What About State Counseling Licensure?
One of the biggest concerns for upcoming counseling students may be whether or not their program meets the minimum standards of their state licensure agency. This can be a valid concern for new masters-level students, since there are numerous for-profit educational programs that promote counseling programs that do not current contain the right type of accreditation to support licensure.
What is the CACREP?
The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) is an accreditation agency that focuses on the need for improvement and innovation in counseling and related fields. This is the leading accreditation organization for educational programs in counseling, so it should be a familiar agency for you if you plan to pursue a degree within this field. Online degree programs that have been accredited by this agency should reflect the CACREP logo on their online program page and also be listed on the CACREP’s approved provider’s list.
Accreditation agencies such as the CACREP may be geared towards consistent reviews of educational programs all over the country. There may be certain qualifications for upcoming programs seeking accreditation, some of which can likely be easily achieved through the creation of a thorough curriculum, qualified instructors, and up-to-date ethical and legal recommendations for upcoming counseling professionals. Take a look at some of the standards that may be reviewed during the accreditation process below.
- Program Faculty and Staff Evaluation
- Core Curriculum Review
- Clinical Practice Requirements – Internship, Practicum, Supervisors
- Student and Program Assessment
- Specialty Areas
CACREP Accredited Counseling Programs
Finding a degree program that contains the right type of accreditation does not have to be a daunting task. Upcoming students that are seeking reliable degree programs can use different methods for achieving this goal. If you currently have a certain university in mind for your program, you can review the degree program’s page on your school’s website. Most degree programs that contain accreditation may list this information on the main page, or through a section pertaining to specific program accreditation. A quicker alternative for finding accredited programs in your area may be through the CACREP’s search tool on the agency’s website.
Visiting the CACREP’s website can lead you into more information concerning the actual process of accreditation, resources for upcoming professionals in the field, and lists of accredited institutions that may be offering online degree programs. In order to make you journey towards the perfect degree program a little easier, our team of educational experts has reviewed the list of accredited degree programs through this website and provided a few examples for you to review below. Check out some of the most popular programs currently available to choose from.
- Bellevue University: Online Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling
- Bradley University: Online Masters in School Counseling
- The College of William and Mary: Online Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling
- Messiah College: Online Masters in Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling
- North Carolina Central University: Online Masters in Career Counseling
- North Carolina State University: Online Masters in Student Affairs and College Counseling
- Thomas University: Online Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling
CACREP Accreditation and Counseling Licensure
The desire to obtain a career in counseling may say a lot about your personality and your drive to help others. In order to meet this goal, there are certain requirements that must be met in order to become licensed to work with clients in the field.
Master’s Degrees in Counseling Are Required
A Masters in Counseling may be the first step towards becoming a licensed counselor. Accreditation comes into play at this stage. Students that are seeking educational programs to take part in should review whether or not their program has received the right type of accreditation and whether or not that program could help you be eligible for licensure after graduation.
Many States Require CACREP-Accredited Degrees
Most states require that students obtain masters-level degrees that have been accredited by the CACREP. When you graduate from a counseling program and have completed your supervised work experience requirement, you may then be responsible for filing your application for licensure.
During this process, you may be required to submit proof of degree acquisition so that your state department can review your achievement in order to deem you eligible for testing. If you want to ensure that your program can help you at this step, you should review your programs page on the school’s website or contact your universities enrollment specialist for more information.
Accreditation can be a complex task that requires effort from both the university seeking accreditation and the accreditation agency. As a student, your concerns with accreditation should be solely in whether or not your chosen degree program has received adequate accreditation and whether or not it can help you in obtaining your licensure. If you might be interested in learning more about what type of information a university must provide in order to become accredited, take a look at some of the frequently asked questions listed beneath this section.
- How is a program reviewed for accreditation?: The CACREP has a specialized method for determining whether or not a program in counseling should be deemed accredited. Universities that may be seeking accreditation can create a comprehensive report of their degree program, provide evidence as to why their program meets the minimum standard, and submit this information to the CACREP for review. The CACREP then reviews the application, assigns an on-site reviewing to visit the location, and awaits results. After an initial visit and review of curriculum and course work on-campus, a reflective report is then sent back to the CACREP for comparison. Review of these final documents can determine whether or not a program can receive accreditation.
- How long does accreditation last?: The CACREP currently accredits university’s degree programs for a period of 8 years. Programs that have applied for accreditation but still require additional information to meet the standards of the 8-year approval can receive a temporary accreditation status for 2 years. During that timeframe, universities are required to provide the additional information in order to remain accredited beyond the 2 year cycle.
- Is accreditation required for licensure?: In the U.S., all states require licensure before providing counseling services to the public. One main requirement for licensure of new counselors is proof of completion of a Masters degree in Counseling that currently holds accreditation with the CACREP. Degree programs that do not have proper accreditation at the time they were acquired may not be accepted during the licensure process.