CACREP Accreditation

CACREP is an independent accreditation agency recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. The vision of CACREP is to provide leadership and to promote excellence in professional preparation through the accreditation of counseling and related educational programs. CACREP is committed to the development of standards and procedures that reflect the needs of a dynamic, diverse, and complex society.

CACREP Accredited Programs

The residential M.A. in Marriage and Family Counseling has received CACREP accreditation as of Jan. 19, 2017. Both the M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and the M.A. in Marriage and Family Counseling are accredited through March 31, 2023. The M.Ed. with a specialization in School Counselor program is also a CACREP Accredited program.

M.A. in Professional Counseling 60 Hour Online Status

Liberty University's Department of Counselor Education and Family Studies is continuing in the process of seeking accreditation from the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) for its online 60 hour Master's in Professional Counseling program for clinical mental health counseling. The plan remains for this program to come alongside of three other counseling related programs for which Liberty University currently has CACREP accreditation. Acting on valuable feedback received from the CACREP team, Liberty faculty will work with consultants to prepare a new and revised self study and submit its strengthened application for accreditation in the near future.

Information for Online 48-Hour Professional Counseling Students:

CACREP does not accredit 48-hour counseling programs. However, current students pursuing a 48-hour degree will be able to complete the 48-hour program as planned.

If you have questions, please contact coun@liberty.edu to get information. To review the 60 hour Professional Counseling admission requirements, please review the student handbook. If you wish to continue your pursuit of the 48 hour Professional Counseling degree, no further action is needed.


Comprehensive Assessment Plans: Executive Plans

Clinical Mental Health Counseling - Liberty University’s Department of Counselor Education and Family Studies’ residential M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program is accredited by CACREP. To meet CACREP standard I.AA.6, the annual outcomes report from the comprehensive program assessment plan are documented in the executive summary for review by interested persons.

Counselor Education and Supervision - Liberty University’s Department of Counselor Education and Family Studies is in the final stage of seeking CACREP accreditation for the Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision program. To meet CACREP standard 6.E, the outcomes from the comprehensive program assessment are documented in the executive summary for review by interested persons.

School Counseling - Liberty University’s Department of Counselor Education and Family Studies’ Master of Education in School Counseling Program is accredited by CACREP through October 31, 2023. Outcomes from the comprehensive program assessment are documented in the attached executive summary for review by interested persons.

CACREP Vital Statistics Annual Results

The results from the 2016 Vital Statistics Report are now available. Over the past year, 35 students graduated from the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program. Of the 20 graduates who responded to our query, 90% of those seeking employment were able to obtain employment in their area of training or a comparable recognized occupation within 180 days of graduation. Finally, to predict our licensure pass rate, we use the results of the comprehensive exam, the Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Examination (CPCE©), a comprehensive multiple-choice examination that covers the eight core CACREP areas. Over 91% of our students passed on the first attempt, and all but one student passed after a second attempt.

Doctoral Program: Over the past year, three students graduated from the Ph.D. Counselor Education and Supervision program. All of our graduates obtained employment as faculty in an institute of higher education within 180 days of graduation. Finally, all students who were accepted into the program are still actively pursuing this degree.

School Counseling: The Vital Statistics Survey Data is available for review.

CACREP Online Clinical Mental Health Counseling FAQ

Are any Liberty counseling programs accredited by CACREP?

  • 3 Liberty graduate programs in counseling are accredited by CACREP:
    • The online Master's of Education in School Counseling is accredited by CACREP
    • The residential MA in Clinical Mental Health program is accredited by CACREP
    • The residential MA in Marriage and Family Counseling is accredited by CACREP

What happened to our CACREP application for accreditation for our MA in Professional Counseling Program?

  • As is typical, while participating in the CACREP application process, we have gained insight into areas that we believe can further strengthen our program and therefore have temporarily withdrawn our application with the full intention of submitting a strengthened application and self-study at the earliest possible date.

What is the plan now?

  • The plan is to submit a strengthened application and self-study at the earliest possible date. Since Liberty met 248 of the 254 standards reviewed by the site team (98%), Liberty remains committed to and is actively engaged in all the processes necessary to achieve CACREP accreditation and remains optimistic that it will ultimately be successful.
  • Liberty is retaining consultants to assist with the development and submission of an updated and improved application and self study for accreditation as soon as possible.

How important is CACREP? / Is graduation from a CACREP accredited program necessary to secure licensure?

  • Graduation from a CACREP accredited program for counselor licensure is currently (as of July 1, 2017) only required in two states (Utah and Arkansas).
  • CACREP has worked to secure its accredited programs as a requirement for licensure in several states but at this time has only been successful in Ohio, Kentucky, and North Carolina. However, graduation from a CACREP approved program will not be required in North Carolina until January of 2022, not in Kentucky until January 2020, and in Ohio, not until January 1, 2018. In the remaining states, the language for licensure stipulates "CACREP equivalency". Liberty's graduate counseling program has been and continue to be CACREP equivalent.
  • In may states, like Virginia, where CACREP is attempting to extend their accreditation as a standard, public comment has been heavily weighted in opposition to the change but if CACREP were to become the standard in Virginia, it is not proposed to take effect for 7 years following adoption by the General Assembly.
  • Students should make sure they do their due diligence and are fully informed regarding state licensure and the role CACREP plays as state regulations change over time. Some employers, such as the Department of Defense, may require CACREP accreditation for certain jobs, as well. Therefore, students are also encouraged to stay abreast of the hiring requirements for desired jobs and employers.

Will you get CACREP eventually?

  • As always, Liberty nor any other institution of higher learning can make authoritative statements regarding the outcome of any accreditation review process. However, Liberty is, in good faith, continuing to work with CACREP to seek its accreditation for our counselor education programs and remains optimistic that it will ultimately be successful.

What is the timeline?

  • The University is engaging the process as quickly as possible, but can't speculate on the timeline. The University intends to mobilize all resources at its disposal to expedite the strengthened submission.

How does this affect licensure for me?

  • While licensure requirements vary by state, our program is generally designed to support the path to licensure, and does so in most states. As always, students are encouraged to stay abreast of their specific states' licensure regulations because there is always the potential for change to be phased in over time.

Is CACREP Necessary? / Do I need to have a CACREP degree?

  • Most states do not require CACREP accreditation for licensure. As always, state boards should always be referenced for information on licensure requirements.
  • Additionally, some employers such as the Department of Defense, may require CACREP accreditation. Students are encouraged to research the hiring requirements for desired jobs and employers.

What about my state?

Should I slow down with taking classes so that I don’t graduate too early?

  • Because we can’t speculate on timeline, we aren’t able to provide specific guidance on this.  Some students did this in anticipation of CACREP approval providing retroactive accreditation for those who graduated 18 months before final accreditation.   These decisions are not without risk and students must each decide what is in their best interest based on any number of individual factors.  Liberty University cannot advise one way or the other on this question.   

How does the “grandfathering” process work (timeframe)?

  • CACREP’s policy is that graduates whose degrees were conferred within 18 months prior to a final accreditation decision will have their degree designated as CACREP accredited. As with the timeline issue, there are no guarantees on timelines or grandfathering.

How can I keep informed about the accreditation process?

  • Visit the Department of Counselor Education and Family Studies webpage for updates.