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CACREP Accreditation

Discussion in 'Psychology [Psy.D. / Ph.D.]' started by ITALA, 04.02.09.

  1. ITALA

    ITALA

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    I am in CACREP accredited MHC program and looking to transfer to another school (because I am moving to another city). I am wondering what the difference is logistically if the curriculum is exactly the same? What will I need to do in addition to completeing the program to acquire my license? Or what are the penalties of being in non-CACREP accredit school in genreal?

    Thank you in advance for your help.
     
  2. JackD

    JackD

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    I am not exactly an expert in this area but from what I have heard, if you have a non-CACREP accredited degree, you can't get licensed to practice mental health counseling in 49 states. And California, the only remaining state where you don't need it, is probably moving towards requiring it. I would certainly attempt to confirm that, it is just a rumor that I heard, but if true, would not be good.

    If you can't get licensed, you can't practice, which I assume you actually want to do. I wouldn't risk it.

    I know I am going to get pounced on for this, which is fine, but Capella University (yeah, i said it!) does have a CACREP accredited mental health counseling program, which is online. The only state you can't practice in is South Carolina. Doing that program would not be my first choice but I would take it over a non-accredited, "brick and mortar" program.

    http://www.capella.edu/schools_programs/human_services/masters/mental_health_counseling.aspx
     
  3. ITALA

    ITALA

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    Thanks, Jack,

    I am not sure if this is as straightforward as that. I can not imagine there would still be that many unaccredited programs and people would pay money to attend them if in the end they can not work? Or can you work without a license in some places?

    In any case, I decided to stick with my accredit program for now and postpone the move a little bit. :)
     
  4. JackD

    JackD

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    Lets break this down real quick into two parts.

    First, unaccredited programs exist for several reasons. Most commonly, these are programs that are newer and attempting to gain accreditation. They can't just start up on day one as an accredited program. Other reasons might be that they are not meant as practicing degrees. Perhaps research degrees or stepping stone doctoral degrees. You see this many masters programs in clinical psychology. You can't practice with them, instead they are meant as a way to move up to doctoral degrees that you can do something with. The final possibility is that they are illegitimate programs but that is less likely.

    Second, why would people attend such a program? Perhaps they wouldn't want a job in counseling. Maybe they want to teach, do research, advise organizations, or do something related to counseling that isn't actually counseling. Other reasons, they just want the degree, since they are interested in the field or it could help them in their current job. Or as i said earlier, it is some kind of stepping stone to a doctoral degree. It is just possible that some people don't know the licensing requirement and are flying blind, so to speak.

    However, the fact of the matter remains, if you can't get licensed because your program isn't accredited then you aren't going to be a mental health counselor. You could do something with it but not therapy. I think that aspect is that straightforward.


    Edit: Upon rereading this post, it sounds a like i am trying to be harsh or like i am angry. Trust me, that is not how i meant to come off.
     
  5. ITALA

    ITALA

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    Jack, I met people who are in non-accredited programs and they are all planning to become counselors and doing their practicums/internships in mental health agencies, etc. I think there is a way to get licensed after such program, you just have to undertake some additional steps. I will find out more in a few weeks when I attend our local MHC association. :)
     
  6. Quichita19

    Quichita19

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    Also, coming from a CACREP accredited program can boost your potential with doctoral programs (if you're interested in continuing on). Some doctoral programs and even certain jobs won't accept degrees from non-CACREP programs. In short, I think it boosts your credentials.
    In my state, Washington, coming from a CACREP program has these benefits:
    1) You can use 50 of your supervision hours obtained from internship toward your licensure (100 supervision hours are required). This adds up because typically LMHC's charge $100/hr for supervision.
    2) You can apply 500 of your direct client contact hours from your internship toward the 1,000 required hours for licensure. (I believe the numbers are right, but I may remember wrong, the important point being you can count a large number of supervision and direct client contact hours from your internship towards licensure which means licensure faster!!:))
    3) You can take the NBCC exam right out of your master's program instead of having to wait (I think 2 years post-Master). It just saves a lot of time which equals $$).

    If you're planning on doing clinical work, the likelihood that a potential client will be worried about you coming from a CACREP accredited school is low. I think what's most important at that juncture is licensure and also your skill level and reputation.
     
  7. ITALA

    ITALA

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    Quichita,

    Thank you again for your detail reply. :)

    This makes sense and at least I know what sort of questions to ask now when I go to our local MHC association meeting. Everything that you listed sounds very important and time and money saving. Plus, taking the exam right away instead of waiting for two years sounds very good, since my brain will still be in a study mode. :D
     
  8. saribou13

    saribou13

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    Actually, I have been wondering about CACREP accreditation too, and how important it is. I am thinking about going to the M.Ed in Community Counseling program at Loyola University Chicago, but then I noticed that they are not CACREP accredited, but they do follow their licensure and educational guidelines and standards. But then I also noticed that a lot of the Counseling programs at better quality schools are not on the list of CACREP accredited programs. So that made me definitely wonder as to how important it is. I know you can still get your licensure. You have to take the initial exam and then after the 2 years of supervised work experience, you can take the exam which allows you to practice privately. This seems like the standard procedure for all programs, which I keep hearing about, so now I'm confused... help!!! :confused:
     
  9. mftPsychSoc

    mftPsychSoc

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    If at all possible, it would be benefical to attend a Cacrep program, as it provide a "quality assurance," in terms of one being assure that the counseling program they are in meets all the necessary standards to be certified as a counselor at the national level (NCC). In terms of state licensure, most programs that have accreditation, more often than not, meet the licensing requirements for their respective state, HOWEVER, it is also important to research what the licensure requirements are for the state you are planning to work in (as is the case with the other licensed fields). This way, you know whether the program you plan to attend will provide what it should, to allow you the ability to become licensed or 'license eligible.'

    In terms of the level of importance, accreditation is currently on a voluntary basis for counseling programs, but as 49 out of 50 states currently have licensing laws, (and are continually re-examinging those laws to improve them) and the 50th state (California) works toward a licensure law, it may be the case that accreditation by cacrep will become the rule, and not the exception. All that said, if you choose to attend a non cacrep program, some considerations could be: 1) are you considering becoming a nationally certified counselor? If so, attending a cacrep program would provide eligibility to take the national counselor exam after completing your program, instead of fullfilling the 2yr post grad experience requirement. 2) it would provide a stamp of approval for potential clients that are 'saavy consumers,' and are looking for someone who meets the relevant standards of the profession. 3) generally speaking, attending an accredited program would help to promote the profesional standards of the counseling profession, just as SW and psychology both have firmly established their respective fields by way of encouraging their respective programs be accredited (which is a good thing in general).
     
  10. saribou13

    saribou13

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    I don't mean to be rude at all when I say this... but only 40% of all counseling masters programs are actually CACREP accredited. Many of the schools that are on the CACREP list, I've not even heard of previously. A lot of the better schools aren't on there. In this way, I think that perhaps CACREP lends validity to programs at lesser known schools, to ensure that they are in fact up to licensure standards, and follow a certain protocol. Also, I am hoping to afterwards go on to get my PhD in Counseling Psychology, so hopefully all of this will become a moot point later on. I'm not worried about it.
     
  11. mftPsychSoc

    mftPsychSoc

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    Thats interesting....well eitherway, I don't believe I mentioned a specific %age of programs being accredited so no offense taken, but this is information that is good to know in general. In terms of lending validity to lesser known schools, this may be the case for schools that are trying to meet their state's licensing standards, but for other individuals who may be looking to make their living at the matsters level(or those looking to progress to doctoral level counselor ed programs) I figured giving a general guideline of things to be mindful of would be helpful, as it sounded like you were looking for information regarding what impact or benefit accreditation may afford. If your planning on transitioning to counseling psych, still look to find out what impact your master's program will have on your ability to transfer credits, bypass preqs, etc....other than that, good luck!:luck:
     

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