It just dawned on me that I have yet to make a post specifically about counseling programs. This will most likely be a 2-3 part post because no way can I fit it all into one post! So I thought I would give you guys an overview of counseling programs. There are many programs and it kinda looks like this:
If you are trying to find a counseling program I suggest you start at the Cacrep website. Cacrep stands for Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related educational Programs and is a accrediting body that sets standards for counseling programs. Trust me when I say that if you are going to do your counseling degree you want to attend a school that has Cacrep approval. Having this approval in most cases makes seeking your license easier because many states will accept a Cacrep accredited program for your educational requirements without ever checking or making you "prove" what classes are for what section. Some states also require counselors to attend a Cacrep accredited program in order to be licensed. Before you embark on any program be it online or in person you need to check with your states board to determine if that degree will be accepted if you intend to get your license to practice. You can go to the National Board for Certified Counselors to find all this information.
Another benefit to attending a Cacrep accredited program is that many times these schools will seek out and be approved for you to take the National Board for Certified Counselors exam even before you are done with graduate school. For example at my current college in my last semester of my counseling program I will be able to sit for the NCE exam and once I complete all my courses for my program upon completion I will be a Nationally certified counselor (which is voluntary) but some states actually use the NCE test that the National board uses. Basically states partner with NBCC for their tests so often times if you have taken the NCE exam you will be ready to go for your state (this varies by state though so be sure to check YOUR states requirements).
So here is a list of thing I believe you should look for when deciding on a counseling program:
1. Cacrep approved program
2. NCC offered in last semester of graduate school
Part 2 will have more information about the various schools I have found so stay tuned!