The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Programs (CACREP) is an independent and specialized accreditation agency that is responsible for granting credentials to both Master-level and doctoral-level counseling degree programs. If you are planning to study counseling, social work or another major preparing you to work directly with patients to provide support services, it is important to understand both the importance of accreditation and the role of the accrediting council. Read on, and learn just what a major role the CACREP plays in approving education for counselors.

Understanding How the CACREP Grants Accreditation

There are several different types of accreditation and differentiating one from the other is crucial when you want to earn a degree in a discipline area like counseling. CACREP is a specialized form of accreditation that is specific to degree programs and not to individual students or entire institutions. To grant the voluntary accreditation, a program must first apply and then undergo an extensive observation and evaluation process to determine if the program meets the minimum standards.

As long as the department can prove that the counseling program has the appropriate objectives, content, advising services and qualified faculty members, accreditation should be granted. The program must then abide by the code of ethics and show continued performance towards those standards to keep their accreditation active.

Tools to Help Students Succeed in Professional Counseling

Not only does the CACREP help ensure that programs are accountable by evaluating that they are meeting high standards, it is also provides resources for students as they prepare to enter the field professionally. These resources include news in the education sector for counseling students, information about potential work settings, and how to get licensed after you graduate. By directing you to the state licensure websites and other information sources, you will know exactly what to do to meet licensure requirements so that you do not have any type of frustrating delays.

How to Find Programs That Are Actively Accredited

If you are close to graduating from an undergraduate program and you would like to begin searching for advanced programs that are accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Programs, there are a few places that you can look. While you can search for all of the types of accreditation an institution or program holds through the US Department of Education database, you can also check the status direct from the source. The official CACREP website has its own database that will help you find CACREP-accredited programs. Here, you can find out how long a program has been accredited and when the accreditation expires.

If you want to work in Community Counseling, Mental Health Counseling or other types of clinical roles in special settings, finding a program that is CACREP-accredited is vital for your future continuing education. Accreditation is actually a requirement when your goal is to become licensed. If you fail to check a school's status and they are on probation, you could be forced to repeat credits and spend more money on your higher education. Make sure that you understand the accreditation process and then you can browse through the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Programs site to use the resources.