Quick Links
CACREP

CACREP > Manuals

Mini Manual 7: Changes During the Accreditation Cycle

Content coming soon!

Mini Manual 6: Program Responsibilities for Maintaining CACREP Accreditation

Once accredited, CACREP programs have responsibilities in order to maintain their accreditation. For example, program faculty must submit an Interim Report if they were accredited for a two-year period and have minor standard-related deficiencies cited that require follow-up. Other reporting responsibilities include submission of the following reports by all accredited programs:  1) an annual updating of program-related outcomes on the program’s website, 2) the preparation of a Mid-Cycle Report during the 4th year of the 8-year accreditation cycle for review by the CACREP Board, and 3) completion of an annual Vital Statistics Report survey. In addition, annual verification of the program liaison and other personnel contact information is requested when the annual maintenance fees are invoiced. This section will highlight what the program faculty must do to maintain their accredited status.

  1. Interim Report

A program that was granted accreditation for a two-year period must submit an Interim Report prior to the end of the two-year period addressing the standards and/or policies cited in the accreditation decision letter. An Interim Report is a report that provides narrative responses and documentation demonstrating how the program addresses the deficiencies noted in relation to the cited standards and/or policies. The following format is recommended for the Interim Report:

  • Identify and restate the standard that the Board has marked as “not met”;
  • State the Board’s requirement for each standard marked as “not met”; and
  • State the institution’s response for each standard marked as “not met”, including additional supporting documentation as warranted.

Mail the four copies of the Interim Report on disks or USB drives to the CACREP office. Each copy should be labeled with the institution’s name, date the report was created, and indicated as the Interim Report.

The CACREP Board of Directors will review the Interim Report at the next scheduled meeting and make one of three decisions:

  1. Continued accreditation to the end of the eight-year cycle with all standards-related deficiencies removed
  2. Continued accreditation for an additional two-year period with one or more standards-related deficiencies remaining in effect
  3. Denial of continued accreditation

If the Board decision is for continued accreditation for an additional two-year period, the program faculty are required to submit a second Interim Report prior to the end of the additional two-year period addressing any remaining standards-related deficiencies. If a program fails to address satisfactorily all standards cited in the accreditation decision letter by the end of the four-year period following initial accreditation, denial of continued accredited status for the program will automatically occur, unless the institution chooses to voluntarily withdraw the program from further review.

  1. Update of Program-Related Outcomes on the Program’s Website

As required in Standard 4.E, each year counselor education program faculty are required to post on their department’s website the following information for each entry-level specialty area and doctoral program: (1) the number of graduates for the past academic year, (2) pass rates on credentialing examinations, (3) completion rates, and (4) job placement rates on their website. This information is to inform prospective students and the public about the program. CACREP staff will send a reminder to the program liaison in April each year for the URL. Once the CACREP office receives the URL to the Program Outcomes Report, staff will add that link to the program information found under the “detail” tab beside each program on the Directory of Accredited Programs.

  1. Annual Vital Statistics Survey

Each accredited program is required to complete the Vital Statistics Survey each year and submit it to the CACREP office by September 15. CACREP uses the information provided in the form to update the CACREP program databases and the Directory of Accredited Programs. Data on program student and faculty numbers, demographic information, and answers to questions on how the program addresses particular curricular considerations assists CACREP in tracking information used for program development and in providing services to prospective counseling students. The Vital Statistics Reports are mandatory; however, the information they contain is not used in any accreditation review and is only reported in aggregate.

  1. Annual Maintenance Fee and Program Contact Information

An accreditation maintenance fee is due from each program every year. The fee amount is based on the number of accredited programs at an institution and how multiple programs at a single institution are structured and were put forward for accreditation review. View current fee information

An invoice for the annual maintenance fee is sent to the academic unit in April of each year. Payment must be postmarked and sent to the CACREP office by the following September 15th. Institutions that send Annual Maintenance Fees postmarked later than September 15th will be assessed a $200 late fee. If an institution does not pay the Annual Maintenance Fee and the Annual Maintenance Late Fee by the following November 15th, accreditation may be suspended until both fees are paid.

CACREP liaisons are sent a memorandum with their annual fees and newly accredited programs are provided with login information to update their program contact information. It is the responsibility of the liaison to maintain current and accurate program information (e.g., contact information, administrative information, and program descriptions) on the CACREP website and to ensure that the program is aware of the due dates for required reports.

  1. Mid-Cycle Report

A Mid-Cycle Report is required to maintain CACREP accredited status. Halfway through the accreditation cycle, programs must inform CACREP of any program-related changes that have occurred since the most recent full accreditation review and demonstrate continued adherence to the CACREP Standards. Institutions are notified by the CACREP office that a Mid-cycle Report is due when annual maintenance fee invoices are sent in April. The report is due by the following September 15th to allow reviews to be completed before January when the CACREP Board of Directors makes decisions regarding whether the report can be accepted or requires further follow-up. If the Board has questions about a program’s compliance with the Standards, it may request additional clarification and documentation prior to granting approval of the Mid-Cycle Report. Should concerns remain following the Board’s review of the supplemental information and document, the Board will initiate a review of the accredited status and may impose conditions that a program must implement by a specified date.

Mail four copies of the Mid-cycle Report on disks or USB drives to the CACREP office. Each copy should be labeled with the institution’s name, date of the report was created, and indicated as the Mid-Cycle Report. Failure to submit a Mid-Cycle Report may result in suspension of a program’s accreditation.

Policies Related to Maintaining Accredited Status:

FAQs Related to Maintaining Accredited Status:

 

Mini Manual 5: Decision On Accreditation

The on-site visit is now completed and the CACREP Board of Directors is ready to make final accreditation decisions. This section of the manual outlines what decisions can be made, the process for making those decisions, and how the institution is notified of the decisions, including the appeals procedures.

Categories of Accreditation Decisions

Programs that have completed the accreditation review process, whether for the first time as an initial accreditation review or as a re-accreditation review, can receive one of three basic decisions. The three categories of decisions are the following:

  1. Accredited for an eight-year period: This status is granted to program specialty areas that, in the professional judgment of the CACREP Board of Directors, meet all standards in a satisfactory manner.
  2. Accredited for a two-year period: This status is granted to program specialty areas that substantially meet the requirements for accredited status, but which need to address relatively minor standards-related deficiencies. The CACREP Board of Directors confers two-year accreditation when there is a belief that the program faculty can correct the deficiencies within the two-year period. Within the two-year period, the institution is required to submit an Interim Report providing the requested information. Acceptance of the Interim Report will lead to accreditation for the remainder of the eight-year accreditation period (please refer to Program Responsibilities for Maintaining CACREP Accreditation).
  3. Denial of accreditation: Accreditation is denied when, in the professional judgment of the CACREP Board of Directors, the counseling program specialty has been unable to establish clear evidence that it is in substantial compliance with the standards.

Accreditation decisions are specialization specific. For example, the Board could confer accredited status on an institution’s School Counseling specialization for eight years, its Clinical Mental Health Counseling specialization could receive accreditation for a two-year period with minor standard-related deficiencies, and its Addiction Counseling specialization be denied accreditation.

How Accreditation Decisions Are Made

Prior to each Board meeting, the CACREP Staff assigns the program to a subcommittee of Board members who then conduct the final review of the documentation and develop a presentation about the program along with accreditation decisions motions to be discussed and acted upon at the next scheduled meeting of the Board. In developing and acting upon the motions, the CACREP Board of Directors uses the following information:

  • the Self-Study Document
  • any addenda to the original Self-Study Document
  • pertinent correspondence between the CACREP office and the Department
  • the Site Team’s Report
  • the Institution’s Response to the Site Team’s Report

Following the presentation of any given accreditation motion, the Board deliberates first and then makes its decision(s) by majority vote. All deliberations and program materials are confidential, and any Board member who has a potential conflict of interest is recused from the discussion and voting. Program decisions are conducted in closed Board session. Only Board members eligible to vote and staff are present during discussion and voting on any accreditation decision.

When conducting the final review of a program’s application for accreditation, the CACREP Board of Directors may not reverse any on-site team findings of standards being “met” without first giving the institution notice and an opportunity to respond.

Final accreditation decisions made by the CACREP Board of Directors are effective immediately except in the event of a decision to deny accreditation (see Appeals Procedures).

Policies Related to Accreditation Decisions:

FAQs Related to Accreditation Decisions:

Notification of Accreditation Decisions

  1. Notification to the Institution

Within 45 days following the completion of the Board meeting at which the decisions are made, CACREP staff will send written notification to the institution regarding the decisions on accreditation. Only CACREP staff are authorized to release any information regarding accreditation decisions. This notification is made to the institution’s president/CEO, the Dean of the college in which the counseling unit is housed, the chair of the department or unit, and the CACREP liaison.

Any standard-related deficiencies that may be attached to the accreditation will be included in the notification of the accreditation decisions. Attention to standard-related deficiencies is required for continued accreditation. The CACREP Board of Directors may also suggest recommendations for program improvement, but the program faculty can choose whether or not follow the Board’s recommendations. These suggestions will be clearly separated from any standard-related deficiencies within the accreditation decision letter.

If the CACREP Board of Directors decides to deny accreditation to a specialization, the accreditation decision letter will include:

  1. a specific statement of reasons for the denial
  2. a statement of the institution’s right to appeal the decision
  3. procedures and deadline for filing an appeal

The Board’s decision to deny accreditation to a specialization will not be finalized for a period of one (1) month after the institution has been notified of the right to appeal.

  1. Public Notice of Accreditation Decision

CACREP announces all accreditation decisions and lists all accredited program specialty areas in its Directory of Accredited Programs. This announcement and Directory listing includes any standards that need follow-up for accredited programs, as well as any programs that receive a denial decision. If the program has never been accredited, then a denial decision will be posted on the CACREP website for a minimum period of six (6) months. If a program is denied after previously obtaining CACREP accreditation, then the denial decision will be posted for a minimum period of six (6) months on the CACREP website and the program will be listed as previously accredited in the Directory of Accredited Programs.

The CACREP Board of Directors regards all application materials as confidential, including the texts of the initial self-study documents and addenda (if applicable), review letters, site team’s reports, institutional responses to the team report, and accreditation decision letters to the institution’s president/CEO. Upon request from the institution, this information may be made available to other recognized accrediting agencies that have accredited the institution or from whom the institution is seeking accreditation. Otherwise, the textual information will be disclosed only if the Board is legally required to do so.

Policies Related to Notification of Accreditation Decisions and Confidentiality:

FAQs Related to Notification of Accreditation Decisions and Confidentiality:

Appeals

Institutions can appeal decisions by the CACREP Board of Directors to deny accreditation at the conclusion of an application process or decisions by the Board to withdraw accreditation from a previously accredited program. No other decisions made by the Board are subject to appeal.

To begin an appeal, a written “Notice of Intent to Appeal” signed by an official representative of the program and the institution’s president/CEO must be sent to the CACREP Office. The Notice of Intent to Appeal must be sent to the CACREP Board through CACREP’s President and CEO and be received within thirty (30) days of the postmark date of the accreditation decision letter indicating denial or withdrawal of the program’s accreditation.

The Board will accept an appeal request only if one or both of the following grounds for appeal are stated and supported in the written Notice of Intent to Appeal from the affected program representative:

      1. The Board failed, to a material degree, to follow its published procedures in reaching its decision, and that this failure to follow procedures caused the decision to be unfair; and/or
      2. The Board decision was not justified based on the information available at the time of the decision.

If accepted, CACREP will assemble an appeal panel and require that all documents and fees pertinent to the appeal process be submitted in accordance with the appeals policy.

Policies Related to the Appeals Policy:

FAQs Related to the Appeals Policy:

Mini Manual 4: Preparing for the On-site Visit

The initial review is completed and the program has been approved for an on-site visit. While the site team is informed by the initial review, the site team visit is a separate review to validate the Self-Study Document and clarify aspects of the program that cannot be evaluated fully through the initial review. The site team members may request additional information documents up to and throughout the visit. This section of the manual provides a general overview of what happens before, during and after the on-site visit.

Before the On-site Visit

1. The Site Visit Planning Documents

When a program is recommended for an on-site visit, CACREP staff will send several site visit scheduling documents for the program to review and complete:

a. List of Potential Team Members. CACREP staff will send a list of potential team chairs and team members. From this list, the program will identify any site visitors who should be excluded from consideration for this visit due to conflicts of interest. Any individuals the program identifies as having potential conflicts of interest should be indicated on the Site Visit Template (See Item “b” below). CACREP staff will remove these individuals from consideration when establishing the site visit team.

CACREP also asks a potential site visitor to identify if he or she has a potential conflict of interest when considering whether to serve on a site visit. If the individual indicates there is a potential conflict of interest, he or she does not serve as a site team member for the visit.

A site visit team consists of a minimum of three members (one team chair and two members) for a full review. The number of site team members may increase depending on the number of specializations being reviewed and the number of sites at which the specializations are offered.

The site visit team members are counselor educators or professional counselors. Site visiting team members: have completed CACREP site visitor training; have degrees in counseling or a closely related field; have experience as counselor educators or professional counselors; identify with the counseling profession through memberships and appropriate licenses and/or certifications; and, engage in activities of the counseling profession and its professional organizations.

b. On-site Visit Template. This document provides the CACREP office with the details needed for scheduling a visit, including potential dates for the visit and a listing of potential team members for which conflicts of interest were identified. The program will need to submit several potential visitation dates. On-site visits run from Sunday evening through midday Wednesday, with the team arriving Sunday afternoon and departing by noon on the following Wednesday. Preferred dates provided must be at least 12 weeks out from when the On-site Visit Template is returned to the CACREP office. When selecting site visit dates, please ensure that key participants are available to meet with the visiting team, including institutional administrators and staff, program faculty members (both core and non-core), the department chair, current students, alumni and site supervisors. The program liaison should contact the offices of the chief administrators to determine their availability and to hold potential visit dates on their calendars. Please be aware of holidays and any dates when the institution is on break. As soon as the CACREP office receives the completed template, staff will begin planning the visit and will let the program know when a team has been arranged.

Please note: To be approved for an on-site visit, the program must have students in the last term of their program at the time the visit occurs. For new doctoral programs, an on-site visit cannot be scheduled until there are students who are likely to be finished within a two-year time frame.

c. Release Form. The release form gives CACREP permission to use a program’s original self-study report in future CACREP training. If a program does not wish its Self-Study Document to be used for training purposes, this should be indicated on the form.

d. On-Site Visit Invoice. The program will be invoiced for the cost of the on-site visit. CACREP charges a flat fee per visitor that covers the visitors travel expenses, lodging, and food. Although CACREP reimburses team members for hotels and travel, the program should select appropriate and convenient accommodations for the team members. The program is also responsible for handling arrangements for any travel that needs to occur on campus (e.g., to internship sites, to and from the airport, etc.). As the program is responsible for arranging accommodations and travel while the team is on-site, please try to control these costs so that CACREP can keep fees to a minimum.

The program has up to 30 days to complete and submit the above documents. Once CACREP receives the completed On-site Visit Template, a CACREP staff member will begin to coordinate the logistics for the on-site visit. The program liaison will receive an email with an attached letter once the on-site team members and dates for the visit have been confirmed. The letter will outline the next steps for preparing for the site visit, including developing the on-site visit agenda with the team chair, arranging hotel accommodation and local transportation for the team.

The program liaison will also be sent an email with the following documents:

  • CACREP Liaison Responsibilities
  • Team Member Evaluation Form
  • Site Visit Letter confirming the date and team members for the on-site visit

2. Important Review Materials. Once a team has been selected, the program is responsible for sending each team member a copy of the original Self-study Report and any addenda that have been developed. The versions of these documents that are sent to the site team members must be the same as the documents submitted to the CACREP office. If an Addendum was not required, but the program chooses to submit one, they must submit four (4) copies in read-only format on disks or USB drives to the CACREP office and prepare additional copies to be sent to all the site team members once selected. The CACREP office should have copies of all documents sent to the site team members and vice versa.

3. Drafting the Agenda. The on-site visit agenda is coordinated in conjunction with the team chair. The team chair and program liaison will discuss possible individuals or groups with whom the team would like to meet (e.g. current students, graduates of the program, departmental/unit faculty, faculty outside the department/unit, administrators [Deans, CEO], and practica and internship site supervisors).

Please note: The program liaison will need to inform those being interviewed of the purpose for the interview.

4. Transportation, Lodging and other Accommodations for Visiting Team. While the cost of lodging is included in the on-site visit fee, CACREP asks programs to please make reservations at appropriate and convenient accommodations (near the campus) for the team members. The site team members will pay upon arrival. The liaison should contact the CACREP office at the time of reservation if payment for lodging needs to be made in advance of the visit.

The site team members make their own transportation arrangements to the institution’s city; however, the program needs to arrange transportation to and from the airport and to off-campus sites during the visit. Most teams will not have cars so this should be taken into account when planning transportation and lodging. Often, program faculty and/or students take on the role of driving team members to sites.

In addition, please provide team members with information on closest airport(s), parking and transportation arrangements, taxi services, and nearby places to eat.

Responsibilities Prior to the Visit

The following is a summary of the responsibilities of the CACREP staff, team chair, team members, and program liaison, prior to the site visit:

The CACREP staff is responsible for

  1. appointing team members and scheduling the dates of the on-site visit
  2. informing the program liaison that the team has been selected and that the dates for the on-site visit are set, and sending procedural regulations and evaluation forms
  3. confirming the dates of the on-site visit with all team members, sending the team copies of pertinent correspondence between the CACREP office and the program/institution (e.g., initial review letter), and providing team with report writing guidelines and evaluation forms

The Program Liaison is responsible for

  1. transmitting to each team member a copy of the original Self-study Document and any addenda submitted for review
  2. corresponding with the team chair to coordinate the on-site visit agenda
  3. arranging transportation for team members to and from the airport and to off-campus sites during the visit
  4. arranging hotel accommodations close to the campus
  5. forwarding information to team members regarding transportation and lodging arrangements (e.g., closest airport, airport pick-ups, parking considerations)
  6. informing interviewees of the purposes of any meeting arranged to occur during the visit (e.g., team member interviews of current site supervisors)
  7. making available an on-campus workroom for the team’s use during the visit

The Team Chair is responsible for

  1. communicating with the program liaison before the on-site visit to arrange a tentative agenda for the visit
  2. discussing with the program liaison possible interviewees with whom the team would like to meet (e.g., current students, graduates of the program, departmental/unit faculty, faculty outside the department/unit, administrators [Dean, CEO], and practica and internship site supervisors)
  3. assigning duties to each visiting team member, either before arriving on site or during the pre-meeting the evening before the first full day of the on-site visit
  4. supervising the conduct and adequacy of the on-site visit and chairing organizational meetings throughout the on-site visit
  5. serving as the primary spokesperson for the visit team
  6. serving as the spokesperson for the team in conferences with administrative officers of the institution and during the oral exit presentation

The Team Members are responsible for

  1. making transportation arrangements to the institution’s city
  2. forwarding their travel schedules in advance to the CACREP staff, the team chair, and the program liaison
  3. thoroughly reviewing all accreditation materials sent by the institution and the CACREP office and being well prepared for the visit with notes and possible questions
  4. informing the CACREP office and program if the self-study and informational materials are not received in a timely manner

During the On-site Visit

The typical on-site visit occurs from Sunday through Wednesday, with the team arriving Sunday afternoon and departing by noon on the following Wednesday. The full second and third days of the visit are devoted to completing the team’s self-study validation tasks. To validate the Self-study Document, the visiting team will:

  • view program-related facilities
  • confer with administrative officers, including officials who can authoritatively discuss the support and plans for the counselor education program
  • hold individual and group discussions with program faculty members and other academic staff
  • interview current students, alumni, and site supervisors
  • visit practicum and internship sites

Please note: If the application includes multiple sites then the activities listed above should occur at each site.

Social engagements during the on-site visit are not permitted for either the team as a whole or individual team members. Evenings should be free for the team to meet and confer with one another. Time should also be allocated each day for the program liaison and/or the program chair to meet with the team chair to make any necessary changes to the visit agenda.

At the conclusion of the site visit, the team chair, accompanied by the team members, will conduct an oral exit presentation. The exit presentation will provide an overview of the team’s impressions of the program’s strengths and weaknesses to appropriate officers of the institution and the program faculty. The program may invite to the meeting any administrators, faculty, and staff they think appropriate. For a more detailed explanation on how a team operates during an on-site visit please refer to the Team Member Manual and Team Chair Manual under the Team Member tab.

Please note: The team chair will not convey the specific recommendations the team will be making to the Board concerning accreditation decisions. The exit presentation is not a discussion session and all attendees should be made aware of this. The team will provide an overview of what will be included in its report and then depart. Team members should not be challenged at any point during the exit presentation. The institution and program will have an opportunity to view and respond to the Team Report in writing prior to an accreditation decision being rendered by the CACREP Board of Directors.

After the On-site Visit

1. Site Team’s Report. Within two weeks following completion of the on-site visit, the team chair will submit a finalized copy of the Site Team’s Report to the CACREP office. The report will represent the consensus of the entire team regarding the strengths and limitations of the specialization(s) under review. For each standard, the report will indicate either “met” or “not met,” and give the reason the team is indicating a standard is “not met”.

The team chair will also submit to the CACREP Board of Directors a separate document with the team’s specific recommendations concerning the program’s accreditation decision for each specialization reviewed. These recommendations (i.e., 2-year, 8-year, denial) will not be shared with the program.

Accreditation recommendations are specialization specific. For example, in a situation where an institution is seeking accreditation for more than one specialization, the institution’s School Counseling specialization could receive a recommendation from the team for an eight-year accreditation, its Clinical Mental Health Counseling specialization could receive a recommendation for a two-year accreditation with minor standard-related deficiencies, and its Addiction Counseling specialization could receive a recommendation for denial of accreditation.

Once the report and recommendation have been received in the CACREP office, staff will process the report and send hard copies of a transmittal letter and the team report to the president/CEO, the dean of the school or college in which the counseling program is housed, the department chair, and the program’s CACREP liaison.

2. Institutional Response to the Site Team’s Report. Upon receipt of the Site Team’s Report, the institution is allowed 30 days in which to respond to the relative accuracy of the Site Team’s Report.

Please note: An Institutional Response is required even when the indication in the Site Team’s Report is that all standards are met.

The Institutional Response to the Site Team’s Report should be clear, explicit, and standard specific. The program may choose to respond to suggestions from the team, but there is no requirement to do so. The following format is recommended for the Institutional Response:

  • State the standard that the visiting team has marked as “not met”;
  • State the team’s requirements/comments for each standard marked as “not met”; and
  • State the institution’s response for each standard marked as “not met,” including additional supporting documentation as warranted.

Mail the four copies of the Institutional Response to the Site Team’s Report on disks or USB drives to the CACREP office. Each copy should be labeled with the institution’s name, date of the report was created and indicated as the Institutional Response.

If the deadline for submitting the Institutional Response falls within a time period that is less than 30 days prior to the next scheduled CACREP Board meeting, CACREP will notify the program liaison and administration of the following options:

  • The program can opt to submit the Institutional Response prior to the deadline date to insure that the documents are received at least 30 days prior to the CACREP Board meeting. If this option is chosen, the program will be included on the Board’s agenda to receive a final review and an accreditation decision for each of its specializations, OR
  • The program can choose to take the full 30-day response period for developing and submitting its Institutional Response. When this option is chosen, the program will be included on the Board’s agenda for the following meeting. Generally, this meeting is scheduled approximately six months after the most recent meeting.

Once the institution has submitted its response to the Site Team’s Report, CACREP will not accept any further information or documentation prior to the rendering of an accreditation decision unless that information or documentation is specifically requested by the CACREP Board of Directors.

Please note: An institution may withdraw an application for accreditation at any point during the accreditation process before a decision has been rendered. Requests for withdrawal of a program from the accreditation process must be made in writing, be signed by an authorized institutional representative, and be submitted to the CACREP office prior to the Board of Directors rendering an accreditation decision for the program.

In addition to submitting the program’s Institutional Response, please complete the team member feedback forms and return them to the CACREP office within 30 days of the visit’s completion.


Policies Related to the On-site Visit:

FAQs Related to the On-site Visit:

Mini Manual 3: What happens after a program applies?

The Self-Study Document is done! Now what? After receiving the application materials, initial reviewers will conduct a paper review of the program’s compliance with the CACREP Standards. This section of the manual outlines the initial review process including the possible actions concerning the application.

Upon receipt of the application package, the Self-Study Document will be sent to reviewers who will each complete an initial review. The initial review is an extensive paper review of the program’s response to the CACREP Standards and includes a thorough examination of the written description and the supporting materials the program has provided for how it meets each standard. Upon receipt of the reviews, the CACREP staff will send the program a letter indicating any standards that appear to be unmet or for which additional clarification and/or documentation is necessary. The letter will also communicate one of the following decisions concerning the program’s application:

1. Accept the application and schedule an on-site visit. See flowchart
If the decision is to schedule an on-site visit, the CACREP staff will send site visit planning materials including a list of potential team members. The program will need to submit preferred visit dates and identify any site visitors who should be excluded from consideration for the visit due to potential conflicts of interest to begin the scheduling process. Please note that preferred dates provided must be at least 12 weeks from the time the program sends preferences back to the CACREP office.

2. Require an Addendum to the original Self-Study document. See flowchart
This decision is made when the initial reviewers feel that further clarity and/or documentation is needed for how Standards are met, or when the application has significant resource and/or professional identity considerations. When an Addendum is required, the program has up to 6 months to submit a document providing additional clarification and/or documentation pertaining to the standards specified in the initial review letter.

Upon receipt of the Addendum, the CACREP staff will send it to the initial reviewers for a review and recommendation concerning whether or not to schedule an on-site visit. If the decision is to schedule an on-site visit, the CACREP staff will send site visit planning materials including a list of potential team members. The program will need to submit preferred visit dates and identify any site visitors who should be excluded from consideration for the visit due to potential conflicts of interest to begin the scheduling process. Please note that preferred dates provided must be at least 12 weeks from the time the program sends their preferences. If the decision following an Addendum review is to deny approval for an on-site visit, the program may choose to withdraw its application or it may choose to override the initial reviewers’ recommendation and formally request that CACREP schedule an on-site visit.

3. Recommend that the application be withdrawn. See flowchart
This decision occurs if initial reviewers identify major deficiencies that would preclude a favorable accreditation decision. Such a decision will generally occur following the review of a required Addendum. However, initial reviewers might make such a recommendation following the initial review of the original Self-Study Document if serious questions arise about whether a particular program can be accredited. This would be due to a lack of resources and/or professional identity considerations that would place the program outside the scope of CACREP accreditation (i.e., programs must be clearly identifiable as counseling programs as defined within the CACREP Standards), or a premature application, as described in Section 1. If the program believes the preliminary evaluation and recommendation to be in error, the program may choose to override the initial reviewers’ recommendation and formally request that CACREP schedule an on-site visit.

Withdrawing an Application

A program may withdraw its application at any time during the process before a decision has been rendered. To withdraw, a program must forward written notice of withdrawal to CACREP. If a program is an applicant for initial accreditation, the application for accreditation may be withdrawn by the institution at any time prior to final action being taken by the CACREP Board. The request for application withdrawal must be made in writing by an authorized representative of the institution.


Policies Related to the Initial Review Process:

FAQs Related to the Initial Review Process:

Mini Manual 2: Writing and Submitting the Self-Study Document

The term “self-study” refers to both a process and a product. Program faculty begin the process by examining their program and writing a Self-Study document that explains how their counseling program addresses the CACREP Standards. The Self-Study document is submitted to CACREP, along with a completed application form and application fee, to begin the review process for accreditation. This section of the manual provides information pertaining to the self-study process and applying for accreditation.

Beginning the Self-Study Process

Analyze existing program structures and resources in relation to the 2016 Standards and CACREP policies.
To become accredited, a program has to demonstrate it meets the CACREP Standards. A useful way to begin the process is to analyze the existing strengths and areas of challenge in relation to the standards and policies. Identifying areas of existing compliance, as well as areas where there are concerns or where changes are needed, can help the program faculty determine where to target initial time, effort, and resources. In order to conduct such an analysis effectively, it is important for faculty to be familiar with the standards and policies, especially the policies pertaining to the accreditation process and program structure.

The 2016 CACREP Standards can be downloaded here.
The CACREP Policy Document can be downloaded here.

Consider the Eligibility Requirements. The following three conditions must be met in order for a program to apply for CACREP accreditation:

  • Students must be enrolled in each specialty area included in the application
  • For new applicants, the timing of the application should be based on when there would be students in the final term of their program of study.
    • The institution must hold regional accreditation
  • Specialty area and doctoral programs must meet the minimum number of credit hours specified in the CACREP Standards.

Policies Related to the Self-Study Process:

FAQs Related to the Self-Study Process:


Writing the Self-Study Document

During the self-study process, faculty must spend a great deal of time evaluating the program’s resources, goals and objectives, curriculum, outcomes, and strengths and limitations in relation to the requirements in the CACREP Standards and policies. Once completed, the next step is to compile the results into a comprehensive report that will be submitted to CACREP for an accreditation review. The process that the program faculty use to arrive at a final report will be unique to that faculty and institution, as will be the methods and formats used to explain and document compliance with the CACREP Standards. While CACREP does not mandate a single format for Self-Study Documents, there are certain guiding principles to consider when preparing a document.

  • Provide direct, specific, and comprehensive narrative responses for how the program meets each Standard. If the application includes more than one specialty area (e.g., Clinical Mental Health and School Counseling) or more than one site (e.g., a main campus and a branch campus), the response should differentiate between specialty areas or sites when related differences exist. Otherwise, reviewers will not have the information needed to understand such variations.
  • Select materials to include in the document that demonstrate that each standard is met. This can include materials (e.g., handbooks, survey forms) that describe the processes and procedures of a program and/or that demonstrate that the program has followed its processes and procedures (e.g., supervision logs, survey data).

Organizing the Self-Study Document

The formatting guidelines will assist in organizing of the Self-Study Document. The document should contain significant depth and breadth of information and supporting materials. Multiple reviewers will examine the document closely at several points during the accreditation review process. Careful attention to how the document is compiled and formatted can greatly assist reviewers in terms of understanding the information and in navigating the document.

Please keep in mind that different reviewers will closely read each narrative response and every page of the supporting material provided. In order for reviewers to effectively conduct their review, they must be able to understand the organization of the report and the information in the narrative responses and supporting materials. Given the depth and breadth of the Self-Study Document, it is helpful to explain to reviewers the location and purpose of the supporting materials included for each response. Remember that reviewers do not have the same level of familiarity with the program as the program’s own faculty.

A useful rule in terms of supporting materials is: when in doubt, include documentation. The reviewers cannot assume that a standard is met simply because it says so in the narrative response. The supporting materials chosen to accompany a narrative response should show a clear connection to the information in the narrative response and the specifications in the particular standard. The reviewers will not make this determination on their own, or assume which piece of documentation belongs with a particular standard. It is helpful if internal links are built in to the narrative response which links the documentation in a separate window. This allows the reviewers to access the supporting materials and then return to the narrative responses for the standards.

Because a Self-Study Document represents a program’s details at a specific point in time and are maintained as official records throughout an accreditation cycle, external links to live websites cannot be included for documentation purposes. If documentation for meeting a standard is provided by information that appears on a webpage, it should be provided in a static format through providing a screen shot or saving the website to include in the electronic Self-Study Document, rather than providing a live URL (web address).

Important: Any information relating to student or client identity must be redacted from the supporting materials prior to their inclusion in the document. Failure to do this may result in CACREP returning application materials for revision prior to sending the document forward for review.

Please do not hesitate to contact the CACREP staff with any questions when writing and compiling the Self-study Report.


Policies Related to the Application and Self-Study Document:

FAQs Related to the Application and Self-Study Document:


Submitting your Application Materials

Applying for CACREP accreditation consists of submitting four disks or USB drives each containing a completed application and a Self-Study Document. In addition, the program should submit the application fee payment and the application signature pages, with original signatures of the institution’s president/CEO, the College’s or School’s dean, and the chair of the Department or Academic Unit, separately or with the packet containing the electronic materials.

Download the application form

Please note the following consideration in applying for accreditation:

  • The disks or USB drives should contain both the Self-Study Document and a completed application form, including the supporting tables and documentation (Application Form Section 3).
  • All submissions must include four copies of the disk or USB drives, each labeled with the institution’s name, an indication it is a Self-Study Document, and the date of submission.
  • Application fees may be paid by check or money order made payable to CACREP.
  • The application materials should be mailed to the CACREP office: CACREP, 1001 N. Fairfax Street, #510 Alexandria, VA 22314.
  • An additional 4-6 copies of the disks or USB drives should be prepared and retained by the institution for future provision to the site team members. This could be done at a later date and modified to also include an Addendum to the Self-Study Document should one be required and/or developed.

The program does not need to submit a hard copy version of the Self-Study Document. However, the program should maintain copies of all documents and materials included in the Self-Study Document should any problems develop with the electronic versions submitted for review.


Policies Related to the Submitting Your Application Materials:

FAQs Related to the Submitting Your Application Materials:

Mini Manual 1: Is CACREP right for my program?

While CACREP accreditation is voluntary process, the landscape for the counseling profession has changed significantly over the past few years. Changes in federal regulations, legislation, and state licensure requirements have made CACREP accreditation high stakes. This section of the manual will outline eligibility for CACREP accreditation and items to consider prior to writing and submitting a Self-Study Document.

1. Consider the Eligibility Requirements. It is the responsibility of the faculty seeking accreditation to demonstrate it meets the CACREP Standards. Not all counseling programs are ready to seek CACREP accreditation. Faculty should carefully analyze whether minimum standards are met prior to applying for accreditation. The following items should be considered when determining eligibility:

Scope of Accreditation

To become CACREP accredited the program has to determine if it falls within CACREP’s Scope of Accreditation.

CACREP accredits master’s and doctoral degree programs in counseling and its specialties that are offered by colleges and universities in the United States and throughout the world.

Programs that fall outside CACREP’s Scope of Accreditation (e.g., Counseling Psychology) are not eligible for accreditation. The CACREP Board is willing to work collaboratively with program faculty making an identity transition should these programs demonstrate a strong commitment to a counseling identity. Please refer to CACREP’s Guiding Principles for Core Faculty Standards. It is important to note that CACREP does not accredit undergraduate or non-degree options such as licensure- or certification-only programs.

Counseling Program Identity

When reviewing eligibility, it is important to consider the overall identity of the counseling program. The standards and policies are designed to support, promote, and strengthen the professional identity of a counseling program. Key items to consider are a) program titles, b) course titles and prefixes, c) curricular offerings d) ethics and standards of practice e) professional identity of faculty and site supervisors. An initial step is to conduct a self-assessment against the standards and policies related to professional identity to determine if the program is ready to apply.

If a program is transitioning to a counseling identity there may be a point where the application is premature and will not successfully meet the eligibility requirements or the Standards. Waiting for more factors to move into place before applying may be a wiser course of action.

2. Determine program faculty and administrative interest and support for seeking accreditation.
When considering an application for CACREP accreditation the program faculty must determine whether there is sufficient interest in undergoing the self-study process and moving forward in seeking accreditation. The program faculty may want to begin this process by gauging the initial administrative support for seeking accreditation. Administrators may need to help understand how accreditation can benefit the program and the real costs of seeking accreditation in terms of finances, program resources, and program faculty time.

In addition to administrative support, all program faculty should review the accreditation standards, policies, procedures, and review the eligibility requirements to determine if seeking accreditation is the right step for the program at the present time. If only a small number of faculty members have interest in meeting the CACREP Standards and will make the necessary effort, a program is unlikely to successfully achieve accreditation. However, a small group may begin the effort if those faculty members are able to develop and nurture interest among the others in the program.

3. Analyze the benefits of seeking accreditation.
Program faculty should realistically assess the potential benefits and liabilities involved in seeking accreditation. Benefits may include

  • program evaluation and improvement
  • increased visibility and recognition for the program on and off campus
  • increased interest in the program by prospective students
  • professional certification and licensure benefits for program graduates
  • opportunities for graduates with the Veteran Administration (VA), TRICARE, and the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC)

Seeking accreditation also involves other resources in addition to the direct expenses. Program faculty and others involved in the program will need to expend considerable time, energy, and effort to conduct necessary analyses, make programmatic changes, communicate with constituent groups, and engage in all aspects of the accreditation process.


Policies related to the Self-Study Process:

FAQs Related to the Self-Study Process: