Department

Counseling and Guidance

CACREP Accreditation


Our Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC) program is pursuing CACREP accreditation and will be going through a CACREP application review.  

TAMUK Counseling Program 2020-2021 Annual Report & Vital Statistics.
TAMUK Counseling Program 2019-2020 Annual Report & Vital Statistics.
TAMUK Counseling Program 2018-2019 Annual Report & Vital Statistics.

Value of Accreditation

Accreditation

It is important to distinguish between the accreditation of programs and the certification of individuals, two separate processes that are frequently referred to as if they are one and the same. On the one hand, accreditation implies the setting of minimal standards which training programs must meet. In order to become accredited, a counselor education program must fulfill certain requirements or standards with regard to institutional settings, program mission and objectives, program content, practicum experiences, student selection and advising, faculty qualifications and workload, program governance, instructional support, and self-evaluation. On the other hand, certification implies recognition that individuals have met minimal professional standards to practice independently as a counselor. In order to be certified, counselors must meet certain levels of education and training in counseling, they must follow the code of ethics, and they are held accountable to show competent and ethical performance in practice.

In the United States, there are two types of accreditation – institutional and specialized.  Institutional looks at the entire institution.  Specialized accreditors, such as CACREP, look at professional preparation programs within institutions.

When programs are reviewed by CACREP, there are a few standards that address issues at the institutional level (such as financial aid), but most of the application and review focus on the program that offers the graduate degree in counseling.  It is the degree-specific program that holds accreditation, not the department or college in which it is housed. Eligibility for CACREP includes having institutional accreditation, so the institutional issues such as financial viability and resources are addressed.

CACREP Accreditation provides recognition that the content and quality of the program has been evaluated and meets standards set by the profession.  The student, as a consumer, can be assured that appropriate knowledge and skill areas are included and that the program is stable, professionally and financially.

Prospective students are advised to be wary of diploma and accreditation mills. Diploma mills or degree mills award academic degrees with substandard, limited, or no academic study.  Often these degrees are awarded on the basis of ‘life experience.’ While this may sound promising, the motivation is profit on the part of the degree mill.  An accreditation mill claims that it awards accreditation to a higher education institution, but they have no authority or recognition to do so, and there are either subpar or no standards involved.  These types of organizations do not have recognition as legitimate accreditors through any sort of organization that awards such recognition, such as the Council for Higher Accreditation, the US Department of Education or ministries of education in other countries.

For more information on accreditation and/or degree mills, CACREP encourages prospective counseling students to check CHEA’s website (www.chea.org), UNESCO’s website (www.unesco.org) or even Wikipedia to get more information about diploma and accreditation mills, especially if an institution’s or program’s claims  seem suspicious.  These websites try to maintain current information on fake agencies and institutions. If attending a legitimately accredited institution is important to you, confirm it before it is too late! Not doing so can have significant and unfortunate implications for your future ability to obtain licensure as a professional counselor or your ability to continue on for further graduate-level education.

CACREP Accreditation Provides Program Enhancement through Self Assessment

When a counseling program undertakes self-assessment, it indicates that the persons responsible for the program have articulated a clear direction or mission for the program and are taking the time to reflect on the means they are using to accomplish that mission. The mission, goals, and objectives are openly stated and made available to prospective students, employers, and other educators.  By making this information publicly available, the program demonstrates its desire to be held accountable for its educational activities and assists prospective students in selecting an appropriate counselor education program.

The self-evaluation entails an assessment of the program’s resources, objectives, strengths, and limitations with the ultimate purpose of improving the educational effectiveness of the program. The self-assessment CACREP requires of programs is focused on planning, goal setting, and measurement against self-designed goals and objectives of the program, as well as the professional standards. The results of this self-assessment are presented in the form of a self-study document.

Peer Assessment Enhances the Accreditation Process

The peer evaluation entails a review of the self-study document against a set of standards and using a set of procedures established by the CACREP Board. Peer evaluators are counselor educators and counseling practitioners, as well as qualified representatives of the public interest.  Peer evaluation ensures that persons competent to judge the educational merit and professional relevance of the program have the opportunity to examine and assess the quality of the curriculum, facilities, faculty and students.

An important aspect of peer evaluation is the advice and counsel that is offered by those individuals who have been designated to assess the program.  The collegial consultation that occurs through an on-site review, together with oral and written feedback, can be incorporated into the program’s and institution’s future plans, reviews, and research aimed at educational improvement.

Because CACREP accreditation does not rank programs against each other, adversarial relationships are avoided, and an atmosphere appropriate to a community of scholars is promoted. In such an environment, research and change are fostered. Ideally, educational innovation and rational decision-making based on the assessment results should characterize accredited programs.

 

About CACREP

The CACREP Board of Directors

The CACREP Board is composed of between 13 and 15 members.  It must include at least eight (8) counselor educators, at least two (2) counseling practitioners, and at least two (2) public members, who are not current or former members of the counseling profession.

All Directors serve for one (1) five year term and are not eligible for reappointment.  They must also agree to and abide by the Board Member Conflict of Interest Policy.

2015-2016 Board of Directors

CHEA Recognition

CACREP has been recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, a national advocate and institutional voice for self-regulation of academic quality through accreditation.  CHEA is an association of 3,000 degree-granting colleges and universities and recognizes 60 institutional and programmatic accrediting organizations.

CHEA recognition provides assurance to the public and higher education institutions that CACREP is a legitimate accreditor with authority granted by a regulating body who has reviewed the standards, processes, and policies of CACREP.

CHEA recognition also assures the public that the programs  that achieve CACREP accreditation are legitimate degree programs.  Both CHEA and CACREP assist the public in avoiding spending money on illegitimate degrees promoted by degree mills and accreditation mills.

CACREP’s Scope of Accreditation

CACREP accredits master’s and doctoral degree programs in counseling and its specialties that are offered by colleges and universities in the United States and throughout the world.

CACREP Connection

CACREP publishes an e-newsletter called CACREP Connectionwhich is designed to keep programs informed of the latest news regarding CACREP Accreditation, Initiatives, Policies and Standards.

CACREP Annual Reports

CACREP publishes an annual report summarizing CACREP initiatives and activities over the year as well as reporting data on accredited programs and students. To see current and previous annual reports click here.

Professional literature says….

  • 81.7% of LPCs sanctioned for ethics violations graduated from non-CACREP-accredited programs (Even & Robinson, 2013)
  • Test takers from CACREP programs scored significantly higher on the NCE exam than test takers from non-CACREP programs (Adams, 2006)
  • Graduate students from CACREP programs passed the NCE at higher rates (86%) than did students from non-CACREP programs (77%) (Milsom & Akos, 2007)
  • 88% of students from CACREP programs successfully obtained the NCSC credential, compared to only 52% of students from non-CACREP programs (Milson & Akos, 2007)

Recent CACREP References

CACREP Research Grant Awards – Previous Faculty Projects

(2010)  Drs Summer M. Reiner, Robert A. Dobmeier, and Thomas J. Hernández, The College at Brockport, State University of New York   Counselor Educators’ Perceptions of the Impact of Counselor Identity on Legislative Issues

(2009)  Dr. Dana Heller Levitt, Montclair State University  Outcomes-Based Assessment in Counselor Education: A Proposed Model for New Standards

(2008)  Drs Brandon Hunt and Elizabeth Mellin, The Pennsylvania State University  The Professional Identity of Counselors: A National Study

CACREP Research Grant Awards – Previous Student Projects

(2012)  Allison E. Buller, Western Michigan University.  Excellent Teaching in Counselor Education

(2009)  Kristi Lee Wyatt [Primary Researcher & Supervisor], The College of William and Mary  Perceptions of Preparedness Among Graduates of CACREP Programs and Their Employers: Using Program Evaluation to Assess Outcomes of the CACREP Model

CACREP Research Agenda

CACREP develops an annual Research Agenda to identify significant information and advocacy needs as well as emerging issues relevant to its mission.  CACREP believes these issues have short- and long-term impact on the quality of its accreditation process.  The Research Agenda is not an exhaustive listing of research topics, but rather highlights priority topics that are directly related to its mission and strategic initiatives.

The Research Agenda will be carried out through student research, faculty research, and CACREP-commissioned research.  The Research Agenda targets two to three primary themes that remain consistent for at least two years as targeted research priorities.  Learn more about the CACREP Research Agenda.

For Students

What is Counseling?

Counseling is a professional relationship that empowers diverse individuals, families, and groups to accomplish mental health, wellness, education, and career goals.

This definition of counseling was developed by the 20/20 Delegates in March 2010.

Professional Counseling as a Career Choice

What is professional counseling? Counseling is a professional relationship that empowers diverse individuals, families, and groups to accomplish mental health, wellness, education, and career goals.

People have many different reasons for deciding they want to become a counselor. Some people choose this career because they once had a good experience with a counselor during a difficult time in their own life and they want to “pay it forward.” Another person may have done some volunteer work at a crisis hotline and realized that they enjoyed both the challenges and joys of working with clients facing difficult times. Yet another person may have been told that they are a good listener and they ought to consider working as a mental health professional.

“I have always desired to become a counselor since I was five years old. I have always loved helping people A wonderful lady in our community who worked in the counseling field was instrumental in encouraging me to follow my dreams.” -Barbara Mceuen

Whatever the reasons, individuals that choose to seek a career in counseling usually have one thing in common – a desire to help people work through life’s challenges. Some individuals want to work primarily with children or teens. Others prefer to work with adults. Some want to work in specific settings, such as K-12 schools or college campuses. Others prefer to work in a community setting such as a mental health center or private practice setting.

Counseling can offer the right individual a rewarding career path in a health profession that is growing. It requires a strong desire to interact with people, exceptional communication skills, and an ability to complete a graduate degree. Choosing to become a professional counselor is a commitment to yourself, to others, and to society as a whole.

But choosing to become a counselor is just one of the choices that prospective students must make. Student will need to consider all of the different specializations in counseling with their varying work environments. School counselors work in K-12 educational environments (schools), while clinical mental health counselors may work in private practice, a hospital setting, or some other community agency.

Follow these links to learn more about the field of Counseling and the job outlook for counselors.

If you are already a professional counselor, please share with us your reasons for becoming one. Follow the link to the Contact Us site and choose “Why I became a counselor” in the contact type. We will feature these on this section of the website in the future.

Information on State Licensing Boards

Each State Board has different processes and requirements for obtaining a counseling license.  Although graduation from a CACREP program does not guarantee you will be eligible for licensure, most states recognize what a CACREP degree contains. You will need to take the state’s licensure exam and complete the necessary number of post-graduate supervised hours in order to be fully licensed.

We have provided some resources below to help you contact the right office to get answers for your state.

For Licensure as a professional counselor, mental health counselor, marriage, couple and family counselor and/or addictions counselor:

The American Counseling Association publishes Licensure Requirements for Professional Counselors: A state-by-state report which lists licensing requirements in each state as well as contact information for the state board.

The American Association of State Counseling Boards has information about requirements in their member states.

The National Board for Certified Counselors also lists information about state licensure on its website.

For Licensure or Certification as a Professional School Counselor:

States regulate professional school counselors through their departments of education, in the same way they license or certify teachers.  The American Counseling Association publishes a booklet called, A Guide to State Laws and Regulations on Professional School Counseling.  You can call them at 1-800-347-6647 to purchase a copy.

Frequently Asked Questions

http://www.cacrep.org/for-students/student-faqs-2/

Find a CACREP Program

http://www.cacrep.org/directory/

CACREP Standards and Information for Programs

2016 CACREP Standards

Resources for Applying for CACREP Accreditation

3As of July 1, 2016, all applications MUST address the 2016 Standards. If an application was postmarked ON or BEFORE June 30, 2016, programs can find documents related to a 2009 application on this page.

CACREP Standards

As of July 1, 2016, all applications MUST address the 2016 Standards

2016 CACREP Standards and Glossary (PDF version)

2016 CACREP Standards (web view by section)

The following documents accompany the 2016 CACREP Standards:

2016 Application for Accreditation – This form should be completed electronically and included on each disk or USB drive. In addition the signature page should be completed and submitted in hard copy.

CACREP Policy Document

Guiding Statements

The Board has adopted Guiding Statements on topics and issues related to CACREP Standards or policies. These Guiding Statements represent the position of CACREP and should be used as a reference for seeking and/or maintaining accreditation.

Guiding Principles for Program Evaluation and Student Assessment

Guiding Principles for the 2016 Faculty Standards

Guiding Statement on 2016 CACREP Standard 1.O

Guiding Statement on 2016 CACREP Standard 1.X

Guiding Statement on 2016 CACREP Standard 2.F.5.m

Guiding Statement on Certification and Licensure Only Programs

Other Resources

A Reasoned Approach to FTE Faculty

CACREP Liaison Position Description and Responsibilities

The CACREP Liaison serves as the primary point of contact between CACREP and the institution’s accredited program(s). The CACREP Liaison is the person to whom CACREP will send important notifications and news updates.

CACREP Liaison Position Description and Responsibilities

CACREP Program Liaison Log-in Guide

The CACREP Liaison is responsible for maintaining current program information on the CACREP website. On a regular basis and when changes have occurred, the CACREP Liaison should log into the CACREP website to ensure that the program information (e.g., contact information, administrative information, and program descriptions) is current and accurate as listed, to update information as needed, and to ensure that you remain aware of the due dates for required reports.

Each CACREP-accredited program has an assigned username and password for the academic unit. The log-in details will allow the CACREP Liaison access to review and update program information. The CACREP Liaison can log-in either through the CACREP website (www.cacrep.org) or www.cacrep.org/wp-login.php.

Please refer to the CACREP Program Liaison Log-in Guide for detailed instructions on how to access and update program information on the CACREP website.

If you have recently taken over as the CACREP Liaison, your email address will not be linked to the institution and you will not be able to log-in. Please contact the CACREP office to have this information updated to enable log-in.

Frequently Asked Questions

http://www.cacrep.org/for-programs/program-faqs-2/

Accreditation

It is important to distinguish between the accreditation of programs and the certification of individuals, two separate processes that are frequently referred to as if they are one and the same. On the one hand, accreditation implies the setting of minimal standards which training programs must meet. In order to become accredited, a counselor education program must fulfill certain requirements or standards with regard to institutional settings, program mission and objectives, program content, practicum experiences, student selection and advising, faculty qualifications and workload, program governance, instructional support, and self-evaluation. On the other hand, certification implies recognition that individuals have met minimal professional standards to practice independently as a counselor. In order to be certified, counselors must meet certain levels of education and training in counseling, they must follow the code of ethics, and they are held accountable to show competent and ethical performance in practice.

In the United States, there are two types of accreditation – institutional and specialized.  Institutional looks at the entire institution.  Specialized accreditors, such as CACREP, look at professional preparation programs within institutions.

When programs are reviewed by CACREP, there are a few standards that address issues at the institutional level (such as financial aid), but most of the application and review focus on the program that offers the graduate degree in counseling.  It is the degree-specific program that holds accreditation, not the department or college in which it is housed. Eligibility for CACREP includes having institutional accreditation, so the institutional issues such as financial viability and resources are addressed.

CACREP Accreditation provides recognition that the content and quality of the program has been evaluated and meets standards set by the profession.  The student, as a consumer, can be assured that appropriate knowledge and skill areas are included and that the program is stable, professionally and financially.

Prospective students are advised to be wary of diploma and accreditation mills. Diploma mills or degree mills award academic degrees with substandard, limited, or no academic study.  Often these degrees are awarded on the basis of ‘life experience.’ While this may sound promising, the motivation is profit on the part of the degree mill.  An accreditation mill claims that it awards accreditation to a higher education institution, but they have no authority or recognition to do so, and there are either subpar or no standards involved.  These types of organizations do not have recognition as legitimate accreditors through any sort of organization that awards such recognition, such as the Council for Higher Accreditation, the US Department of Education or ministries of education in other countries.

For more information on accreditation and/or degree mills, CACREP encourages prospective counseling students to check CHEA’s website (www.chea.org), UNESCO’s website (www.unesco.org) or even Wikipedia to get more information about diploma and accreditation mills, especially if an institution’s or program’s claims  seem suspicious.  These websites try to maintain current information on fake agencies and institutions. If attending a legitimately accredited institution is important to you, confirm it before it is too late! Not doing so can have significant and unfortunate implications for your future ability to obtain licensure as a professional counselor or your ability to continue on for further graduate-level education.