CACREP vs MPCAC: What’s the Difference?

To practice as a counselor, it’s important to seek formal training from a reputable, properly accredited program. In this guide, our team has pulled information from some of the leading accreditation agencies for counseling and psychology degree programs. You can learn more about how each of these agencies has contributed to the betterment of college programs, as well as what you should look for when making your choice between different institutions.

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To sum it up, here is a quick overview:

  • CACREP: The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs, the premier accrediting body specializing in counseling, accredits master’s and doctoral programs in counseling. View Online CACREP accredited counseling degrees.
  • MPCAC: The Master’s in Psychology and Counseling Accreditation Council focuses on accrediting mostly psychology focused or counseling psychology programs. View MPCAC accredited counseling programs.

Take a closer look at some of the key distinctions between MPCAC vs. CACREP accreditation.

What Is the Difference Between MPCAC and CACREP Accreditation?

Counseling and psychology degree programs in the U.S. can lead you into careers that are involved with intensive planning and improvement for clients with different needs. The road to becoming an expert in either of these fields first begins with official training through online or traditional degree programs in each field.

With interest in the online learning environment on a consistent rise, students are regularly reviewing the quality of these programs in comparison to the traditional learning options. Agencies that were developed in an effort to ensure quality for all enrolled students can lend a helping hand in making sure that students obtain an education that aligns with their investment. To understand the role of these agencies, it may be helpful to take a closer look at the pros and cons of MPCAC vs. CACREP programs.

What Is the CACREP?

The most popular and most frequently utilized accreditation in the field of counseling is the CACREP.

The CACREP currently accredits master’s and doctoral degrees in counseling. Some universities have accredited degree specializations in counseling supervision and education, school counseling, marriage and family counseling, and career counseling.

Beginning in the 1960s, this organization has grown into one of the most prominent providers of accredited traditional and online counseling programs in the U.S. As you search through colleges for degrees in the field of counseling, you should definitely search for this agency’s logo on your major page.

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

What Is the MPCAC?

On the other end of the accreditation spectrum, the MPCAC was developed in the 2010s through a combination of different accreditation agencies in counseling, education, and psychology. This organization focuses on providing reputable degree programs in the field of psychology since agencies like the CACREP and the American Psychological Association (APA) do not accredit master’s in psychology programs.

The goal of this organization is to provide psychology students with a set of standards for master’s-level programs so that they can move into career fields that include licensure. While this organization is seeking to reach each state for licensing purposes, students should research the license requirements of their fields prior to choosing a program with this type of accreditation.

Some of the most common degree programs accredited by the MPCAC are master’s in psychology, master’s in counseling psychology, master’s in clinical mental health, and master’s in counseling and counselor education. If you would like to pursue a psychology-based major, consider programs that are listed as accredited on the MPCAC website.

Pros and Cons of MPCAC vs. CACREP Programs

Accreditation on its own can be a very attractive attribute for upcoming students interested in engaging in a reliable and reviewed curriculum. While each of these accreditation agencies can provide dense benefits for learners within their respective fields, each has shortcomings that could influence your ability to benefit from them.

Our team encourages you to research and comprehend what each agency provides, as well as weigh these benefits against the cons of each one. This can help ensure that you make the best decision for the type of career you plan to have after graduation.

The CACREP is a well-respected accreditation agency that is often included in the state licensing process for counselors. It has very strict accreditation requirements, which can help you to verify that your program has effectively met all of its standards by reviewing its current status.

The only disadvantage to leaning on the CACREP for verification of your program is that it currently does not accredit any degree programs in psychology. This may reduce the number of available accredited programs to choose from if that is the area you want to focus in. If you are looking to enter a degree program in psychology, an MPCAC accredited program might be a good option to pursue.

Online Programs to Consider

Your choice of institution for gaining your education in counseling can make or break your acquisition of a license within your state. Take the time to research your program, compare costs, and weigh each curriculum before making your final choice.

Students on the hunt for counseling programs to jump-start their careers can search for online and accredited programs through the CACREP website. Our team of researchers has pulled a few options from this agency and listed them below for you to review.

  • Auburn University: Online Masters in Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling
  • Bradley University: Online Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and School Counseling

If you are one of the many students looking for accredited Masters in Psychology programs, you can take advantage of MPCAC accreditation throughout your program. Programs listed beneath this section have met the standards of this accreditation agency and are currently accepting new learners.

Each year, the MPCAC seeks out new programs to review and accredit in an effort to provide you with the most options for your future. The need for more diverse and inclusive accreditation organizations in the fields of counseling and psychology has influenced the MPCAC to continue on its path verifying reliable programs in schools all over the country.

  • Boston College: Master of Arts in Mental Health Counseling
  • The University of Kansas: Masters in Counseling Psychology


Compare Other Counseling Accreditation Organizations 


Depending on the state you live in, you may have to meet different conditions to qualify for licensure. You are always encouraged to explore state requirements prior to choosing any university to attend for your major program.

The CACREP is often listed as an approved accreditation agency in states that accredit master’s-level counselors. If you receive a diploma without verifying the accreditation of the school’s program, you could run the risk of having your application for licensure declined by your state’s licensing department.

The MPCAC is an up-and-coming accreditation agency that is slowly extending its reach to more states each year. Students interested in enrolling in master’s programs that have been deemed accredited by this agency should review their state’s guidelines on master’s-level programs and accreditation for each before submitting their application.

Choosing Between MPCAC vs. CACREP Programs

If you are interested in pursuing an education in counseling, figuring out whether you want an MPCAC or a CACREP accredited program can be a good first step. Take a look at some of our resources on programs currently accepting applicants, and find out which counseling program is right for you.

Source List: 
Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs, A Brief History
Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs, Find a Program
Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs, Understanding Accreditation
Master’s in Psychology and Counseling Accreditation Council, About MPCAC
Master’s in Psychology and Counseling Accreditation Council, Accredited Programs

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