Obtaining professional counselor licensure requires a master’s degree in counseling or a related field, which includes an internship and practicum, and pre-requisite coursework of between 48-60 credits. All states require that counseling graduate programs be accredited, either by a counseling-specific accrediting organization or by a regional graduate education accrediting body.
The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) is an independent agency, recognized by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), which accredits master’s degree programs in mental health counseling and other counseling specialties. Many states require that licensure applicants’ counseling graduate degrees include a curriculum based on the CACREP model, even if full accreditation by CACREP is not required. CACREP- accredited counseling programs require coursework in eight core areas and a supervised practicum and internship.
States requiring a CACREP-accredited master’s degree include Florida (beginning July 1, 2025), Kentucky, North Carolina, and Ohio.
The Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE), a specialty accrediting organization, merged with CACREP in 2017. CACREP has continued to fulfill the mission and vision of CORE through its accreditation process, which includes the review of graduate-level rehabilitation counselor education programs. The 2016 CACREP Standards include requirements for rehabilitation counseling programs.
Masters in Psychology and Counseling Accreditation Council (MPCAC), a CHEA-recognized accrediting organization, accredits counseling and psychology master’s degree programs, located in regionally accredited colleges and universities in the United States, that educate students in the science-based practice of counseling and psychological services.