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Program FAQs

Program FAQs

What if we have students who graduate before the program becomes accredited?

CACREP policy states that students in a program seeking accreditation shall be considered graduates of a CACREP program if they receive their degree within one (1) academic year prior to when accreditation is conferred, and if the program can verify that the student completed the CACREP program requirements.

CACREP strongly encourages programs to be honest and upfront with students about the timelines and where you are in the application process.

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How long does the accreditation process take?

How long the self-study process takes is up to the institution. Some have completed their applications and sent them to CACREP within a year, and others have taken nearly a decade to get the program in line with CACREP’s requirements.

Once the self-study arrives in our office,it can take up to 24 month for a final Board decision.  The length of time depends on factors such as whether an addendum is required, how quickly a site visit can be arranged and the timing of the Board meetings.

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What do I need to submit in the self-study concerning Assessment and Outcomes?

The two main areas in the Standards pertaining to the documentation and assessment of student learning outcomes are Standard I.AA.4 and the program area standards (e.g., Clinical Mental Health Counseling, School Counseling).  In addition, if you are submitting a doctoral program for review, there are specific doctoral learning outcomes specified in Section IV of the Doctoral Standards.

For Standard I.AA and the program area standards, it is necessary to submit a comprehensive assessment plan.  This requirement is detailed in Transition Policy #5 available in the Policy Document. Further information on the expectations concerning the documentation and assessment of outcomes is available in the “Board’s Guiding Statements on Student Learning Outcomes“.

Please note the following two considerations concerning the documentation and assessment of outcomes:

1)      The assessment plan should address overall program evaluation (Standard I.AA) and the program area standards.

2)      The program should provide specific responses for each of the program area standards.  It is not necessary for the program to have a separate assignment and assessment for each standard.  It is the responsibility of the program to clearly and precisely lay out how the program has grouped the program area standards in relation to assignments, courses, and the overall curriculum.  The assessments utilized in relation to curricular and extra-curricular learning activities should be related to the identified standards for the activity.  The assessment plan helps to clarify how students progress through a series of learning activities and related assessment, as they progress through a planned program of study.

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The application indicates that a number of different charts should be provided. Should I submit these charts separately or should I include them in the self-study?

It is recommended that you do both.  Copies of the charts should be included in the hard copy application packet you submit that includes the required signatures.  It is recommended that you include an application section in the self-study that includes the application documents and charts.

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Can we endorse students from CMHC programs for other licenses?

Endorsement pertains primarily to the recommendation of students for counseling positions.  Programs or program faculty should have clear guiding policies as to whether or not they will endorse students for job positions in a different program area (e.g., endorsing a school counseling student for work as an agency counselor).  However, if allowable under state law in terms of license eligibility, programs should not deny students completion of appropriate licensure forms.  In these instances, the programs should simply indicate which program the student completed and allow the state to make the determinations as to whether or not the student should be licensed as a professional counselor.

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Can undergraduate courses count in the graduate degree?

No, all courses counted in the credit hour requirement must be graduate level.  Sometimes courses are cross-listed as both upper level undergraduate courses and graduate.  If that is the case, the course can count if they enrolled in it using the  graduate course number and as long as the student didn’t also use it toward their undergraduate degree requirements.

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Can we offer a degree program with multiple specialties?

The Board believes that a program that offered only a single degree with specializations could work only if ALL the counseling specializations under that degree would become accredited under CACREP different program area standards.  Otherwise, having a single degree with specializations in school, mental health, etc. where only one or some of the specializations sought accreditation would be confusing for students, certification boards, and licensing boards.  The Board believes that the onus should be on the program to differentiate what is CACREP and what is not.

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What if I have a complaint about my program or another program that I am involved with?

CACREP has a complaint policy that anyone can use to file a complaint about an accredited  program.  Complaints must be signed, related to CACREP Standards, and must have evidence of the program’s noncompliance.

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Can I get a copy of earlier versions of CACREP Standards

Please contact the CACREP office at (703) 535-5990 for further information. 

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My program is accredited under the 2001 Standards. Can I get a copy of those?

Please contact the CACREP office at (703) 535-5990 for further information.

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What do I need to do to host a site visit?

When CACREP notifies you of your team, you should send out the self-studies and addenda to the team members right away.  Then, you will work with the Team Chair to set up an agenda for the visit.  We do ask that you also make hotel arrangements for the team, although the cost will be covered by CACREP.  See the list of CACREP Liaison Responsibilities in the Team Member Handbook.

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Program Clinical FAQ

After students complete the 100 hour Practicum, can they begin to accumulate Internship hours?

The Board recognizes that different institutions have different lengths for academic terms (e.g., the 10 week quarter, the 15 week semester, the 6 week summer session), but the Standard was written to indicate the minimum length allowable, not to suggest ways to hurry up and get the hours collected.  In addition, CACREP has a policy on record, Accreditation Process Policy #11,  that applies to this question.  The policy indicates the following:
            Duration of Practicum. The duration of a student’s supervised practicum experience is to extend across a full academic term to allow for the development of basic counseling skills and the integration of knowledge. Practicum is completed prior to internship. Therefore, CACREP standards do not allow for extra hours obtained during the practicum to be counted toward the 600 clock hour internship requirements.

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Can faculty get courseload credit for bi-weekly consultation?

No courseload credit is required for bi-weekly consultation with site supervisors.  Courseload credit is given for group supervision and individual and/or triadic supervision conducted by program faculty.

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Does our program have to operate a counseling clinic?

Programs do not have to operate counseling clinics.  The Standards use the term counseling instruction environment.  The counseling instruction environment is the space allocated for modeling, demonstration, supervision, and training purposes.  These facilities are primarily utilized for the pre-practicum training that students receive in basic individual and group counseling skills. Some programs also utilize these facilities for practica and/or internships.

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Can Counseling Psychology doctoral students supervise our master’s level students?

This occurs when your master’s program in counseling is housed in a department with a doctoral program in counseling psychology.  Critical elements of counseling supervision are that it relates to the work the students will be doing as professional counselors and that it supports the process of developing student identification with the counseling profession. If programs want doctoral students in counseling psychology or a related discipline to provide supervision to master’s level counseling students, the supervision preparation and supervision provided to the doctoral students must assist the students in understanding these critical elements and how to apply them in supervision.  The program must demonstrate a clear system by which the counseling psychology doctoral students understand the professional identity of the counsleing students and how to work with them.

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What can we do if sites are reluctant to allow taping?

Audio/video recordings are an essential part of supervision for beginning counselors and allow better feedback than student self-report.  Clinical experiences should definitely involve intensive, direct observation-based supervision. Not every site, however, has to allow taping.  If a site will not allow taping, it may be acceptable for the student to have placements at more than one site with at least one allowing taping. Although it does not allow the student to observe themselves, the Standards do allow for live supervision (i.e., direct observation of the counseling interaction by a supervisor).  The live supervision may be conducted by the site supervisor, student supervisor, or the program faculty supervisor, as allowed. In addition, some sites may be more open to taping if they know the tapes will not leave the premises.  In these instances, the site may be amenable to the faculty supervisor viewing the tape on site for supervision purposes.

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Can our program use technology for supervision?

Programs may use technology applications (e.g., videoconferencing; Skype) to facilitate individual and/or triadic supervision.  In doing so, programs should make use of best practices in distance supervision.

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Do we have to require students to purchase pprofessionalliability insurance?

Programs are not required to have students purchase liability insurance unless such coverage is not provided to the student through other means.  Some programs choose to have students obtain additional professional liability insurance even though there is some coverage through the university. In terms of the requirements in the Standards, university coverage may be adequate as long the program can provide evidence that students are covered and that students are aware of their level of coverage through the university. Programs should inform students of available options for additional professional liability insurance (e.g., through membership in some professional organizations).

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Program Faculty FAQ

What if a core faculty member has a course reduction?

The key to understanding who is core faculty is the level of appointment to the academic unit in counseling.  If the faculty member has a FULL-TIME appointment they can be considered a core faculty member, even if they are not teaching a full-time course load.  A faculty member can, therefore, have a full-time appointment in the counseling program and be given a teaching reduction to fulfill other responsibilities and be considered a core faculty member.  The caveat is that when CACREP looks at the credit hours generated by core faculty, this person will count as less than 1 FTE for teaching.

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What is a core faculty member?

Designation as a core faculty member means that the person has a full-time academic appointment to the counseling program.  If the program does not offer academic appointments, then a long-term contract employee might be acceptable, but the onus is on the institution to demonstrate that the position is equivalent to or exceeds what the Standards require.  In this case, the contract must be for a full-time job with all the duties and responsibilities that would be expected of traditional core faculty.

In addition, the faculty member’s responsibilities will include advising, serving on committees, and demonstrating faculty citizenship in counselor education.

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When a doctoral students teaches a course, do they count as core faculty?

When doctoral students are being used to teach in the program, the instructor of record who is listed will determine how Standard I.M is being met.  For example, if the instructor of record is a core faculty member, but the course is being taught by a doctoral student working under the supervision of the core faculty member, then the course instructor of record could be counted toward meeting the 51% criteria.  However, if the doctoral student is listed as the instructor of record, then the doctoral student would need to be counted as adjunct faculty.  Furthermore, if the doctoral students are TA’s working under a core faculty member, then the core faculty member is considered the instructor of record and the course would be counted toward meeting the 51% requirement.

For practicum and internship, if the doctoral student is listed as the instructor of record, the doctoral student would be considered adjunct under the above interpretation.  (see FAQs for doctoral students)

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How does a masters-only program show faculty supervising student research?

For an institution that only offers masters degrees with no thesis option, faculty could show this by teaching a research course.

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My program includes counseling and non-counseling components. How does this affect core faculty and the 50% Standard (I.M)?

An example of this would be if your program is housed in a seminary, and a number of required courses within the required 60 credit curriculum are taught by seminary faculty instead of counseling faculty.

If the seminary faculty are not core counseling faculty, then the courses taught by these faculty within the required curriculum would be considered courses  taught by non-core faculty.  The requirement applies to the entire required program of study.

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Do non-core faculty (e.g. adjunct and affiliate faculty) count into the overall FTE ratio?

Yes they do.  Each adjunct and/or affiliate faculty member would count into the calculation based on their percentage of full-time teaching load for the term for which the ratio is being calculated.

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Program Doctoral FAQ

If a doctoral candidate has not met all of the master’s level requirements, can they still be admitted?

Yes, students can be admitted into a doctoral program even though they may have to make up some master’s level requirements if they did not graduate from a CACREP accredited entry level program.  While there is no definite rule, there is a sense that no more than three (3) courses should be allowed to be taken concurrently with doctoral-level coursework.  More than three begins to look like the student is not really coming from a counseling background.  It was noted that the preamble’s intent was to avoid letting individuals with master’s degrees from other professions (e.g., MSW) into doctoral programs without completing the equivalent of a masters degree in counseling.

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Can doctoral students conduct group supervision for practicum and internship?

The intent of the wording in Standard III.G.3 is that the group supervision for interns is conducted by a program faculty member.  Therefore, doctoral students may only serve as the group supervisor if they are co-teaching with a faculty member or if the doctoral student is listed as the faculty member on record, in which case they are serving as adjunct faculty.

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What if my program has a hard time admitting minority doctoral students?

Many programs struggle to meet this standard, since their are not enough minority doctoral students.  Is EOE enough?  It will be important that the faculty show that they have thought about the issue and addressed it within their program’s context. The major issue could be religion rather than race.  The lack of specificity is actually helpful, as it allows the standard to be evaluated on a case by case basis.  CACREP will need to understand the demographics of an area to understand how an institution has addressed this standard.

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How can we document Doctoral Standard I.C about involvement of students?

Programs must document that doctoral students are professionally active through memberships, presentations, co-teaching, publishing, etc.

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