A vital perquisite to enrolling in any higher learning venue is verification of valid institutional and program-specific accreditation. A list of frequent questions with latest accurate replies is offered below to guide each quest for accredited Master's in School Counseling programs that best fit unique needs and special interests.
What is Accreditation? A Basic Definition
Accreditation entails passing an expert peer review and maintaining academic quality assurance standards in a wide variety of curricular aspects. Criteria apply to minimum levels of educators' academic preparation, available research materials, substantive instructional content, intellectual rigor and clinical learning experiential.
Why is Accreditation an Essential Credential?
While accreditation a voluntary credential in pure theory, it's essential as a practical matter. That's because accreditation is sole measure of high-quality education universally recognized across our entire nation. Thus, graduation from an accredited Master's in School Counseling program is a must to ensure full preparation for doctoral studies, employability, state licensing eligibility and interstate reciprocity.
What Organization Grants School Counselor Graduate Degree Accreditation?
The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs is primary national accreditor for graduate-level counseling degree programs in the U.S. About 600 CACREP-accredited degree programs currently exist in the United States. In a vast majority of instances, CACREP accreditation satisfies every regulation of various state licensing boards across the nation. For more information, visit CACREP's official website at http://www.cacrep.org/.
Most secondary school counselor positions also require post-graduate degree program accreditation by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. This satisfies the basic state license criterion that applies to all K-12 educators in general.
Besides program accreditation, institutional accreditation by the appropriate organization is vital. This applies even and most especially if your desired career path requires no state license or special certification, as graduation from an accredited institution would be the universally required criterion. The qualification to seek is regional accreditation by one of six organizations based on geographical location. A comprehensive searchable database of regionally accredited Master's in School Counseling degrees is made freely available by the U.S. Dept. of Education.
Other Resources for Accredited Master's in School Counseling Degree Programs
The American School Counselor Association is the largest professional organization for school counselors in the U.S. Per its official website, ASCA's mission is supporting counselors' efforts to help students by providing various professional development programs, regularly updated publications and other vital resources for school counselors located across the globe.
One particularly valuable point for starting reference is published by ASCA on their FAQ page. The section features a list of hyperlinks to state licensing board core school counselor competency requirements, open job listings, professional networking resources, state counseling associations and institutions that offer accredited degrees. Check these and other jewels out firsthand at http://schoolcounselor.org/faqs.
Conclusions & Real Solutions to Find Accredited Master's in School Counseling Programs
As foregoing discussion is clear illustration, graduate education with full preparation for any given school counseling career can be easy and fun long before said and done. A small investment of effort can repay huge dividends with no ends in the near future. Here's best wishes for good luck in a long, rewarding tenure as school counselor!