UNA Counselor Education Program Achieves CACREP Accreditation
Oct. 13, 2009
FLORENCE, Ala. – The University of North Alabama’s graduate program in counselor education achieved a national mark of distinction recently when it received accreditation from CACREP (Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs). CACREP is an independent agency recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation to accredit graduate programs in several counseling specialties.
The UNA program in counselor education offers master’s degrees in school counseling and community counseling.
“This recognition from CACREP is important to UNA’s counselor education program on several fronts,” said Dr. Paul Baird, chair of the UNA Department of Counselor Education. “Most importantly, it reflects that the program is superior, meeting criteria of excellence. CACREP accreditation is also highly recognized by doctoral programs. That means that students graduating from UNA with their master’s in counselor education will have a distinct advantage over other students when they go for their doctorate.”
Dr. Quinn Pearson, a counselor education professor and UNA’s CACREP liaison, added that students graduating from a CACREP-accredited program “have the advantage of a much smoother, streamlined process as they apply to become National Certified Counselors and Licensed Professional Counselors.”
Pearson helped lead the UNA counselor education program through the CACREP accreditation process.
UNA had actively worked toward CACREP accreditation for three years, although it had been careful to follow as many CACREP standards as possible even before pursuing accreditation. To fully meet CACREP standards, the counselor education department made several additions to its program, including one new faculty member, a clinical instruction center, manuals for students and site supervisors, an advisory council, and orientation for new students and site supervisors every semester.
The UNA counselor education programs in school counseling and community counseling are accredited by CACREP through October 2017. The program currently enrolls 80 students.