Counseling Accreditation FAQs

What is accreditation?

Educational accreditation is a quality assurance process by which educational institutions and programs are evaluated by an external organization to determine if applicable standards are met. 

There are two different levels of accreditation. One relates to the institution as a whole such as Lamar University being accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The second is specific to degree programs of which LU has accreditation across campus in many programs, including the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).

How do different types of program accreditations/certifications affect student access

Any program has an obligation to carefully evaluate the positive and negative impact of accreditation on student access. When programs are offered online such as the School Counseling Program and the Clinical Mental Health Program, requirements for face-to-face supervision place additional demands on both the student and the educational institutions. In the instance of the student, they may be required to come to campus or another site for supervision requiring the student to incur the costs of travel, possibly lodging and any other related expenditure. The educational institution may be required to add fees to address the increased cost of the supervision. Whether or not the added requirements are important to the education experience that is important and must be weighed against the reality of the costs. Further, alternative accrediting bodies may meet the job placement requirements for students while also placing less demands on both the student and the institution.

How does program accreditation impact board certification?

On occasion professionals may seek board certification. Board certifications often have a number of requirements among which can be the nature of the practice experience of the professional, number of years in practice, recommendations by peers and degrees secured from accredited institutions among other requirements. There are no existing limitations on seeking employment in the counseling area that require national board certification.

Are the counseling programs at Lamar University accredited by CACREP?

The Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC) Program is currently accredited by CACREP through the year 2020.

Why did Lamar University seek CACREP accreditation for the CMHC Program?

Accreditation is an important step in the process of developing high quality programs as it incorporates external assessment. In addition, accreditation will facilitate job placements for graduates of the program. For instance, some federal agencies and certifications require CACREP-approved program graduates for practice in counseling, including the Veteran’s Administration, Department of Defense, TRICARE Certified Mental Health Counselor Credential and the Army Substance Abuse Program Practitioner.

What are the implications of having a CACREP Accredited Program?

Attaining CACREP accreditation demonstrates our ongoing commitment to providing our students with high-quality instruction and services. Admission to the Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC) Program is highly competitive with only a very limited number of students admitted each term. There is no open enrollment and applicants are evaluated on specific requirements including the GRE score, GPA, personal statement and professional references. Due to limited enrollment, it is possible that an applicant who meets all criteria may be denied admission.

The CMHC Program is currently engaged in a process of strategic enrollment. This is designed to meet the CMHC program objectives of access and quality as well at its goal of recruiting, enrolling, and graduating a high-quality, diverse student population. Strategic enrollment also allows for our program to maintain accreditation through the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) by adhering to its standards for faculty-student ratios.

 The above strategies enable us to protect the integrity and quality of the services we provide to our students. Though admission to the CMHC Program is limited, our other counseling programs are equally rigorous and also meet requirements for certification and licensure in the state of Texas. We offer a Master’s Degree in Counseling and Development with concentrations in School Counseling and Marriage, Couples and Family Counseling. Students who graduate from either of these concentrations are also eligible to pursue licensure as a professional counselor in the State of Texas and many other states.

Is it a requirement to graduate from a CACREP accredited program to become a certified school counselor in the State of Texas?

No, the requirements to become a certified school counselor in Texas are mandated by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) which is the certifying body for school counselors in Texas. Please visit https://tea.texas.gov/ for more information.

What are the requirements to become a certified school counselor in the State of Texas?

You must earn a master’s degree in school counseling and have two years of teaching experience to sit for the TExES School Counselor Examination. Click here for specific requirements for professional school counselors

Is it a requirement to graduate from a CACREP accredited program to be a licensed professional counselor (LPC) in the State of Texas?

No, it is not a requirement to graduate from a CACREP accredited program to become a Licensed Professional Counselor in the State of Texas and many other states. Students who complete our 60-hour program in Counseling and Development with an emphasis in Professional School Counseling, are uniquely placed to pursue certification as a Professional School Counselor AND also pursue licensure as a Professional Counselor in the State of Texas and many other states. Their marketing power is doubled with this dual credential.

Those who complete our 60-hour program in Counseling and Development with an emphasis in Marriage, Couples and Family Counseling are uniquely positioned to pursue licensure as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and/or as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT). Both concentrations offer high quality curricula and training that are aligned with many licensing bodies. 

According to the American Counseling Association, although some states now require graduation from a CACREP accredited program to become licensed, the majority of states do not currently require a CACREP degree for licensure. That will not change in the near future.

Click here for more information on the eligibility requirements for licensure as a professional counselor in the State of Texas.

Where can I find information regarding CACREP?

You may review more about the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) by visiting their website at https://www.cacrep.org/

What are the benefits of the Marriage, Couples and Family Counseling (MCFC) Concentration?

The Marriage, Couples and Family Counseling concentration, first offered in 2018, prepares students for work with children, adolescents, families and integrated care with community school partnerships. Our coursework uniquely meets the academic requirements for licensure as a Professional Counselor (LPC) and/or as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) in Texas and many other states. This concentration also prepares candidates for multiple credentials with a focus on child and family issues.

Why did Lamar University transition from a 48-hour to a 60-hour School Counseling Program?

  1. Our decision to transition to a 60-hour requirement was based on national accreditation standards and best practices. We found that students in the 48-hour program entered the workforce missing some important training in counseling skills and mental health foundations. While 48-hour programs are still allowed by TEA, it is important to be aligned with the minimum standards for the profession. The new program increases students’ ability to compete for school counselor positions.
  2. Gives students the opportunity to pursue the LPC credential in Texas (and other qualifying states).
  3. Students will be better prepared to handle student crisis situations and mental health services both in a school setting and in a community setting.
  4. The Professional School Counseling concentration has a unique course in counseling skills; a unique course to address PK-20 career standards; a unique course for comprehensive school counseling; and a unique course in child and adolescent counseling—all of which will provide students with the confidence and leadership for their careers.
  5. 60 hours is currently the highest standard across all states. This degree gives students more freedom for potential relocation.
  6. Extensive exam preparation and extensive skills practice are infused in this Program.
  7. The 60- hour program is specifically aligned with the American School Counselor Association’s (ASCA) National Model, the Texas Comprehensive School Counseling Model, and licensure standards for professional counseling services (LPC) both in a school and community setting.
  8. The additional four courses in this program are 12-weeks in duration and run concurrently with other courses, giving students more flexibility in their weekly schedule and family life without affecting their graduation date.
  9. Students will be part of a cutting-edge program that provides opportunities to network services between schools and communities as part of a coordinated health team.
  10. Our 60-hour program with a school-to-community approach allows students to dialogue, coordinate, and work alongside other mental health professionals for addressing the much-needed support to children, adolescents, and transitioning youth.