If you are interested in becoming a professional counselor, you have probably heard the acronym "CACREP" or the phrase "CACREP accreditation." So what is CACREP, and how does CACREP accreditation benefit counseling students?
What is CACREP?
CACREP stands for the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs, and it is the premier accrediting body for determining the quality of a graduate counseling program. In a nutshell, CACREP develops and maintains standards and procedures that ensure students in counseling and related programs receive high-quality, relevant education that prepares them for licensure and success in professional practice.
How Does a Program Receive CACREP Accreditation?
Programs seeking accreditation must complete a self-study process, submit a comprehensive report demonstrating how it meets each CACREP standard and undergo an on-site visit. The CACREP Board of Directors make a decision based on the self-study, site team report and program’s response to the report. Once a program’s application is received by CACREP, the accreditation process typically takes 12 to 18 months. Accreditation is granted for a full eight-year cycle or for two years of the full cycle. Accreditation expires, and programs must go through a full review to retain accreditation.1
Is CACREP Accreditation Important to Consider When Choosing a Program?
Yes. Consider CACREP accreditation a seal of approval when researching counseling degree programs. CACREP-accredited programs:
- Have been evaluated for content and quality
- Meet or exceed national standards set by the profession
- Are professionally and financially stable
- Prepare you for successful entry into a career in mental health, business, education, government, human services, industry, military and/or private practice2
- Focus specifically on professional counseling (not psychology or education)
- Help you meet prerequisites for licensure exams
In fact, graduates of CACREP-accredited programs perform better on the National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification (NCE).3
How Will This Help My Career?
In addition to preparing you to sit for your state’s licensure exams (you can read more about that here), CACREP-accredited programs are held in extremely high regard in the counseling field. The American Counseling Association (ACA) states, "ACA views accreditation as a critical issue for our profession, particularly as it pertains to licensure. Licensure is designed to protect the public through formal recognition of educational standards and training. It also serves as a powerful signal of consistency, credibility, and unity. As the profession of counseling continues to develop, evolve, and advance, ACA recognizes that graduation from a CACREP-accredited program provides a clear path to initial licensure."4
If you wish to pursue a career as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), Licensed Substance Abuse Treatment Practitioner (LSATP) or any other area that requires licensure, you should highly consider choosing a CACREP-accredited counseling degree program.
Explore William & Mary’s CACREP-Accredited Online Master’s in Counseling
William & Mary is proud to offer one of just 75 online CACREP-accredited programs with our Online Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Counseling, which offers the academic rigor you expect from a "Public Ivy" along with the flexibility of online coursework. Read about the curriculum and discover our paths in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Military and Veterans Counseling, and School Counseling.
- Retrieved on June 13, 2019, from cacrep.org/for-programs/program-faqs-2/
- Retrieved on June 13, 2019, from cacrep.org/introduction-to-the-2016-cacrep-standards/
- Retrieved on June 13, 2019, from cacrep.org/about-cacrep/research-corner/professional-literature/
- Retrieved on June 13, 2019, from counseling.org/accreditation