
  11. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    The provincial charter does not have to be honored by all provinces. The gold standard is membership in the Association of Canadian Universities below:

    Based on your comments, my guess is that you don't know much about the counseling career in Canada. There are many private schools in Canada that do not offer degrees but yet lead to a counseling designation. You can do your own homework if you want to find out, just in Toronto, there are many that lead not only to a counseling designation but also for a psychotherapy designation.
    A counseling degree is not required to practice in all provinces.

    The main requirement is proof of training and experience, many times under the supervision of a trained counselor. The fact that the school is unaccredited is not the main factor but the training is reviewed by the association in question, if they are convinced that the training is adequate, they let you in or not.

    My guess is that my more than 20 years of experience in career counseling and licensed ministry was the main factor for admission into a counseling association, the unaccredited degree was just a cherry on the cake but I completed about 5 diplomas in counseling during the last 25 years.

    Bottom line, counseling is not a career that has only one entry, as a matter of fact, most counselors come from many backgrounds.

    For the person in question that wants to become a counselor, if you want to work for an employer or government, I would go with Athabasca in order to avoid problems with recognition. Yorkville might be recognized in BC and NF but some picky provinces like Quebec might have a problem with it.

    If you want to be self employed, contact your local association and find out what education is needed to be a counselor. Many times, the required education is only a diploma from a local school that you can be completed during weekends.

    In this forum, there is the idea that you can only become something with a regional or equivalent accredited degree but in practice, there are many routes for a specific profession but you need to do your home work.
  12. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Sure . . . like law, accounting, engineering, medicine, architecture, psychology . . . and . . . er, psychotherapy? :shock: Last I checked, degrees were mandatory for the first six. Accounting was the last to require them, for new practitioners.

    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 10, 2017
  13. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    My guess is that you are under 50. For accounting, CGA did not require a degree until late 90s but only a certificate. For engineering, technologists were given routes for engineering licenses by examination at least in Ontario (I think this is the case still).
    For Psychotherapy, it was mainly unregulated in Ontario and Quebec until few years ago, many practitioners were grandfathered with no degrees but only experience.
    As for medicine, Alternative medicine is mainly not regulated in Quebec so there is no need for a degree to work in this area in this province but you will need it if you want to work in Ontario where is regulated. A 3 year ND is required for the latter.

    Also, university degree designations are mainly unregulated in Canada. There is no regulation that would prevent someone to display an unaccredited PhD in a business card, if there is one, I challenge you to mention it. Only protected titles such as Dr, Lawyer, Engineer, etc are protected by law but not the degree designations. It is up to the employer or person using the services of a graduate to accept the designation or not.

    In the case of Yorkville, it is a bit of a grayarea, as it is not a member of the association of Canadian Universities, it will most likely not be accepted to do a PhD at a school like McGill or UoT, but again, there might be other schools that might accept it so it is a gray area. For some provinces like Quebec where the government jobs are picky, they might not accept it as well. The list might go on but again, as this type of for profit online schools are new in Canada, we are getting into gray areas so it might work for some situations but not for others.
  14. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Not that it's relevant here, but I'm 74. I'm well aware of when degrees became mandatory for new accountants. I was around 50 and in University (not for accounting) when it was happening.

    Psychotherapy IS regulated now. Here are the requirements for entering the 5-year Ontario Psychotherapy and Counselling Program.

    Have an Undergraduate Degree or equivalency (emphasis mine - J)
    • Background in Human Sciences such as: studies in sociology, psychology, human relations or social work; volunteer work in the helping professions; or counseling in the mental health or human services fields.
    • Completed application with three letters of reference
    • Personal interview/information session with Faculty

    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 10, 2017
  15. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Here's what happened to some people who used bogus degrees in Canada. If you put one on your business card, be careful to whom you show it. You can also print your own diploma and hang it in your den, if you like, but try and get a job with it and...

    Well, good for you! We've discussed those "degrees" before. If someone is going to be a counsellor, i.e. attempt to get inside the heads of vulnerable people with serious problems, they need something WAY better than a six-month, $900 "Doctorate" from the Metaphysical Mavens of Mendocino! IIRC, you earned not ONE, but THREE degrees from the metaphysical "school" in six months! Congratulations. I hear it takes most folks a year!

    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 10, 2017
  16. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member


    Johann - speaking of mavens and Mendocino - you are a maven of music and so you might get this - you are more likely to find me listening to Grimes than obscure bands from the 60's but I have a friend who insisted on making me listen to the Sir Douglas Quintet play their hit song Mendocino just the other day. They seemed like pretty hardcore hippie types and it was funny to see/hear the accordion mixed in. Does that ring a bell with you?

    (You will now be returned to your regular program and stuff)
  17. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Does it EVER! It "rings my chimes' as Flip Wilson's "Geraldine" of roughly the same era might say. It's been a lot of years, but sure - I can still hear it in my head, once I tell all the other voices to shut the * up! I LOVED it! One of the writers on SJQ's album "Mendocino" was Delbert McClinton, one of my favourite more-modern blues guys. His 'Road Scholar' (from his own album) still resonates with me:

    "I got a major in rhythm and a minor in soul - and a PhD in the blues... I'm a road scholar..."

    I also heard "Mendocino" recorded by the Texas Tornados, a Tejano band (still active) I listened to. Lots of accordion in that tradition - in fact, the famous San Antonio-born accordionist Flaco Jiménez was part of the band. He had been a big name already, at this time for about 15 years. I remember he played a gig in Toronto and some boorish rock radio announcer said of him "real nice sound, but too bad he isn't going anywhere with it..." WRONG!

    The Texas Tornados lineup included some people from SJQ - including the late Doug Sahm and also Augie Meyers. And don't forget the late, great Freddy Fender!


    PS. I swear this - I was thinking about the song when I came up with the "metaphysical mavens' phrase - because those "schools" (there are a couple) always seem to be somewhere picturesque, like Mendocino or Sonoma.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 11, 2017
  18. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    "Yeah I'm a road scholar, how I love to hear the wheels whine
    Rolling down that old highway..."

    No - not Dr. Levicoff! :smile: Yes, Delbert McClinton sang it, but, as it turns out, it was written by fellow Texan, Lee Roy Parnell. Here they both are, performing "Road Scholar."

    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 11, 2017
  19. BlueMason

    BlueMason Audaces fortuna juvat

    The standard to achieve in order to register as a counsellor with as a Certified Canadian Counsellor is the same as CACREP in the US: One has to have a degree from an accredited University and involves a practicum with a minimum number of hours (typically 400). Those who successfully complete a program from a respected school should be able to register with their state / provincial bodies and practice.
  20. airmanfirst

    airmanfirst New Member

    While we're walking down memory lane: Delbert McClinton wrote what I believe is one of the most underrated classic rock tunes. Yeah, I'm speaking of Bruce Chanel's Hey Baby.


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