Counseling Accreditation FAQs

I don't understand the implications of not being CACREP accredited?

The best source we can turn to is our Flagship organization ACA. See https://www.counseling.org/knowledge-center/faqs-licensure-policies#

Specifically, they answer questions as follows:

If I did not graduate from a CACREP-accredited program, can I still become licensed?

If you did not graduate from a CACREP accredited program, don't panic.  Although there is movement in some states to require graduation from a CACREP accredited program, the majority of states do not currently require a CACREP degree for licensure.  That will not change in the near future.  ACA members can e-mail our professional standards department for the current set of requirements for any particular state at ethics@counseling.org.

If I am licensed but did not graduate from a CACREP accredited program, will I lose my license at some point in the future?

No. Once you have a license, no one will take it away from you as long as you remain in good standing.

I am in the School Counseling Program. Does this affect the School Counseling or the Marriage, Couples, and Family Counseling Programs?

No. These programs were not, nor ever have been, under the CACREP accreditation. They are accredited through our Regional Accreditation the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).

Does this affect my ability to become an LPC if I am in the School Counseling or Marriage, Couples, and Family Counseling Programs?

It does not affect any of our programs for licensure, because Texas and most states are not bound to CACREP. It will only affect you if you are in Missouri or Kentucky.

Can I graduate in December and come back to finish my last field course?

No. You won’t be able to graduate without all classes.

Is there a pathway where students graduating in Spring can fall under CACREP?

No. Unfortunately, CACREP is firm on their decision with us with the deadline of December 2020. To contact CACREP for specific answers.

Can I double-up on classes to graduate in December?

If you have 4 courses left, it is possible to take both internships and 2 courses. Be prepared that it will be difficult but we will support you as much as we can.

Is Lamar University planning to re-apply or appeal this decision?

Due to the lengthy process of the application period (i.e. 2-3 years) and the financial restraints, it has been decided not to reapply. However, we have asked for CACREP to make an exception and keep us accredited through May, 2021. CACREP will inform us of our request in mid-to-late January.

What accreditation is needed?

The answer to this can vary, but usually a state will accept CACREP, CORE or a degree from a regionally accredited university, which is the status of Lamar University. The majority of states require a graduate degree in counseling from a regionally accredited university or one that is accredited through a body recognized by CHEA and list the specific coursework that must be completed. To our knowledge, only Kentucky and Missouri specify that candidates must have a degree from a CACREP accredited program.

Are there any options for a full refund of tuition?

Unfortunately, no. However, you can still get a full refund for Fall 2020 if you are in the CMHC program, and the request is before the Fall start date.

Will this program potentially be CACREP in the future?

At this point, we do not have plans for the CMHC program to seek out accreditation with CACREP due to fiscal restraints and the time factor, which takes 1-3 years for the accreditation process, after the mandatory wait period is over.

Why was CACREP accreditation lost?

The program did not get reapproved for continued accreditation due to Faculty-Student Ratios, or FTEs. CACREP requires a ratio of 12:1; we made significant progress toward this goal from 28:1 to 13.8:1 and believed they would take that into account.

Can a student graduate early in December if they take additional classes? What would they need to do?

Yes. Although it would be difficult to take more than one field course plus additional courses, we are willing to schedule an overload for students in the fall if the course(s) needed are offered.

What if a future state the student wants to get licensed in requires a CACREP degree years from now?

It is difficult to predict the future of licensing regulations. North Carolina will be begin requiring a CACREP degree beginning July 1, 2022.

I would be sure to know my state’s timeline if it were moving to CACREP and be sure to follow my schedule and finish before that date.

Can credits transfer to another university if a student wants to withdraw?

Yes, some universities accept up to 50% of your hours in a transfer. Depending on the university, it can be from 12 to 27 hours.

Which program is affected? Some students did not seem to understand exactly which program was affected.

Only the Master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health is impacted by CACREP’s decision.

What are the options for students in states that do require CACREP?

There are two states to our knowledge that require a CACREP degree. Contacting Lindsey Simon is the best way to understand options for your state. Ms. Simon can be reached by email at lsimon7@lamar.edu or by phone at 409-880-7640. In some cases, candidates who have contacted one of these states was told that exceptions can be made on a case-by-case basis.

Can internships/practicums be completed virtually? Several students were having difficulty finding an internship location due to COVID. It seems several would be graduating in December but they cannot find a site to fulfill this requirement?

Whether or not you can conduct your hours virtually is left up to the site. Many sites have put in place telehealth protocols and are conducting counseling sessions virtually.

Can we pause our enrollment and pick up where we left off if/when LU gets re-accredited?

At this time, the program has a waiting period before re-applying for accreditation with CACREP. From that point, the process can take up to 3 or more years. We do not recommend this course of action because we cannot guarantee that we will be accredited.

What happens to the classes I have taken to this point? Will they still be recognized as being taken under CACREP accreditation?

Classes are not accredited, but programs are. Our CMHC program does not plan to change any coursework as a result of this decision. You will still be getting quality coursework aligned with the highest standards.

Is it true that if we do not graduate from a CACREP program that we will not be eligible for insurance panels?

The Alliance for Professional Counselors is an organization that advocates for eligibility of licensure in counseling for a variety of programs rather than restriction for just CACREP endorsement.

With respect to insurance, they state:

In the case of counselor licensure, all states have historically accepted counseling degrees from regionally-accredited institutions, when curricular requirements are met. Only recently has the push begun to require CACREP program-level accreditation. However, this recent push has resulted in restrictions in employment in the Veterans Administration, participation in TRICARE, and eligibility to serve Medicare insurance.

Other insurance panels (e.g., BCBS, United Health) do not inquire about CACREP but rather focus on licensure.

Would Lamar University consider permitting me to technically graduate in December 2020, but allow me to finish Internship II in the new year? (I have heard similar accommodations being made by other schools before.)

Of course, but candidates in this situation cannot say they have graduated from a CACREP-accredited program.

Would Lamar University be willing to waive the Internship II requirements if I have other clinical experience delivering CBT? Or, if I have a masters in CBT awarded from an accredited university program? Would Lamar University be willing to modify requirements for Internship II such as writing a dissertation instead?

This would not be a possibility because CACREP mandates a 600-hour Internship.

Does Lamar University have a relationship with any other accredited programs whereby I could quickly transfer all of my credits to another school?

Other universities have set policies as to how many transfer hours they take. We do not have a partnership with any university for a transfer of all credits.

How will this change the requirements of the current program, specifically, NCE or CPCE testing?

The program is not planning to change any components such as NCE or CPCE testing.

Would it be possible to be grandfathered into CACREP accreditation from LU due to the length of time I have spent in the program?

CACREP did not accommodate us regarding a grandfather clause. They were specific in the end date of December 2020.

In what way does this change our abilities to apply for the LPC certification in Texas after graduation?

This does not affect your ability to be licensed in Texas and many other states in any way.

Do you have any suggestions considering I only have Practicum and Internship 1 and 2 to complete before qualifying for graduation?

Yes, we suggest that you try to find a second Internship site or a site that can accommodate you for 700 hours in the fall and graduate in December.

I need to know if this applied to those of us who are in the Program Certificate in Mental Health and Counseling and seeking Internship or does this only apply to those who are receiving a Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling.

It applies only to the Master’s degree in CMHC.

My state board site requires that a program is accredited by either the Council on Higher Education Association (CHEA) the Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE) or Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Education Programs (CACREP.) Does LU fit under these conditions?

Yes. LU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) which falls under CHEA. Please contact Ms. Simon if you are an out-of-state student and she can guide you through the requirements in your respective state. Ms. Simon can be reached by email at lsimon7@lamar.edu or by phone at 409-880-7640.

Does losing CACREP impact by ability to become a Nationally Certified Counselor?

In the archives of news for ACA in 2014 it is stated that The National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) has announced that after January 1, 2022, individuals applying for the National Certified Counselor (NCC) credential must hold their degree from a CACREP accredited counselor education program.

The good news is that upon further research with the NBCC, they state that this decision will not affect current NCCs or counselors who become certified by December 31, 2021. Any individual certified prior to January 2022 can hold the certification as long as they continue to adhere to NBCC policies and procedures. Current NCCs will still be able to apply for specialty certifications.

Keep in mind that the NCC is a Certification, and not a License. States currently regard licensure as the only condition needed to practice counseling.