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 students obtain an education that aligns with their investment.
What is the CACREP?
Students that have been involved with or have done research on the field of counseling may be familiar with accreditation agencies well-known to this field. The most popular and most frequently utilized accreditation in the field of counseling is the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).
The CACREP currently accredits Master 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.
Consider a Featured Online Counseling Program
|School and Program Information||Online Program?|
Online MA in Counseling
GRE Not Required
Earn a CACREP-accredited master’s in counseling online top-10 ranked Northwestern University in as few as 18 months. GRE not required. Bachelor's required.Learn More
|University of Denver|
Online MA in School Counseling
Designed to adhere to CACREP standards
GRE Scores Not Required
Learn from doctoral-level faculty in live classes and gain experience through mock counseling and in-field training.Learn More
|Our Lady of the Lake University|
Online MA in Counseling
Designed to adhere to CACREP standards
No GRE required.
Three specializations in Clinical Mental Health, Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling, or School Counseling.Learn More
|University of West Alabama|
Online Counseling and Psychology Degrees
Multiple online counseling degree options
Programs in experimental psychology, clinical mental health counseling, family counselingLearn More
|University of Southern California|
Online Master of Education (ME) in School Counseling
Can be completed in less than 2 years.
No GRE requirement
Classes led by USC Rossier faculty who are experts in school counseling, educational leadership and family therapy.Learn More
*Sponsored Counseling Programs
Online CACREP Accredited programs | Online MPCAC Accredited programs
What is the MPCAC?
On the other end of the accreditation spectrum, the Masters in Psychology and Counseling Accreditation Council (MPCAC) was developed in the 2010s through the blending 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 APA do no accredit Masters in Psychology programs.
The goal of this organization is to provide psychology students with a set of standards for masters 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 Masters in Psychology, Masters in Counseling Psychology, Masters in Clinical Mental Health, and Masters 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 Each
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 you 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 requirements for accreditation, 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 can lower the number of available accredited programs to choose from when looking through options to enroll in.
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
Depending on the state you live in, you may have varying expectations placed on you during your journey to licensure. You are always encouraged to explore the requirements of your state 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 masters-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 masters programs that have been deemed accredited by this agency should review their state's guidelines on masters-level programs and accreditation for each before submitting their application.