Small at work
Thanks to her license and education Daryll Small had a job waiting for her upon graduation.
It's a college student's dream to have a job waiting upon graduation, and even better to have the opportunity to choose between multiple offers when that time comes. Daryll Small had that chance last year when she earned her master's degree in clinical counseling, and the only way it was possible was because products of EIU's program graduate as licensed professional counselors (LPCs).
"Mental health care is still a health care field, which means it is held accountable by private insurance companies, by Medicare, and by Medicaid," explained Small, who finished at EIU last year and immediately went to work at Bridgeway, Inc., in Galesburg. "Although the salary of an LPC is paid by the company you work for, the hours you bill through your company are then sent on to these organizations for payment.
"These organizations do not look at educational level; rather, they require that the state must have also signed off on your capability to perform the job that you're doing. When you get a professional license through the state of Illinois, you have essentially earned the right to say that the state, which is a government entity, legitimizes your skills in the profession and has cleared other government entities to pay for your services."
So while Eastern's sterling reputation in this field is definitely important when seeking employment in this field, the licensure is a huge deal. Small says very few companies are willing to hire counselors whose hours will not be reimbursed by insurance providers.
"Oddly, many programs do not offer this," Small continued. "Graduate applicants should be very careful when reading about the various programs out there. Most program descriptions state that they prepare you for the state licensing exams, but not all of them incorporate the licensing exam into the program.
"EIU's clinical counseling program is the only program I looked at that actually prepared students to take the exam early in their second year of training in order to ensure that they would be fully licensed upon graduation. This was one major reason I chose the program.
"Other programs suggest students take the exam following graduation, which means their marketability immediately following graduation is much lower. Every student in my cohort had a job lined up before graduation took place, which is remarkable in this job market."
Small's position at Bridgeway is multifaceted; she spends time conducting outpatient therapy in an office setting, but also finds herself doing "crisis" work in hospital emergency rooms and intensive care units along with a couple days a week counseling youths from a 12-county area at a juvenile detention center.
"It is difficult to put into words how much I love my job and the clients who I am fortunate enough to serve," said Small. "And it is also difficult to express my enormous gratitude to the program and faculty for providing me with the skills and tools which have helped me to be successful in this field."