Cheapest CACREP-Accredited Programs Online

Are you looking to attend an online program to become a professional counselor? Perhaps you're researching different types of mental health degrees and came across CACREP's graduate-level counseling programs. Either way, it can be challenging to find trustworthy information on all aspects of counseling education with so many resources available on the web.

But if you have decided on what program to take, it is best to go for one that is CACREP-accredited. The Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) is the top accrediting board for graduate-level counseling degrees. While CACREP is not the only accrediting organization for online counseling degrees in the United States, we are the most comprehensive resource for you as you explore the different types of counseling degrees and careers.

This article guides you through the cheapest online counseling programs CACREP-accredited, why CACREP accreditation is important, some tips for funding a CACREP-accredited degree, the benefits of graduating from a CACREP-accredited program, and how schools become CACREP-accredited.

Please note that CACREP-accredited counseling programs currently encompass master's and doctoral programs only.

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Why Is CACREP Accreditation Important? 

Competency in counseling is demonstrated through knowledge, skills, and professional values. Furthermore, counselors must take an online counseling program that is regionally accredited to be eligible for ranking.

In most states, earning a Master's in Counseling is the first step toward becoming a licensed counselor. On top of that, these states require that students obtain master's-level degrees that CACREP accredits. This standard and preference for CACREP-accredited programs solidifies CACREP as the premier accreditation board for counseling degrees.

Even though CACREP is not the sole accrediting body for counseling degrees, CACREP accreditation ensures the professional standard that applies to all counselor programs. CACREP-accredited counseling degrees have similar program substance, classes, research, techniques, and processes. Employers know what can be expected from graduates who finished a CACREP-accredited program.

Cheapest CACREP Accredited Online Programs 

As you may already know, graduate degrees — even those under mental health and counseling programs — do not come cheap. Nevertheless, it is important to find a CACREP-accredited online graduate program that is worthwhile and fits your budget.

Some students may want to pursue graduate education the traditional way. That is, attending on-campus programs with lectures and discussions face-to-face. But with the COVID-19 pandemic not entirely over, opting for an online program will be more low-cost. Taking a graduate counseling program online will cut back expenses on meals and transportation and give you the flexibility to manage your time wherever you are.

With our wide range of CACREP-accredited counseling programs to choose from, we are confident you will find one that is both affordable and valuable for your career goals.

Consider a Featured Online Counseling Program

☰ For detailed degree information, view the guides to:
Online CACREP Accredited programs | Online MPCAC Accredited programs

Tips for Funding a CACREP Accredited Degree

Now that you understand the importance of choosing a CACREP-accredited program and have browsed the cheapest CACREP-accredited online counseling programs, the next step is funding.

Considering funding options while looking at the cheapest CACREP-accredited online programs will help you decide which is best for you. Finding the money for a counseling degree is hard, but it doesn't have to be impossible.

You can fund your way to a CACREP-accredited degree in two ways:


Scholarships are financial aids that are usually based on merit, such as exemplary academic, athletic, or creative achievement. It usually covers partial or full funding to students, typically sponsored by corporations, universities or colleges, non-government organizations, private foundations, philanthropists, and other organizations with certain backgrounds or passions.

The National Board for Certified Counselors Foundation (NBCCF) recognizes that supporting counselors in training is integral to their organization's mission. The Foundation offers the following scholarships to "increase the number of counselors committed to helping priority underserved communities":

  • Rural Scholarship
  • Military Scholarship
  • Dr. Nicholas Vacc Scholarship (Doctoral)


Like scholarships, grants are also awarded by individuals or groups that support certain causes and interests. However, grants are awarded based on the student's financial need and are usually sponsored by the federal government, state colleges and universities, and non-profit organizations.

Changing the face of counseling, the NBCC has helped increase diversity in the counseling profession since 2012 with the Minority Fellowship Program (MFP). 

What are the Benefits of Graduating from a CACREP Accredited Program? 

You can look at the benefits of graduating from a CACREP-accredited program from two points of view: as a student and as a program administrator.

As a student, a CACREP accreditation certifies that your program’s content and quality have been assessed and satisfy industry standards. You can be sure that the program is reliable on a professional and financial level and that the necessary knowledge and skill areas are covered.

Accreditation in the United States is a unique peer review system of quality assurance. So when a counseling program conducts self-assessment, it shows that the program’s administrators have clearly defined the program’s objectives and thought about the strategies they are employing to achieve them. Prospective students, employers, and other educators can access the mission statement, goals, and objectives. With this information accessible to the general public, the program shows that it wants to be held responsible for its educational activities and helps prospective students choose the best counselor education program.

How Do Schools Become CACREP Accredited? 

Institutional and specialized accreditation are both available in the United States. Institutional accreditation considers the entire organization. Inside such institutions, professional preparation programs are examined by specialized accreditors like CACREP.

To become accredited, CACREP requires a counselor education program to “fulfill certain requirements or standards regarding institutional settings, program mission, and objectives, program content, practicum experiences, student selection, advising, faculty qualifications and workload, program governance, instructional support, and self-evaluation.” 

It is also important to remember that CACREP accredits the degree-specific program and not the department or college it is housed.


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Still Looking for a Counseling Degree?

Here are some of the most popular online counseling programs. On each page you will find a detailed write-up of the program, specific courses, and schools that offer that program that are currently accepting applicants.

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