Loyola University Maryland
February 14, 2017
Bradley Erford, Ph.D., professor of school counseling in the education specialties department at Loyola University Maryland’s School of Education, has been awarded a Fulbright Senior Specialist Program grant to develop a master’s program in clinical mental health counseling at MEF University in Istanbul, Turkey.
The English-speaking graduate program will be Turkey’s first in the clinical mental health counseling discipline and the first graduate program of any kind at MEF, which opened in 2014. Over the course of a six-week stay in early 2017, Erford is leading a collaborative effort among MEF faculty and university leadership to create a curriculum and apply for approval from Turkey’s Ministry of National Education.
“Organizations in Turkey looking to hire counselors are very hungry for candidates with a graduate degree,” said Erford. “These students will have a tremendous advantage in the job market.”
Turkey currently has no licensure process or certification for mental health practitioners, but that doesn’t mean aspiring counselors will find success with only an undergraduate degree. Schools and other large institutions require graduate training, and clients accessing care through a private practice are far more likely to choose a counselor who has a professional degree.
MEF students are eager to enhance their career prospects through education. When Erford conducted a needs assessment, 100 percent of undergraduate counseling students surveyed indicated they intended to pursue a master’s degree in counseling.
“There’s a strong market demand for an English-speaking master’s,” said Erford. “MEF undergraduate counseling students were delighted when they learned that was the purpose of my Fulbright trip. They said, ‘Sign us up.’”