When earning a degree, especially in counseling and therapy, most students take part in an accreditation process in order to be qualified to enter their desired career field. Professionals already at work may seek higher education accreditation such as a graduate degree in order to be qualified for more jobs and higher pay.
If you are thinking about obtaining a graduate degree in the counseling field, you will likely want to search for a school that possesses CACREP accreditation. This organization is a higher education accreditation that works to be sure the schools that carry it’s seal of approval are providing students with an education that meets standards accepted within the counseling profession. Choosing an accredited program will increase the likelihood that you will be prepared to enter the workforce as a well-prepared professional. Keep reading for further details about what this acronym stands for along and to learn about its implications on your impending academic career and what the accreditation process can do for you.
Summary of the Organization
CACREP stands for the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs. It’s recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the American Counseling Association (ACA). This academic accreditation oversees both on-campus and online graduate-level counseling programs in the United States and abroad. The group sets guidelines as to types of course content and practical requirements of programs that receive its approval with quality assurance with students and professionals in mind. Not only does its recognition mean that the school is providing an education within professional standards, it also ensures that you will graduate with the ability to pass the licensing exam in your state. In order to become a licensed professional counselor, you will need to excel in this institutional accrediting body. Ultimately, you will need to demonstrate your competence by receiving an adequate score on this exam.
What It Does
When choosing higher education accreditation, programs accredited will provide students and professionals with the right tools to enter the workforce. So while the review and evaluation provided by the council for each school under its accreditation is quite rigorous, the high standards and routine review process are what create excellent counselors and therapists. The group serves as an unbiased measure of each institutional program’s quality to ensure that the programs accredited are on right on track. Representatives visit those schools wishing to receive approval in order to assess programs across eight categories of professional standard. These are:
- Career development
- Group counseling
- Helping relationships
- Human growth
- Professional issues
- Spcial foundations
Each program’s clinical requirements are also reviewed. A clinical experience in which students work in a practical capacity with a professional counseling agency is required of programs wishing to be accredited. This hands-on experience will help you to be prepared to provide counseling to clients within your chosen specialty.
Why Accrediting Matters
Not all counseling programs are accredited, as it isn’t a requirement. The willingness to undergo the rigorous CACREP accreditation approval process and committing to a recurring renewal inspection and annual fiscal reports is certainly an indication that a school’s administration values its reputation and wants to provide its students with quality education. Along with being prepared to pass the licensing exam in your state, graduating from an accredited program also means that will have completed enough practical training and received the adequate types of coursework to even be allowed to sit for the exam. Each state sets forth its own requirements for exam eligibility, and programs that are accredited by this esteemed body all meet their state’s licensing specifications.
A Career After the Academic Accreditation Process
If you are seeking higher education accreditation, it is important to find a program that takes their accreditation process seriously for quality assurance. While community and junior colleges may not always offer these programs, it is likely worth seeking out a college or university with an institutional accrediting body recognized by the CACREP to ensure that you get the most of your academic career. The type of education you receive, along with the practical experience you obtain, will have an influence on potential employers. Choosing a program with CACREP accreditation is a sound investment in your future career path.
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