Every year, many people decide to enroll in a counseling program to become licensed therapists, counselors and mental health practitioners. There is a huge demand for highly qualified counselors and therapists, but it is important for students to attend reputable and accredited colleges and universities that offer this career track before deciding to enroll. Here is a quick overview on how to research whether or not your counseling program is accredited.
Do research on school's website
One of the first things you should do if you are interested in studying counseling at a college or university is research the school to see if they are accredited by a regional education accrediting council. A lot of times schools might be in the process of receiving accreditation or might be under suspension by an accrediting body. This is important because if you actually enroll in a program, graduate and decide to get a job in counseling, your future employer might disqualify you as potential candidate because your degree program wasn't accredited at the time that you graduated. Also, this might affect your chances of enrolling in a master's counseling program at another college or university.
Check with accreditation organization
Another important step is to check with the accreditation council or organization that has sanctioned the college or university. They will have a list of schools that they have accredited along with a list of schools that are currently in the process of seeking accreditation. They will also give you a list of schools that are currently under evaluation or suspension. Sometimes schools and universities do not want to scare students off from enrolling and may not necessarily disclose this information. This is why it always important to check with a third party such as the regional accreditation council.
Check with professional associations
Sometimes a school can be accredited by a larger regional accrediting association, but professional associations and degree-specific accreditation councils ultimately are the ones that give their stamp of approval on counseling programs. It can be quite easy for a particular school or university to be accredited by a regional accreditation council, but the actual counseling program at the school may lack accreditation from the Council of Accreditation Counseling & Related Programs (CACREP). Check with their website to see if your school or university's counseling program is accredited by them.
Nonetheless, with careful research and due diligence, you will be able to swiftly determine whether or not the prospective counseling program that you are interested in has proper accreditation credentials. This information can be easily found online. If not, do not hesitate to call the school or university. If this does not work, call the actual accreditation council and they will be more than glad to assist you. Doing this will save you a lot of time and headaches. The last thing you want to do is find out that that the program you have been spending a lot of time and money on is not accredited. This can hurt your future career in counseling.
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