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Most Affordable Online CACREP-Accredited Counseling Programs

most_affordable_cacrep_accredited_counseling_programsIf you’re the type of person that understands how humans operate and are striving to find a career that will enable you to help people, look no further. Pursuing counseling as a career not only benefits you in terms of long-term job assurance, but it also benefits everyone you’re able to offer guidance to along the way.

You might be concerned about the time investment, scheduling, or workload that obtaining a counseling degree would entail, but there is a far-reaching solution. 2020 has pushed online learning platforms to the next level. This means that, overall, virtual education providers have equipped their programs with increasingly flexible, advanced, and comprehensive curricula.

CACREP stands for the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs. As far as counseling programs go, if it’s not CACREP-approved, it’s not worth your time or your money. As an organization, CACREP upholds the quality and value standards for counseling programs across the board; each must undergo an extensive evaluation process before it receives accreditation.

Below, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most affordable, accessible, and high-quality online counseling degree programs out there. With these suggestions, you’re sure to find the school that best suits you–one that will support you on your academic journey and along the path to long-term career success.

All schools considered for these rankings

  • Are regionally or nationally accredited
  • Offer at least one fully online CACREP-Accredited Counseling degree (with no more than two weeks of required in-person work)
  • Were collected from official accrediting agency websites.

Schools are ranked solely by the average net price as released in the most recent IPEDs database collected in July of 2020.

2021 Most Affordable Online CACREP-Accredited Counseling Programs

Rank School Average Net Price
#1 Lamar University $12,716
#2 Bellevue University $13,261
#3 North Carolina State University $14,958
#4 Regent University $15,062
#5 Lindsey Wilson College $15,189
#6 Wright State University $15,251
#7 University of Hawaii at Manoa $15,441
#8 Gallaudet University $15,639
#9 University of the Cumberlands $16,340
#10 Union Institute & University $16,585
#11 Freed-Hardeman University $16,760
#12 University at Buffalo $17,264
#13 Lock Haven University $19,128
#14 Oregon State University $19,273
#15 Malone University $20,193
#16 Grace College $21,131
#17 St Bonaventure University $23,445
#18 Wake Forest University $24,800
#19 Northwestern University $26,196
#20 Colorado Christian University $26,476
#21 Bradley University $26,791
#22 Liberty University $28,181
#23 Concordia University-Irvine $28,435
#24 Messiah University $28,867

10 Best Affordable Colleges for CACREP-Accredited Counseling Programs

1. Lamar University

Average Net Price: $12,716

Lamar University is a public university that was founded in 1923. It is located in Beaumont, Texas, and is considered a large university with over 15,000 undergraduate students. This university possesses a CACREP accredited Master of Education (M.Ed.) program in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. The program can be completed in less than three years and consists of 60 credit hours. Upon completion, students will have the necessary knowledge and skills to help those seeking clinical mental health counseling services, and all students will be required to apply for their license to become authorized as a counseling professional in the state they plan to work in. In addition to a fully online curriculum, all individuals who enroll in this program must attend two residencies as well as a practicum and internship, all of which are in-person. A few of the required courses that prospective students can expect to take are Human Growth and Development, Foundations of Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Counseling Skills, Individual Counseling Theories & Techniques, Multicultural Counseling, Group Counseling Theories & Techniques, Substance Abuse Counseling, and more.


2. Bellevue University

Average Net Price: $13,261

Bellevue University is a private university that was established in 1966. It is located in Bellevue, Nebraska, and is considered an average size college with around 6,300 undergraduate students. This university is known for its CACREP accredited Master of Science (M.S.) in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. The program is offered online and consists of 60 credit hours. It is based on the standards of the national licensing model and will help students prepare for the test to become a licensed mental health counselor. Although the courses are all online, each student will be required to complete 100 hours of a practicum and 600 hours of a clinical internship experience, both of which will need to be supervised by a licensed counselor. Some of the courses that students enrolled in the M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling are required to pass are Introduction to Counseling Theories, Statistics and Quantitative Research Methods, Qualitative Research Methods and Program Evaluation, Human Development Throughout the Lifespan, Theories of Psychopathology, and more.


3. North Carolina State University

Average Net Price: $14,958

North Carolina State University is a public university that opened its doors in 1887. It is located in Raleigh, North Carolina, and is considered a large university with an undergraduate enrollment of close to 24,000. This university offers three online master’s degrees in counseling, which are the Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, the Master of Education (M.Ed.) in College Counseling and Student Development, and the Master of Education (M.Ed.) in School Counseling. All three of these programs have met the CACREP standards and have received CACREP accreditation.

The objective of the M.Ed. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program is to teach students how to work with professionals in different industries as well as ensure the well-being of their clients while remaining dedicated to social justice, diversity, and multiculturism. The following are a few of the courses that will need to be passed to graduate from the program: Career Counseling and Development, Multicultural Counseling, Theories of Counseling, Introduction to Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Group Counseling, Substance Abuse Counseling, and more.

The professors of the M.Ed. in College Counseling and Student Development program are committed to preparing students for careers in which they will spend a lot of time advocating for the development of college students. Upon graduation, all students will be ready to help students from different backgrounds with their academic, personal, social, and career pursuits. Several of the courses that will be offered to students in this program are Gender Issues in Counseling, Research Issues, Introduction to College Counseling and Student Development, Career Counseling and Development, Crisis Counseling, and more.

The online M.Ed. in School Counseling program has a goal of educating individuals on how to handle the academic, career, social, and emotional requests and needs of all students. Individuals interested in this degree program should have a strong desire to help students accomplish their goals and chase after their passions and dreams. The following are a few of the courses that students will be required to take: Techniques in Counseling, Introduction to School Counseling, Counseling Couples and Families, Multicultural Life Span Human Development, Strategies for Clinical Assessment in Counseling, and more.

4. Regent University

Average Net Price: $15,062

Regent University is a private university that was created in 1977. It is located in Virginia Beach, Virginia, and is rooted in the Christian faith. This university is considered a small college with an undergraduate population of around 4,200. Regent University features two online counseling programs that have met the CACREP standards and have earned their CACREP accreditation.

The Master of Arts (M.A.) in Clinical Mental Health Counseling provides students with the knowledge and skills to successfully help individuals deal with their life problems and lead them to better mental health solutions. After graduation, students will be able to take the licensure exam and begin a career as a licensed counselor professional. As a Christian university, this program will also include biblical principles to give students a strong Christian approach to the program.

The M.A. in Marriage, Couple, & Family Counseling program focuses on building and mending strong family structures. This program emphasizes the importance of helping couples and families create stronger and healthier relationships together. A few of the courses that are mandatory in this program are Marital & Couple Therapy, Models of Family Therapy, Theories of Human Sexuality, and more.


5. Lindsey Wilson College

Average Net Price: $15,189

Lindsey Wilson College is a private university that was formed in 1903. It is located in Columbia, Kentucky, and is rooted in the United Methodist faith. This university is considered a very small college with less than 2,000 undergraduate students. Lindsey Wilson College provides interested students with a Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Counseling and Human Development. This is one of the top-rated CACREP accredited online counseling programs in the United States. Students who enroll in the program must have a passion and interest for helping people and creating a difference in the lives of others. Upon completion of the M.Ed. in Counseling and Human Development program, each student will be prepared to help individuals reach their highest potential and live a fulfilled life. The following are several of the courses that each student must successfully pass: Life Cycle Development in Individuals & Families, Multicultural Counseling, Group Counseling Techniques, Career Education Counseling, Individual & Group Assessment, and more.


6. Wright State University

Average Net Price: $15,251

Wright State University is a public university that was founded in 1967. It is located in Dayton, Ohio, and is considered an average size college with around 10,000 undergraduate students. This university offers a few CACREP accredited online counseling programs, which include the Master of Rehabilitation Counseling (M.R.C.) in Addiction Counseling, the Master of Science (M.S.) in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, and the Master of Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling (M.R.C.).

The M.R.C. in Addiction Counseling degree prepares students for the National Counseling Exam to become a licensed professional counselor in the state of Ohio. Students who pursue this program will be educated about addictions, how to diagnose and use clinical treatment on clients, various counseling theories, and more.

The M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling focuses on a variety of theories and techniques for counseling individual clients, groups, and families. It also teaches how to do psychometric assessments. A few of the courses that students will be required to pass to graduate are Counseling Theory and Practice, Techniques of Counseling, Assessment and Evaluation in Counseling, Crisis Counseling, Group Process in Counseling, and more.

The M.R.C. degree emphasizes the importance of helping people with mental, physical, social, or emotional disabilities. This is a needed degree among professionals who are employed by hospitals, government offices, and the private sector. Some of the courses that individuals admitted to this program will be able to take are Clinical Pathology in Counseling, Career Counseling and Development, Marriage and Family Counseling, Counseling for Life-Span Development, Multicultural Counseling, and more.


7. University of Hawaii at Manoa

Average Net Price: $15,441

The University of Hawaii at Manoa is a public university that opened to students in 1907. It is located in Honolulu, Hawaii, and is considered an average size college with an undergraduate enrollment of around 12,000 students. This university offers an online Master of Science (M.S.) in Rehabilitation Science with a concentration in rehabilitation counseling. The purpose of the program is to teach students how to assist people with disabilities and help them accomplish their goals, such as getting a job, taking on responsibilities, having a sense of independence, and more. Students enrolled in this program can expect to graduate within three years. After graduation, they will be able to take the Certified Rehabilitation Counselor and National Counselor tests.


8. Gallaudet University

Average Net Price: $15,639

Gallaudet University is a private university that was established in 1864. It is located in Washington, D.C., and is considered a very small college with only about 1,100 students. This university features one of the best CACREP accredited programs, which is called the Summers and Online School Counseling. This is a hybrid program that takes around three years to finish. Students will be provided with the necessary knowledge and skills to be essential school counselors. A few of the qualities that will be taught throughout the program are cultural awareness, sensitivity, and empathy. Preference is given to individuals who have experience with deaf or hard-of-hearing people, as the program focuses on helping deaf and hard-of-hearing students achieve academic excellence. The following are some of the courses that students must enroll in: Substance Prevention for Children and Youth, Family Therapy, Lifespan Development, Lifestyles, and Career Development, School-Based Group Counseling, Crisis and Trauma Counseling, Counseling Students with Additional Special Needs, and more. The courses are only offered on-campus during the summer or online.


9. University of the Cumberlands

Average Net Price: $16,340

The University of the Cumberlands is a private university that began teaching students in 1888. It is located in Williamsburg, Kentucky, and is considered a small university with less than 2,500 undergraduate students. This university offers two of the top-rated CACREP accredited programs in the country, which are the online Master of Arts (M.A.) in Addiction Counseling and the online Master of Arts (M.A.) in Clinical Mental Health Counseling.

The M.A. in Addiction Counseling will prepare students for careers helping individuals who have developed addictions. They will learn how to apply their learned intervention and prevention techniques, counseling theories, approaches, assessments, and evaluations. Students will also learn how to properly diagnose and create treatment plans based on each client.

The M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling is a growing field and needed expertise, as it helps individuals with emotional and mental health issues. Individuals who are interested in advocating and making a difference among those with mental health issues are perfect for this degree program. A few of the topics that will be covered are marriage and family counseling, child and adolescent counseling, clinical supervision, counseling theories and techniques, and more.


10. Union Institute & University

Average Net Price: $16,585

Union Institute & University is a private university that started accepting students in 1964. It is located in Cincinnati, Ohio, and is considered a very small school with less than 700 undergraduate students. This university provides interested individuals with an online Master of Arts (M.A.) in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, which has received its accreditation from CACREP. By earning accreditation from CACREP, the program has met all necessary requirements to provide the essential knowledge and skills to help students succeed in the counseling field. All graduates of the program must complete 60 credit hours and take the licensure exam to become a professional counselor or clinical mental health counselor. The curriculum is delivered entirely online other than two in-person residency requirements per year. The following are several of the courses that students admitted to the program must enroll in: Counseling Theory & Practice, Human Growth & Development, Group Work & Therapy, Career & Lifestyle Development, Helping Relationships, and more.


Guide to CACREP-Accredited Programs

Suppose you aspire to become a professional counselor or a professional clinical counselor. In that case, you must enroll in the best program that will train and prepare you for licensing exams and counseling practice. It is vital to choose a program recognized by an accrediting board. Fortunately, the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Program is a recognized body that promotes advancement in the counseling field. The accrediting agency oversees and grants accreditation to various counseling programs offered by institutions of higher learning. CACREP-accredited programs are recognized by employers, making it easier for graduates to land jobs immediately after completing the programs.

Notably, the program accreditation process is voluntary. Therefore, it isn’t a surprise to find a university program without the CACREP-accredited seal. CACREP provides accreditation for various counseling fields, including school counseling, addiction counseling, and rehabilitation counseling. Other accredited programs include counseling degrees related to clinical mental health counseling and counselor education. Although not all programs are accredited, it is vital to enroll in a CACREP accredited program. This designation demonstrates that the program has met all the standards set by CACREP and state licensing boards. With this, you can sit for the state licensing examinations needed to become a licensed professional counselor or a licensed clinical counselor.

Are you seeking to pursue a counseling profession but don’t know where to start? Well, we got you covered. This article explores everything you need to know about CACREP-accredited programs, including:

  1. Importance of getting into a CACREP-accredited program
  2. What a program must do for CACREP accreditation
  3. What to expect from a CACREP-accredited program
  4. Top CACREP-accredited programs

Importance of Getting into A CACREP-Accredited Program

Currently, many Americans are battling conditions related to mental health disorders, ranging from depression to addiction problems. These mental health conditions require comprehensive professional care that involves therapeutic and pharmaceutical interventions, leading to increased demand for counseling services in the country.

However, the health care sector is currently grappling with the shortage of professional counselors, leading to the demand for counseling programs to train and prepare a skilled workforce to meet the high demand. Unfortunately, the increased demand has led to a rise in substandard programs that don’t meet the standards for counseling education. CACREP reviewed and evaluated education programs majoring in counseling. Please keep reading to get more insights into CACREP and its importance.

What Is a CACREP-Accredited Program?

A CACREP-accredited program is a counseling program that was reviewed, evaluated, and certified to have met all the counseling education standards. CACREP-accredited programs are, hence, of high quality. Education programs majoring in counseling education must meet standards that center on different core areas in counseling. The core areas include human growth, social foundation, career development, group counseling, helping relationships, research, appraisal, and professional issues. CACREP accreditation process reviews the program’s supervised clinical training to ensure it provides specialty training needed by prospective counseling students. CACREP also ensures that online counseling programs meet the same quality standards as their on-campus counterparts.

What Can Happen If Your Degree Program Is Not CACREP Accredited?

Notwithstanding that it is vital to ensure that your degree is accredited, there is no harm if your degree program is not CACREP accredited. Interestingly, you will never lose your practice license because of your graduate program’s accreditation status. However, there are chances that you will unlikely get employment opportunities in some states. Employers are always looking for CACREP-accredited program graduates, as they are perceived to have gained top-quality training in the counseling discipline.

What Sort of Benefits do You Receive for Graduating from A CACREP-Accredited Program?

If you are considering either an online counseling program or a campus-based program, there are various benefits you will receive for graduating from a CACREP-accredited program. One such advantage is a broader range of career opportunities. Prospective professional counselors graduating from CACREP-accredited programs are the most sought-after by employers. The graduates will have a pool of job offers to choose from, including those related to social workers, counselor educators, and school counselors. Completing a CACREP-accredited program prepares graduates to undertake and pass state counseling licensing exams. The application process is streamlined, accelerating the process. Also, the graduates can easily transition to doctoral degree programs such as social work programs.

What A Program Must Do for CACREP Accreditation

CACREP accreditation is significant as it demonstrates that a college or university has been certified as a top-quality, reliable program. Accreditation ensures a greater value to your degree and provides a better education if one opts to continue their education to advanced levels. Additionally, graduating from a CACREP-accredited program allows students to take state licensing and certification exams. Therefore, it is vital for learning institutions majoring in counseling education programs to get CACREP accreditation. Some of the programs that need to be accredited include mental health counseling, rehabilitation counseling, and related educational programs that offer open admissions and prepare students to become professional counselors. But what must a program do to gain accreditation? This page explores the requirements to become CACREP-accredited programs, obligations to maintain the accreditation, among other aspects.

What Are the Requirements That a Program Must Fulfill to Become CACREP-Accredited?

An educational program seeking CACREP accreditation must meet specific requirements to become CACREP-accredited. Currently, there are two types of accreditation; specialized accreditation and institutional accreditation. Specialized accreditors review and evaluate the professional preparation program within a learning institution, leading to degree-specific accreditation. On the other hand, institutional accreditation reviews and evaluates the entire college. CACREP is a specialized accreditor that accredits graduate programs such as master’s and doctoral degree programs in counseling. It also accredits counseling specialties offered by the universities.

To gain accreditation, you must conduct a self-study and submit a report which counselors and counselor educators will review. The self-study report must document how the program is meeting each standard. The review process also involves an on-site visit. Consequently, the CACREP Board of Directors reviews all the provided documents and renders and accreditation decisions. The accreditation decision is based on various requirements regarding:

  • Financial aid
  • Self-evaluation
  • Student selection and advising
  • Educational content
  • Program mission and objectives
  • Practicum experiences
  • Governance
  • Faculty qualifications and workload
  • Instructional support

What Are a Program’s Obligations to Maintain Their CACREP Accreditation?

Once accredited, the accredited programs must maintain their CACREP accreditation. The programs must submit interim reports to correct deficiencies in the standards associated with the accreditation. They are obligated to submit mid-cycle reports that update changes to the program since initial accreditation. Also, the program needs to submit end-year reports on the number of students enrolled in the program, faculty demographics, and the number of graduates. If the program plans to make changes to its curricula or resource allocation, it must submit a Substantive Change Report for review. The programs are also obligated to submit accreditation maintenance fees annually.

What Can Cause a Program to Lose a CACREP Accreditation?

A program can lose CACREP accreditation in several instances. Some of the instances include:

  • If the CACREP accredited program voluntarily withdraws from the accreditation
  • If a national or regional institutional accreditor revokes the program accredited status
  • If a college or university offering a CACEP accredited programs place under probation or gets its accreditation suspended by a recognized or national accreditation bodies and remains unresolved for an extended period

What to Expect from A CACREP-Accredited Program

It is quite evident that the CACREP-accredited program has met all the quality standards in each core area put in place by the accreditors. Therefore, prospective counseling students enrolling in CACREP-accredited programs should have higher expectations during and after the program. Firstly, the students expect that there is no GRE requirement to enroll in a CACREP accredited program. Students should expect the CACREP-accredited program’s curricula to provide comprehensive knowledge and skills needed to practice and succeed in the counseling field.

They should expect a program that provides educational and financial support to students, especially low-income earners who strive to pursue graduate degree programs. Are you considering pursuing a CACREP accredited program but doubt the prospects of the program? Well, this article will help you clear your doubts as it explores the expectations students should have in CACREP-accredited programs.

What Is It Like to Be a Student in A CACREP-Accredited Program?

As a student in a CACREP-accredited program, you are assured of gaining the knowledge, skills, and training you need to become a professional counselor. You also get a comprehensive education that will help meet all your professional needs. Students pursuing a CACREP-accredited program have high expectations once they graduate from the program. For instance, the students expect a pool of career opportunities, which increases their employability rate.

Additionally, students in a CACREP-accredited program are likely to enjoy a wide range of career prospects. Those considering independent counseling practice can easily start counseling facilities and find partners to collaborate with during their independent practice. They also enjoy a variety of financial aids such as professional loans and students. All these aspects make a CACREP-accredited program the best counseling education program.

What Is It Like to Graduate from A CACREP-Accredited Program?

Graduates from CACREP-accredited programs walk shoulder high knowing they have attained the best and top-quality counseling degree. The graduates need not worry about the potential of the degrees, as CACREP accreditation makes degrees more valuable, both in the education sector and professional field. They can rest assured of several career opportunities. They might pursue different counseling disciplines, including mental health counseling, school counseling, addiction counseling, family counseling, among other fields.

The graduates are always highly motivated to undertake their licensing exams, as they believe they are highly prepared for the exams and have met the licensure requirements. Others are motivated to pursue doctoral programs, as the CACREP-accredited master’s degree program makes it easier to transition to advanced education levels.

What Quality Should You Expect from Your Teachers and Classes in A CACREP-Accredited Program?

CACREP reviews several aspects of the program during an accreditation process to ensure it meets all the set standards. Some of the standards that accreditors highly considered during the process include educational content, faculty qualifications, workload, and instructional support. Programs displaying the CACREP accreditation seal have met these standards of quality. Therefore, students should expect highly experienced and qualified faculty instructors first-year counselor educators.

The students should expect round-the-clock educational support from their teachers and faculty members. Also, students should expect comprehensive curricula that cover all aspects of counseling. The supervised clinical practice should also be rigorous, as expected by the accrediting body.

CACREP-Accredited Programs

CACREP-accredited programs train and prepare aspiring professional counselors to help clients overcome social and health challenges. The CACREP-accreditation programs vary in several fields, including school counseling, clinical mental health counseling, addiction counseling, and other related education programs. Before enrolling in any program, it is vital to search the CACREP website to determine whether the program is accredited. In some cases, you might notice that the master’s degree counseling program you are interested in isn’t accredited.

The accreditation process for counseling programs is voluntary. Hence not all programs are accredited. However, it is significant to pursue a CACREP-accredited program. They are of high quality and have met the CACREP requirements for education programs majoring in counseling and related fields. Determining whether a master’s degree program is accredited can be tedious. But we got you covered. We strive to make the process easier for you by analyzing some of the top CACREP-accredited programs. Keep scrolling to the subsequent section.

Where Can You Find the Top CACREP-Accredited Programs?

Are you considering pursuing a CACREP-accredited program? We are confident you will find a CACREP-accredited program that helps you achieve your career goal of becoming a professional counselor here! Here are some of the schools where you can discover CACREP-accredited programs:

Walden University 

If you are looking for a low-cost master’s degree in counseling, look no further than Walden University’s Master of Science in School Counseling degree. Students pursuing the program can choose a general program or focus on one of the optional areas of specialization. The areas of specialization include crisis trauma, career counseling, addiction counseling, and military families and culture. The program is offered online, allowing students to work as they study. The program prepares students to work as professional school counselors, supporting a student to face real-life issues and challenges.

Winston-Salem State University 

Winston-Salem State University’s Master of Science in Rehabilitation Counseling allows prospective students to become licensed rehabilitation counselors. The online program is suitable for working professionals who seek to advance their knowledge in rehabilitation counseling. It is also ideal for other professionals seeking to jump into the counseling profession. The program equips graduates to land gainful employment and achieve personal goals. CACREP and SACSCOC accredit the Master of Science in Rehabilitation Counseling.

Capella University 

Capella University’s Master of Science in School Counseling is a CACREP-accredited program. The program is available online and is one of the most affordable school counseling programs in-country. Graduates from the CACREP-accredited program are prepared to support students emotionally, academically, and socially as professional school counselors. After completing the coursework, students must complete a one-year supervised internship program to gain hands-on experience in school counseling.

Fort Valley State University 

Fort Valley State University provides a Master of Science in Rehabilitation Counseling/case management. The online program has accreditation from three accrediting institutions; CACREP, CORE, and SACSCOC. The program trains and prepares students for future roles aimed at helping clients meet their rehabilitation needs. They will also be ready to provide case management services once they complete their coursework and complete their practicum.

Adams State University 

Adams State University offers CACREP-accredited Masters of Arts in School Counseling. The program is offered through online learning and on-campus learning formats. Students have the option to choose the ideal program that best meets their lifestyle and professional needs. However, students enrolled in an online program have to complete a one-week on-campus experience. In addition to training on counseling, students get a comprehensive education on collaborating effectively with their parents, teachers, community members, and school administrators.

Lamar University 

Lamer University has been renowned for exemplary post-secondary education since 1923. The university offers a Master of Education in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. It also offers a Master of Education in School Counseling. The program is offered online and takes approximately 22 months to complete the courses. It is one of the most affordable counseling degree programs you can achieve. The programs prepare students for various counseling roles geared towards improving the well-being of others and improving community relations.

Montana State University-Billings 

Montana State University’s Master of Science in Clinical Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling is accredited by CACREP, NCRE, and NWCCU. The program’s curriculum includes both online and physical education to create exemplary counselors. The coursework is quite rigorous with increased flexibility as it offers both evening and classes for greater convenience. The program is highly recognized nationally for its high-quality academic standards, making it one of the leading counseling programs in the country.

Bradley University 

Bradley University’s Master of Arts in Counseling in Professional School Counseling is one of the leading CACREP-accredited degree programs. The master’s degree program is offered in both online and on-campus format. Graduates from the CACREP accredited program will pursue careers in higher education institutions, K-12 schools, career centers, and education-based nonprofit organizations. The program unlocks several career opportunities such as becoming a college counselor, professional school counselor, vocational counselor, guidance counselor, and career counselor.

University of Southern Maine 

The University of Southern Maine is one of the colleges and universities that offer several CACREP-accredited programs. The university offers Masters of Science in Counseling: School Counseling, Master of Science in Counseling: Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling, Master of Science in Counseling: Clinical Mental Health Counseling, among others. The programs train and prepare students to support clients in addressing various life challenges. The college strives to deliver top-class education for counselors in school counseling, rehabilitation counseling, and mental health counseling, thus providing multiple opportunities to prospective counselors.

Bellevue University 

Bellevue University helps students build a career in healthcare, human services, and nursing through its CACREP accredited Master of Science in Clinical Counseling. The program prepares students to take the national licensing examination upon graduating. In addition to the classroom coursework, the students must complete 600 hours of clinical internship before graduation.

What Educational and Financial Assistance Do the Top CACREP-Accredited Programs Offer for Students in Need?

The cost of higher education is rapidly increasing, preventing several aspiring counselors from pursuing graduate degrees. To help students enroll in the counseling degree programs, most CACREP-accredited programs offer financial assistance to low-income students or those incapable of financing their degrees. Financial aid is mainly through scholarships. The motive of the scholarship programs is to make master’s degrees and doctoral degrees more affordable.


The scholarship programs come from various. To get the scholarships, one must meet specific eligibility requirements. Most schools have set a minimum GPA to help needy students with outstanding academic performance get financial aid. Other requirements include proof of financial need and enrollment in an accredited pre-licensure program. Are you seeking to pursue a CACREP-accredited program but incapable due to financial constraints? Here are some of the scholarship opportunities for students in need:

  • Kelsey P. Dresser Memorial Scholarship: The scholarship program is awarded by USC Rossier School of Education in memory of Kelsey Dresser, a student in the MFT program who dies in a car accident in 2015. The scholarship is offered to promising first-year MFT students. The student is eligible for a maximum of $15,000. The application requirements include a personal statement and official transcript as proof of financial need and academic capability.
  • NBCCF Military Scholarship: The NBCCF Military Scholarship is offered by the NBCC Foundation. The motive of the scholarship is to increase access to mental health services for military officers and their families. The scholarship is awarded to an active military officer or their spouses pursue a graduate degree in professional counseling. A candidate is eligible for up to five scholarships.
  • NBCCF Rural Scholarship: NBCCF Rural Scholarship is also offered by the NBCC Foundation to a student enrolled in CACREP-accredited master’s degree in counseling. Candidates for the scholarship must be passionate about working in a rural community that lacks mental health services. The aim is to increase access to professional counseling services. They should also be committed to obtaining an NCC certification.
  • Future Counselors of America Scholarship: The scholarship program is offered to undergraduates and graduates students pursuing education programs majoring in psychology, counseling, and related fields. Successful applicants receive a maximum of $1,000 annually. The scholarship is awarded on merit, hence requiring applicants to have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.5.
  • CACREP Student Research Grant: CACREP offers to fund prospective students focused on research related to the organization’s mission. Students receive up to $500 to support the research. The students must share their research findings with CACREP. To be eligible, a student must be pursuing a CACREP accredited program.

How Can You Find the Best CACREP-Accredited Program for Your Needs?

Shopping for the best CACREP-accredited program can be challenging, especially if you don’t know where to search. However, with suitable options, the process can be quite straightforward. There are several online websites providing information on the CACREP-accredited program. All you need is to research to determine the top-quality programs. Additionally, various educational institutions rank programs based on the quality and employability rate. The websites can be a vital tool to help you shop for the best CACREP-accredited program. You can also find information on the accredited program from your state licensing board websites to determine the certified programs offered within your state. The CACREP website is also a valuable tool that can help you find the best accredited programs.

Bottom Line

The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) has the full mandate to certify education programs majoring in counseling education. The organization provides leadership in the counseling field by promoting high standards in counseling education and educational disciplines related to counseling. Therefore, CACREP-accredited programs are perceived to have met all the accrediting bodies ‘ academic and non-educational standards. Before choosing to pursue a specific graduate degree program, it is vital to ensure that the program has been accredited and displays the CACREP seal. This ensures that the knowledge, skills, and clinical practice experience received from the program are of high quality and value in the professional field.

The accreditation process is not mandatory. However, most states require students taking the state licensing exams to have graduated from a CACREP-accredited program. Graduating from an accredited program enables students to pursue several career opportunities in different counseling specialties. They also enjoy an increased employability rate compared to those graduating from non-accredited counseling programs. To get accredited, a program must meet specific requirements. They need to submit a self-study report to help the CACREP Board of Directors ascertain whether the program has met the standards. If the program gets accredited, it needs to meet certain obligations to maintain its CACREP accreditation, such as remitting the annual accreditation fee. We hope this article will help you choose the best CACREP accredited program to pursue!



Program: College Counseling and Student Development

Program: Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Program: School Counseling

Kinesiology and Rehabilitation Science