The accreditation process is far from easy, but it is necessary to ensure long-term credibility and retain a competitive advantage. Adhering to a set of peer-reviewed, shared standards is important for students, educational institutions, practitioners, clients, and the industry as a whole. While significant time, organization, and planning will always be required, there are ways to make the process easier for your counselor education program.

This article is for counselor education program administrators involved in the reaccreditation process, specifically CACREP programs. Our goal is to show you the ways the reaccreditation process can be easier, less stressful, and more efficient.

A CACREP Refresher

If you’re new to accreditation in general, or CACREP specifically, we’ve put together a quick refresher.

About CACREP Accreditation

The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) is an essential accreditation for many graduate programs. Understanding why your school needs this accreditation and how to earn it can help you meet student and employer requirements for more successful graduate programs.

What Is CACREP?

CACREP is an organization that awards accreditation and recognition to master and doctorate counseling programs. Like other accreditation programs, it aims to assure students and faculty of program quality and workplace preparedness by meeting pre-determined standards. CACREP is a trusted source backed by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), which awards accreditations to programs and universities across the country.

Having CACREP accreditation for your school’s programs shows students they will receive the best education when striving for their master’s or doctorate degree.

Types of Counseling Programs Accredited by CACREP

CACREP offers specialized accreditation for counseling programs. When aiming for accreditation, organizations can offer institutionalized or specialized recognition. Institutionalized awards cover entire universities and colleges for generalized approval, while specialized accreditation looks at individual programs within a school.

CACREP covers many types of counseling programs for master’s and doctorate degrees. When trying to earn program accreditation at your school, you can receive CACREP accreditation in the following categories:

  • Marriage, couple and family counseling
  • Clinical mental health counseling
  • Clinical rehabilitation counseling
  • Addiction counseling
  • School counseling
  • College counseling and student affairs

Following CACREP requirements about program types can ensure your university receives the accreditation it needs.

Which States Require CACREP Accreditation?

Many states require that educational institutions earn some accreditation. For counseling programs, your state might insist you have a CACREP accreditation. These states use this recognition to determine program quality and for counseling organizations to issue practicing licenses. These regulations and requirements ensure graduates have the skills and resources to serve patients within their field. Employers within the state might also require it to assess candidates and their education.

What states require CACREP accreditation for licensure? States that require students to hold a degree from an accredited school to qualify for licensure include:

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Colorado
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Nebraska
  • New Hampshire
  • New York
  • Ohio
  • Oregon
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Utah
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

Out of these states, Florida, Georgia and Louisiana allow programs to hold an equal type of accreditation.

How Important Is CACREP Accreditation?

Is CACREP accreditation important? Regardless of whether your state requires CACREP accreditation, this recognition can offer more prestige and trust in your school’s various graduate programs. Some ways your school can benefit from earning CACREP accreditation include:

  • Assuring students of education value: Each accreditation requires schools to meet their standards to earn their award. When students research programs and universities, they can ensure they get the education level they want by seeing what accreditations they hold. Students will feel more ready to commit to schools they know have approval from outside organizations determining education and institution quality.
  • Providing students with best practices and theories: CACREP accreditation measures program quality in several ways, including what instruction looks like. CACREP-accredited schools can assure students they will receive the methods and theories they need to excel in their field. This requirement also ensures that schools follow industry standards for education and practicum.
  • Preparing students for the workplace: In the counseling field, employers will require that graduates obtain licensure before hiring them at firms and practices. When many licensing committees require accredited educational backgrounds, your students have better chances at employment when you earn CACREP recognition. Additionally, CACREP practicum and theory requirements can better provide students with the skills and experience they need to succeed in their fields and jobs.
  • Attracting more students: Because CACREP focuses on specific programs, students can search for offerings within their interests to find potential schools. CACREP’s website allows students to explore approved programs. Students who want or need this program can use CACREP to find your university. The benefits and prestige offered by CACREP can help you attract students looking for quality programs and maintain student interest. University admissions are competitive, so the proper accreditation can allow your school to compete against similar programs.

These benefits help outline how important CACREP accreditation is for colleges and universities. You can use these standards and requirements to reach goals and serve your student population better.

How Can Your Counseling Program Earn CACREP Accreditation?

CACREP standards ask schools to meet specific requirements to earn their accreditation. You can meet their standards by developing your program and offering the right opportunities. Some requirements from CACREP include:

  • Creating an approved learning environment: CACREP ensures students will receive a quality education, and schools must provide it through approved teaching methods and settings.
  • Using an approved curriculum: CACREP clearly defines what program types they support. To earn this award type, you can meet this organization’s standards by offering their approved programs.
  • Offering practicum and internship opportunities: Students need internships and field experience to prepare them for their areas and employment. Schools can earn accreditation by ensuring they provide practice experience for their students. Faculty might lead field experience or field coordinators might connect students to quality internships with outside organizations.
  • Outlining practicum and internship requirements: Schools can ensure students get the most out of their field experience and internships by following CACREP accreditation requirements. Internships and experience must meet specific lengths and cover various skills. Universities and programs must clarify requirements by listing what students and faculty need when looking for experience.
  • Evaluating program through internal review: Part of CACREP reporting is surveying your program and documenting how well it meets the organization’s requirements. This self-evaluation can help organizations reflect on their program’s curriculum, learning environment, and student outcomes and highlight areas where they can improve.
  • Upholding a specified student-faculty ratio: Universities should have enough faculty members to manage their student population, especially when professors and administrators have many responsibilities. From advising to leading field research, the right number of faculty can ensure students can get the attention and guidance they need to complete their studies.
  • Providing accessibility to appropriate resources: In addition to knowledge, a CACREP organization should provide students with various resources. Students should know what research and internship opportunities are available to them and how they can apply for them. Schools should clarify what technology and resources they have and where students can find them. Resources can define student and program success, making it a pivotal point in CACREP accreditation.

CACREP publishes its standards online and will update them as requirements change. They released their most recent standards in 2016.

The CACREP Reaccreditation Process

As a counselor education program, having the stamp of approval from CACREP is essential for programmatic success. The standards determined by CACREP ensure that consistent quality of education, training, and care are upheld.

The reaccreditation process could happen on two different timelines for your program: two years or eight years. Regardless of which timeline you are on, the process requires a significant amount of time, planning, financial resources, and organization.

Why is CACREP Reaccreditation so Difficult?

The process is not easy because it involves a lot of people and organizations (think students, administrators, professors and instructors, supervisors, etc.). The steps within the reaccreditation process, if neglected or put off, make the end result exponentially more difficult. We are referring to, of course, the ongoing data collection, such as tracking scores, evaluations, reports, and logs of students’ hours required by CACREP. Requirements can also change from one accreditation period to the next, making organization even more crucial.

Add in the potential for staff changes at a program throughout or between accreditation timelines, which only requires more training and more time, and it’s not hard to see why this process is dreaded by administrators across the U.S..

Reaccreditation is also not free. Programs need to budget for the $2,500 application fee, $2,000 cost per site visit visitor plus additional site visit costs, and a yearly membership fee ranging from $3,800–$4,000. All told, each reaccreditation cycle can cost more than $8,500, making careful budgeting an additional necessity.

CACREP Reaccreditation Standards

The standards set by CACREP are detailed and comprehensive. That doesn’t mean they’re easy to wade through. We simplified them to help you get a start but be sure to dive into CACREP’s full standards to get the most complete understanding of your next steps.

Understanding the standards your program will be evaluated against is crucial to a smooth reaccreditation process. CACREP’s current 2016 standards are to be followed until an update is released. The standards cover the following areas:

  • Section 1, The Learning Environment
    • Standards for the institution, academic unit, and program faculty and staff
  • Section 2, Professional Counseling Identity
    • Foundational standards and standards for the eight required core curriculum areas
  • Section 3, Professional Practice
    • Standards related to clinical practice, including practicum, internship, supervisor qualifications, and practicum and internship course loads
  • Section 4, Evaluation in the Program
    • Elements related to evaluation of the program, assessment of students, and evaluation of faculty and site supervisors
  • Section 5 A–H, Entry-Level Specialty Areas: Addiction Counseling; Career Counseling; Clinical Mental Health Counseling; Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling; College Counseling and Student Affairs; Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling; School Counseling; Rehabilitation Counseling
    • Specialized content for various programs.
  • Section 6, Doctoral Standards for Counselor Education and Supervision
    • Doctoral-level program requirements, including the specialized content for core curriculum, and practicum and internship requirements.

CACREP offers training to program administrators and shares accreditation manuals about how best to collect and prepare the required information. Spending time reviewing these manuals, including what is needed to maintain CACREP accreditation, will help your program stay on top of what is required.

What Role Does Data Play in Reaccreditation?

Data is the foundation of a program’s reaccreditation application; it must be collected, then organized, and finally, presented clearly.

Gathering the data consists of thoroughly reviewing CACREP’s standards, noting what information is required and making sure the relevant parties, such as students, professors, and supervisors are accurately collecting that data, whether it is through logs, exam scores, or other records.

With information coming from a variety of streams and processes—i.e., paper, emails, digital files—the data then needs to be consolidated and organized. This can be one of the most time-consuming tasks for administrators because the work is detail-oriented and can be tedious.

After the data is organized and cleaned, it needs to be put into a format that is presentable to accreditation reviewers. Is all of the data in one place and easily pulled into a presentable format? Or will each report require detailed knowledge, making it difficult to repeat the next round of accreditation? Or are various individuals responsible for different reports?

Many of these questions are what cost you the most time and energy, but can be solved with data software partners like Tevera.

How Does Tevera Make the Reaccreditation Process Easier?

Tevera is designed to be a convenient, single collection point for any data related to CACREP standards section 3: Professional Practice via our field experience solution (link to FE page) and section 4: Evaluation in the Program via our program outcomes solution (link to PO page). Evaluate student performance in alignment with sections 2, 5, and 6 of the CACREP 2016 standards, and/or align assessment measures to your program’s own KPIs.

Tevera goes beyond being a place to store data because it gives you easy and fast tools to pull out reports that you need, simply with the click of a button. As someone in charge of the reaccreditation process for your counseling program, software like this allows you to have all the information and reports you need in one place, minimizing the time you spend gathering, cleaning, and preparing data.

Tevera’s CACREP Accreditation Reporting

Tevera’s robust assessment reports simplify gathering the reports you need for CACREP accreditation and reaccreditation. With just a couple of clicks, you can generate powerful reports on student and program outcomes. You’ll be able to pull comprehensive reports on student outcomes in any of the formats below, as well as filter them by assessor role, date range, cohort, or specialization for more targeted insights.

Simplify CACREP Accreditation With Tevera

Whether your school is striving to earn CACREP accreditation or reaccreditation, Tevera provides the resources and services your team needs to streamline and simplify managing field experience and program outcomes.

Schedule an overview with Tevera today to discover how our software can elevate your counseling program’s CACREP accreditation process.

The accreditation process is far from easy, but it is necessary to ensure long-term credibility and retain a competitive advantage. Adhering to a set of peer-reviewed, shared standards is important for students, educational institutions, practitioners, clients, and the industry as a whole. While significant time, organization, and planning will always be required, there are ways to make the process easier for your counselor education program.

This article is for counselor education program administrators involved in the reaccreditation process, specifically CACREP programs. Our goal is to show you the ways the reaccreditation process can be easier, less stressful, and more efficient.

A CACREP Refresher

If you’re new to accreditation in general, or CACREP specifically, we’ve put together a quick refresher.

About CACREP Accreditation

The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) is an essential accreditation for many graduate programs. Understanding why your school needs this accreditation and how to earn it can help you meet student and employer requirements for more successful graduate programs.

What Is CACREP?

CACREP is an organization that awards accreditation and recognition to master and doctorate counseling programs. Like other accreditation programs, it aims to assure students and faculty of program quality and workplace preparedness by meeting pre-determined standards. CACREP is a trusted source backed by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), which awards accreditations to programs and universities across the country.

Having CACREP accreditation for your school’s programs shows students they will receive the best education when striving for their master’s or doctorate degree.

Types of Counseling Programs Accredited by CACREP

CACREP offers specialized accreditation for counseling programs. When aiming for accreditation, organizations can offer institutionalized or specialized recognition. Institutionalized awards cover entire universities and colleges for generalized approval, while specialized accreditation looks at individual programs within a school.

CACREP covers many types of counseling programs for master’s and doctorate degrees. When trying to earn program accreditation at your school, you can receive CACREP accreditation in the following categories:

  • Marriage, couple and family counseling
  • Clinical mental health counseling
  • Clinical rehabilitation counseling
  • Addiction counseling
  • School counseling
  • College counseling and student affairs

Following CACREP requirements about program types can ensure your university receives the accreditation it needs.

Which States Require CACREP Accreditation?

Many states require that educational institutions earn some accreditation. For counseling programs, your state might insist you have a CACREP accreditation. These states use this recognition to determine program quality and for counseling organizations to issue practicing licenses. These regulations and requirements ensure graduates have the skills and resources to serve patients within their field. Employers within the state might also require it to assess candidates and their education.

What states require CACREP accreditation for licensure? States that require students to hold a degree from an accredited school to qualify for licensure include:

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Colorado
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Nebraska
  • New Hampshire
  • New York
  • Ohio
  • Oregon
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Utah
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

Out of these states, Florida, Georgia and Louisiana allow programs to hold an equal type of accreditation.

How Important Is CACREP Accreditation?

Is CACREP accreditation important? Regardless of whether your state requires CACREP accreditation, this recognition can offer more prestige and trust in your school’s various graduate programs. Some ways your school can benefit from earning CACREP accreditation include:

  • Assuring students of education value: Each accreditation requires schools to meet their standards to earn their award. When students research programs and universities, they can ensure they get the education level they want by seeing what accreditations they hold. Students will feel more ready to commit to schools they know have approval from outside organizations determining education and institution quality.
  • Providing students with best practices and theories: CACREP accreditation measures program quality in several ways, including what instruction looks like. CACREP-accredited schools can assure students they will receive the methods and theories they need to excel in their field. This requirement also ensures that schools follow industry standards for education and practicum.
  • Preparing students for the workplace: In the counseling field, employers will require that graduates obtain licensure before hiring them at firms and practices. When many licensing committees require accredited educational backgrounds, your students have better chances at employment when you earn CACREP recognition. Additionally, CACREP practicum and theory requirements can better provide students with the skills and experience they need to succeed in their fields and jobs.
  • Attracting more students: Because CACREP focuses on specific programs, students can search for offerings within their interests to find potential schools. CACREP’s website allows students to explore approved programs. Students who want or need this program can use CACREP to find your university. The benefits and prestige offered by CACREP can help you attract students looking for quality programs and maintain student interest. University admissions are competitive, so the proper accreditation can allow your school to compete against similar programs.

These benefits help outline how important CACREP accreditation is for colleges and universities. You can use these standards and requirements to reach goals and serve your student population better.

How Can Your Counseling Program Earn CACREP Accreditation?

CACREP standards ask schools to meet specific requirements to earn their accreditation. You can meet their standards by developing your program and offering the right opportunities. Some requirements from CACREP include:

  • Creating an approved learning environment: CACREP ensures students will receive a quality education, and schools must provide it through approved teaching methods and settings.
  • Using an approved curriculum: CACREP clearly defines what program types they support. To earn this award type, you can meet this organization’s standards by offering their approved programs.
  • Offering practicum and internship opportunities: Students need internships and field experience to prepare them for their areas and employment. Schools can earn accreditation by ensuring they provide practice experience for their students. Faculty might lead field experience or field coordinators might connect students to quality internships with outside organizations.
  • Outlining practicum and internship requirements: Schools can ensure students get the most out of their field experience and internships by following CACREP accreditation requirements. Internships and experience must meet specific lengths and cover various skills. Universities and programs must clarify requirements by listing what students and faculty need when looking for experience.
  • Evaluating program through internal review: Part of CACREP reporting is surveying your program and documenting how well it meets the organization’s requirements. This self-evaluation can help organizations reflect on their program’s curriculum, learning environment, and student outcomes and highlight areas where they can improve.
  • Upholding a specified student-faculty ratio: Universities should have enough faculty members to manage their student population, especially when professors and administrators have many responsibilities. From advising to leading field research, the right number of faculty can ensure students can get the attention and guidance they need to complete their studies.
  • Providing accessibility to appropriate resources: In addition to knowledge, a CACREP organization should provide students with various resources. Students should know what research and internship opportunities are available to them and how they can apply for them. Schools should clarify what technology and resources they have and where students can find them. Resources can define student and program success, making it a pivotal point in CACREP accreditation.

CACREP publishes its standards online and will update them as requirements change. They released their most recent standards in 2016.

The CACREP Reaccreditation Process

As a counselor education program, having the stamp of approval from CACREP is essential for programmatic success. The standards determined by CACREP ensure that consistent quality of education, training, and care are upheld.

The reaccreditation process could happen on two different timelines for your program: two years or eight years. Regardless of which timeline you are on, the process requires a significant amount of time, planning, financial resources, and organization.

Why is CACREP Reaccreditation so Difficult?

The process is not easy because it involves a lot of people and organizations (think students, administrators, professors and instructors, supervisors, etc.). The steps within the reaccreditation process, if neglected or put off, make the end result exponentially more difficult. We are referring to, of course, the ongoing data collection, such as tracking scores, evaluations, reports, and logs of students’ hours required by CACREP. Requirements can also change from one accreditation period to the next, making organization even more crucial.

Add in the potential for staff changes at a program throughout or between accreditation timelines, which only requires more training and more time, and it’s not hard to see why this process is dreaded by administrators across the U.S..

Reaccreditation is also not free. Programs need to budget for the $2,500 application fee, $2,000 cost per site visit visitor plus additional site visit costs, and a yearly membership fee ranging from $3,800–$4,000. All told, each reaccreditation cycle can cost more than $8,500, making careful budgeting an additional necessity.

CACREP Reaccreditation Standards

The standards set by CACREP are detailed and comprehensive. That doesn’t mean they’re easy to wade through. We simplified them to help you get a start but be sure to dive into CACREP’s full standards to get the most complete understanding of your next steps.

Understanding the standards your program will be evaluated against is crucial to a smooth reaccreditation process. CACREP’s current 2016 standards are to be followed until an update is released. The standards cover the following areas:

  • Section 1, The Learning Environment
    • Standards for the institution, academic unit, and program faculty and staff
  • Section 2, Professional Counseling Identity
    • Foundational standards and standards for the eight required core curriculum areas
  • Section 3, Professional Practice
    • Standards related to clinical practice, including practicum, internship, supervisor qualifications, and practicum and internship course loads
  • Section 4, Evaluation in the Program
    • Elements related to evaluation of the program, assessment of students, and evaluation of faculty and site supervisors
  • Section 5 A–H, Entry-Level Specialty Areas: Addiction Counseling; Career Counseling; Clinical Mental Health Counseling; Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling; College Counseling and Student Affairs; Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling; School Counseling; Rehabilitation Counseling
    • Specialized content for various programs.
  • Section 6, Doctoral Standards for Counselor Education and Supervision
    • Doctoral-level program requirements, including the specialized content for core curriculum, and practicum and internship requirements.

CACREP offers training to program administrators and shares accreditation manuals about how best to collect and prepare the required information. Spending time reviewing these manuals, including what is needed to maintain CACREP accreditation, will help your program stay on top of what is required.

What Role Does Data Play in Reaccreditation?

Data is the foundation of a program’s reaccreditation application; it must be collected, then organized, and finally, presented clearly.

Gathering the data consists of thoroughly reviewing CACREP’s standards, noting what information is required and making sure the relevant parties, such as students, professors, and supervisors are accurately collecting that data, whether it is through logs, exam scores, or other records.

With information coming from a variety of streams and processes—i.e., paper, emails, digital files—the data then needs to be consolidated and organized. This can be one of the most time-consuming tasks for administrators because the work is detail-oriented and can be tedious.

After the data is organized and cleaned, it needs to be put into a format that is presentable to accreditation reviewers. Is all of the data in one place and easily pulled into a presentable format? Or will each report require detailed knowledge, making it difficult to repeat the next round of accreditation? Or are various individuals responsible for different reports?

Many of these questions are what cost you the most time and energy, but can be solved with data software partners like Tevera.

How Does Tevera Make the Reaccreditation Process Easier?

Tevera is designed to be a convenient, single collection point for any data related to CACREP standards section 3: Professional Practice via our field experience solution (link to FE page) and section 4: Evaluation in the Program via our program outcomes solution (link to PO page). Evaluate student performance in alignment with sections 2, 5, and 6 of the CACREP 2016 standards, and/or align assessment measures to your program’s own KPIs.

Tevera goes beyond being a place to store data because it gives you easy and fast tools to pull out reports that you need, simply with the click of a button. As someone in charge of the reaccreditation process for your counseling program, software like this allows you to have all the information and reports you need in one place, minimizing the time you spend gathering, cleaning, and preparing data.

Tevera’s CACREP Accreditation Reporting

Tevera’s robust assessment reports simplify gathering the reports you need for CACREP accreditation and reaccreditation. With just a couple of clicks, you can generate powerful reports on student and program outcomes. You’ll be able to pull comprehensive reports on student outcomes in any of the formats below, as well as filter them by assessor role, date range, cohort, or specialization for more targeted insights.

Simplify CACREP Accreditation With Tevera

Whether your school is striving to earn CACREP accreditation or reaccreditation, Tevera provides the resources and services your team needs to streamline and simplify managing field experience and program outcomes.

Schedule an overview with Tevera today to discover how our software can elevate your counseling program’s CACREP accreditation process.