CACREP Accredited Counseling Program Coursework

The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) accreditation process and status indicates to prospective students and other stakeholders that a counseling or related program is committed to educational and professional quality. Last updated in 2016, these standards were created to unify the counseling profession in counselor identification, clarify specializations and with skill development in mind.

CACREP accredited counseling programs are dedicated to fostering and facilitating conducive learning environments. Degree specialty areas in Addiction Counseling, Clinical Mental Health Counseling, and Marriage, Couple and Family Counseling should consist of approved graduate-level study. Each specialty including career, rehabilitation, college and school counseling with the aforementioned, is held to a foundational, contextual and practice standard which incorporates both coursework, counselor identity development and field work.

Many CACREP accredited programs feature courses that should focus on the eight common core areas below:

Professional Counseling Orientation and Ethical Practice

History and philosophy of the counseling profession and its specialty areas.

  • Learn the different roles of counselors across all specialties and lifespans.
  • Develop an awareness of advocacy issues in regards to social barriers and equality.
  • Review required administrative counseling credential knowledge including licensing, accreditation and ethical standards.

Social and Cultural Diversity

Multicultural and pluralistic characteristics within and among diverse groups nationally and internationally.

  • Develop a multicultural view of diverse counseling concerns.
  • Explore power and privilege as it relates to the counseling dynamic.
  • Learn techniques and strategies to eliminate these barriers of diversity.

Human Growth and Development

Theories of individual and family development across the lifespan.

  • Grasp theories of learning, human development throughout the lifespan, and abnormal personality development.
  • Develop an inclusive approach to human developmental disorders which includes physiological, neurological, and biological factors.
  • Analyze external factors that affect human development and proper counseling intervention techniques.

Career Development

Theories and models of career development, counseling, and decision making.

  • Learn an introduction to different theories of careers, career decision making, and career counseling.
  • Develop an understanding of appropriate evaluations for assessing work conditions and how they apply to a client's life.
  • Establish specific techniques for developing career skills within the use of assessments and the goal of career planning and exploration.

Counseling and Helping Relationships

Theories and models of counseling.

  • Evaluate different theories and techniques that provide the most measurable outcomes for clients.
  • Explore important helping relationship skills including counseling interventions, case conceptualization, and essential interviewing.
  • Develop an understanding of suicide prevention and strategies.

Group Counseling and Group Work

Theoretical foundations of group counseling and group work.

  • Understand preferred techniques and counseling interventions for effective group work.
  • Explore theoretical dynamics of a group’s process and development.
  • Expand understanding of the ethical considerations involved in group work.

Assessment and Testing

Historical perspectives concerning the nature and meaning of assessment and testing in counseling.

  • Learn effective methods for conducting appropriate tests and assessments.
  • Apply test results for diagnostics and for planning specific interventions.
  • Understand the importance of reliable and valid testing practices.

Research and Program Evaluation

The importance of research in advancing the counseling profession.

  • Understand the importance of research in the progression of the counseling field.
  • Evaluate the differences between quantitative, qualitative, and mixed research methods.
  • Analyze and utilize results and data for counseling.


Professional hands-on experience under the supervision of a licensed professional counselor.

  • Participate in a fully supervised counseling practicum experience of a minimum of 100 hours over a full academic term.
  • Apply a minimum of 40 clock hours of direct contact with clients.
  • Interact weekly with supervisors, including a minimum of one hour per week of individual supervision and a minimum of 1.5 hours per week of group supervision.


Professional hands-on experience applying skills, theories and approaches with clients under the supervision of a professional licensed counselor.

  • Participate in a minimum of 600 supervised hours in a relevant specialty area, working with clients.
  • Engage in a minimum of 240 clock hours of direct one on one or group client service.
  • Meet minimum supervision requirements of one hour per week of individual supervision and a minimum of 1.5 hours per week of group supervision. All supervision is provided by a CACREP approved supervisor.

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Last updated: April 2020