Liberty University’s professional counseling program gets accredited

Liberty University’s online master’s program for professional counseling was accredited this month by the Counsel for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), an organization responsible for recognizing almost 900 schools across the nation that meet their standards of excellence.  

“In the counseling world, this CACREP organization is the gold standard for accreditations,” Knapp said. 

According to Knapp, a sitting board member of CACREP, during the process of achieving accreditation by CACREP, Liberty hired 31 full-time counseling faculty in one semester to meet the 12-1 faculty to student ratio required for accreditation. 

“That was a multi-million-dollar decision,” Knapp said. “They counted the cost, and they did it. That just shows Liberty’s level of commitment and devotion to this field.” 

Kevin Manguiob | Liberty News Service HEAD — Knapp has been the dean of the School of Behavioral Sciences for the past seven months.

After submitting their self-study to CACREP, there was one on-site visit by an accreditation team. After a thorough review, Liberty met every single accreditation standard and achieved an eight-year accreditation for the program, the highest level a school can receive. 

“I think one of the biggest things for (the) department is being accredited,” associate professor at the School of Behavioral Sciences Elke Cox said. “It’s what gives you creditability out in the field.” 

The Master of Arts in Professional Counseling, to be called M.A. in Clinical and Mental Health Counseling in the fall of 2019, is a program focused on creating quality certified counselors. Through LU Send, Liberty is able to send counseling students to places around the world to help others in crisis, such as the victims of the 2018 California wildfires.

“Our programs have our students going into somebody’s burned out shell of a home, sorting through the ashes, … doing grief counseling, and helping these people piece their lives back together,” Knapp said.

Liberty University Online students, like residential students, are able and encouraged to sign up for LU Send trips and complete their internships at home and abroad.

“We do a great job marketing to our online students … letting them know about (LU) Send trips they can go on and internship opportunities,” Cox said. “The on-campus intensives are great as well because the students get to see their school and meet their residential classmates.” 

“I’m the new guy here, but I have reason to be proud of our counseling program because it really is rocking,” Knapp said. 

“I feel like a kid in a candy store with my new job. … I wake up every morning excited to go to work,” new Dean of Behavioral Sciences Kenyon Knapp said. 

As the online and residential programs continue to grow, Knapp said he expects more accreditations to come and new programs to be added to the school and that more news will be available on those
changes in the coming weeks. 

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