All three degrees in the Counselor Education program at Texas Tech University recently earned eight-year accreditation from the Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs (CACREP).
To earn the eight-year accreditation, the longest period allowed under CACREP's standards, the program obtained perfect scores on 320 standards in its master's degrees in clinical mental health counseling and school counseling and its doctorate degree in counselor education and supervision.
“It's a very difficult accreditation to obtain and maintain,” said Loretta Bradley, a Horn Professor of education and the coordinator of counselor education. “Receiving this accreditation is like receiving the Good Housekeeping seal of approval.”
Among the 450 counselor education programs nationwide, about 25 percent are accredited. Texas Tech has the only accredited program between Albuquerque and Dallas.
CACREP accreditation is not required of counselor education programs, although some major employers like the Veterans Administration now require counselors to graduate from a CACREP-accredited program. This accreditation indicates to future students and future employers of Texas Tech graduates the counselor education program has achieved a high educational standard and prepares its graduates to work in government and community agencies, clinical mental health counseling centers and schools to effectively deal with problems.
Each counselor education degree has trademark outcomes. For the master's in clinical mental health counseling, a trademark outcome is graduates are prepared to understand, organize and implement an effective treatment plan. For the master's in school counseling, a trademark outcome is for graduates to understand, plan and implement the American School Counselor Association National Model. At the doctorate level, the trademark outcome is students understand, organize and implement a social justice advocacy leadership plan.
The counselor education program also prepares students to pass the state licensure and school counseling certification exams.
“We feel CACREP accreditation has many advantages for our students in the job market, both at the master's degree level and the doctorate level,” Bradley said.
“I would place our counseling education faculty right up there with the top professionals in the nation,” College of Education Dean Scott Ridley said. “This accreditation is a great and well-deserved honor and will allow our faculty to do what they do best – train the best counseling professionals in the industry.”