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What is CACREP?

If you’re interested in pursuing a counseling degree, it’s important to get familiar with their accreditation statuses. Read on to learn more about CACREP.

What is CACREP?

CACREP stands for Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs. Established in 1981, its mission is to help educational programs meet high standards, evolve with the changing landscape, and adequately prepare individuals for their careers.

In order for a counseling program to receive CACREP accreditation, the program must submit a report on how it meets each of CACREP’s standards. These standards include:

  • Having institutional accreditation from either the:
    • Middle States Commission on Higher Education
    • New England Association of Schools and Colleges
    • Higher Learning Commission
    • Northwest Accreditation Commission
    • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
    • Western Association of Schools and Colleges
    • Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges
  • A curriculum that is based on CACREP’s eight common core areas:
    • Professional counseling orientation and ethical practice
    • Social and cultural diversity
    • Human growth and development
    • Career development
    • Counseling and helping relationships
    • Group counseling and group work
    • Assessment and testing
    • Research and program evaluation

To get a full picture of all standards, check out the CACREP website.

CACREP accreditation can last for up to eight years. When that eight-year period is up, programs must apply again.

What are the benefits of a CACREP accredited program?

A CACREP accreditation demonstrates that the program meets national standards for counseling education. This helps students choose a distinguished counseling program that will help them embark on a counseling career.

It’s important to note that CACREP accreditation is not legally required. States do not mandate all counseling programs to be CACREP accredited in order for individuals to apply for licensure.

However, while it’s not mandatory to attend a program with CACREP accreditation, a counseling program with this accreditation stands out from the crowd.

For example, The Chicago School’s Washington D.C. Campus boasts a CACREP accredited Clinical Mental Health Counseling program, providing those in the region who want to pursue an education that can positively affect mental health a program that has been nationally recognized.


Are there CACREP accredited online programs?

Yes, CACREP does grant accreditation to online programs as well.

For example, the Chicago School of Professional Psychology’s online Clinical Mental Health program is a CACREP accredited online program. In February 2018, the program received an eight-year accreditation, which will last until March 31, 2026.

This online M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling takes three years to complete part-time and includes hands-on residency experience.

Any questions about online counseling programs or accreditation? Our expert team is happy to help, or you can request more information by filling out the form below.


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