Why Choosing a Counseling Program with CACREP Accreditation is So Important - Geneva College, a Christian College in Pennsylvania (PA)

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Program Spotlight
February 21, 2018

Why Choosing a Counseling Program with CACREP Accreditation is So Important

If you’re passionate about being a force for good and for God in the lives of others, one of the most empowering ways to live your vision is with a graduate degree in counseling. And, while it may be tempting to use your extensive life experiences in the field to expedite your career by attending a degree or diploma mill, you’d be shortchanging yourself and those you go on to serve.

The best way to set yourself up for a fulfilling, professional career in counseling is to enroll in a CACREP-accredited program.

Who is CACREP?

The Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs accredits master’s and doctoral degree programs in counseling (and its specialties) that are offered by colleges and universities. In existence since 1981, CACREP is recognized by both the American Counseling Association and the U.S. Department of Education.

CACREP acts as an external body that establishes minimum standards of quality and competence that counseling programs must meet for accreditation. A counselor education program must fulfill certain requirements 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
  •       Self-evaluation 

All of Geneva College’s Master of Arts in Counseling programs are comprised of 60 credit hours and are fully accredited by CACREP.

CACREP accreditation provides recognition that the content and quality of the program has been evaluated and meets standards established by the profession. As a prospective student, you can be confident that the program will equip you with the appropriate knowledge and skills because it meets the rigorous policies and standards set forth by this specialized accreditor. You also know that the program is stable, professionally and financially.

To maintain status as an accredited program, Geneva must consistently evaluate and report on our program in order to affirm our commitment to CACREP’s high standards.

Why is attending a CACREP program important to me?

Although graduating from a CACREP-accredited program is not required to work in the counseling field, it gives you many distinct advantages:

1) It demonstrates a high level of professionalism that can be beneficial when applying for a job in a competitive market due to:

  •       Recognition that you’ve attended a program that meets or exceeds the national standards.
  •       Confidence that you’ve met prerequisites for credentialing and are fully ready to enter into professional practice.

2) Although you will have to go through the same steps that students from non-accredited programs go through in order to obtain licensure, licensing bodies often use the same standards as accredited programs. Because the CACREP curriculum is established by experts in the field and is well in line with licensure requirements, it's no surprise that CACREP graduates perform better on the National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification (NCE).

In fact, 94 percent of Geneva students have taken the National Counselor Exam, and 99 percent of these students passed the comprehensive exam on the first try.

3) Accredited programs are generally of better quality and tend to attract better students and faculty. Geneva’s Master of Arts in Counseling faculty are among some of the brightest in the nation who are constantly researching, learning, and contributing to the counseling field. Their years of unique and eye-opening experiences are then brought into the classroom and taught to students.

4) Accredited programs tend to offer more hands-on experience and longer field placements.

5) It may be easier to enter a doctoral program if your master’s degree was accredited. Many of Geneva’s students go on to pursue a doctorate degree in counseling.

6) Those who graduate from accredited programs are sanctioned less frequently for ethical violations.

7) Some third-party payers are beginning to reimburse only those counselors who graduate from accredited programs:

  •       TRICARE, the health care program for all active-duty and retired military personnel and their families.
  •       The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) released qualification standards that formally recognize licensed professional mental health counselors who have graduated from CACREP-accredited programs as mental health specialists within the Veterans Health Administration.
  •       Only LPCs with a degree from a CACREP-accredited program may be employed as Fully Functioning Army Substance Abuse Program Practitioner.

What can I do with my Master of Arts in Counseling?

Students in Geneva’s Christ-centered Master of Arts in Counseling degree program can choose from one of three concentrations:

  •       Marriage, Couple and Family Counseling
  •       Clinical Mental Health Counseling
  •       School Counseling

Because all of our programs are CACREP accredited, you’ll gain a much broader window into career opportunities. Our students enjoy the distinction of graduating from a program that operates under the highest standards in the field. They leave Geneva highly qualified and well prepared to step into counseling positions in various settings, including:

  •       Education institutions (primary, secondary, post-secondary level)
  •       Community health centers
  •       Group homes
  •       Family service agencies
  •       Adoption agencies
  •       Residential treatment centers
  •       Mental health agencies
  •       Church/worship centers

If you’d like to learn more about professions that enable you to serve wholeheartedly and faithfully in your life’s work or want to learn more about a biblically based, Christ-centered education at Geneva, we’d love to introduce you to Christian perspectives at work in the counseling field. For more information on how Geneva College can help you pursue your ministry goals, please phone us at 855-979-5563 or email web@geneva.edu.