Advocating for our Professional Identity
Yet, if one paid attention to the listservs and other social media one would conclude that CACREP was an elitist, self-serving entity, which is holding individuals back from practicing as counselors. However, all of you who are faculty, students, and graduates of CACREP-accredited programs know otherwise. Much misinformation is perpetuated on social media and I am often disappointed at not seeing responses that counter with accurate information. I often wonder if this lack of response is because of apathy, lack of time, or simply thinking “there they go again”.Since its inception, CACREP has remained faithful to its vision, mission, and core values and has often times been challenged, even attacked, for standing its ground. CACREP’s vision of leadership in the counseling profession, through defining counselor preparation standards and accreditation and collaboration with counseling organizations, is recognized both within the counseling profession as well as by regulators and professional organizations outside of the counseling profession. CACREP’s mission to promote professional competence of counselors is evident in its engagement of the public in the standards revision process; the benchmark it sets for excellence in program development; and the number of institutions that have voluntarily sought accreditation – the nationally recognized mark of excellence in counselor preparation. The CACREP Board of Directors ensures a fair, consistent, and ethical decision-making process and serves as a responsible leader in protecting the public. CACREP, as a leader, operates from a position of strength in the counseling profession.
I would like to invite, even challenge, you to be an advocate for CACREP, for your accredited programs, for yourself as faculty, for your current students, and for your program graduates. Make it known to the counseling profession, the consumer, and the public why CACREP accreditation is important to you and the benefits it affords to you personally, to your institution, to your current students, and to your program graduates. Did you know that you are among the 640 CACREP-accredited programs? Did you know this year there are approximately 39,000 students enrolled in these programs? Did you know approximately 10,200 students graduated from these programs this year? All of you made a conscious choice to be in a CACREP-accredited program. Share the reasons!! Join the ranks of CACREP advocates!
CACREP-accreditation as the gold standard for counselor preparation and the educational pathway to unification of the counseling profession is recognized by:
- the Counselor, Social Worker and Marriage and Family Therapist Board of Ohio where it is now law that beginning January 2018 all applicants for counselor licensure in Ohio must be a graduate of a CACREP-accredited clinical mental health, clinical rehabilitation, or anl addiction counseling program.
- the Association for Counselor Education and Supervision (ACES) who in February 2014 released a position statement on Educational Standards for licensure which recommended:
Graduation from a clinically-focused counselor preparation program accredited by CACREP (or an approved affiliate of CACREP) that includes a minimum of 60 semester credits (or 90 quarter hour credits) of curricular experiences. Within those 60 semester credits (or 90 quarter hour credits), students must complete a practicum of at least 100 hours and an internship of at least 600 hours.
- the Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE) through their corporate affiliation recognizes CACREP’s Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling specialization and under license will implement accreditation of this program area.
- the Institute of Medicine, VA, and TRICARE affirm the consistency and rigor of preparation of CACREP-graduates to serve the public.
This February CACREP introduced Advocacy Week and I am proud of and grateful to those of you who enthusiastically participated in this initiative. Here are some of the things you did during Advocacy Week:
- Students and faculty wrote letters to ACA Governing Council and state licensure boards advocating for the adoption of graduation from a CACREP program as the educational standard for licensure to help support licensure portability and enhance professional identity.
- CACREP’s twitter followers increased by 63% since the advocacy week campaign began. CACREP Facebook page “likes” increased by 5%. Both social media platforms experienced a significant increase in user activity during the week via mentioning “CACREP” in posts and visitors to the CACREP pages.
- The creation of a CACREP YouTube Channel where student-created videos are posted regarding “Why CACREP is important” which help educate prospective students and other stakeholders who may be searching for information about counseling programs/CACREP via the internet.
- Various CSI chapters engaged in advocacy projects for their own counseling programs and communities.
Make your voice heard to policy and law makers. Enlighten the uninformed about the value of CACREP. Encourage and mentor others in their pursuit of CACREP accreditation. Most of all share why CACREP is important to you. Be an ADVOCATE.